Former Mossad head Meir Dagan underwent a liver transplant in Belarus. He has reportedly acquired a serious infection is currently very ill.
Posts Tagged ‘Meir Dagan’
Few things ought to be as urgent as keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, yet the West – led from the front by the United States – has fallen into the “peace process” trap that considers talk to be progress and, once a conversation has begun, that there is nothing worse than stopping it.
Iran understands this as a Western peculiarity, and has used it to cause a rift between Israel and the West; receive assurances that that military action is not in the offing; and begin a process that leaves the Islamic Republic in full control of its nuclear program for a negligible price. Talk about your demands.
Talk about what you’ve talked about. Talk about what you won’t talk about. Talk about talking again. Talk again. Repeat.
Several months ago, the media was ablaze with war talk -– a potential Israeli strike against Iran, of course, but also the war between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his former Mossad chief, Meir Dagan. While the PM was working to keep the threat of military action on the Western agenda, Dagan was announcing to the world that military action was a choice to which he was opposed. Time magazine put “King Bibi” on its cover and said he was “unlikely to forge a peaceful path.” Everyone seemed to know when Israel was going to “do it.”
In truth however, Dagan was not so much opposed to the military option as to its imminent exercise and its exercise by Israel. He told Lesley Stahl, “An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way to do it.”
Dagan: I heard very carefully what President Obama said. And he said openly that the military option is on the table, and he is not going to let Iran become a nuclear state.
Stahl: What I think you’re now saying (is), “Why should we do it? If we wait and they get the bomb, the Americans will do it.”
Dagan: The issue of Iran armed with a nuclear capability is not an Israeli problem; it’s an international problem.
Stahl: So wait and let us (the U.S.) do it.
Dagan: If I prefer that somebody will do it, I always prefer that Americans will do it.
Since there wasn’t as much distance between Dagan and Netanyahu as they had hoped, American officials – including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – publicly denounced the idea of an Israeli strike and talked up Iranian air defense capabilities, and “containment.”
Reassured that it didn’t face military action in the short term, Iran – without actually stopping uranium enrichment and without actually allowing inspectors into its facilities — moved to block upcoming Western sanctions.
Talk would do the trick.
The P5+1 met with Iran in Istanbul in April, where EU negotiator Catherine Ashton lauded the “atmosphere,” the “body language” of the Iranians, and their willingness to go to Baghdad in May. During the Baghdad talks, the IAEA discovered that not only was Iran continuing to enrich uranium, but also had stockpiles enriched to 27%. The Iranians called these developments a “technical glitch” and said Western complaints were designed only to “damage the existing constructive cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA.”
The Western powers, however, did not complain very much. “The two sides’ commitment to diplomacy in the absence of any clear agreement is a positive sign,” said Ali Vaez, Iran expert at the International Crisis Group. “All parties should be commended for returning to the negotiating table. Obama should be commended for having turned diplomacy into a process rather than the one-off meetings that existed in the past,” wrote Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council.
Eyes are now on Moscow for the next round of talks in June. After that? Stockholm in July is lovely; August is for vacation; then perhaps Vermont to watch the leaves turn in September.
The process is likely to continue as Iran’s nuclear program continues. But the recent – and ongoing – revelations of the so-called Flame malware infecting computer systems in Iran are a reminder that action has its place, albeit not necessarily with airplanes over Fordo.
60 Minutes narrator: Soon after (Dagan became head of Mossad), Iranian cargo planes started falling from the sky, nuclear labs were catching fire, centrifuges were malfunctioning. And then, one by one, Iranian nuclear scientists started disappearing and getting killed, blown up by shadowy men on motorcycles. But no matter how hard we tried, whenever we asked about any of this, he stonewalled.
When even the very outfit that conducted the interview with Meir Dagan misrepresents what the man actually said, it provides an opportunity to identify agenda driven reporting.
Here’s the CBS News headline for their promo of the Sunday night 60 Minutes interview with Dagan:
Now, to be fair, Dagan has been a cool voice on the issue of whether or not Israel should bomb Iran’s nukes, and so it is tempting for some to see his call for Israel’s leaders to count to 30 before speaking, as a statement of support for Obama’s view of diplomacy before war.
On January, 2011, Dagan, who was retiring from his post as Mossad chief, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he did not believe Iran would have nuclear capability before 2015.
