The former chief of Israel’s foreign intelligence service is again speaking out against an Israeli strike on Iran, arguing that such preemption will only embolden the Islamic Republic and push them towards getting nuclear weapons.
Ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who made headlines in recent months for calling a military strike on Iran “the stupidest thing ever,” even though it has been hinted at and advocated by current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is again saying that bombing the country unprovoked would be counterproductive.
“Judging by the war Iran fought against Iraq, even people who supported the Shah, even the Communists, joined hands with (Ayatollah) Khomeini to fight Saddam,” he said in an interview with Atlantic Magazine, adding, “In case of an attack, political pressure on the regime will disappear. If Israel will attack, there is no doubt in my mind that this will also provide them with the justification to go ahead and move quickly to nuclear weapons.”
The pretext for war with Iran is that its nuclear enrichment program may have a military dimension to it. Embarrassingly for the hawks, there is a broad consensus throughout the military and intelligence community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has not demonstrated any intention of doing so.
Iranian policy for some time now has been to abstain from developing nuclear weapons while having the know-how needed to get there. This posture aims to provide them with enough of a deterrent to dissuade US or Israeli military strikes or efforts at regime change, because their know-how allows them to develop weapons quickly if they decide to do so (which they have not).
An attack on their nuclear program, which nobody actually believes involves any weaponization, would almost surely push Tehran to reconstitute a weapons program in earnest.
As former CIA analyst Paul Pillar wrote in the March issue of Washington Monthly, overly optimistic war proponents think “the same regime that cannot be trusted with a nuclear weapon because it is recklessly aggressive and prone to cause regional havoc would suddenly become, once attacked, a model of calm and caution, easily deterred by the threat of further attacks.”
Dagan also insisted Netanyahu is not bluffing about an attack. “They are very serious,” he said. “I’m taking the threat of an Israeli attack very seriously.” And if he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are bluffing, “then they don’t deserve their jobs.”
Dagan is just one among many Israeli officials to speak out against an attack on Iran. Everyone from current head of the Mossad Tamir Pardo, Israel’s military chief Benny Gantz, former prime minister Ehud Olmert, leader of the Kadima party Tzipi Livni, and internal security chief Yuval Diskin have come out to push back against Netanyahu. They say Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, that Iran doesn’t present an existential threat, and that war is not the appropriate answer.