Barak downplays likelihood of all-out regional war

Defense minister comments after Home Front Command general warns of looming Mideast war, says Israel's enemies wouldn't dare use chemical weapons on Israelis, Assad's days are numbered.

Ehud Barak 311 (photo credit: Ariel Tarmoni/Defense Ministry)
Ehud Barak 311
(photo credit: Ariel Tarmoni/Defense Ministry)
The day after OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg warned of growing chances for an all-out war, Defense Minister Ehud Barak downplayed the threats to Israel, and said that he did not predict that any of the country's enemies would initiate a large scale conflict in the near future.
"We do not see a reason for any of our adversaries to initiate a large scale conflict with Israel. I am also convinced that none of our enemies will dare use chemical weapons against Israel, not now and not in the future," he said on a tour of the border with Syria Tuesday morning. "Our adversaries know very well why they should not even think of using chemical weapons against Israel."
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On Monday night Eisenberg held a conference in Tel Aviv that the ongoing upheaval in the Arab world raised the chances for an all-out war against Israel, as well as the use of weapons of mass destruction.
Turning to Syria, Barak said that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad was nearing its end but that it could take still several months for anything to happen. "On the other side of the border, the Assad family is slaughtering its people throughout Syria in an effort to survive. I believe that it will not help, and that the future of Assad's regime is clear even if it will take several more months."
Barak said "even if there will be a new reality or new situation in Syria that will be difficult to predict ahead of time, I hope it will be quiet and there's no doubt that when his regime falls it will be a heavy blow to the entire radical front that is led by Iran and Hezbollah."
Barak also weighed in on the current crisis with Turkey and said that even in a time of disagreement it was important that both countries worked together for the sake of the stability of the entire region.