Former Military Intelligence head Major General (res) Amos Yadlin
said Tuesday, “For all practical purposes, Iran
has passed Israel’s new red line.”
Yaldin, who serves as director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said at its annual conference, “Over the summer, Iran will reach one to two months before the final decision on a bomb. It is so close that it will make it hard to stop Iran from deciding to finish the push for a bomb.”
According to Yaldin, “Without drastic changes to the system of pressures bring put on it, Iran will continue to buy time and expand its nuclear program. There can be no agreement if the agreement comes with a price.”
He added that the reliability of American military options is a factor in the negotiations' success. “This reliability will be reached if the US intends a surgical attack to stop Iran’s nuclear program and if the US emphasizes that it can deal well with any escalation due to the focused attack.”
Yaldin claimed that all three of the main players will have a difficult time continuing with the current strategy and will have to make decisions regarding escalation or an agreement. “Regarding the three players – Iran, Israel and the US – the claim is that they are not bluffing. If they stick to the stated policy, a clash appears inevitable.”
Earlier, the head of research and analysis at the MI Brigadier General Itay Brun also commented on the Iranian issue, “It is under unprecedented pressure, but Iran is moving toward obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran is moving forward on the issue of uranium enrichment, but not in other issues in the program. In 2012, we saw a gap between what they did within the framework of the program to what they could do.”
Brun continued, “But the scenario in which Iran will get to an agreement with the international community in the coming year is if it gives up on nuclear weapons, which is not likely. On the other hand, the likelihood that there will be a breakthrough in the nuclear program in the next year is small as well.”
Discussing the situation in Syria Brun said “to the best of our knowledge Assad has used lethal chemical weapons against the rebels, apparently sarin gas.
“The chance that these weapons will find their way into the hands of radical elements is very worrying.”
“There was use of chemical weapons during the incident on March 19 and on other dates, in which non-lethal means were used to neutralize,” he said. “We saw signs such as foaming from the mouth and decreased pupil size, which are signs of chemical weapon use.”
Up to this point, the international community, with the US
at its head, has not directly accused Assad of chemical weapon use. On Monday during his visit to Israel, the issue was raised by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He said that US intelligence agencies were learning to estimate what had or had not occurred in Syria. If it was shown that Assad was using chemical weapons, Hagel said, the rules of the game would change.
The IDF estimates that the longer the civil war in Syria continues, the greater the chance that the country will disintegrate and that the anarchy could last years. “There is a growing chance for cantolism and less chance for an interm government,” he remarked.
Israel's fears are based on the belief that Syria holds an arsenal of more than 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, plus thousands of aerial bombs and missile warheads which can be loaded with unconventional weapons. “The Syrian regime
is using chemical weapons, but the world prefers not to get involved... These are worrying developments. The use of chemical weapons without an appropriate response is worrying. This signals that the use of chemical weapons is legitimate
Brun also discussed the Syrian civil war's effect on Hezbollah. “The organization is under pressure, it is afraid that someone will take advantage of the situation and hurt him – even from within Lebanon,” Brun said. He added that the SA-17s that hit Syria in January were meant for Hezbollah’s
Regarding threats against Israel and the political situation in the Middle East, Brun said that there has been a clear strengthening of the Sunni presence in the area, “and this is not a good time for Iran. The radical entity in Iran is fighting for its survival. At the same time, there is an increase in the religious voice involved in the decision-making process in the countries in which there are revolutions. This is an approach that is contradictory to the State of Israel, and it will not change.
But even so, the Muslim Brotherhood
demonstrated pragmatism when considering the changes that have taken place. “The rise of the Sunni camp challenges the idea of opposition to Israel. In its earlier version, the young revolutionaries in Tahrir did not translate their achievements into a political wealth, and these communities are demanding change.”
Yoav Zitun contributed to this report
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