"Defense" Minister Ehud Barak described the assassination of senior defense officials in Damascus as "blow below the belt" to al-Assad. In regard to the attack in Bulgaria he said that "Even the world's best intelligence organization does not always know everything".
Two days after the assassination of senior defense officials in Syria, "Defense" Minister Ehud Barak estimated that the fall of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad is "closer than ever." In interviews with Channel One, Two, and Ten, Barak called the assassination of the senior officials in Damascus "a tremendous blow below the belt" to the Assad family.
Barak made it clear that the assassination is also a blow to the "radical axis", as he says, whose members are Hizbullah and Iran. When asked about the engagement of "Israel" in a war in the summer, Barak rejected the possibility.
"I do not know if this is the end or the beginning of the end," said Barak, who toured the Golan Heights the day before yesterday, and monitored remotely the clashes between Syrian military and the opposition forces. He said "Israel" is prepared for the possibility of the arrival of refugees from Syria, as they came to Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. "We hope that the refugees do not come to us too," said Barak, adding that the "Israeli" army is also taking into consideration another possibility, "the day after al-Assad's falling, Hizbullah will try to get his hands on anti-missile systems, surface-to-surface missiles and chemical weapons in Syria."
Defense Minister also discussed the attack of Burgas in Bulgaria, which claimed the lives of five "Israelis" - who were brought today to be buried in cemeteries around the country. "Today, the heart aches with the families who lost their loved ones," said Barak. "Obviously, Hizbullah is the one behind this incident, as part of the chain of incidents we saw in recent weeks and months". He, once again, blamed the Iranians, who he said are responsible for providing intelligence and logistical equipment for the attack. "However, we do not know the perpetrator who could have looked like a European," he added.
In response to the President of Bulgaria, who claimed that the Mossad did not warn in advance about the possibility of an attack in the country, Barak said that "I do not think there is any country in the world with a wide intelligence activity spread all over the globe, like us." "There were reports in the past about something in Bulgaria, but there is no need to apologize for anything. As the president of the State of "Israel", with his important role, does not discuss intelligence - so as the president of Bulgaria should do. I have no doubt that if there was a concrete warning, we would have taken action. There is no negligence or carelessness, but limitations, for even the world's best intelligence organization does not always know everything. "
PM: Hizbullah may get chemical weapons if Syria collapses
The message conveyed by the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense yesterday was clear: "Israel" will not watch chemical weapons being smuggled from Syria to Hizbullah, and it will use all military means to prevent the threat.
Interviewed on the US "Fox News Sunday" television program, Netanyahu said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government would fall, but he was more concerned about a chaotic "regime collapse" that would leave Syria's weapons sites unguarded than a regime change.
"We certainly don't want to be exposed to chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hizbullah or some other terror groups. ... It's a great threat," he said.
"We will have to consider our action. Do I seek action? No. Do I preclude it? No," Netanyahu said when asked whether "Israel" would act alone or prefer the United States to take the lead.
Similar statements were announced by the "Defense" Minister Ehud Barak during his visit to the recruitment center. Barak has made it clear after speaking with new recruits of the Golani Brigade, that "the state of "Israel" will not accept the transfer of sophisticated weapon systems from Syria to Lebanon. Assad's bloody regime is crashing before our eyes. The only ones who are actively helping it are Iran and Hizbullah, and yet it will fall. We are following what is happening in Syria, and awake to the possibility that Hizbullah might exploit the opportunity and try to lay hands on developed weapon systems." "Syria retains one of the largest stocks of chemical weapons in the world, and we don't know where they might end. We are afraid that hostile parties might possess these chemical weapons, and that's why the U.S. intelligence agencies and the "Israeli" ones are exerting their efforts to the maximum. We are not talking about heavy missiles, but of chemical weapons that can be simply smuggled."
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, met several times with the Minister of "Defense" Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the subject. Analysts in the foreign media estimate that in case chemical weapons were smuggled to Hizbullah, then "Israel" will not stand still, but will attack the convoys of weapons and non-conventional weapons.
Netanyahu's and Barak's public statements are more like a warning to Hizbullah, but in the organization they claim that this is a baseless propaganda. Media outlets in Kuwait quoted sources from Hizbullah denying that Nasrallah has the intention of obtaining chemical weapons.
In the meantime, the harsh battles in Syria between al-Assad forces and FSA continue. The fighting was concentrated yesterday in four neighborhoods in Damascus and in Aleppo as well, the commercial capital of Syria. Turkey transferred yesterday five surface-to-air missile batteries to the border with Syria; in a statement to the Turkish Anatolia news agency it was reported that "Turkey is preparing for all possibilities".
"Israeli" General Staff: Meeting each Hour to track arms' smuggling to Hizbullah
The "Israeli" army is observing in promptness the Lebanese-Syrian border. On Saturday, we heard the Minister of Defense saying that he ordered the army to get ready for work in case of transferring chemical weapons or advanced systems from Syria to Lebanon, and of course we cannot go into details, but those in the north can notice the permanent presence for the Air Force in the skies. We talk a lot about the fear of the fall of chemical weapons into the hands of Hizbullah, but in general I am not sure if Hizbullah is interested in this weapon. This is not consistent with the desire of the organization and this is also a severe blow to the legitimacy.
Hizbullah also said today in an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper that they do not have any interest in a chemical weapon. What disturbs "Israel" the most is the transfer of sophisticated air defense systems. Syria received in recent years very advanced systems from Russia and in case those systems arrived to Lebanon, this would pose a substantial threat to the freedom of the Air Force.
That's why we see in recent days, estimates of the situation that are set up every few hours at the General Staff that is following up what is happening in Syria the whole time.
Source: Hebrew Newspapers, Translated and Edited by moqawama.org