Defense Minister Ehud Barak _311.
(photo credit: Reuters/Blaire Gable)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday said it is too soon to know if
the Arab Spring will become an Islamic Winter and that he does not foresee an
Islamist parliament in Egypt breaking the peace treaty with Israel.
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to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak said that
the quantity and magnitude of changes in the region require a deep level
of strategic thought. "The confluence of events and their intensity
serves as a 'strategic warning' that requires attention and a response
on a different level," Barak said.
went on to outline the potential for security challenges in the North
and South: a change in power in Syria could have implications for the
Golan, and that Sinai could become a training ground for terrorist
Iran, he said, is watching events in Syria with a careful eye, concerned
both about losing its closest strategic ally and the possibility that
the Iranian people will take a cue from their Syrian counterparts and
rise up in protest. Although prospects for crippling sanctions against
the Islamic Republic and its nuclear program are low, Barak said, new sanctions on its oil sector and
central bank are increasing pressure on it.
While the United States has an "almost
identical" vision on Iran as Israel, Barak explained, its current focus on economic
and domestic issues hinders its ability to project power in the region, even though it remains the world's only superpower.
Finally, Barak emphasized the importance of pursuing a two-state
solution with the Palestinians, endorsing a return to
negotiations. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet in
Amman on Tuesday for the first pubic direct talks in over a year.