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IDF Intelligence Chief: Instability Changes Our Military Options

An apartment in Israel 's northern city of Kiryat Shmona, minutes after an Hezbollah rocket attack during the 2006 Second Lebanese War. IDF Intelligence has been reassessing the threat to Israel as political realities shift rapidly in the region.

An apartment in Israel 's northern city of Kiryat Shmona, minutes after an Hezbollah rocket attack during the 2006 Second Lebanese War. IDF Intelligence has been reassessing the threat to Israel as political realities shift rapidly in the region.
Photo Credit: Haim Azulai /Flash90

The regional instability has changed Israel’s security outlook in a number of ways, most notably in recent months in the Sinai Peninsula, said IDF Chief Intelligence Officer Brigadier General Ariel Karo.

Karo spoke this week at the 2012 Miltech Conference outside Ben Gurion airport, addressing the intelligence challenges currently facing the Israel Defense Forces.

“We see the activities of international terrorist groups and weapons dealers in [the Sinai],” Karo said. “There is a risk for other regional developments like this, which are becoming significant challenges that are growing.”

Currently, Karo said, it is important to understand trends in the masses, a more complex task than in the past when it was important to uncover the hidden secrets of regime leaders.

“We are in the midst of deep changes in our strategic environment,” Brig. Gen. Karo said, adding that the IDF will likely be dealing with this changing environment for more than a few years. “The need is to understand and respond faster than in the past.”

Moreover, he said, the nature of the IDF’s enemies is not always entirely clear, with the lines between military and terrorist groups blurred.

“Hezbollah, which has a larger array of missiles and rockets than most armies in the world, has adopted its own structure,” Karo said. “Most of its fighters wear uniforms during times of emergency and they are arranged in an hierarchical structure like an army. Even so, [Hezbollah] has many characteristics that are different entirely from an army.”

Hezbollah has grown since the early 1980s to become an organization with seats in the Lebanese government, offering its own radio and satellite television, as well as programs for social development.

In the 2006 Lebanese War, Hezbollah was able to sustain continuous, 34-day military conflict in Lebanon and northern Israel, facing the IDF. Hezbollah launched thousands of Katyusha rocket attacks against Israeli civilian towns. The generally accepted results of the fighting were 1,200 Lebanese and 158 Israelis dead.

It could be argued that Hezbollah has done better against the IDF in 2006 than has any other enemy of Israel.

Brig. Gen. Karo also described the missile threats facing the IDF.

“The number of missiles is growing significantly,” he said. “An arsenal of dozens became an arsenal of thousands.”

“In the next war, the enemy wants to reach all depths of the country,” Karo warned. “The size of warheads is increasing and there is a desperate attempt to increase accuracy.”

Other challenges facing the IDF include anti-tank and anti-aircraft threats. Karo also discussed the complexity of intelligence operations in urban warfare environments.

“The bottom line is that the future is already here,” Brig. Gen. Karo said. “The challenges are already before us. We can improve the IDF’s effectiveness, its deterrent capabilities, and especially its decisive powers.”

Currently, Karo said, it is important to understand trends in the masses, a more complex task than in the past when it was important to uncover the hidden secrets of regime leaders.

“We are in the midst of deep changes in our strategic environment,” Brig. Gen. Karo said, adding that the IDF will likely be dealing with this changing environment for more than a few years. “The need is to understand and respond faster than in the past.”

This article used content provided by the IDF Spokesperson’s office.

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