Sunday, October 21, 2007

“Its time to lure Syria away from Iran”

"Maybe it's time to employ the carrot and lead international negotiations with Syria," which could remove it from the sphere of Iran and Hizbullah, outgoing IDF deputy chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Virginia on Saturday.
However, in his remarks he also suggested that the stick of decisive sanctions against Syria had not yet been tried. "There are no real sanctions today against Syria," he said.
He said that he was leaving his position in two weeks and was speaking for himself and not for the Israeli government or the IDF.
The outgoing deputy chief of staff also discussed weapons smuggling by Hizbullah and the organization's attempts to rearm itself, build new fortifications and train its operatives, despite UN resolutions. "If nothing changes in the situation in Lebanon, somebody will have to change the situation. I include preemptive strikes," he said.
In the event of another war with Hizbullah, "we learned from the last war that we have to give our troops the right objectives and be more decisive, and we will manage," Kaplinsky said, adding that "the next round will take us less time. We will send our ground forces more quickly."
But he said that it would also be necessary to hold territory in Lebanon for long periods of time in order to dismantle Hizbullah. In such a scenario, he said he expected Syria to play a role similar to the one it had played in last summer's war by providing weapons and other peripheral support for Hizbullah, but "they will not activate their forces in order to help Hizbullah."
Kaplinsky said Israel would also not seek direct confrontations with Syria in such a scenario. "Israel has no intention of going to war with Syria," he said.

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