A man looks at banners of captured Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, left, Gilad Shalit, center, and Eldad Regev, right, placed in protest outside the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. Recent Israeli military reports say Syria is seriously considering war with Israel. Photo by Kevin Frayer/Associated Press.

Jerusalem – A new IDF Intelligence Branch report about the probability of war with Syria has been issued, in which senior IDF Intelligence officials assess that Syrian President Bashar Assad and his top political echelon have begin to seriously examine the viability of either going to war with Israel or launching a limited military operation against it.

According to a senior Israeli intelligence source, this constitutes an abrupt departure from past Syrian behavioral patterns and has resulted in a revision of Israeli military intelligence’s official assessment about the probability of war erupting with Syria, which is no longer defined as “low.”

For many years, Israeli military intelligence thought that Syria did not have a genuine military option against Israel.

According to this generally accepted view, the possibility of embarking on a war against Israel or launching a surprise attack for the purpose of limited gains was not taken seriously by the Syrian military leadership and was not within the range of its relevant options.

Now, a substantive change has taken place in that position. Officials in IDF intelligence now believe that military action has been raised as a realistic option and the Syrian leadership is seriously examining it.

Sources in Israeli military intelligence stress that at present the Syrians are only thinking about the possibility and have not proceeded to the operative stage of action. On the other hand there are those in Israeli military intelligence who warn that such thoughts generally lead to action.

Appearing on a radio interview with the Voice Of Israel newsreel on Thursday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that “there is no basis for conducting peace negotiations with Syria because Syria is the main supporter of the Palestinian terrorist organizations”.

Olmert said that he did not rule out the possibility that Iran and Syria would continue trying to reactivate Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, reports from Lebanon are increasing of a massive infiltration of Syrian soldiers back into the country about a year and a half after the Syrian army was forced to leave Lebanon.

After about 30 years of Syria effectively acting as a conquering power in Lebanon, Lebanese intelligence agencies warn that hundreds of Syrian soldiers and intelligence officers are infiltrating back disguised as construction workers seeking jobs on the projects to rebuild the villages of southern Lebanon and the Dahiya neighborhood. The Syrian army withdrew from Lebanon in April 2005 as a result of heavy international pressure following the assassination of former prime minister Rafik el-Hariri about two years ago and the democratic “cedar revolution,” which brought Fouad Siniora to power.

Lebanese intelligence sources are worried about this phenomenon due to their concern that Syria will again interfere in Lebanese internal affairs – once more, by means of terror attacks and violence.

©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.