In an intelligence briefing during the Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Brigadier-General Yossi Beyditz, head of the Research Department in the IDF Directorate of Military Intelligence, warned that Syrian president Bashar Assad is preparing his military for a confrontation with Israel.
“The Syrian army is not deployed in its routine form. Since the war in Lebanon, Assad has not returned his forces to the same positions they were holding before the war. However, their deployment indicates only a defensive positioning, waiting for Israel to attack, and not for any offensive purpose,” Beyditz said.
Beyditz also added that Israel has unequivocal evidence that Assad is continuing to actively support Hizballah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. Syria is also assisting the efforts to continue the weapons smuggling into Lebanon. “The Syrians are continuing to undermine the efforts to implement UN resolution 1701 and is trying to hurt Prime Minister Saniora’s sovereignty and to create a majority against him in the Lebanese government,” he said.
According to Beyditz, Assad is continuing with the doubletalk. One time he is talking about strategic adherence to peace and in the same breath is talking about a conflict and speaks of Israel as those who are not ready for a diplomatic solution. “He is actually preparing for both options: a peaceful solution based on his terms, but is also preparing his military for a conflict with Israel,” he said.
During the meeting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reacted to these words and asked if “this is the same Assad we are supposed to enter a political negotiation with when (Hamas leader) Khaled Mashaal is openly acting within his country? Is this the Assad we will be negotiating with?”
Olmert also accused Assad and Nasrallah of acting to topple Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora. “To all those who wish for the peace Assad is proposing, it is important to remember that it is the same Assad who is actively pushing for the demise of Saniora and more smuggling of weapons,” Olmert added.