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Lebanon: Hezbollah Weapon Stocks

Volume 685: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What efforts they have made to persuade the Governments of Syria and Iran not to replenish the stock of missiles held by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. [HL7436]

The Government have repeatedly called on Syria and Iran not to supply arms to Hezbollah. During the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah we summoned both the Syrian and Iranian ambassadors in London to raise our concerns with them about the supply of arms. The UK also worked hard with our international partners in securing the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for an embargo on all arms sales to Lebanon unless authorised by the Government of Lebanon or by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. The UK is now working with our international partners to implement Resolution 1701, in particular by strengthening the ability of the democratically elected Lebanese Government to exercise control throughout Lebanon and ensuring that militias, supported and supplied from outside Lebanon, can never again plunge the region into crisis.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What estimates they have made of the current stock of long and short range missiles held by Hezbollah in Lebanon. [HL7438]

Using a definition of a missile as a surface-to-surface rocket, we can make the following estimate. Before the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel that began on 12 July, Hezbollah claimed, and Israel agreed, that Hezbollah had approximately 12,000 rockets. We have no way of independently verifying this figure, but have no reason to think it was false. During the conflict Hezbollah fired approximately 4,000 of its rockets, reducing its stockpile by about one third. We therefore broadly assess that there are about 8,000 rockets remaining in Hezbollah's arsenal. There are no estimates available on the division between short and long range rockets. However, around 90 per cent of rockets fired were short range and this ratio is possibly reflected in the remaining stockpile.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the number of rockets in the Hezbollah arsenal. [HL7453]

Before the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel that began on 12 July, Hezbollah claimed, and Israel agreed, that Hezbollah had approximately 12,000 rockets. We have no way of independently verifying this figure, but have no reason to think it was false. During the conflict Hezbollah fired approximately 4,000 of its rockets, reducing its stockpile by about one third. We therefore broadly assess that there are about 8,000 rockets remaining in Hezbollah's arsenal.