August 10, 2007

Syrian rockets aimed at Tel Aviv

"One way or another, the information and declarations coming from Damascus create a high level of uncertainty within Israel's intelligence community regarding the other side's intentions. And in cases of uncertainty, one must prepare for the worst-case scenario." Via Ynet:

The latest official IDF intelligence branch assessment, adopted by the Israeli government, is that Syria is not planning to attack Israel. At least not in the coming months.

The accelerated preparations for war undertaken by the Syrian army recently, according to the assessment, are not aimed at launching an offensive, but rather, stem from fears in Damascus that the IDF plans to attack Syria.

As proof of this, IDF intelligence researchers point to the fact that the Syrian army has not fundamentally changed its deployment, which is still mostly defensive, vis-a-vis Israel.However, intelligence officials estimate that there is still a risk of a war breaking out even in the near future as a result of a wrong estimate (here or there) regarding the other side's intentions - a "miscalculation" as it is referred to by IDF intelligence officers. This is why Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made sure to declare Wednesday that he was not seeking war.

This is the official assessment. Yet this is not the complete picture. The truth is that there is no certainty within Israel's intelligence community that Syria is not planning to initiate a military confrontation with Israel. Quite a few researchers in the IDF intelligence branch and Mossad suspect that Syria is waiting for a convenient point in time - which is not necessarily in the distant future.