IDF Intelligence: Assad's Fate Is Sealed, Hizbullah Is Strengthening in South Lebanon

(Ha'aretz) Barak Ravid - IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi made a secret visit two weeks ago to Washington and to UN headquarters in New York, where he discussed the Iranian nuclear program, the Syria crisis and Hizbullah's increasing power in Lebanon, a senior Israeli official has said. A European diplomat who was briefed on the content of Kochavi's talks in New York said that Israel believes Assad's fate is sealed, and the only question is how long it will be before his regime is toppled. A senior Israeli official said Kochavi also warned against Hizbullah's increasing strength in south Lebanon. Israel is worried about changes that have taken place recently in the makeup of UNIFIL's forces in southern Lebanon. Nearly half of the force's soldiers, some 6,000 of 13,000, come from large European countries - France, Spain and Italy. But in recent months, because of the economic crisis in Europe, these countries have started to cut their defense budgets and have reduced the number of their soldiers in UNIFIL. The European soldiers are increasingly being replaced by soldiers from Muslim countries such as Indonesia.

2012-05-16 00:00:00

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