On Tuesday, the day the unrest began that led to the collapse of the Egyptian cabinet, Israel's new head of Military Intelligence told a Knesset committee that President Hosni Mubarak's government was not under threat.
The new MI chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, made the comments in his first appearance in his new role. He also said Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood was not sufficiently organized to take power and was not closing ranks significantly.
According to members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Kochavi did not address the situation in Egypt, even though protests had already erupted. He only discussed the situation there after being asked about it by committee members, saying he expected Mubarak to be able to keep the demonstrations in check and that his regime was stable.
One Knesset member who pressed Kochavi was Aryeh Eldad (National Union ). On Saturday, Eldad took Kochavi to task for his situation assessment, saying that Israeli intelligence, along with other leading intelligence services around the world, had failed to predict wars and revolutions. He did concede, however, that it was difficult to predict such events.
Kochavi was much more pessimistic in his remarks to the Knesset committee regarding Lebanon. He said another civil war there was possible, though this time Hezbollah would try to prevent such an outcome. Despite the economic interest in avoiding a civil war, such a conflict could be fueled by the interests and power of ideologues, Kochavi said.
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