Fmr. Israeli mil. intelligence chief: Iran deal an “achievement”

We have a U.S. president who “immersed himself” in the details of nuclear enrichment technology to understand any proposed deal, we have a U.S. Secretary of State who has never done anything in his career to endanger Israel’s safety and has worked for many years to build a more secure and multilateral world, and we have a U.S. Secretary of Energy who is a nuclear physicist and assures the president and the public that the draft deal will ensure Iran would not be able build a nuclear weapon for more than a decade without being caught and stopped.

Nevertheless, according to Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf Since the Early 1990s’ Netanyahu, “The deal which is proposed presents a real threat to the region and to the world, and will endanger the existence of Israel.” As usual, his overblown and hysterical political assessments are not backed up by the security establishment in Israel.

Ben Caspit, an Israeli political analyst, interviewed General Amos Yadlin on the Iran/P5+1 nuclear talks framework, for Al Monitor’s Israel Pulse:

On the evening of April 2, when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini faced the press, Jerusalem was shocked into silence.

First, the very fact that a framework agreement had been reached ran counter to all Israeli assessments, according to which the deadline would be postponed once again to the end of June (the original deadline). Second, the principles of the agreement surprised Israeli officials and especially the political echelon.
On the morning of April 3, the day following the news of the agreement, Al-Monitor spoke with Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin, formerly the head of military intelligence. Yadlin was the Zionist Camp’s candidate for defense minister, but after the party’s loss he has gone back to his job as head of the Institute of National Security Studies. Yadlin has dealt during his career with three nuclear programs of states considered Israel’s bitter enemies. He was one of the pilots to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981; head of military intelligence at the time that Israel destroyed, according to foreign media reports, the secret Syrian nuclear reactor at Deir ez-Zor in 2007; and head of military intelligence in 2006-10, the peak years of the secret war between Israel and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program.
Al-Monitor asked Yadlin whether the agreement was good or bad. “It depends on how you look at it,” he said. “If we aspire to an ideal world and dream of having all of Israel’s justified demands fulfilled, then of course the agreement does not deliver. It grants Iran legitimacy as a nuclear threshold state and potential to eventually achieve nuclearization. It leaves Iran more or less one year away from a nuclear weapon, and Israel will clearly not like all of this.

“But there’s another way to look at it that examines the current situation and the alternatives. In this other view, considering that Iran now has 19,000 centrifuges, the agreement provides quite a good package. One has to think what might have happened if, as aspired to by Netanyahu and Steinitz, negotiations had collapsed. Had that happened, Iran could have decided on a breakout, ignored the international community, refused to respond to questions about its arsenal, continued to quickly enrich and put together a bomb before anyone could have had time to react. And therefore, with this in mind, it’s not a bad agreement.”
“Let’s not forget that Israel dubbed the interim deal reached in Geneva a ‘tragic agreement,’ and eventually it turned out to be a good interim deal. When there was talk of its abrogation, Israel was opposed. And another thing must be said: Contrary to Israeli assessments, the Iranians have adhered to all the conditions of the interim agreement, in letter and spirit, down to the last detail. That’s something one should also keep in mind. If they implement the principles of the agreement presented yesterday in the same way, then for the next 15 years they will be frozen at a point of being one year away from a nuclear bomb, and I think this is not a negligible achievement.”

Even so, as summarized in a current Haaretz headline, “Netanyahu tells U.S. TV networks he’s ‘trying to kill a bad Iran deal’“. Yep, he’s not even pretending to do anything but try to sink this deal.

Benjamin Netanyahu is a danger to international security and might just be a madman. At best, he’s a ruthless cynic who doesn’t care about how often he is proven wildly wrong about world affairs as long as he gets re-elected stirring up panic.


Before Iran, Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress on Iraq

The following was originally published in The Globalist.

On March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress to speak on what he believes to be the threat of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. It is a theme he has hit often in his career, going back at least as far as the early 1990s.

His concern about Iran – and accompanying determination that Israel and the United States should strike preemptively – was only put on hold briefly around 2002 and early 2003, when he turned his attention instead to Iraq.

Missing the mark

In September 2002, ahead of the U.S. Congress’s October 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, the then-former Prime Minister offered testimony to members of the U.S. House and Senate at a hearing on Iraq’s purported nuclear weapons program capabilities.

Benjamin Netanyahu testifying to Congress on Iraq in September 2002.

Benjamin Netanyahu testifying to Congress on Iraq in September 2002.

In addition to providing an extremely incorrect account of the program itself, as it turns out, Mr. Netanyahu’s forecasts of the implications of the war he was calling upon the United States to wage were also badly misguided.

In his own words, transcribed from C-SPAN clips, here is why Mr. Netanyahu believed the United States should invade Iraq back in 2002 and what would happen as a result:

And today the United States must destroy the same regime, because a nuclear-armed Saddam will put the security of our entire world at risk. And make no mistake about it: if and when Saddam has nuclear weapons, the terror network will have nuclear weapons.


Two decades ago, it was possible to thwart Saddam’s nuclear ambitions by bombing a single installation. Today, nothing less than dismantling his regime will do…


The first victory in Afghanistan makes the second victory in Iraq that much easier. The second victory in Iraq will make the third victory that much easier too, but it may change the nature of achieving that victory. It may be possible to have implosions taking place – I don’t guarantee it, Mr. Tierney, but I think it makes it more likely and therefore I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice. It’s the right choice.”

As it turned out, the conflict in Iraq – a war of choice as he himself characterized it – was not easy. And the only regional effect it had was to increase transnational religious terrorism and provide opportunities to boost the stature, influence, and military strength of Iran and its proxies. It also likely hardened Iranian interest in nuclear deterrence.

The 2003 Iraq War was bad for Israel’s long-term security. A war with Iran would be far worse. The Israeli Prime Minister has been very loud on military affairs in the Middle East, but he has also been very wrong more often than not.

The United States government would be wise to disregard his counsel on Iran now, for the sake of all countries involved – including Israel.