IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz_311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz said Tuesday that 2012 would be
a critical year regarding Iran and that there may be more "unnatural"
events that happen to them.
Speaking at a Knesset Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Gantz warned that "2012 will be a
critical year in the connection between Iran gaining nuclear power,
changes in leadership, continuing pressure from the international
community and events that happen unnaturally."
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Gantz said that recent international pressure on Tehran
was influencing the leadership but this does not necessarily mean that
the leadership will decide to give up on the military's nuclear plans.
regional concern over Tehran, Gantz said that Turkey was especially
disturbed by the continuing nuclear development in Iran.
Speaking just hours after Syrian President Bashar Assad gave a speech about the protests against him, Gantz said that the Syrian leader would not be able to hold onto his rule for much longer.
the day that the regime falls, it is expected to result in a blow to
the Alawite sect. We are preparing to take in Alawite refugees on the
Golan Heights," Gantz said.
He said that in the short term, the events in Syria will make it
difficult for Assad and the Syrian leadership to act against Israel.
However, Gantz warned that at the same time the weapons systems in Syria exist and are being well maintained.
He highlighted that Syria has advanced Russian weapons including SA-17
anti-aircraft missiles, which challenge the IAF's upper hand.
Gantz went on to say that the threat from Lebanon towards Israel has
grown in recent years, and is five times bigger now than it was in the past.
He also warned that strategic weapons could be transferred from Syria to
Hezbollah and that the terror group had weapons warehouses in Syria.
On the relative calm along the Gaza border, Gantz said "we cannot be
fooled by this." He vowed to act to thwart any terror attack that
stemmed from Gaza, while he warned that terrorists there were continuing
to grow stronger.