The annual intelligence report, prepared by the IDF Intelligence Branch, with the help of the Mossad and the Shabak (General Security Service), warns of another round of warfare with the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization. It could occur, the experts state, in the coming year or two.
The report, which was submitted to the government this week, shows that 1) Lebanon is crumbling and falling into the hands of Hizbullah, 2) Syria remains a threat, and 3) Israeli-Arabs are joining the fray. The report also notes Gaza and the world-wide Jihad movement as threats to Israel, but the most significant danger of all lies in Iran's nuclear program.
Neither the neighboring Arab states nor Iran are expected to begin a major offensive against Israel in 2008 on their own. However, the situation in the north is highly-flammable, and it is possible that if Hizbullah attacks Israel, this will ignite other Arab fronts as well.
"There are five hostile operative fronts," explained a senior diplomatic source to Maariv-NRG: "Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Gaza, and global Jihad. Iran, the main one, is advancing in its nuclear program and is leading the extremist axis. It continues to develop enrichment capabilities and long-range rockets, and blatantly violates the international decisions."
Syria is not expected to attack Israel with ground forces and bombing raids, but rather with long-range ground-to-ground rockets, the report states. The price of avoiding this is straightforward: the entire Golan Heights, and U.S. help in de-radicalizing Syria.
Last year's report correctly predicted low chances that Mahmoud Abbas would succeed in forming a government with Hamas to run the Palestinian Authority. The government was, in fact, short-lived, falling apart when Hamas conquered Gaza from the Fatah-run PA in the summer of 2007.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Reuven, who served as IDF Deputy Commander of the Northern Command during the Second Lebanese War in 2006, told Army Radio, "This type of report, by its nature, concentrates on what our enemies can do, and therefore it looks bad. But the bottom line is that our regional deterrence is better than it was and is getting stronger. In addition, we have international legitimacy for our actions against terrorism, and economically we are much stronger than any of our neighbors."