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Israel: An Intel Briefing
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 20, 2010


When the chief of Israel's military intelligence agency speaks, we should pay careful attention.

Amos Yadlin briefed the Knesset's Committee on Defense. The general chose to brief his select audience on three areas - Turkey, Iran and the Palestinians.

According to Yadlin, the breakdown of the strategic relationship that Israel and Turkey had tried so hard to forge had nothing to do with Israel or even with anti-Israel sentiment - and a whole lot to do with Syria.

Turkey established a relationship with Israel because they had strategic interests. What the Turks really wanted was a closer trade relationship with Western European nations and with the United States. Israel was their way in. Israel was always Turkey's way to agitate and aggravate Syria for being such a bad neighbor.

The attempt to make inroads into Western business communities was a colossal failure. But Syria did come around and now Turkey no longer needs Israel. As a matter of fact, Israel is now a liability in Turkey's relationship with Syria. What's left for Turkey now is to find a way in to Iran and for that, Turkey certainly does not either need, or want, Israel hanging around.

Flip-flopping comes naturally to the Turks who live lives somewhere in between East and West. They geographically live on the border, part in Asia and part in Europe. For Turkey, it is all about expediency and strategic goals. They are easily swayed from one side to the other and right now Iran is the country offering Turkey the best incentives to deal.

On the subject of Iran, Yadlin recalled his earlier analysis. The head of Israel's intelligence community repeated that he does not see Iran either slowing down its pace or modifying its goal. Iran wants to become nuclear, wants to nuclear technology and Iran wants the bomb. And Iran is showing no signs of caving under pressure from the international community.

Perhaps more importantly, Yadlin does not believe that the international community nor pressure from more serious sanctions will change Iran.

As for the Palestinians, the head of Israeli intel had some encouraging news. According to Yadlin, Abbas and his Fatah party are beginning to crack down on Hamas in the West Bank - and not as a favor to Israel. Fatah is cracking down on Hamas for their own benefit. They do not want the West Bank to go the way of Gaza and to that end they are willing to go to great lengths.

Yadlin explained that the current stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians is crucial for Abbas. The Palestinian leader is intent on convincing the international community to pressure Israel to stop all building in Jerusalem and to ease restrictions throughout the West bank.

On this issue in particular I could not agree with Yadlin more. The Irony of it all is that the Western world will side with Abbas and will, economically and diplomatically, attack Israel. And the reason the West will feel comfortable attacking their long-standing friend is because Israel has been so successful in their own war against terror. For an entire year there has not been one successful suicide attack. Had Israel been less successful in their pre-attack capture of terrorists, the world would be less likely to swallow the lies that Abbas is circulating.

Would Israel prefer to be victim to terrorist attacks in order to gain short term international political benefits? The answer is obvious.

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4 June 2017 12:13 PM in Columns

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