Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant: "It's time to eliminate Assad"

"The process currently taking place in Syria is a low point the likes of which has not been experienced since World War II," said the former commander of IDF Southern Command this morning at the 2nd International Ground Warfare & Logistics Conference

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant (Photo: Gilad Kavalerchik)

"It's time to have Assad eliminated and once we have cut off the serpent's tail, we can move on to the serpent's head, which is Iran. The process currently taking place in Syria is a low point the likes of which has not been experienced since World War II. It is traumatic and catastrophic." These harsh words were spoken today by the Israeli Minister of Construction & Housing, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, as part of his address at the Second International Ground Warfare & Logistics Conference produced by Israel Defense and the IDF Armored Corps Commemoration Society in Latrun.

"It is time to have the Assad regime eliminated. I assume the world will know how to eliminate ISIS and similar Jihadist organizations, but in Syria the situation is different. Syria is backed by a world power, Iran, which possesses the resources and the knowledge – and it is a danger to world peace and security."

According to Minister Galant, the nuclear agreement signed with Iran is nothing but a permit for Iran to pursue its nuclear activity with a delay of 10-15 years, after which the Iranians would be able to produce a nuclear weapon. "The danger for Israel is a situation where a structured Iranian command center is established in Damascus, which might lead to the opening of a front on the Golan Heights and to a land bridge for the transfer of arms from Iran to the Golan Heights."

Galant explained that in the Middle East, many countries oppose the Iranian presence in Syria, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, along with the USA and Europe, in view of the threat of millions of refugees knocking on the gates of Europe. Minister Galant repeated the proposal he had submitted to the Israeli Government and to many other elements: to establish a task force led by the USA, which would include Saudi Arabia and Europe, charged with handling the processes that would take place in Syria after the war has ended and after Assad has been removed: appeasing the millions of Sunni Muslims and driving the Iranians away from Syria, as well as eliminating terrorism and dealing with the difficulties associated with the treatment of millions of refugees. In the context of any future arrangement, Israel must demand that no Shi'ite forces remain on the Golan Heights.

The Minister of Construction & Housing stated further that Russia is deploying its forces in Syria and this has an adverse effect on Israel's freedom of operation. The Russians operate in Syria in line with their own interests. There is a chance that once the Assad regime has been eliminated, the Russians themselves might become the target because of having cooperated with the hated Alawites, Assad's tribesmen.

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"Today's enemy is a disappearing, hidden, decentralized enemy deployed in the subterranean medium – it cannot be seen. This is the type of enemy the IDF is current facing, and in order to cope we should build up the force on the basis of the principles of maneuvering and offensive operations," said the commander of the IDF Ground Arm, Maj. Gen. Kobi Barak, during his address today at the Second International Ground Warfare & Logistics Conference produced by Israel Defense and the IDF Armored Corps Commemoration Society in Latrun.

Maj. Gen. Barak stressed the importance of evolving technology and the integration thereof in ground warfare operations. The ability to detect the enemy using airborne platforms and sensors is essential in order to enable identification and engagement of enemy targets. Maj. Gen. Barak also spoke about the importance of network-centric operations: senior as well as junior field commanders receive a massive amount of information, but the information should be filtered and processed and the platoon commander in the field should only receive the information he actually needs for his platoon's operations. Automation and robotics are currently making a substantial contribution to logistics – instead of long, slow-moving logistic convoys advancing behind the combat elements, the job is assigned to robotic systems. 3D printing currently enables the manufacture of spare parts and components in the field, with no need for delivery by motorized resupply convoys. The Commander of the IDF Ground Arm also addressed today's cyber threats, which can have a damaging effect on combat systems on the battlefield.

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Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Europe presented the current deployment of the US Army and NATO armies on the European continent, in view of the steps taken by Russia in Georgia and the Ukraine. "We redeployed our tanks in Europe," said Maj. Gen. McGuire. Today, the US military maintains a European OrBat of two brigade-size combat task forces with a substantial aerial force, engineering elements, communications and staff elements, and these forces provide NATO with early warning capabilities in addition to the combat potential. The US armed forces currently deployed in Europe practice rapid deployment. US troops learn how to live and cooperate with Polish troops. They learn how to cooperate with their host countries. Maj. Gen. McGuire said that their present motto is a Strong Europe with armored, aerial and infantry forces and state-of-the-art weapon systems. According to him, the challenges facing the members of NATO today are the refugee problem, Muslim radicalism and terrorism, and the NATO armed forces are training and preparing for dealing these potential challenges.

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