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April 30, 2012 4:22 pm

Former IDF Chief of Staff on Arab Spring: ‘We Didn’t See it Coming’

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Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

NEW YORK—Gabi Ashkenazi, former chief of staff for the Israel Defense Forces, said in New York that the so-called Arab Spring is an “Islamic storm” and that “we didn’t see it coming.”

Israel must “be ready, in the future, for an event we can’t predict,” Ashkenazi said at the first annual Jerusalem Post Conference.

Though former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “was not a Zionist,” he was “an anchor of stability” in the Middle East, Ashkenazi said. A more beneficial regime change for Israel would come in Syria, according to Ashkenazi, where the toppling of Bashar al-Assad would strip Iran of its only ally in the region—and by consequence, strip Iran-funded Hezbollah of weapons it uses against the Jewish state.

The international community’s response to Assad gives him a “license to kill,” Ashkenazi said.

Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick, following Ashkenazi’s remarks, said that she in fact did see the Arab Spring coming because “rather than relying on intelligence information, we were listening to what people were saying in Egypt,” specifically that the Muslim Brotherhood was gaining momentum well before the Arab Spring began.

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  • Matt

    The MB infiltrated the protests, if they had gone out on their own they would have been shot and arrested, crushed. They waited and then joined the protests, it was the demographic and size of the protests. Now they are protected by 70 percent of the electorate, so they can protest on their own, without any fear.

    Our strategy to protect our allies and ourselves was sound the King of Jordan is still in power, Bahrain has not fallen, Yemen was the same deal for Mubarak. (Sure al-Qaida made games as the President stalled taking the deal) Israel survived the first Arab Spring in a western democratic country. The West with the OWS. Even Putin has against his nature not to use violence, people went home and the demographic and numbers allows for it to be crushed.

    There was no reason that our friend and ally had to go in that manner an for the MB to be handed power in Egypt. There was no need for it. It was mishandled, US officials said that they did not want Mubarak to go after the fact.

    They would have gone home and the MB would have been left in the square alone (treason).

    Israel did what Mubarak was advised to do, as has everyone else and we are all ok.

    Libya was important but as Rumsfeld said it was a sideshow. There was no reason that both Libya and Syria could have been dealt with. They waited to long Qaddafi would have been finished in weeks without breaching the R2P. People were told not to enter Tripoli, but they did. Opened up the prisons and let al-Qaida out, the high quality weapons caches of the crack units, the dirty secrets about rendition and cooperation. Qaddafi did not need a burn bag there was no oversight, no one to question what he did.

    Syria is a mess, and it is going to be a serious problem, more than you know. Handed Egypt to the MB, mess up Syria and neither Russia or the West will get what they wanted. Assad can’t save himself, Russia can’t save him, the West can remove him or get a quick stable transition. So it goes to the radicals, as the uprising became radicalized.

    And prevented it reaching Iran. Part of the reason that it has not reached Iran and they went home so quickly was the example of Syria. Putin did no resort to violence at home and was going to wait it out. But everyone knows who is backing the butcher.

    Human error, there was nothing wrong with theory, it was possible to prevent Qaddafi butchering hundreds of thousands in Benghazi, remove him. Remove Assad and watch Iran fall. Without losing key strategic allies.

    The fact is everyone knew, because you don’t something on that scale without telling people what is going to happen in their neighborhood. It is unthoughtful, inconsiderate and disrespectful.

    It is risk versus benefit, Israel was prepared to accept some regional blowback to see the back of Assad and Iran. Not that Israel was involved I am not saying that at all.

    That level of tolerance to accept some blowback was used up without any strategic gains. The US has made no strategic gains out of the Arab Spring, nor has Russia the only winners are the radicals.

    It is human error and it those that take the advice and say yea or nay. Clearly they got it wrong. As such we accept not liability in this matter, whats so ever. Of course people knew, this we want to know before it happens, is spin. Why else would Senate Intelligence Select Committee allow time for the OWS mess to be cleaned up and if they know about so does the President. I said it would be cleaned up and it was clean and why let us do it. Inadvertently or not to start an uprising in the US is treason, even if via stupidity, yea or ney.

    Personal interest, personal liability, people learned lessons from that rendition stuff and getting burned, this one was not so easy to hang around someone else neck. That is what accountability is for to stop people doing rogue actions and so that if there is a stuff up, you are covered. Like enhance interrogations “we didn’t know” yeah you did. People knew, no one wants to know now and you know worst case scenario the whole world will know. It would make Jonestown look like a picnic.

    People have to accept that regardless of reforms in the Kingdoms it is Constitutional Conventions that allow for the Kingdoms to remain in overall control, that is how it is going to be. Same as in the UK unwritten agreements over the Parliament and Government.

  • Charlene Holt

    The toppling of Bashar al-Assad would NOT strip Iran of its only ally in the region. Hezbollah is the Muslim Brotherhood and they are not allies of Israel. Look what has now happened in Egypt? The Muslim Brotherhood looks to eradicate Israel. Iran is allied with Assad so it can be in the region near Israel and being fundamentalist in doctrine and Islamist will play on both sides and against Israel. You need to call on the Lord to see you through this. Prophecy is being fulfilled.