In the Next War, Expect Missile Attacks

[Ha'aretz] Amos Harel - The forecast presented by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror at last month's meeting of the Israel Missile Defense Association was quite worrisome. Amidror, the former head of the research department in the Israel Defense Forces' intelligence branch, predicted that if, in the future, Israel gets into a war with the conventional army of a neighboring country (Syria is the most likely opponent), the missile and rocket threat the country will face in such a situation will make the Second Lebanon War look like child's play. This time, the threat to population centers on the home front would not end, as in the war of the summer of 2006, at the Afula-Hadera line, but would cover most of the country. At the same time, Syria and Hizbullah are expected to use artillery, rockets and missiles against the forces at the front and military targets located toward the rear - from headquarters and army bases to areas where reserve units have been mobilized. "We've never had a war in which the IDF was so threatened by fire on its permanent bases," said Amidror. "In two hours, a Syrian rocket battalion could produce more fire than everything we took from Hizbullah in the entire war." Is Israel capable of deterring its hostile neighbors from launching a missile attack on its territory? After Lebanon, the conventional wisdom in Israel says the answer is no. With encouragement and funding from Iran, a comprehensive threat to the Israeli home front has begun to take shape: From the north (Syria and Lebanon) and from the southwest (Gaza), with the only real deterrent to rocket fire from the east (the West Bank) being intensive IDF and Shin Bet security service activity against the terror networks there. About two months ago, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi presented the IDF's new multi-year plan. Its major emphases include the importance of achieving a rapid victory and the need to significantly upgrade the ground forces. On several occasions, Ashkenazi has said that in case of war, one of his main objectives would be that, at the end, "no one will ask who won, because it will be obvious that we won."

2007-11-09 01:00:00

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