Ex-Mossad Chief Meir Dagan ‘Fighting for His Life’ After a Liver Transplant — Affects Debate on an Iran Attack?

Meir Dagan, who was director of the Mossad from 2002 through 2010, is reported to be “fighting for his life” after a liver transplant.

For reasons not clear to all, but perhaps because of the availability of a donor organ, Dagan chose to have the risky treatment in a former Soviet republic, Belarus.

Meir Dagan on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” 2012

Dagan never publicly revealed that he has been fighting liver cancer.

A small group of friends, business partners, and former intelligence agency colleagues knew about Dagan’s battle against cancer.  Yossi Melman, co-author of Spies Against Armageddon, has been aware of the situation but chose to respect Dagan’s personal privacy.

Dagan is 67 years old and, ironically, was born in the Soviet Union to Jewish parents.  The family moved to Israel in 1950.

The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukaschenko, unexpectedly revealed that Dagan was hospitalized in that country.  The president, whose regime is considered a pariah in much of the world, was apparently hoping to get some positive publicity.  Dagan underwent the transplant about ten days ago.

Two months ago, he had been in New York City — for cancer check-ups at Sloane Kettering hospital.  There was hope that a suitable liver donor could be found, but the search was fruitless.

He returned to Israel, and his health was deteriorating. He resigned, at least temporarily, from his posts as director, chairman, and consultant to several Israeli and foreign companies in the fields of mining, security, and hi-tech.  Two weeks ago, Dagan flew to Minsk with his family for the surgery.

Just as he was ending his time as Mossad chief at the end of 2010, Dagan started making headlines as a vocal opponent of an Israeli military strike on Iran.  He called such a plan “stupid,” warning that it would not achieve its goal and would likely unite Iranians in a determination to build a nuclear bomb quickly.

There was speculation that Dagan might enter the realm of politics.  But restrictions on former government officials, barring them from running for election right away, prevented Dagan from doing that.  He is not on any political party’s list of parliamentary candidates for the election now set for January 22, 2013.

Now the world knows that Dagan’s health would not have permitted that, anyway. But in addition, his voice will be missing from the debate over whether it is a good idea — or a dangerously bad one — to threaten military action against Iran.

October 16, 2012

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