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Den tidligere forsvarssjefen i Israel, Gabi Ashkenazi, sier Israels stilling er blitt vanskeligere etter den israelske våren gikk over i islamistiske valgseire: En ny fremtidig stor-skala operasjon mot Gaza er poitisk mer følsom. På den annen side henger en iransk atombombe.

Ashkenazi var forsvarssjef fra 2007-2011. Under et foredrag ved National Security Institute i Tel Aviv torsdag snakket han åpent om at den arabiske våren tok Israel på senga. Men også Mubarak og den egyptiske hæren. De var like uforberedt.

«We never saw it coming. It happened on my watch, so it must be said. But if it’s any consolation, Egypt never saw it coming either,» Ashkenazi said of the so-called Arab Spring protests that have no turned into an Islamic winter in elections throughout the Arab world.

«The Middle East’s plates are shifting. What the Egyptian army didn’t know, I couldn’t have known. (Egypt’s) leaders did not know either,» he said, adding the ultimate strategic picture was still changing.

Ashenkazai sa Israel ikke må kutte forsvarsbudsjettet. Tvert om. Israel må være forberedt på krig. At islamistene kommer til makten i valg gjør situasjonen mer uforutsigbar. I tillegg kommer Iran som ikke viser noe tegn til å skrinlegge atomprogrammet.

Ashkenazi told attendees that confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions required a multi-disciplinary approach that included covert, economic, and potentially military action.

«In my opinion, the strategy vis-à-vis Iran should be to do whatever is possible under the radar coupled with painful and crippling sanctions. However, we should also keep a viable military option on the table,» he said.

While Ashkenazi said sanctions were having an effect on Iran, he warned that time was running out since the Iranian nuclear program was moving forward at a rapid pace.

Ashkenazi var sjef da Israel bombet en hemmelig atomreaktor ute i den syriske ørkenen. Nord-Korea var i ferd med å utvikle et syrisk atomprogram. Det var i 2007. Selv ikke amerikanerne visste noe. Dette har verden glemt.

Hendelsene i Egypt har allerede begrenset Israel handlingsrom i Gaza. Ashkenazi var sjef for Operation Cast Lead. Noe tilsvarende er ikke mulig uten å ta hensyn til stemningen i Egypt og hva Brorskapet og salafistene vil si. The Arab Street har fått en ny mening, den er blitt mer islamistisk.

«The possibility of conducting another extensive operation in Gaza has become more complex following the events of the past year in Egypt and the change of government in that country,» he said.

«I think that this government will not act like Mubarak. I do not think he was a Zionist, but you cannot ignore the fact that he was an anchor of stability in the region considering the not-so simple tests he passed – the wars in Lebanon or the intifada.»

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