by: Yoav Zitun
Thursday, 16 January 2020 | An IDF [Israel Defense Forces] report published on Tuesday assesses that Iran will achieve military nuclear capabilities within two years.
The report, released by the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate (MID), suggests that Iran continues to advance its efforts and nuclear capabilities, estimating that it will have enough material to construct a nuclear payload within a year and a missile to transport the warhead within two.
The publication of the yearly assessment was postponed by a week following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by a US drone, which the report cited as a “restraining event” for the region’s future.
Soleimani’s death also poses an opportunity to attack dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria and damage its consolidation of forces in the area, a notion affirmed by several senior Israeli security officials.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic’s regime in Tehran is busy with domestic protests and heavy US pressure against its nuclear program.
The report also said that despite the US policy of withdrawal from the Middle East initiated by the Obama administration, some 18,000 American troops are expected to soon join the 85,000-strong US forces in the region.
MID also looked into the effects of social media, the Fake News phenomenon and the technological revolution online, leading among other things, to acquire tools of cyber warfare on the Dark Net.
The report also pointed at two warning signs regarding threats on Israel’s northern and southern frontiers.
The first is Hezbollah in the north, which keeps the balance of deterrence against Israel and will not hesitate to attack again—even if the result is a major escalation in the region—if Israel continues to target its militants in Syria.
The second is deterrence against a possible flare-up in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].
This considering Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas’s successors increasing in strength and the upcoming Palestinian elections, which might bring Hamas [the terror organization ruling the Gaza Strip] into rule in the West Bank.
Despite these warnings, the general assessment by MID is that the likelihood of war in 2020 is rather low.
Posted on January 16, 2020
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