Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I'm sure he just doesn't grasp the Iranian threat

The NYT reports that Israel's ex-Mossad chief is very worried about his country's politicians in charge:
The man who ran Israel’s Mossad spy agency until January contends that Israel’s top leaders lack judgment and that the anticipated pressures of international isolation as the Palestinians campaign for statehood could lead to rash decisions — like an airstrike on Iran. * * *

This week Mr. Dagan, speaking at Tel Aviv University, said that attacking Iran “would mean regional war, and in that case you would have given Iran the best possible reason to continue the nuclear program.” He added, “The regional challenge that Israel would face would be impossible.”

Mr. Dagan went on to complain that Israel had failed to put forward a peace initiative with the Palestinians and that it had foolishly ignored the Saudi peace initiative promising full diplomatic relations in exchange for a return to the 1967 border lines. He worried that Israel would soon be pushed into a corner.

On Thursday he got more specific, naming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, but this time through a leaked statement to journalists. The statement had to do with his belief that his retirement and the retirement of other top security chiefs had taken away a necessary alternative voice in decision making. * * *

While in office, Mr. Dagan served three prime ministers, was reappointed twice and oversaw a number of reported operations that Israelis consider great successes — forcing delays in Iran’s nuclear program through sabotaging its computers and assassinating scientists; setting the groundwork for an attack on a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007; and assassinating Imad Mughniyeh, a top Lebanese Hezbollah operative, in 2008.

When Ariel Sharon, the prime minister in 2002, appointed Mr. Dagan, he was reported to have told him he wanted “a Mossad with a knife between its teeth.” Mr. Dagan is widely thought to have complied and is not seen as a soft-hearted liberal.
Likud responds that such candor helps Israel's enemies. Oh yes, that's always a good one.

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