Jerusalem – Syria, buoyed by Hezbollah’s success against Israel, has ordered his military to prepare for a regional war with the Jewish state.

The Middle East News Line has confirmed reports from Israeli intelligence sources which assess that Syrian President Bashar Assad has ordered a series of measures meant to bolster the preparedness of his military. The sources cited increased training, exercises, procurement as well as an examination of Israeli ground and air battles in Lebanon in July and August.

“We see signs of a new strategy in the Syrian military based on the lessons from the Hezbollah war,” an intelligence source said. “It could take months until the picture becomes clearer.”

The sources said the Intelligence Corps has detected Syrian activities in the Golan Heights that could mark preparations for another war. They said Syria appeared to be planning to bring people to the Golan to serve as a human shield during any conflict with Israel.

“We think Assad and the Syrian military were very impressed with Hezbollah’s ability to fight from urban areas and our unwillingness to hit civilians,” the source said. “We think the Syrians will adopt this model.”

The sources said Iran has brought a huge amount of weapons and munitions to Syria for delivery to Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. But they said Israeli intelligence has not detected a serious attempt to transport the equipment from Syria to Lebanon. They said Israel Air Force fighter jets have been patrolling Lebanon in search of weapons convoys from Syria.

Over the last few months, the sources said, Syria has bolstered its air defense network. They said Syria has obtained the first Igla-S SA-18 mobile, short-range surface-to-air missiles from Russia.

The sources termed the Igla-S one of the most advanced anti-aircraftweapons available, and did not rule out that Iran or Syr-ia would transfer batteries to Hezbollah. In 2005, Russia pledged that the Igla-S delivered to Syria would be mounted on vehicles rather than its standard man-portable configuration.

Another assessment by Israeli intelligence was that Syria could form a Hezbollah-type organization that would strike Israeli targets on the Golan.

The sources said Syria planned to avoid any responsibility for these attacks, which could be blamed on infiltrators from Lebanon or anti-Assad opponents.

“We see signs of this happening although there have not been any attacks,” the source said. “Right now, everybody is assessing the war, reviewing their requirements and getting ready for the next round.”

Israel Continues To Acquire Bombs

From The U.S.

Middle East News Line has also confirmed that the Israel Air Force, seeking to replenish stockpiles depleted from the war in Lebanon, has continued its effort to acquire munitions from the United States.

Israeli Military sources said C-130 air transports and state-owned airliners have been shuttling between Israel and the United States to load up with munitions and related equipment. They said the effort began in wake of the 33-day Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, which ended on Aug. 14.

“It’s a non-stop shuttle,” a military source said. “Flights are taking place nearly every day and we’re taking whatever they’re willing to give or sell us.”

The sources said the air force plans to replace its stockpile of air munitions, particularly standard general purpose air bombs. During the war, they said, the air force used so-called dumb bombs stored for more than 30 years.

“They were rusty but they worked,” the source said. “Now, we want new munitions for our stockpile.”

The sources said the U.S. supplies were being delivered from the Dover Air Force base in Dover, Del., located near Washington. They said the Israel Air Force has been obtaining U.S. Air Force surplus bombs and related equipment to prepare for any near-term conflict with Hezbollah or its allies, Iran and Syria.

During the war, the Israel Air Force conducted 15,000 sorties in Lebanon, more than any other conflict in Israel’s history. The sources said the air force depleted its supply of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, whichconverts general purpose bombs to guided munitions.

The sources said the General Staff was expected to discuss a proposal to renew a strategic production line of air and ground munitions to avoid dependency on the United States during any war. They said such a line had operated until the 1990s, when the Defense Ministry and military agreed that a conventional war was unlikely. The state-owned Israel Military Industries had operated the munitions line.

©The Bulletin 2006

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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