Friday, June 22, 2012

The Real Consequences of an Israeli Attack on Iran

Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed former Mossad chief Meir Dagan about his campaign against the notion of an Israeli air attack on Iran:
what angers him most is what he sees as a total lack of understanding on the part of the men who lead the Israeli government about what may come the day after an Israeli strike. Some senior Israeli officials have argued to me that a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities might actually trigger the eventual downfall of the regime. Dagan predicts the opposite: "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, 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." He also predicted that the sanctions program engineered principally by President Obama may collapse as a result of an Israeli strike, which would make it easier for Iran to obtain the material necessary for it to cross the nuclear threshold.

Dagan believes that sanctions may still yet work, especially the sort of sanctions, combined with sabotage programs, that threaten the stability of the regime. If the Iranian economy is squeezed in a way that causes average citizens to rise up against their government's policies, Dagan believes that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, might be forced to shelve his nuclear ambitions. And Dagan believes the tempo of sabotage should, if anything, be increased. "Covert operations have a better impact on proliferation than an attack," he said. 
Bombing Iran would be a terrible, terrible idea, and some of the men most responsible for Israel's defense understand this.

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