MI says Syria has no plans to attack
By Barak Ravid
Syria does not intend to strike Israel, IDF intelligence told the ministerial forum on the northern front yesterday. During the body's five-hour meeting, its 11 members focused on Syria's ballistic capabilities.
The forum, which was formed six weeks ago, heard officers from Military Intelligence, who discussed Syria's ballistic arsenal, and from the Home Front Command of the Israel Defense Forces. The latter talked about preparations for a possible missile attack by Syria on population centers.
"The representatives of the defense establishments presented various scenarios of attack on the home front in the case of a Syrian offensive," a diplomatic source told Haaretz.
Nonetheless, the representatives from Military Intelligence, which is Israel's primary research and intelligence gathering operation, told the ministers they believed that "Syria is not geared to strike Israel. The Syrian army is deployed in a defensive posture aimed in case Israel launches an offensive on Syrian soil."
The intelligence officers stressed that Syria has not redeployed its missile units, a sign which might have indicated preparations for a military offensive on the part of Damascus.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who chairs the ministerial forum, said Israel sought to avoid a miscalculation on the Syrians' part that might lead to war. "Israel wants peace, but we must be prepared. We must not allow ourselves to be taken by surprise."