Israel shifts defense focus after Arab Spring (CNN) Cable News Network) From Paul Colsey, CNN JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 08/15/12)
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Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israel´s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
launched a major review of the country´s defense strategy on
Wednesday, as the embattled regional power tries to adapt to a post-
Arab Spring world.
Netanyahu took the rare step of summoning the entire Cabinet to
discuss the new five-year strategy, his office said.
"We must be ready for the changing threats that are being directed at
the State of Israel," he told ministers as the meeting began,
according to the statement from his office. "We must see to it that
the security which Israelis have enjoyed over past three-and-a-half
years continues under the changing conditions."
The toppling of Egypt´s long-time President Hosni Mubarak last year
destabilized Israel´s southern border, while the civil war in Syria
could affect its northern frontier.
Egypt has been struggling to clamp down on militants in the Sinai
desert, which borders Israel.
An increased defense budget is needed to counter new threats all
around the country, a former Israel Defense Forces deputy chief of
staff said Wednesday.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is forming a ring around Israel, out of Sinai
and other places so with all this we need more money for the home
front," said the retired officer, Uzi Dayan.
If the Sinai is not demilitarized, it becomes a new front, Dayan said.
Syria could become a Sunni Muslim state if secular dictator Bashar al-
Assad is forced out, he added.
"If ... weapons from there get into the hands of terror
organizations, this is a threat," he said, as is the ongoing
possibility of missiles from Lebanon and Gaza.
"In the long run the Americans are leaving Iraq, leaving Afghanistan,
so there is new pressure from the east. So these are the new threats -
- not to mention the main threat posed by Iran," he said.
The government review will affect the defense budget starting next
year, Netanyahu said. It is not expected to be completed in a single
day, he added. (© 2012 Cable News Network 08/15/12)
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