Thanks to Israpundit
IDF intelligence chief: Israel’s next war will see heavy casualties
In his final briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, outgoing military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin warned that Israel’s next war would take longer, be fought on more fronts and would cause more casualties (God forbid) than its two previous wars – Operation Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War .
Syria, particularly, posed a greated military obstacle to Israel than at any time in the past three decades, Yadlin said, having amassed advanced Russian-built antiaircraft missiles that seriously limited the operational freedom of the Israel Air Force.
While Syria had failed to acquire Russian S-300 missiles, seen by Israel as the greatest potential threat to its aircraft, Damascus had improved its defense systems enough to push the military balance with Israel “back to the 1970s”, Yadlin said.
In 1973, Israel came close to defeat by a suprise Syrian attack before eventually emerging victorious in the Yom Kippur War.
Yadlin also hinted at Israel’s involvement in attacking a Syrian nuclear facility in September 2007. That strike has been widely attributed to Israel, but the government has never officially taken responsibility for the operation.
The veteran soldier, who turns 60 next year, told the committee that during his position as MI chief he had contended with two enemy nuclear programs – apparently a reference to Iran and Syria.
“I’ve seen three defense ministers, two chiefs of staff and two prime ministers come and go, I’ve been through two wars and I’ve contended with two nuclear programs of enemy states,” Yadlin said, summing up the last years of his career.
“I headed a group of thousands of people working 24 hours a day to collect information that the enemy was not volunteering, information that had to be extracted from difficult places,” he added.
Yadlin also warned of a growing threat from the Iranian nuclear program, saying Iran now had enough highly enriched uranium to build a bomb.
That’s not all Iran has. Yadlin also told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel had detected two new nuclear facilities in Iran (read the headline – the text doesn’t seem to have much to do with it).
But perhaps the most frightening part of Yadlin’s briefing was his assessment of a future conflict.
“The next conflict, even if it is limited in scale,” warned the former IAF general, “will be much bigger, much broader, and with many more casualties than we saw in Operation Cast Lead or the Second Lebanon War.”
Such a conflict, predicted the 59-year old Yadlin, will be played out on two or more fronts; moreover, Israel’s enemies “believe that the only way to overcome Israel’s deterrence is through longrange missile fire and improving air defense capabilities.”
Pulling no punches, Yadlin warned that the cutting-edge anti-aircraft system that Syria has purchased from Russia could send the IDF and IAF’s capabilities “back to their status in the 1970s Suez years,” according to a source present at the meeting.
“With the S-300, we are talking about relatively cheap missiles – but no less deadly,” Yadlin cautioned during his foreboding address to the committee. In addition, he said, the Russians are upgrading older Syrian weapons systems to make them far more advanced.
In outlining how the weapons deal benefited Damascus, the MI chief said the Syrians are conducting “intense efforts to acquire extremely advanced weapons – so advanced that everything just off of the production line in Russia ends up in Syria.”
Yadlin also disclosed that Israel had detected the Iranians laying the groundwork for two new nuclear sites – but did not reveal their locations.
“Iran is the greatest threat to Israel and to the well-being of the entire region,” he said.
And in an ominous note, Yadlin informed the committee that Iran already had enough uranium enriched to 20 percent to make one nuclear bomb – and before long, enough for two nuclear devices.
“Iran’s progression towards a bomb is slower than they had hoped for,” advised the general. “They are running into quite a few problems. But Iran is also taking radical action regarding the transfer of money, technology, weapons and intelligence.”
Yadlin pointed out that with 3,000 to 4,000 centrifuges in operation, Iran could very easily make the leap from civilian-grade enriched uranium to the higher enrichment required for building a nuclear explosive device.
If Yadlin told the Knesset anything about the likelihood that the Obama administration would support Israel in the event of a future war, it hasn’t been reported. Still, his assessment is quite depressing even without that detail.