Israeli Army Chief Resisted DM’s Calls to Attack Iran

Outgoing General Warned War Would 'Bring Disaster'

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who portrays himself to the international community as the lone moderate in Israel’s far-right coalition government, drew up plans to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran last year, according to media reports.

His effort to do so ultimately failed, but only when Israeli Army Chief General Gabi Ashkenazi stepped in and warned that starting a major war with Iran would “bring disaster.” It was Ashkenazi’s opposition to starting the war, according to the report, that led to his repalcement by Gen. Yoav Galant. Ashkenazi is scheduled to retire next month.

Gen. Ashkenazi was revealed to have told the US in a WikiLeaks cable that Israel was planning a “large scale war” in late 2009, but also warned that Iran could hit Israel with missiles within 10-12 minutes in the event of an attack. This may well have been behind his reluctance to start such a war.

And, sadly, it may also be the reason behind Gen. Galant’s selection as his replacement, as he appears to be much less concerned with the consequences of such a war, and is seen as keen to go on the offensive across the region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.