Israeli Press Argues For/Against Bombing Iran With ‘Spies Against Armageddon’ Part of Debate

Newspapers in Israel are debating the pros and cons of sending the Israeli air force on a highly risky mission to bomb nuclear facilities in Iran.  Many journalists are writing about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak sounding increasingly certain that Iran must be attacked — because, in the official Israeli view, diplomacy and sanctions are not working.

spies against armageddon, hebrew, israel spy, iran nuclearThis past Friday, the respected daily Ha’aretz published an excerpt from Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars, by Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman.    

The Hebrew edition of the book, Milkhamot ha-Tzlalim (“The Secret Wars”) by Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv, is a best seller in Israel.

The newspaper published key parts of Chapter 24, “Enforcing Monopoly,” which reveals how and why Israel identified a nuclear reactor being built in a remote part of Syria in 2007 — and how Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to bomb the reactor in September 2007.  First, Olmert asked President George W. Bush to bomb the site, but the American leader refused to do so.

Another Israeli newspaper — the best selling tabloid, Yediot Ahronot — on Monday wrote, in detail, about the revelations in Melman and Raviv’s Chapter 24.  A front-page headline reads: “The Atomic Mistake of Ehud Barak,” with a photograph of the defense minister.  This is a fairly obvious attack on Barak,  highlighting his initial opposition in 2007 to bombing the Syrian site.

Inside Yediot Ahronot, a two-page spread has a big headline suggesting a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation torn from the pages of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic: “Dr. Ehud and Mr. Barak,” the headline blares.  The accompanying article focuses on the analysis — in the book, Spies Against Armageddon, that Defense Minister Barak, in 2007, may have wanted to hold off on attacking Syria because of his own political ambitions.  

Other decision-makers, including Olmert and the Mossad spy chief, Meir Dagan, reached the conclusion that Barak was hoping to replace Olmert as prime minister in 2008 — and then Barak could be the big hero who would bomb Syria and eliminate a nuclear danger.

Barak’s critics now are wondering if political calculations outweighed defense considerations in 2007, and if so, should anyone take seriously Barak’s apparent gung-ho attitude now in favor of bombing Iran and its nuclear facilities — the sooner, the better?
August 14, 2012

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