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Syria and Hezbollah are likely to start a war against Israel next summer, according to General Staff assessments that have been gathered during a series of meetings in recent weeks.
While there is no specific estimate concerning the timing of a potential attack, all preparations are being made to ensure maximum preparedness in advance of summer 2007.
Preparation for conflagration in the north: A war initiated by Syria or Hezbollah, separately or together, with backing from Iran. The likelihood is that such a conflagration will erupt in the next two years, peaking in the spring-summer months of 2007.
Among the reasons for tension: a growing sense of "success" among forces in the region that oppose Israel and the West.
A decision in Washington to withdraw the majority of its forces from Iraq will contribute to this atmosphere and will necessitate concentrating on the possibility that Iraq may become part of an eastern front comprising Iran and Syria. Military Intelligence estimate that there are 5,000 Katyushas in southern Lebanon, even after IDF mop-up operations there.
Long-range challenges: The focus here is mainly on Iran, which is considered to be a growing threat, even though it does not pose an immediate threat in the coming year. Its place on the list of priorities is relatively low, and stems from the fact that there has been no need to immediately alter the preparations of air, sea and intelligence units in dealing with it.
Advanced Western equipment in armies of the region: Aircraft, naval vessels, missiles, armored vehicles in armies whose governments have peace treaties with, or do not have immediate hostile policies toward Israel, but who could become immediate threats upon the collapse of their regime, or in-fighting over succession, and the rise of hostile regimes.
The United States will try to preserve the principle of "quality advantage" in favor of the IDF, by making available the most advanced systems to Israel, while delivering to (currently) moderate states systems lacking the more sophisticated upgrades.