The New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2012
By Ronen Bergman
Let's not dither and blurt it right out, Israel attacking Iran is quite possibly the most dangerous threat on the world's horizon in the next year.
Politically, America is pre-occupied with the presidential primaries and the November elections. Though the Obama administration reportedly does not want an armed intervention in Iran, the Israeli leadership notably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon may have other ideas.
Yesterday, in the New York Times Magazine, Ronen Bergman, an analyst for the Israeli newspaper "Yedioth Ahronoth", wrote "Will Israel Attack Iran"?
It was extensive, revealing article with his analysis of Israel vis-Ã-vis Iran based on recent events in Iran i.e. assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, computer viruses disrupting centrifuges that enrich uranium, the blowing up of transformers et al, the sanctions on the Iran regime relative to its nuclear program, interviews with Barak and Ya'alon the past few weeks as well as interviews with the former head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.
His conclusion: Israel will attack Iran in 2012.
It is an ominous conclusion that will surely cause consternation and denials in official Israel and the U.S. and counter threats by Iran.
It should be required reading for all those concerned with the current state of world affairs.
Bergman lists three basic assumptions:
1. Israel has the ability to cause severe damage to Iran's nuclear sites and can withstand the inevitable counter attacks.
2. There is at least tacit support from the international community, particularly from America, for carrying out the attack.
3. All other possibilities for the containment of Iran's nuclear threat have been exhausted and Israel has arrived at the point of last resort.
Bergman concludes, "For the first time since the Iranian threat emerged, Israeli leaders believe these conditions may have been met."
In light of his conclusion regarding the Israeli leadership (which according to Israeli law, only the 14 members of the security cabinet have the authority to make the decision on whether to go to war), what is particularly striking is Bergman's interviews one year ago with the outgoing chief of Mossad, Meir Dagan who warned, "The working assumption that it is possible to totally halt the Iranian nuclear project by means of a military attack is incorrect. There is no such military capability. That for the heads of the government to even contemplate attacking Iran is a "foolish idea". Attacking Iran would start an unwanted war with Hezbollah and Hamas"Syria"civilians in the front lines. What is Israel's defensive capability against such an offensive? I know of no solution that we have for this problem. I have expressed my opinion to Israel's decision makers." Dagan further added, "The Iranian threat is not imminent and a military strike would be catastrophic."
Despite these openly expressed reservations by Mossad's Dagan, from Bergman's perspective, the Israeli leadership will decide to strike Iran anyway, seemingly with the consequences of the attack be damned.
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