IDF Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin said Tuesday that the probability of war in the region in the coming year was low. According to Yadlin, the Middle East was not the first priority of the US administration, which was currently focused on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran.
In a briefing to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yadlin stressed that President Barack Obama's approach is completely different than that of his his predecessor, George W. Bush, saying Obama advocates international dialogue in order to increase the US' standing.
The military intelligence chief warned again that Iran was very close to obtaining military nuclear capabilities, and added that starting in 2010 the situation will become "critical." Yadlin said that even if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were to lose the upcoming elections, Tehran's nuclear policy was not expected to change.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned last week of Washington's tough response if the Islamic Republic rejects the US dialogue proposal. In his testament before the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier in May, Gates said however that a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would not be enough to remove the threat.
"(It) will only buy us time and send the program deeper and more covert," he said. "Their security interests are actually badly served by trying to have nuclear weapons," Gates said. "They will start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and they will be less secure at the end than they are now."