Monday, October 31, 2011

Once again--Rumors of an Israeli Attack on Iran

Once again we are receiving numerous reports of an imminent Israeli attacks on Iran. These stem from Israel in both the Hebrew and English Press, echoed by organizations in the U.S. such as the Washington Times. The latest features the pronouncements of Amos Gilad, Defense Ministry Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs Amos Gilad

Quoting from an article in <,7340,L-4140625,00.html>:

"[Gilad claims that] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are extremely concerned by the Iranian threat. . . .'You need to know what issues to prioritize. In my opinion – it's the Iranian front,' he told students at the Ashkelon College. His statements were made in response to a Yedioth Ahronoth article claiming that Netanyahu and Barak were seemingly pushing for action against Iran. "

What is interesting about this article is that it also quotes Israeli military figures, who oppose action against Iran.

"According to a Nahum Barnea article in Yedioth Ahronoth, published on Friday, the heads of the armed forces – Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo, Military Intelligence Chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Shin Bet Chief Yoram Cohen share the opinion of their predecessors and are opposed to taking action against Iran at this time. Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan had previously stated that a strike against Iran was 'a foolish idea' and warned against the disastrous consequences that would follow such action – an all out regional war."

It would thus seem that there is a split between the politicians and the military on the advisability of an attack on Iran.

This makes the rise in rumors about such an attack highly suspicious. Either they are specious, or if true, the seem to show a political rather than a military or security necessity. The Washington Times quotes Amir Oren, military analyst for Ha'aretz:

"Mr. Oren offered another insight that he says may point Mr. Netanyahu toward military action against Iran. Although the prime minister failed to make any enduring mark on history during his previous term or so far during his present term, Mr. Netanyahu may see Iran as an opportunity to achieve his Churchillian moment,' Mr. Oren wrote. 'The day is not far off, Netanyahu believes, when Churchill will emerge from him.' <>

Bill Beeman
University of Minnesota