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Thursday, April 14, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Yadlin: Watershed regime change in Jordan;
Arab uprising could be diverted to Israel

WASHINGTON — The former head of Israeli military intelligence has warned of the collapse of neighboring Jordan.


[Ret.] Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin warned that Jordan was being besieged by internal threats, particularly the Islamic opposition. In an address to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Yadlin, who left his post in military intelligence in 2011 after five years, asserted that a regime change in Jordan would mark a watershed in Israel's security strategy.

"It would be a substantial and important change if Jordan becomes hostile," Yadlin said.

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In his March 30 address, Yadlin said Jordan, despite political tension, continues to be committed to the peace treaty with Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. He said Israel's border with Jordan, the longest of the Jewish state, marked the most important frontier. In 1994, the two nations signed a peace treaty that included extensive border security arrangements.

"We do enjoy peace with Jordan — once again, not the 100 percent kind of peace that we want, but one that is quite stable and with a lot of benefits for both sides," Yadlin said. "Israel's longest border is with Jordan. And I cannot see something that will change the security needs of Israel more than having this long border behave in the way that the Gaza Strip border is behaving."

In 2011, the Hashemite kingdom, which contains a Palestinian majority, has come under the greatest threat in decades. The Islamic opposition, backed by Al Qaida supporters, has been organizing large demonstrations that called for democratic reform, including the reduction in the authority of King Abdullah.

One scenario raised by Yadlin was that political elements in Jordan or other Arab countries threatened with unrest would seek to divert attention toward Israel. The retired general said Israel was "very pleased" that neither the opposition nor the regime of President Hosni Mubarak blamed the Jewish state for unrest in Egypt in February.

"We have to be aware of the tendency to export the problem to Israel," Yadlin said. "This was the way Arab dictators behaved for many, many years."

The former MI chief said Israel must take into account the prospect of Arab regime change in any peace negotiations. Yadlin said Israel's strategy must ensure sufficient defense should a peaceful Arab neighbor suddenly become hostile.

"If we reach the negotiating table and we are to discuss security arrangements, the events that we are seeing now should be taken into consideration," Yadlin said. "A change of regime, a change of political balance, should be a possibility that the future defense arrangement of Israel should be taking into consideration."

Yadlin said Iran and its proxies might decide to divert the Arab revolution toward Israel. He pointed to the sharp rise in anti-regime demonstrations in Syria, the leading ally of Iran and safe haven for Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad.

"Hizbullah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran may decide that this is the time to divert attention to Israel," Yadlin said. "If chaos is in Syria, and the missiles and the chemical weapons have gone to some faction or terrorist, it's become a serious issue that we have to look at."

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