RE-SENDING WITH SOURCE CODE - INSIGHT - ISRAEL - Convo with an IDF intel officer - IL200
On 12/17/11 12:43 PM, Bayless Parsley wrote:
This is per Jenn's request.
On 12/15/11 10:30 AM, Marc Lanthemann wrote:
Source is an old friend from college who is now a major in IDF intelligence. Had not seen one another in years. Very secretive of what they do; seemed pretty suspicious about what exactly I was doing in Israel. Nothing too groundbreaking, just some interesting observations.
- When I used the term "Arab Spring" early on in our conversation, I was reprimanded. "Don't call it the Arab Spring. We call it 'The Upheaval' where I work." When I tried to explain that we typically scoff at calling it the Arab Spring as well, I was cut off, so that I could hear another lecture about how horrible Arabs were. Israelis aren't the nicest people most of the time.
- Opsec at IDI (Israel Defense Intelligence) seems pretty extreme. If you try to email this person, you don't hear back for a month, minimum - usually even longer. Reason is because no websites that have passwords are allowed at work. Emails for internal comms only.
- Source is in D.C. frequently for meetings with DIA. When I asked if they are often trained by the Americans, the response was a smirk and, "We like to think we don't need the Americans to train us." IDI, source said, is "more creative" than American counterparts. The way they work sounded similar in philosophy to STRATFOR, actually. For example, there is a specific officer who is referred to as the "Devil's advocate" at the IDI offices. This person is allowed to challenge any random paper on any topic, produced by someone of any rank. If a paper is written that says, hypothetically, that Bashar will fall in three weeks, the Devil's advocate can then say, "Okay, I'm challenging this assertion. Now, I want you to write the exact opposite argument and play out the logic." Source did not deny that they, too, can fall prey to groupthink like any other intelligence body, but was a firm believe that this was a good way to avoid it.
- "Where are the moderates in the Muslim world?" That was the theme of the conversation on source's end. If you listen to this person, you come away with the notion that the Israelis seem extremely unnerved about the future of the region, with the primary focus being on the Iranian threat. (Again, this is not groundbreaking insight.)
- Source openly said that none of this shit would be happening right now had Obama not abandoned Mubarak like he did. When I later criticized Bush for shattering the balance of power in the PG, source shot back, "Well what about Obama?" I said that Obama had maintained the same FP as Bush, a claim with which the source agreed. And yet the source loves Bush's policies and hates Obama's. Israelis are not a fan of Barack.
- Because Obama abandoned Mubarak, source lamented the fact that Egypt was no longer the leader of the Arab world. This does not mean source believes the MB is on the verge of completely taking power in Egypt - (I specifically asked if that was the belief the IDI holds) - but it does mean that there is a steep drop in faith that the SCAF has ability to maintain the status quo. Overall I found the message on Egypt a bit confusing.
- Part of the reason that the message was confused message imo is because the source openly admits that in the IDI, people have a singular focus on the outside world. Like STRATFOR, they are largely disconnected with domestic politics. So the Syria people identify with Syria, the Hezbollah people will jokingly say stuff like, "I am in Hezbollah" when you ask them their AOR, etc.
- The IDI is very much focused on the Shiite crest ranging from Iran to Lebanon. Iran is the primary threat in the world today. Source was heavily concerned with how Yemen plays into this as well; much moreso than what we talk about. "AQAP is in control of south fucking Yemen, for God's sake." Source says they jokingly refer to AQAP as "AQHP" after the HP printer bombs that got seized on those DHL flights a few years back.
- The IDI is operating on the assumption that Yemen will be completely out of water in eight years. I asked if this was their own assessment and source said, "No, it's public information. You can find it on Wikipedia." I think it took about one second for the source to realize retarded that sounded, citing Wikipedia when you're a major at the IDI, and so immediately it was amended with, "there have been studies published." Fear about Yemen running out of water is mass migrations into KSA, which Iran could exploit.
- When I said that there were people in the Israeli government/military/intel community who reads STRATFOR, source said, "I can check on that for you." Thanks.