Monday, February 7, 2011

Ashkenazi warns about growing radicalization in region; Israel must prepare for all-out war

Given recent changes in the Middle East, Israel must prepare for a battle in several theaters, outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Monday at the Herzliya Conference.
"The connection between the different players requires us to contend with more than one theater".

"The radical camp in the Middle East is gaining strength, the moderate camp among the traditional Arab leadership is weakening."

"Because of this spectrum, we must prepare for a conventional war…it would be a mistake to prepare for non-conventional war or limited conflicts and then expect that overnight the forces will operate in an all-out-war".
Ashkenazi also spoke of the effects of new internet communications platforms in affecting change:
"in regards to the regimes that surround us, we see a fascinating phenomenon where more than a little of the power is shifting hands to the public. This is largely because of the social networking services, Twitter, Facebook, SMS messages. It is possible to see revolutionary waves taking place and in regards to the future we ask ourselves, are we seeing a domino effect?"
However, Ashkenazi said that both Hamas and Hezbollah pose only a limited threat to Israel at this time.
"I do not underestimate Hamas or Hezbollah, but they cannot take over the Negev or Galilee".