HOUSTON -- Former President Gerald Ford believes increased tensions and an accompanying arms buildup could spark military conflict of major proportions in the Middle East.
'The uncertain situation in Lebanon is probably one of the most potentially dangerous developments of the last several years as far as the Middle East is concerned,' Ford said Tuesday.
He suggested the United States and other powers, including the Soviet Union, should work to alleviate what 'could be a flash point of an outbreak of military conflict on a broad scale,' triggering a Middle East crisis of 'major magnitude.'
Ford called for Syria to remove its ground-to-air missiles from Lebanon and said Israel should cease overflights of that country. Israel has threatened to blow up the missiles if they are not removed.
'There's no doubt that the movement of Syrian ground-to-air missiles -- Soviet missiles -- presents a serious problem as far as Israel is concerned. It would be better if Syria would remove those missiles,' he said. 'On the other hand, it would be good if Israel would stop some of the overflights into Lebanon.'
Ford was in town to present the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Awards to 29 area residents.