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Expert: Prepare for war

Expert: Prepare for war

Middle East experts give their forecasts for the coming months in the region, warn of 'terrible deterioration' on Israel's northern border

Yaakov Lappin
Published: 10.25.06, 18:28

The coming months will present Israel with strategic threats from three different directions, Dr. Boaz Ganor, founder of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism told Ynetnews.

The first threat, stemming from the Shiite alliance of Iran and Hizbullah, will result in "terrible deterioration" on Israel's northern border, according to Ganor.

"The year 2007 is going to be a critical year, as the international arena will do its utmost to narrow down the nuclear capabilities of Iran. It could be done by using more affirmative sanctions, or even a military campaign," Ganor said. "And the ramification of such an attempt, even if it's only sanctions, will cause a terrible deterioration of the situation on the northern border, where Iran will use its proxy Hizbullah to retaliate against Israel, and make clear that Israel has to pay for any activities against Iran," Ganor added.

Turning to the Palestinian arena, Ganor said that "the Palestinians are now at the stage of shaping their self-identities," a process he described as ultimately "positive." They are torn between "terrorism and violence against Israel, definitely the concept used by Yasser Arafat under the Oslo accords," as well as today's "Islamic radical terrorist organizations," and the "alternative option, which is actually being represented by (PA President Mahmoud Abbas) Abu Mazen," based on the idea that "terrorism and violence will never fulfill the Palestinian national interest."

"The problem is that this is not a smooth process. It involves battles within the Palestinian arena. And I think in the coming months this may spill over into Israel," Ganor said.

Ganor then pointed out the "third process, which I have to admit that many Israelis, including decision makers and security services in Israel underestimate, is the threat of global jihadists against Israel," posed by al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

"In my view, in the coming months, global jihadists will try to launch what we call a major attack against Israel. Zawahiri (deputy leader of al-Qaeda) has announced that. I tend to believe him. The activities of al-Qaeda and global jihadist movements are surrounding Israel, from Sinai, Amman, Jordan, some involvement in Lebanon, and ongoing and growing involvement in Gaza Strip. And it's only a matter of time before they infiltrate Israel soon. So this is in my view a very negative process and I have to admit that… we are under-prepared," Ganor added.

'Very little time until next war'

In a document made available to Ynetnews by Professor Moshe Sharon, an expert on Islamic history at the Hebrew University, Sharon declared that the next war Israel would have to fight was almost here.

"Today it is clear to everyone who is prepared to confront unadorned reality, and they are the majority of people in Israeli society with the wish to live, that we have to take advantage of the short period of time left to us to prepare the army for the inevitable next war. It is already on the way," Sharon wrote.

He added: "Hizbullah is the immediate enemy. No one will disarm it because it has no intention of disarming and there is no one to coerce it to do so. The UN is collaborating with Hizbullah and none of its member nations has any interest in dealing with it."

"The Shiite of Hizbullah has taken control of Lebanon with the generous help of Iran and Syria and it will not relinquish it even if this means bringing about its total destruction. Lebanon will gradually be emptied of its remaining Christian population and zealous Islam will have achieved an important objective: One of the only two non-Muslim countries in the Middle East will just disappear," Sharon said.

"Islam came into being as a fighting religion. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, imposed his authority, first and foremost, by means of his military strength. He understood that even when speaking in the name of Allah, this must be accompanied by tens of thousands of fighters with drawn swords," the professor added.

"The Muslims consider the State of Israel to be an advance position of the "House of War" established on Islamic territory conquered from Islam. Israel, therefore, must first disappear. All paths to that end are legitimate," Sharon said.

Describing peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan as tactical breaks in their war against Israel, Sharon declared: "The Egyptian authorities turn a blind eye, or worse, allow the unimpeded flow of arms, above and below ground, to terrorist organizations in Gaza. Is it necessary to ask, to fight against whom did Egypt create an army of close to a million soldiers?"