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New Syrian Missile Threat To Isareli Jets

Maj.Gen Amos Yadlin: 'Russia Supplied Syria With Advanced Anti - Aircraft Missiles That Threaten Israeli Aircraft'

'Iran Is Building Two New Nuclear Sites & Has Nearly Enough Enriched Uranium To Produce Two Nuclear Weapons'

'Hezbollah Capable Of Taking Over Lebanon Within Within Hours If International Tribunal Accuses It Of Assassinating Former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri'

 Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, the outgoing head of IDF intelligence, has painted a somber picture of the various threats facing Israel today. In his last briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Gen. Yadlin disclosed that Russia has been supplying Syria with some its most advanced anti-aircraft missiles while Iran is building two new nuclear sites while advancing full steam ahead on its nuclear weapons program, despite the latest round of sanctions passed by the UN Security Council. And the relative quiet with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza is deceiving in more ways than one.

Amos Yadlin

 Russia has sold Syria very advanced anti-aircraft missiles that could pose a threat to Israeli aircraft - Gen. Amos Yadlin's disclosure injected a new factor into the panoply of military threats facing Israel today. Moreover, these 'mobile and independent units' were immune to electronic warfare. Although the missiles supplied to Syria were less expensive than the S-300 type that Moscow has canceled to Iran, in some ways they were just as lethal. Yadlin's description recalled the specter of the Soviet sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Egypt that took such a high toll of Israeli jets in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. And the intelligence commander noted that every advanced weapon in Syria's arsenal is shipped immediately to Hezbollah in south Lebanon on request. That obviously raises the possibility of the Russian missiles finding their way to Hezbollah, a development that would certainly ramp up tension in the area. In addition, Moscow is also supplying Syria with advanced sea-to-sea missiles and upgrading older Syrian weaponry.

Speaking of Hezbollah, the Iranian surrogate has achieved a position of predominance in Lebanon where there is rising apprehension. This time it's not over the Israeli-Lebanese border but the findings of an international tribunal that has investigated the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri. The tribunal reportedly points the finger at Hezbollah and if it does, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah may respond by ordering his forces to take control of Lebanon. Gen Yadlin said the Shi'ites could do so within hours - no other military force including the Lebanese army can stand up to Hezbollah. However, Hezbollah is deterred from provoking Israel although it is now armed with missiles that can target the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Nasrallah remembers the price he paid by triggering the Second Lebanon War of 2006; nor will Hezbollah spark another flare-up without the green light from Iran.

Hasan Nasrallah

As for Tehran, IDF intelligence has identified two of the ten new nuclear facilities Iran previously announced that it would build.At present, Iran's 3,000 to 4,000 centrifuges have spun sufficient enriched uranium of 20% for one nuclear bomb and are close to producing enough for a second. The Iranians would have no technological problem to upgrade this stockpile to 90% weapons quality. At the same time, they had expected to be more advanced than they were at present but had run into a number of technical hitches. This also applies to the development of the long range Ashura missile with a planned range of 2,000 kilometers and more. The latest round of Security Council sanctions took Tehran by surprise. Although the Iranians are pretending to the outside world that the sanctions are harmless there is regime concern they could pinch in the future.

Hamas, Iran's proxy on Israel's southern border, has also acquired significant arms recently through the Gaza tunnels into Sinai. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have Fajr missiles with the capability of reaching Tel Aviv. At the same time, Hamas was restraining its own force as well as the Islamic Jihad and other organizations from provoking Israel, (aside from the daily Qassam rocket or mortar).

The intelligence chief concluded that the arms buildup in Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas was so significant that any future war would be more intensive than the Second Lebanon War of 2006 or the IDF's Cast Lead Operation into Gaza in 2008. More missiles and advanced weaponry would mean more Israeli casualties. Moreover, any future conflagration would probably mean at least two or three of Israel's enemies taking an active role in the fighting and possibly on different fronts. These then are all factors that Israel's decision-makers must take into consideration.

David Essing

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