MEETING WITH ISRAELI DMI FOCUSES ON SYRIA, WAR ON TERROR


id: 86930
date: 11/24/2006 13:34
refid: 06TELAVIV4606
origin: Embassy Tel Aviv
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
header:
null
Carol X Weakley 11/27/2006 02:27:14 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:

C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 04606

SIPDIS
CXTelA:
ACTION: POL
INFO: RES ECON DCM DAO AMB AID ADM IPSC PD IMO RSO
CONS

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: CHG:GCRETZ
DRAFTED: CONS:BEBOLTON
CLEARED: POL/C:MJSIEVERS, DAO:DOMEARA, POL:MCKEAYS

VZCZCTVI119
PP RUEHC RUEHXK RHEFDIA RUEAIIA RUEKJCS RHEHNSC
RHMFISS RHEHAAA RUEKJCS
DE RUEHTV #4606/01 3281334
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241334Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7795
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 004606

SIPDIS

THE WHITE HOUSE FOR APHSCT FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND
NSC FOR MALVESTI
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA (MAHER), S/CT (AMBASSADOR CRUMPTON)
JOINT STAFF FOR J-5
HQ USEUCOM FOR ECJ-5 (KLOTHE)
PENTAGON FOR OSD ISRAEL DESK (ANDERSON)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/24/2026
TAGS: PTER, ECON, PREL, OVIP, AMGT, ASEC, SY, LE, IS
SUBJECT: APHSCT TOWNSEND'S NOVEMBER 12 MEETING WITH ISRAELI
DMI FOCUSES ON SYRIA, WAR ON TERROR

Classified By: Classified by Charge Gene Cretz. Reasons: 1.4 (b) (d).

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) Israeli Director of Military Intelligence MGEN Amos
Yadlin told Assistant to the President for Homeland
Security and Counterterrorism (APHSCT) Frances Fragos
Townsend November 12 that Israel distrusts Bashar Asad's
overtures regarding peace with Israel. Yadlin believes
Asad is actually preparing for the possibility of
low-intensity conflict between the two countries, and asked
for USG assistance in putting more pressure on Damascus.
Yadlin said that all indicators suggest that Syria
continues to supply weapons to Hizballah; meanwhile,
Hizballah is "not in good shape" and is buying time to
rebuild its infrastructure. Yadlin said that Israel is
concerned about Al Qaeda's encroachment into the Middle
East, including the Gaza Strip. He said that in the wake
of the Baker-Hamilton Commission report, Israel might want
to re-examine the situation in Iraq. Yadlin praised the
U.S. for its successes in the War on Terror and volunteered
any help Israel could provide. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------
YADLIN SUGGESTS ENGAGING SYRIA
------------------------------

2. (C) Citing press reports, APHSCT Townsend asked Yadlin
whether
Israel is considering engagement with Syria. Yadlin
characterized the reports as an "out-of-context leak" of
discussions that took place the previous week on Israel's
policy towards Syria, Lebanon and Iran. Yadlin said that
Israel's policy towards Syria is to maintain the status
quo, with a quiet border and neither peace nor war. He
noted that Syrian President Bashar Asad, meanwhile, seems
to be attempting to escalate tensions. Yadlin recounted
that in the Syrian President's statements about openness to
negotiating with Israel, Asad said that if his efforts to
seek peace are not fruitful (which appears likely), then he
will go to war. Asad has chosen this rhetorical position,
Yadlin said, based on American performance in Iraq and
Israel's performance in Lebanon. Knowing that he cannot
fight a full-on war against Israel, Asad would prefer to
engage in low-intensity conflict involving longer-range
missiles and close combat between commando forces -- what
Yadlin termed, "a low-signature war." Yadlin clarified
that the position he took in the policy discussion -- which
was leaked out of context -- was that in such a situation,
Israel has a moral obligation to confront him to expose
whether he
genuinely seeks peace.

