Israeli Intelligence Head: U.S. Views Arafat as “Lost Case”; Al-Qaeda Fighters Flee for Lebanon, Syria
Head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Aharon (Farakash) Ze'evi, stated Tuesday that brutal attacks, harsher than those which have already been carried out in various Israeli cities, could be expected in the future.
In his first appearance before the Israeli Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ze'evi said that subsequent to the assassination of senior Fatah - Tanzim activist Raed al Karmi, revenge is at the top of the agenda for all the Palestinian groups. He added that efforts to carry out attacks would continue until the period of mourning for Karmi ended.
According to Haaretz daily, the Head of Intelligence also expressed his belief that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat would not end the conflict with Israel, even if he were to get all pre-1967 territory, including the holy sites in Jerusalem and the complete implementation of the right of return to Israel for Palestinian refugees.
The Intelligence chief indicated that in light of Arafat's loss of status amongst the Palestinian people, it should not be predicted that he cracks down on “terrorist” organizations, according to . Arafat's recent efforts to calm the violence in the region did not indicate a change in his strategic opposition to the idea of two states for two peoples, Ze’evi claimed, according to the Jerusalem Post.
In face of the mounting domestic threats to Arafat, it can ont be expected that he will make any significant attack against “terror” groups, except for the Tanzim, even if, from a tactical point of view, it would serve his interests. "Arafat won't launch a war against Palestinian organizations," Ze’evi conveyed.
Ze'evi stressed that Palestinian efforts to obtain weapons were continuing in all possible channels. He also said that Arafat sees the attempts as one of the major elements of the Palestinian struggle against Israel.
Ze’evi added that the United States viewed Arafat as a "lost case" and that "they [the United States] are exasperated by him. The Americans have reached the conclusion that he is a problem and not a solution.", stated the Israeli intelligence chief.
The Jerusalem Post adds that in the past, Washington has seen Arafat as both the problem and the solution, but now believes he is a "problem with no solution." At the same time, the Palestinian Authority is still seen by the Bush administration as the address for continuation of dialogue, he noted.
US War Against Terror
With regards to various regional matters, Ze'evi told the committee that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda fighters are "fleeing for Lebanon and Syria." He said the US is nearing the completion of its war in Afghanistan and will decide on its next moves within a period of two weeks, according to the Jerusalem Post.
He pointed out that the Israeli intelligence believes the possibility of a US move against Iraq is indeed growing, but there are those in the US that oppose such a move, arguing it is not an integral part of the war against terror. There is also fear that a disastrous strike on Iraq could pose a danger to Arab regimes, which could face furious protests from Islamic elements, he stressed.
As for the Saudi Kingdom, the Intelligence Head said the wealthy Sheiks there have begun to buy assets in the United States out of fear that extreme Muslims will try to take over the Kingdom, and therefore they will have to escape.
Karine A Ship
The Intelligence Chief also mentioned that 9 out of the 14 crewmembers on the captured Karine A weapons vessel were "innocent sailors" who tried to escape when they discovered the contents of the cargo. However, they were held on the ship by Palestinian officers and were forced to cooperate. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)