On Sunday there is going to be a shocking interview by CBS's 60 Minutes of Meir Dagan about Israel's possibilities of attacking Iran's nuclear labs. It does not represent Netanyahu or Israel's opinion completely.
Aluf Meir Dagan, born on June 30, 1945, is a former Mossad chief. Before this appointment, he had been a former Israel Defense Forces officer in the Paratroopers Brigade and also with a commando unit. . He became Mossad's director under Ariel Sharon in August 2002. He was reconfirmed to his position until the end of 2008 by Ehud Olmert in February 2007. In June of 2008 Olmert extended his term until the end of 2009.
Then he was reappointed in 2009 by Netanyahu to serve until the end of 2010 when he was 55. He was denied another term and was replaced by Tamir Pardo. This did not make him very happy.
The result was that when he left, he made several controversial public statements about a possible Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities concerning the prudence of such. He called it a "stupid idea."
After Dagan criticised Netanyahu, he was asked to return his diplomatic passport before its expiration date.
Dagan repeated his opinions in a March 2012 interview with Leslie Stahl of CBS New "60 Minutes," calling an Israeli attack of Iran before all options were exhausted "the stupidest idea" and saying he considered the Iranians "a very rational regime." He continued to say that they are not exactly our rational but he thought Ahmadinejad is rational; not rational in the Western thinking sense, but he thought Iran was considering all implications of a possible attack.
Dagan feels it should be an international issue, not an Israel/Iran issue. He doesn't think a nuclear bomb is an existential threat and feels that officials are trying to silence his opposition.
This is where a think tank comes in. No doubt that Israel has weighed all consequences of not acting to acting and will come up with the proper action. Dagan realizes the difficulties for Israel in carrying out such a feat without realizing the necessities for such an action. It would be better if it were an international action and Israel agrees with him on this point completely but will not allow Iran to obtain atomic bombs.
We see that Obama during the AIPAC meeting said all sorts of good things to get applause from the audience for his support, but the next day cancelled out all he said; a typical event. The same thing happened at a previous AIPAC meeting when he was running for the office. For that matter, the rest of the world of 6 world powers wants more time which will most likely not bring about any changes in Iran's goals but does give Iran more time to complete them. They were all for diplomacy-not war- as the best way to go forward. I wonder what it would take for them to change their minds; an A bomb dropped on Tel Aviv?
Obama's latest words are that "tough new economic sanctions imposed by the West be given time to work."
We remember that these same 6 nations and Iran met in failure over a year ago in Istanbul, Turkey. Then Tehran refused to talk about concessions on its nuclear program. Nowdays Russia and China are unhappy about these tough sanctions. Iran might now try to exploit this rift by offering something that Russia and China will applaud but be meaningless, even to the USA and Europe's 6. The group is weaker today by not mentioning Iran being uncooperative with the investigators and instead told the investigators to talk more to resolve this 4 year standoff of Iran labs being observed by the investigators. .
Meir Dagan may be feeling that Israel would like to silence his opposition to this very serious decision, but being a Democratic country, did not stop him from speaking out so loudly that Leslie Stahl took advantage of some negative publicity for Israel. Netanyahu needed this like a loch in kop (hole in the head).
3/11/12 Update: I heard the interview, and it was excellent. I thought Leslie Stahl was very direct and asked most important questions. Also, Meir Dagan gave excellent answers. I can understand better his position now. What he would like to see happen is that the USA does what Obama said he'd do in that he won't let Iran have an A bomb, and let the USA do any attacking, as it is not just Israel's problem. The situation can trigger a horrible attack on Israel if they have to go it alone. My final opinion is that Netanyahu knows more than he does about Obama and the USA position and that he knows more about Iran and their capabilities and where they're at right now. Either way, it's still taking a chance. What a responsibility on each man's shoulders!
Oregonian Newspaper page A8: Diplomacy gets dicey in Iran nuclear standoff by George Jahn of AP