Israeli Intelligence Officer: Syria would Go to War over Lebanon
A senior Israeli intelligence officer said that Syria was willing to go to war with Israel if its interests in Lebanon are damaged, and was convinced that it could win such a war, according to Haaretz newspaper.
Addressing members of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee, the official said that the Syrians see Israel's current conflict with the Palestinians as a rare opportunity to change the balance of power in the region in their favor.
Syrian President Bashar Assad is staking out a radical position for himself in the Arab world, the official said, and is hoping to take advantage of what he sees as Israeli weakness.
He added that Syria backed Hizbollah's kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers last month, Haaretz said.
In the meantime, Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz, was quoted by the daily as saying to the committee that the likelihood of a full-scale regional conflict is now greater than it has been at any time in the past several years.
The senior intelligence officer said such a conflict could potentially result from two developments: an intensified conflict with the Palestinians, if they feel they are not achieving their goals through negotiations, or a crisis on the Lebanese border caused by renewed Hizbollah attacks.
The new Lebanese government, the official said, is unlikely to do anything to curb Hizbollah, and there is also a chance that organizations not currently involved in terror against Israel will start carrying out attacks as well.
A conflict with Lebanon, the officer noted, could draw in Syria as well.
In addition, he noted, Iraq's decision to move troops toward the Jordanian border was a sign of the country's willingness to join a war against Israel, should one break out – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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