Tuesday, March 12, 2013

MI Director: Middle East will be more hostile‏

Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, director of military intelligence, IDF at 2012 
Herzliya Conference: "We are facing a Middle East which will be more 
The Middle East's leading security & policy gathering concludes today at the 
IDC Herzliya Campus
Speaking at the opening session of the final day of the 2012 Herzliya 
Conference, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, director of military intelligence, 
Israel Defense Forces said that he saw the new reality in the Middle East as 
"a sort of storm" adding, "More than ever I think that this turmoil storm 
has created new contexts within which we have to analyze this reality."
Continuing on this idea, Kochavi went on to describe the six "main moldings" 
that illustrate the current situation namely: "the rise of the voice of the 
Arab mass and population;" the rise of Islam; religion, congregation and 
tribe; a decrease in the power of the radical axis; the economy; and 
He explained that for decades the citizens of the Middle East "couldn’t 
explain their aspirations" but that suddenly they had "found their voice" 
and this was the "essence of the change and revolution… the population has 
learned that it can bring down the regimes." He went further to say that of 
the population of 100 million, most young people lived at home until at 
least the age of 30 because of their economic profile. These same Arab youth 
were more educated, more connected to the world through the internet and 
more exposed to the world around them. Because what they're seeing is so 
different to their own reality, their feelings of frustration increased. 
"This combination of frustration and corruption" was the "combustion 
material" that pushes them to act. "The result of all these things is a very 
clear picture - the central leader has lost his power" and the central power 
[the people] has become stronger. No longer can the leaders led by way of 
fear. "The public dares so much more, the regime dares so much less."
The general stressed the point that Islam was not the "motivating factor of 
the revolution" adding that the youth did not go out into the squares to 
protest with copies of the Quran in hand. This being said, the religious 
Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis were taking the revolution and "translating 
this infrastructure into political power." Kochavi said that on the 
background of the general "Islamitization process," it was "only natural" 
that these organizations would take power in these countries owing to the 
lack of "meaningful leadership" and "clear leadership" that followed the 
turmoil of the protests. The former, he said, was still lacking.
Looking ahead, he predicted that the "Islamic leadership model" that would 
be created in Egypt "will probably greatly impact the Middle East." He added 
that "the national component that characterized Islamic regimes for the past 
decades" may be seeing a penetration which is religiously based and not 
national. He added though that at the end of the day, it was the economies 
within the Middle East countries that would be their "central test."
With regard to "religion, congregation and tribe" Kochavi said that within 
the national regimes, conflicts and frictions between these three components 
were reduced, but the moment they lost their power, these frictions came 
out. Within these he used the example of tension between Iran, Turkey and 
Saudi Arabia as "each aspires to regional hegemony."
On the bipolarity front, Kochavi noted that the face of the military 
conflict had changed. Aside from Israel having enemies with thousands of 
rockets and missiles with the ability to hit Israel, "entire systems of 
rockets and missiles have been integrated into an urban environment." He 
said that in any normal suburban environment, every second home housed and 
protected a missile. This, he called, a "great change" and said that it 
compelled the intelligence to change. "Intelligence needs to give more 
intelligence to different areas."
Within the current Middle East situation, Kochavi stressed the two main 
areas of Iran and Syria. Iran, he said, continues to advance its 
capabilities, the basis of which is to achieve nuclear power. He said that 
the country was driven by three things: "regional hegemony;" "deterrence;" 
"to become a regional and world player." Kochavi shared that some 
information that Israel has proves that Iran continues to deal with and 
build nuclear arms. "We believe it will take Iran a year to complete its 
goals." He said that all the current pressure on Iran was not deterring it 
from continuing on its path but that overtime, that would be the result. 
With regard to Syria, Kochavi called it "the vortex of this Iranian turmoil" 
and added that "events are closing in on Damascus" but that the Assad regime 
would carry on until its inevitable end.
All of the proceedings are broadcast live with a VOD option on the 
Conference's website: www.herzliyaconference.org/eng.
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The Herzliya Conference is the flagship of the Institute of Policy and 
Strategy (IPS) at the Lauder School of Government of IDC Herzliya. The 
Herzliya Conference addresses Israel’s national agenda by encouraging public 
debate and influencing the country’s public policy planning. This is 
achieved through convening Israeli and international elite policy makers, 
conducting cutting edge research, fostering a global network of contacts in 
a public forum by attracting the best and the brightest to take part in the 
conference and its discussions.
For further information contact:
Jeremy Ruden Media Services – 052-407-0775 – Jeremy@jeremyruden.com 
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

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