CBS re-broadcasts Iran comments by former Mossad chief
September 17, 2012 9 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
One of the few certainties in the spiraling crisis between Iran, Israel and the United States, is that Tel Aviv and Washington do not agree on how to respond to Tehran’s nuclear program. Nowhere is this lack of unity more noticeable than in the difference of opinion between the Office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the White House. Netanyahu, a leading hawk in Israeli political circles, has made it clear that, unlike United States President Barack Obama, he believes that the time for diplomacy has run out, and that Israel has no option but to consider direct military strikes on Iran. Last weekend he even took the unprecedented step of advising American voters to elect a leader willing “to draw a red line” on the issue of Iran. It is worth noting, however, that senior figures in Israel’s intelligence community seem to be siding with the US on this dispute. Leading the wave of dissention within the ranks is Meir Dagan, former Director of the Mossad, Israel’s most revered intelligence agency. In November of 2010, Meir Dagan stepped down from his post as the head of the Mossad after having led the agency for over eight years —the longest tenure of any Mossad director in history. Soon afterwards, he admonished calls by Netanyahu’s people to bomb Iran as “the stupidest idea” he had ever heard. On Sunday, September 16, the CBS flagship investigative program 60 Minutes aired again an important interview with Dagan, which was first broadcast on March 11 of this year. The timing of the re-broadcast is critical, as observers in the Middle East appear increasingly certain that an Israeli military attack on Iran is imminent. In the interview, Dagan tells correspondent Lesley Stahl that a strike “at this time” against Iran would be both “a stupid idea” and a mistake, both strategically and tactically. He explains that an air attack without the aid of ground troops’ would be ineffective in neutralizing Iran’s nuclear program, since nobody knows how many nuclear installations exist in that vast country. In the 15-minute interview, Dagan, speaking calmly and directly, says that Israel and the US have up to three years before deciding whether to strike militarily at Iran. If this were to happen, he says, he would rather have the US conduct the strikes, rather than Israel. What should the US and Israel do during these three years, ask Stahl. Dagan responds: push for regime change in Tehran and offer concrete support to Iranian youth groups, student organizations and ethnic minorities.