Syria Expected to Try to Derail Peace Talks

Syria will go all out to derail any peace talks between Israel and a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, resorting to assassination, military pressure on Jordan and possible terrorist activity against Israel, according to the chief of Israeli military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Ehud Barak.

The Syrians might target King Hussein of Jordan and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat for assassination if such talks seemed about to materialize, Barak told Israeli military and Arab affairs correspondents at a briefing in connection with the annual observance of Intelligence Corps Day.

However, he said he does not anticipate a massive Syrian move against Jordan or all-out war with Israel in the near future. Nevertheless, Barak cautioned; it was a mistake to exclude the possibility that Syria would attempt to launch a surprise attack with limited goals even before it achieves its objective of strategic parity with Israel.

He said Damascus was developing the capability to hit maritime targets in Israeli waters, as far south as Tel Aviv from its own coastal positions. The targets would be identified and located by submarines Syria expects to receive within a year, Barak said.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Force weekly Bamachane published an article last week claiming that at the outset of the Yom Kippur War Israel called off a major air attack on Syrian positions on the Golan Heights after receiving intelligence reports that King Hussein was visiting the positions at the time. Israel went out of its way to avoid harming the Jordanian ruler, Bamachane said because that surely would have brought Jordan into the war, forcing the IDF to fight on three fronts. In the event, Hussein did not join Syria and Egypt in their attack on Israel.

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