Olmert tells defense heads to prepare for war

Monday, February 26, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Israeli intelligence services reported that while chances for a war against Israel this year are low, Israel is less strategically stable than it has been in the past because of greater and more negative risks in the region.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert instructed the defense establishment to prepare for the possibility of war after a briefing by intelligence officials on Sunday. The cabinet heard intelligence assessments from the Mossad, Israel’s secret service; the Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency; plus Military Intelligence, the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry.

“The Syrians are building up their military strength, but the odds of a full-scale war launched by Syria – like the Yom Kippur or the Six-Day war – are low,” said Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin (photo).

Yadlin said that Syrian President Bashar Assad continued to signal willingness for peace talks but without any real gesture on his part.

Officials said that war could erupt in response to a renewed conflict with Hizballah or to IDF action in Syria. Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said that Syrian-backed Hizballah was pursuing two aims.

“Hizballah is building up its military force, including a renewal and upgrading of its systems, and is simultaneously strengthening its political power in the Lebanese government,” Dagan explained.

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