3. (C) Yadlin said the U.S. should push Asad harder, adding
that Damascus is "not worried about sanctions, and the
sanctions are not hurting Asad enough." Townsend agreed
that Asad's behavior has worsened, and cautioned that
engaging him now would reinforce his bad behavior and fail
to separate Iran and Syria. Confronting Damascus, Yadlin
said, could be a win/win tactic, furthering the peace
process and exposing Asad's support for terrorism (even
while he pays lip-service to pursuing peace). Yadlin gave
Townsend a copy of GOI's ten recommendations on how to
increase pressure on Asad, saying, "We have to take
everything he cares about and make him pay."

---------------------------
SYRIA RESUPPLYING HIZBALLAH
---------------------------

4. (C) Citing what he acknowledged is a patchwork of
evidence and "no smoking gun," Yadlin said that Syria
continues to supply Hizballah with weapons: "We see that
the Iranians are sending containers belonging to a
well-defined unit that deals in Zelzal missiles. We have
Muhammed Suleiman doing business. We see a Hizballah
logistics man involved. All are pieces. There is no
concrete proof, but indications that transfers are taking
place." Yadlin added that there is "not a full river" of
armaments flowing into Lebanon, but a cluster of "little
streams of support."

5. (C) Yadlin characterized Hizballah as "not in good
shape," saying that the organization's "nightmare" is
another war with Israel in the near future. He said that
Hizballah needs time to rebuild houses, infrastructure, and
its own political reputation before it would be ready for
another confrontation.

------------------------------------------
ASAD'S REGIME FACES NO THREATS FROM WITHIN
------------------------------------------

6. (C) In response to the Charge's question about whether
Asad has solidified his position, Yadlin said that the
Syrian leader is in a more confident position than he was a
year and a half ago when he "withdrew from Lebanon in a
panic." Yadlin said that Syria's priorities are A) regime
stability; B) Lebanon; and C) the Golan Heights. Yadlin
said that Israel sees no threat to Asad's regime from the
inside. He pointed to an increase in the price of oil,
along with support from Iran and Russia, as the reasons for
Asad's strengthened position.

--------------------------------
YADLIN: AL QAEDA IS MOVING WEST
--------------------------------

7. (C) Yadlin said that a "preponderance of overt speeches
and secret messages" suggests that that Al Qaeda has been
moving west. He claimed that some Al Qaeda officials are
currently in Iran and move to Iraq from time to time. He
claimed that other Al Qaeda figures who have appeared in
Iraq and Jordan were behind terrorist attacks in countries
neighboring Israel over the past two years. At the end of
2005, Al Qaeda even launched rockets towards Israel from
Lebanon. He added that in Gaza, a former Fatah faction has
moved closer to Al Qaeda's ideology. Yadlin said that Al
Qaeda is not really an organization, but an idea that
people join. When Townsend asked Yadlin's thoughts on
cooperation between al-Qaida and Shia groups, Yadlin observed
that Hizballah hates Al Qaeda more than it wants to cooperate
with it.

-------------------------
ISRAEL TO RE-EXAMINE IRAQ
-------------------------

8. (C) Saying that "we have to go back and look at Iraq
more carefully," Yadlin expressed interest in what the
Baker-Hamilton Commission report would contain. Townsend
said that whatever the panel suggests, the U.S. will
consider all options that would improve the situation in
Iraq. Yadlin replied that Iraq may pose more dangers and
opportunities for Israel now.

----------------------------------------
YADLIN: U.S. SUCCESSFUL IN WAR ON TERROR
----------------------------------------

9. (C) Yadlin concluded the meeting by saying that the U.S.
has been successful in the War on Terror. He asked if the
American people are prepared for another five years in the
War on Terror. Townsend replied that optimism is a trait
that is fundamental to the American character and that we
must guard against optimism leading to complacency. Citing
the recent airline plot, she noted there must be an
acknowledgement of the continuing challenge of terror.
Yadlin said that
Israel has dramatically reduced Palestinian terrorism, and
that as a result, Israel's economic indicators have
rebounded. Yadlin emphasized Israel's support for the U.S.
in fighting terror. "We share the same enemies and the
same values," he said, and he stands ready to share any
intelligence requested.

10. (C) This cable has been cleared by APHSCT Frances
Fragos Townsend.

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