Former IDF Officers: “Uprising Could Not Have Been Predicted, Even by Mubarak”

According to senior IDF, Mossad and Shin Bet officials, Israel did not anticipate the uprising in Egypt as former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and the new head of IDF Intelligence General Aviv Kochavi both said the Mubarak regime was stable. However, they exhorted the government not to intervene, but rather follow the situation closely.

According to the former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, “The IDF and Intelligence communities knew there were problems in Egypt, but could not have drawn the conclusion of an imminent revolution. We can expect them to warn of war, but not this.” He tried to assuage the Israeli public’s concerns, saying that “The Egyptian army is still functioning” and “because new Vice President Suleiman and Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq both have a military background, the government will be protected by the military.” In addition, he said that the military “is dependent on American money and equipment” and West’s support. Therefore, he concludes that the fall of Mubarak is not necessarily bad for Israel, since the peace treaty is important to them as well and its collapse would only create problems.

Yaakov Amidror, the former director of the IDF’s Research and Assessment Division, disagrees with this assessment. While agreeing that “The Mossad and Shin Bet could not have foreseen this uprising, considering that Mubarak himself did not anticipate it, since social problems don’t always lead to a revolution”, he warned that “The most organized body is the Muslim Brotherhood, and their clear advantage as leaders of the revolution constitutes a real danger. The Islamic Revolution in Iran also started as a popular revolt of secular and student groups.” He insists that the IDF must monitor the situation and let security override political considerations.

Former IDF Southern Command chief Major-General (res.) Doron Almog agrees with Lipkin-Shahak, while sharing Amidror’s concerns. According to him, “The level of protest surprised me and the security establishment.” However, he is positive that the Egyptian army’s effectiveness should calm Israelis because they can rule the country fairly well in the interim, even if Mubarak steps down, especially because they have shown the ability to show use restraint.