Senior MI officer: Israel would share intel on ISIS, if asked

In wide-ranging interview, Military Intelligence Directorate source reiterates threat posed by radical group, insists majority of 8200 refuseniks never listened to confidential calls by Palestinians.

A senior officer in the IDF's intelligence corps said on Wednesday that "if Israel has intelligence on ISIS targets in Syria – and are asked to share it with the international coalition – I believe that we would cooperate."



According to the officer, the radical terror group posed a serious threat and would not fade into irrelevance in the near future. "They will likely try now to entrench and disappear ahead of the upcoming campaign against them."


Sources in the defense establishment believe that ISIS successfully created a contiguous territory for their claimed Islamic State, between western Iraq and east Syria – though they do not see the group as threatening Israeli interests at this stage.


ISIS soldiers in Raqaa, Syria (Photo: AP)
ISIS soldiers in Raqaa, Syria (Photo: AP)

IDF sources say ISIS numbers some 30,000 members in Syria and Iraq. The growing group appends and consumes organization after organization either voluntarily, forcibly, or with bribery.


According to defense establishment figures, the group funds its operations with 60 oil fields it captured in Iraq, which effectively produce 110,000 barrels a day – generating between two to three million dollars per day. The figures don't include ISIS' control of 45 percent of Syrian gas reserves, as the group lacks the capability to continue production.


ISIS has also captured four power stations in Syria, with a potential output of 2,310 megawatt. According to the senior officer, Assad has been forced to purchase oil from ISIS, even as his regime battles the radical group.


Aside from its seizure of natural resources, ISIS has diversified its income sources by organizing kidnappings for ransom, robberies and extortion operations, and through its donations from Sunni sheikhs in the Gulf.


"They want to achieve a religious regime to exclude all that is modern and liberal," said the senior officer.


"ISIS has already established an interior ministry, a finance ministry, nursing, welfare, schools, bakeries, and even police. The difference between ISIS and Hamas, for example, is that ISIS has brought back the religious wars that we thought had ended in the Middle East – which is why you cannot compromise with them, as opposed to groups like Hezbollah and Hamas."


The officer addressed IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz's infamous "Anemones Speech" towards the end of Operation Protective Edge, when he concluded the campaign and called for residents to return to their homes.


Palestinians on Gaza ruins (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Palestinians on Gaza ruins (Photo: Reuters)


"We had intelligence of intentions to continue the rocket fire and knew the possibility existed that they would continue to fire," added the officer. "The IDF Chief of Staff knew the situation and was likely talking about a later future in his statement."


The source squashed claims by a senior officer in the Gaza Division who said during the operation that Hamas had prepared for the "July War" since the beginning of the year. "It was an imaginary tale that never was. It was an invention."


The senior officer noted that the Military Intelligence Directorate warned of a massive tunnel attack planned at Kerem Shalom. He said, "We announced on June 20, saying that it would spiral the Strip towards a military campaign, even as we at MI noted that given the circumstances – including the kidnapping and murder of the teens in the West Bank – the potential for a deterioration in the Strip increased, likely as part of a plan by Hamas."


The officer clarified: "We are not free of error, but the assumptions of where things were heading, including Khaled Mashal being a tough nut to crack, we explained in detail."


The senior officer addressed the refusenik affair in MI's Unit 8200, slamming the letter's signatories. "Out of 43 people who signed the letter, only eight were exposed during their military service to confidential calls by Palestinians, while eight others were not even in a certain unit."


"The significant majority of signatories, including the major who signed the letter, were not even inside the eavesdropping operation, but in technological roles where they did not hear a single call."


He said 15 signatories had not served in the reserves since they were released and the decisive majority had not been called up for reserves in the past six years. Only three signatories had spent a few days in reserves in the past two and a half years.


Five of the Unit 8200 refuseniks (Photo: Tal Shachar) (Photo: Tal Shahar)
Five of the Unit 8200 refuseniks (Photo: Tal Shachar)


"A few of the examples they put forth in the letter were related to Operation Cast lead, but until today, before they turned to the media, they never came to us with any comment or complaint," said the officer.


He emphasized: "I want to listen to them, but they have no serious claim aside from maybe one sexual call, which we cannot investigate whether or not it occurred. But even if it had happened – is that a reason for insubordination?"


The senior officer further questioned whether the signatories to the letter listened to a call in which a terrorist was killed was targeted without being convicted.


He said the ethics regarding eavesdropping has been practiced and studied in early courses and supervised with serious measures during the operations.


"We are creating an opening here for our people, and in borderline cases soldiers have complained to commanders and the matters were resolved," said the officer.


"This incident had different reasons entirely, and it caused international damage to Israel within organizations which operate to delegitimize Israel, but it did not hurt the confidence and moral of Unit 8200. If there is a serious complaint in the future, we will listen and we will resolve the matter."


פרסום ראשון: 09.18.14, 01:10
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