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Tuesday, February 8, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israeli military to boost presence on Egypt border

TEL AVIV — Israel's military has been planning to significantly bolster its presence along the border with Egypt.


Military sources said the General Staff has determined that Israel could no longer maintain a light force along its 200-kilometer border with Egypt. They said the military could organize two brigades as a rapid-response force to counter any threat from Egypt, embroiled in the worst unrest in more than 30 years.

"This will be the first thing on the agenda of the new Israeli chief of staff," a military source said.

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On Feb. 7, outgoing Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned of the repercussions for Israel's military by a collapse of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In an address to the Herzliya Conference, Ashkenazi, who leaves his post on Feb. 14, said the military must now be prepared on all fronts, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Israel is in the middle of this reality," Ashkenazi said. "We have to be ready to fight on more than one front."

The chief of staff acknowledged that the military was not prepared for the massive unrest in Egypt. Ashkenazi suggested that even the Mubarak regime did not envision the opposition campaign.

"No one is a prophet," Ashkenazi said. "If you think I need to know exactly what the Egyptian chief of staff needs to know — while he was traveling from New York to Cairo when this was happening — he didn’t know either."

The chief of staff did not rule out that the unrest in Egypt would spread throughout the region. He called on the military to improve its intelligence capabilities.

"We need to put a big emphasis on intelligence so that we can see the target in advance," Ashkenazi said. "We must not only practice and train but to prepare for conventional war."

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