And so, in Lesley Stahl’s interview with Meir Dagan, part of next Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” she brings up the quote in which he supposedly said that bombing Iran now is “the stupidest idea” he’d ever heard.
Except that’s not exactly what he said. A May 8, 2011 NY Times article reports: “Israel’s former intelligence chief has said that a strike on Iran’s nuclear installations would be ‘a stupid idea,’ adding that military action might not achieve all of its goals and could lead to a long war.”
And the same article continues with a quote from Dagan, speaking at a conference of senior public servants, saying that he declared that “Iran must not be allowed to produce nuclear weapons,” and advocated “covert means of setting back the Iranian program.”
Indeed, this is how Dagan responds to Stahl’s question regarding the “stupidest idea”:
Dagan: An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way how to do it.
In fact, the same promo page on CBS News confirms:
Dagan also told Stahl he thinks it’s a mistake generally to make this situation an Israeli-Iranian issue. It should be an international issue. Somehow the Saudis should be encouraged to speak up and pressure the United States. And what he would really like to happen is that Israel sits back, and the Americans do it for the Israelis. It would then be internationalized. He knows that Israel will be attacked whoever does it, but they’ll be attacked less and what he’s most worried about is the retaliation.
In other words, Dagan does not think attacking Iran today is necessarily a bad idea, if the threat is high enough, he only thinks it’s a bad idea for Israel to do it – because a coalition attack on Iran would achieve far superior results.
And we’re not told what Dagan thinks should happen if no one else is willing to join Israel or fight in its stead, while Iran completes its nuclear program and starts blowing up atomic mushrooms in the Dasht-e Kavir desert. Does he think Israel should be sitting on her hands under those circumstances? Somehow I doubt it.
But Meir Dagan’s flare and vigor, colorful celebrity that he is, are being exploited by some media outlets to distort his quite carefully expressed message, creating the impression that he actually supports the Obama Administration’s reluctance to attack Iran.
Did you expect me to start with an Ha’aretz headline? I shan’t disappoint you:
Dagan agrees with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Obama that there is still time to wait before dire actions need to be taken.
Except, at least in the promo and press release, Dagan never says he agrees with Clinton and Obama, and furthermore when Stahl says there is “a lot” of time, he emphatically corrects her and removes the words “a lot” from her sentence, and only says there is still “more time”, presumably meaning we haven’t reached zero-hour yet, but we’re close.
Only at the very bottom of the page Ha’aretz acquiesces that Dagan may not be against bombing Iran after all:
During the interview Stahl suggested that it seemed he was advocating Israel wait and have the U.S. attack Iran’s nuclear sites. Dagan replied: “If I prefer that someone will do it, I always prefer that Americans will do it,” he says.
How many Internet users scroll all the way to the bottom of an article? Only the ones with nothing better to do, like yours truly. But for all intents and purposes, it has now been established that Meir Dagan is against bombing Iran, because it’s stupid. They say so, on the Internet.
And that perhaps is Dagan’s real message, he wants the US and/or an international coalition to stop Iran, including bombing if it need be. Not Israel.
CBS also seems to be playing up Dagan’s analysis of Iran and Ahmadinejad’s sanity and rationality – seemingly implying that tried and true Cold War rules could apply here too.
The regime in Iran is a very rational one,” says the former top Israeli spymaster. And President Ahmadinejad? “The answer is yes,” he replies. “Not exactly our rational, but I think he is rational,” Dagan tells Stahl.
Former Mossad head Meir Dagan, in remarks at the launch of a new political reform movement “Yesh Sicui”, said he does not believe that Israel faces an existential threat.
Dagan has courted controversy since leaving the Mossad by claiming that Israeli leaders are over-exaggerating the threat Iran poses and accusing them of rushing headlong into a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan made an appearance at a tent camp set up in Tel Aviv to protest the Tal Law.
Maintaining a high profile since his departure as head of the Mossad one year ago, Dagan also signed a petition to cancel the law, which allows full-time yeshiva students to defer their military service until age 22.
He spoke with protesters and reportedly said that he supports their “important struggle.” He also emphasized the importance of holding accountable those Knesset members that vote for extension of the bill. “We must mark every MK that supports the law and inform the public which MKs work for the public interest and which do not.”