MI chief: Nearly dozen recent Sinai attacks thwarted

Aviv Kochavi tells Knesset c'tee that Muslim Brotherhood's ascendance in Egypt strengthens Hamas, weakens PA.

Aviv Kochavi 390 (photo credit: Screenshot)
Aviv Kochavi 390
(photo credit: Screenshot)
The IDF has stopped nearly a dozen attacks from Sinai, IDF intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
Kochavi focused mainly on Egypt during his regular briefing to the legislators, saying that the IDF is closely following terrorist networks in Sinai that continue to plan attacks against Israel.
“Terrorist groups in Sinai may try to create a diplomatic crisis [between Egypt and Israel] through attacks,” Kochavi said.
“Although Sinai is chaotic, a no-man’s land, it is of secondary importance to the Egyptian government.”
According to Kochavi, the struggle in Egypt between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military council reflects a trend throughout the Middle East, and an “age of political Islam.”
The Military Intelligence chief pointed out that almost half of Egyptians did not vote for an Islamist government, especially those in Cairo and urban, developed areas near the Red Sea.
As such, he said, Egypt is run by “two heads,” the Muslim Brotherhood and the military.
The Muslim Brotherhood hinders new Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s ability to make decisions, because he must consult with the organization’s leadership. Iran seeks a closer relationship with Egypt since Mursi’s election, but is still “getting the cold shoulder,” Kochavi added.
However, Egypt has gotten closer to Hamas, while distancing itself from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
“With Mursi’s election, Hamas gained a portal, while a wall was put up for the PA,” Kochavi quipped.
Kochavi also discussed Syria, saying that radical Islam is growing stronger and weapons smuggling has increased. Syria is becoming increasingly chaotic, he stated, which may lead to the Golan Heights becoming a “zone of action against Israel, like Sinai.”
Hezbollah is waiting for Syrian President Bashar Assad to fall, the military intelligence chief warned.
“Assad will not survive the uprising, even if it takes some more time,” Kochavi said.
“There is a sense of despair from the Syrian Army, because they have not found an efficient way to stop the rioting.”
At the same time, he said, the Syrian opposition is not united, and is working for different goals and separate ideologies.
In addition, Kochavi said it is unlikely for Assad to provoke a conflict with Israel as his “last chance” to remain in power.
Although there is a daily flow of al-Qaida and global Jihad operatives into Syria, he said NATO and the US have “zero motivation” to act in Syria.