Israeli intelligence insiders warn of ‘imminent’ attack on Iran

Israeli intelligence insiders warn of ‘imminent’ attack on Iran

 

August 6, 2012

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS |

If Iranian government officials had a uranium centrifuge for each time a warning is issued of an impending military attack on Tehran, they would undoubtedly have a nuclear weapon by now. Warnings about such an attack are now ‘a-dime-a-dozen’.

Yet it is admittedly difficult to ignore the increasing frequency with which such warnings are being issued by leading retired intelligence officials in Israel. Last week alone, two intelligence insiders, Major-General Danny Yatom and Efraim Halevy, both former Directors of the Mossad, Israel’s main external intelligence agency, said a military attack on Iran was imminent. Speaking on Wednesday, Halevy said that Israel’s threats of a military attack were “credible” and “serious”, adding that, if he were an Iranian, he would be “very fearful of the next 12 weeks”. His comments were echoed on Sunday by Major-General Yatom, who told Israel’s Army Radio that the debate among senior Israeli security officials was not over whether Israel should strike Iran, but about when it should do so. The two men spoke shortly after a similar warning was issued by Major-General Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, former chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate. Farkash, who is not a proponent of an all-out military operation against Iran, said that an Israeli attack would probably come “within weeks, or a couple of months”. It is worth pointing out that all three men issued their public warnings along with significant reservations about the way Israel is handing the situation with Iran. Halevy said that, in his view, “it would not be desirable for Israel to act alone” against Iran and warned of a potentially serious international backlash. Major-General Farkash reiterated his previously stated position that an open military attack on Iran at this point in time would be premature and would “ruin the legitimacy that is needed” in order to permanently stop Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. Finally, Major-General Yatom criticized the constant public warnings by Israeli officials about a planned attack on Iran, saying that, in order to be effective, such discussions and preparations should be taking place in secret (incidentally, intelNews has asked this question before, namely why are Israeli leaders so chatty on the topic of bombing Iran? One would think that, by being so vocal about their intentions, they risk losing a major strategic advantage that Israel’s military has relied on in the past: namely the element of surprise). Such concerns are shared by other former intelligence insiders in Israel, notably ex-Mossad Director Meir Dagan. In June 2011, Dagan was stripped of his diplomatic passport after dismissing the idea of bombing Iran as “stupid” and calling Israeli leaders “reckless and irresponsible” for wanting to go to war with Iran.

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