Friday, March 15, 2013

15-Mar-13: Security in a terrorism-rich environment; military intelligence's view

Kochavi speaks at the 2012 Herzliya Conference
Some plain-spoken security insights from Israel's Director of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, in a presentation to this week's Herzliya Conference. Not surprisingly, the coverage it received varies in emphasis according to the standpoint of the media doing the covering.
  • The Iranians constitute the "central threat" to Israel [according to Kochavi's comments quoted on the site]
  • At the same time, senior figures in the Iranian regime are saying their country's nuclear program "ought to be reconsidered due to the sanctions" "The nuclear program is progressing, but Iran is making sure not to cross any internationally perceived 'red lines.' Their chief goal is to preserve the regime." [Ynet]
  • "Iran's nuclear program is progressing slower than planned, but it is advancing. Despite all of the sanctions, Iran's uranium enrichment rate reaches nearly 14 kilograms of uranium per month, giving Iran the ability to develop 4-5 bombs should a decision be made to do so [Israeldefense
  • Iran does not consider the chances of a global attack against its nuclear facilities to be high, and it will continue to develop the nuclear program in a short amount of time. Partial concessions are possible, but essential concessions are not," said Kochavi [Israeldefense]
  • The Daily Beast quotes this: "Sanctions affect Iran in a most meaningful way... [They] create heavy pressure on the Iranian regime and the Iranian citizen... [and are] going to become a more important factor in decision-making, although it hasn't yet caused a change in the nuclear program." [Beast]
  • That's not all:  "For the first time in many years [each of] the four main [regional] powers - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt - is controlled by religious leadership... It will be increasingly difficult in the coming years to reach agreements and normalization..." [Ynet]
  • The Palestinian street has reached boiling point which stems from the economic situation, but also from the prisoners issue. [Nevertheless] we estimate there's no energy for a third intifada." [Ynet]
  • "For the first time in dozens of years Israel has four borders threatened by terrorists... " [Ynet]
  • On Syria: "The country is disintegrating with 60,000 killed so far, among them 50,000 civilians and 13,000 soldiers... Two-thirds of Syria's habitable areas are under rebel control... Most of the cities are under complete or partial rebel control. The Golan Heights is a string of enclaves in rebel or army control engaged in daily warfare with each other... Assad is preparing to use chemical weapons... and has already started using missiles such as Scud and M600... He already fired 70, in addition to 600 rockets with warheads containing 300 kilos of explosives".[Ynet]
  • Hamas "was badly damaged during Operation Pillar of Defense [and] was unable to reach military or propaganda achievements, and therefore the failure is singed into the organizations' consciousness. However, it did attain strategic achievements, such as leading the resistance within the Palestinian population and being embraced by Egypt and Turkey. Hamas needs time to rehabilitate itself, and it has decided to focus on the political strategic plain, because it recognizes opportunity in light of the rise of the Sunnis and the PA’s distress, into which it can enter in order to achieve reconciliation and even take over the PA." [Israeldefense
  • On Hezbollah: They are in one of their worst periods. The terrorist group "is doing everything in order to help Assad survive. This includes military and strategic advice, financial assistance, weapons and ammunition, fighting forces and the establishment of a popular army in Syria.” [Israeldefense
  • Iran and Hezbollah are using this opportunity to secure the military capabilities that they want: air-to-sea missiles, air defense and advanced weapons and "preparing for the day after, in order to protect their interests in the post-Assad era.” [Israeldefense

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