Barak: Weakened Assad Benefits Hizbullah
Defense minister Ehud Barak warned lawmakers Hizbullah is the big winner in Syria's unrest, adding 'it will be hard for Assad's regime to survive.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/11/2011, 7:02 PM / Last Update: 7/11/2011, 9:33 PM
"The Syrian regime is facing a dilemma. On the one hand, it is trying to calm the region while on the other hand it is afraid of being seen as weak, Barak said.
"In the long and even present term it will be hard for Assad's regime to survive," Barak predicted.
Barak told lawmakers the ongoing destabilization of Assad in Damascus would only serve to accelerate the flow of weapons and materials into Hizbullah's hands in Lebanon.
"The regime's weakening grip could lead to the ongoing transfer of assets and weapons to Hezbollah," Barak said.
Dubious of PA Statehood Bid
During the review Barak also discussed the Palestinian Authority's bid for recognition from the UN General Assembly in September.
"In my estimation, the Palestinians are trying to present their request in the UN in order to be accepted as an observer state," Barak said.
"They are working to gain a critical mass of states that will support a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, but I doubt if they will be able to achieve that critical mass," he opined.
Barak's skepticism over PA success comes on the same day that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu touted his success in a barnstorming tour of the Balkans during which he was lobbying to create a "moral minority" against the statehood bid.
More Money, Please
Barak also discussed the latest development in Iran's nuclear program efforts and the strengthening terror organizations and Arab armies.
"On an average day of warfare around 50 tons of explosives are expected to fall on Israel from scattered weapons," Barak told lawmakers. "We in turn are capable of firing 1,500 tons but in a very precise way."
"If Israel were to complete equipping itself with all layers of interceptors – Iron Dome, Magic Wand and Arrow with an estimated investment of NIS 7 billion ($2.05 billion) spread across 20 years, that could bring a substantial change for the better in Israel's strategic balance in the region. For that we need an increase in the defense budget."