(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin warned Tuesday that
Iran has not yet been deterred on its march to the nuclear bomb, while
adding that Turkey is drawing closer to the side of Islamic radicals
and away from Israel and the west.
Iran, said Yadlin, was responsible for the failure of talks
regarding its nuclear program. As a result, the international community
is preparing to place sanctions on Teheran. But, Yadlin said, "as long
as Iran is not under heavy international pressure, Teheran is
continuing to advance with its nuclear program."
"The Iranian technological clock on the way to the nuclear
program is continuing to tick at a rate of a number of kilograms [of
enriched uranium] every day," he cautioned, reiterating assessments
made by intelligence community members in the previous year that Iran
is enriching uranium at a low level, and is "continuing to advance the
nuclear program on a wide track. They are also advancing on the
military track, but that is being done secretly."
Israel has no indications in the field that Iran has attempted
to build additional nuclear facilities to speed up enrichment, but
rather developing more technologically-advanced centrifuges to put in
their existing facilities. The more advanced centrifuges, said Yadlin,
would accomplish the same purpose as building additional facilities.
Although he did not mention the recent incident involving
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the Turkish ambassador, Yadlin
said that "beyond the specific tension, one must understand that the
distancing between the two countries is more significant and is related
to strategic topics and shared interests."
"In the past, Turkey had ambitions of becoming closer to the
west, beyond it's acceptance into NATO," detailed Yadlin. "They wanted
to be part of the European market, and they thought that relations with
Israel would help them advance in the American market. But then they
received a cold shoulder from the Europeans and did not achieve what
they wanted. In light of that, they changed their policies and are
currently drawing away from secularism and going in a more radical
direction. There are still joined strategic interests shared by Turkey
and Israel, but it is not the same strategic proximity that they once
Israel and Turkey have also parted ways, he said, regarding
their shared neighbor, Syria. In the nineties, Yadlin explained, Turkey
saw Syria as an enemy state, a position shared by Israel. But in the
ensuing years, Ankara-Damascus relations have warmed, and the two
countries have since settled the key disagreements between them.
Yadlin also referred to the situation on Israel's northern
border, arguing that Hezbollah recognizes that war with Israel does not
enjoy popular support today in the Lebanese street, but is trying to
carry out a high-profile assassination in reprisal for the death of top
operative Imad Mourghniyeh. Hezbollah, which Yadlin described as
"Iran's spearhead in south Lebanon", is different in this regard from
other key international terror networks, such as al-Qaida and Islamic
Jihad, which are focusing their energy on attacks that would result in
mass death of Israeli targets.