YNet News (Link) - Roni Sofer (November 2, 2010)
Outgoing Military Intelligence Chief Major-General Amos Yadlin offered a grim assessment in his last appearance before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.
Yadlin advised Knesset members not to be fooled by the calm security situation and addressed threats from Syria, Hezbollah and Iran.
The MI chief said Russia was providing Syria with portable, state-of-the-art anti-aircraft systems, warning that the IDF may find itself facing a similar situation to that which prevailed in the early 1970s in the Suez Canal.
“These are fairly inexpensive missiles compared to the S-300 but they are no less lethal or effective,” Yadlin said.
The MI chief also warned that the Russians are renovating old Syrian weapons systems. “Syria is engaged in a very intense campaign to procure highly advanced weapons; so advanced in fact that anything that comes off the Russian assembly lines ends up in Syria.”
The major-general claimed that Syria is trying to have the best of both worlds – tightening relations with Iran and Hezbollah while also trying to show willingness to finalize a peace deal with Israel.
Referring to reports that Hezbollah is planning to take over Lebanon, Yadlin said: “The organization keeps getting stronger. Hezbollah could get all the most advanced weapons systems possessed by Syria if it asks for them.”
“Should the international tribunal rule that Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was murdered by Hezbollah it will be a PR disaster for them and could lead to instability in all of Lebanon,” he said. “If it wanted to, Hezbollah could take over Lebanon in a matter of hours. This is not very likely but there is no military force that can stand up to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Addressing the Iranian threat, the MI chief intimated that Israel is well informed on the intelligence level.
“Israel’s intelligence coverage there is much better,” he said. Yadlin also noted that “Iran today has enough nuclear material to make one bomb, and soon it would have enough to make two bombs.”
Overall, Yadlin advised the MKs not to be fooled by the “unprecedented” calm on the security front.
“Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas are quietly working on building up their strength. The next round won’t be focused on one theater but rather, will incorporate two or three. One cannot predict the future according to what happened during Operation Cast Lead or the Second Lebanon War. It will be much bigger, much wider in scope, and with many more casualties.” †