Israeli Intelligence Assessment: War Unlikely with Iran, Syria, and Lebanon in 2008


Iran will likely reach the nuclear tipping point in late 2009 or early 2010, the heads of the Mossad and Military Intelligence told the cabinet on Sunday, during an in-depth briefing on the strategic situation facing the country in 2008.

The assessments were given by representatives from the Mossad, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the intelligence arm of the Foreign Ministry, and the Israel Police.
At the same time, the Mossad and Military Intelligence concurred that there was a low probability of war in 2008.
While the intelligence officials said Iran was likely to reach a “point of no return” in its nuclear program by the end of 2009, they added that Syria was also engaged in an intense armament program and was deploying long-range missiles.

Both the Syrian and the Iranian strategic doctrines were now based on the assumption that Israel could not be beaten in conventional war, due to its superiority on land and in the air, but rather by missiles aimed at the home front.

The representatives from the Mossad and Military Intelligence said the region was in the midst of a struggle between a radical axis led by Iran, and a pragmatic camp that included Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt. They said that the pragmatic states did not face any immediate danger to their regimes.
Foreign Ministry representatives said the US was suffering from a declining status in the Middle East, and this was causing an increase in the maneuverability of other players in the region, “including radical ones.”
On the Palestinian front, the intelligence officials said there was a certain drop in support for Hamas and a boost for Fatah, but this change was not considered significant. As long as the diplomatic process between Israel and Fatah continued, they said, the chances of an agreement between Hamas and Fatah were low.
For his part, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri ruled out the possibility of a new Israeli assault against Lebanon.

Hezbollah has said on many occasions that the resistance is ready to confront any Israeli aggression against Lebanon, but would not initiate a war against the Zionist state.
In remarks published by the daily Assafir on Monday, Berri sounded more optimistic than last week. He stressed the need for a “swift” solution to the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon.

He also assured the Lebanese that renewal of “sectarian strife” was impossible.

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