Following reports the US and Israel were trying to prevent Russia from selling SS-26 Iskander missiles with the ability to hit any target in Israel to Syria, Imad Fawzi al-Shuaybi, a Syrian political analyst, told Aljazeera on Thursday, "This is not the first time Israel and the United States, individually or jointly, have interfered to halt Syrian defence plans.

 

"Imbalance of powers deprives Syria from its right to possess defensive weapons."

 

Al-Shuaybi added: "What the US and Israeli want is to maintain a big military gap between Israel and Syria in order to create an illusion of a possibility of imposing a peace settlement."

 

The Iskander belongs to the category of so-called Man Portable Air Defence (Manpad) missiles, of which Russia is one of the chief producers.

 

Wrong hands

 

On Wednesday, Russia categorically denied it intended to sell missiles to Syria. Washington had warned Syria against such a deal, arguing it was liable to sanctions. 

 

Shlomo Ganour, diplomatic correspondent for Israel's TV, told Aljazeera on Thursday if the deal went ahead, the missiles would end up in the hands of "terrorists".

 

He said: "These weapons will be delivered to different terrorist organisations, on the top is Hizb Allah of Lebanon, the Palestinian factions, and Iraq's opposition that might upset the US forces.

 

Nuclear-armed Israel has a huge
military advantage over Syria

"There was a clear matter that Syria has been on the terrorist list, a state that hosts and supports terrorist organisations and that is internationally known. Thus, a state like Syria is a danger not only to Israel but to its neighbours and the world at large.

 

"The deal will upset the balance in international civil aviation not only against Israel's aviation but aviation in general."

 

Ganour said Israel's possession of nuclear facilities - such as the one at Dimona - could not be compared with the alleged threat such a change in the balance of military power might pose.

 

He said: "There is no comparison as there have not been any Israeli threats of any kind, to any Arab country."

 

Future talks

 

Syrian analyst al-Shuaybi said reports about the deal were highlighted to prevent future talks on the matter when Syrian President Bashar al-Asad visits Russia on 24 January.

 

"The visit might give Syria additional options, unacceptable to the United States in the current stage.

 

"There is a golden rule of politics, which is 'necessity of choice', which permits Syria to forge a set of international relations that could clash with the US position."