Is it wishful thinking or based on poor intelligence assessments? Either way, Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s predictions regarding the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad do not seem to have been so accurate and are also not shared by his counterparts in the Pentagon.
A review by The Jerusalem Post of Barak’s comments on Assad’s fate reveals that the defense minister has been making predictions for over half-a-year that Assad will fall within weeks or months, even when US intelligence officials claim that Assad’s regime is stable.
On Thursday, for example, Lt.-Gen. Ronald Burgess, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in the Pentagon, told the Senate’s Armed Services Committee that despite the ongoing upheaval in Syria, Assad’s regime was stable.
“After 10 months of unrest, the regime and opposition in Syria are in a stalemate; however, the regime is cohesive,” Burgess said in his prepared statement to the committee.
“The Syrian military, despite some desertions and defections to the armed opposition, on the whole remains a viable, cohesive, and effective force.”
That same day, Barak’s office released a statement following his meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka in Tokyo. Assad, Barak told Tanaka, would fall “within weeks.”
Barak’s public predictions regarding Assad’s fate began in June when he attended the Paris Air Show. Speaking to the Associated Press, Barak said that Assad would probably fall in three to six months.
“He probably will stay around for another quarter or two but that will not change his fate,” Barak said on June 20, meaning that six months would have been some time in December.
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