Director of Military Intelligence, Major-General Amos Yadlin, cautioned Sunday that despite the indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria, Damascus "has become the bargain basement for Hizbullah weaponry."
Speaking at a security briefing given during the weekly cabinet meeting, Yadlin added that Syrian President Bashar Assad "trusts Hizbullah more than he does his own troops. Hizbullah operatives have made Syrian their own. The Syrians don't even try to bridle them, on the contrary – they have made all of their strategic capabilities available to Hizbullah."
The MI chief also addressed the Damascus bombing which claimed 17 lives in September, and said it was a direct result of Syria's involvement in global terror: "He who sleeps with dogs, shouldn’t be surprised if he wakes up with fleas. This was a Jihad attack, which constituted a direct breach of an unwritten agreement it has with Damascus.
"Syria has granted such terror groups immunity and free passage to Iraq and Lebanon, as long as they did not target the Syrian regime."
Situation still volatile
Syria, continued Yadlin, is still as radical as Iran: "Syria and Iran have bought the Lebanese regime. They keep pumping in cash to bribe statesmen and push shady deals… Iran's recent offer to help re-outfit the Lebanese army is nothing more that an attempt to take over Lebanon."
Tehran, he concluded, is using the imminent political changes in the US and Israel to improve its stance; "using the global financial crisis, the nearing elections in the US and Israel and the overall laxity by the international community – which waits to see who steps into the White House – to push its nuclear program and weaken the international community's resistance.
"Iran is struggling with the drop in oil prices, attributed to the financial crisis, but the latter also restricts the scope of sanctions which may be implemented against it."
As for the peace talks with Syria, Military Intelligence indicates the Assad would like to pursue the option, but only at his own terms. According to Yadlin, Assad has suspended his next move pending the results of the US presidential elections.
Hizbullah, he added, is still looking to avenge Imad Mugniyah's assassination, but is wary of a subsequent Israeli blow, and has opted to retaliate in less obvious ways "such as working towards carrying out quality attacks in the home front and in Sinai."
"The Gaza ceasefire is stable for now, but we mustn't be fooled," he cautioned. "Hamas will remain committed to the tahadiya for as long as it serves its interests, but it has already begun preparing for the day after.
"Hamas is still planning attacks against Israel, including abductions, which are to be carried out as soon as Hamas deems them more effective than preserving the armistice."
The Military Intelligence chief also briefed the cabinet on the threats made against Israelis and Israeli targets both in Sinai and worldwide, saying "we have identified and foiled several such attempts."