Israeli intelligence fears that the violence in Syria will destabilize the country until it recognizably becomes a failed state, according to statements made Tuesday by Major General Aviv Kochavi, commander of military intelligence (MI).
In a rare public appearance, Kochavi told newly graduated intelligence officers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that Syria was becoming a hub for jihadist activity, drawing thousands of radicalized Muslim fighters from the region and the world. Their motives range from – primarily – toppling the regime of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad, to promoting the creation of an Islamic state modeled on Osama bin Laden’s vision.
Gen. Kochavi said, “Right before our eyes a center of global jihad is developing on a scale that may affect not only Syria and the borders of the state of Israel, but also Lebanon, Jordan, and Sinai. ”
General Kochavi has just returned from strategic talks and intelligence sharing estimates with his counterparts in Washington. While in the United States he relayed the same messages and expressed Israel’s concerns regarding the development.
The MI chief added that “It is possible that in the long run, the winds of change will carry with them an opportunity, but in the short term, the risks are increasing and in some of the sectors, the seeds of additional threats have been sown.”
[Photo:HerzliyaConference / Youtube]