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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oy... Remember the palace coup?

Last July, Caroline Glick wrote a piece in the JPost that she called the Palace Coup (my blog of it here), in which she explained how a group of senior Israeli officials, led by former Mossad director Meir Dagan and former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, thwarted the appointment of Yoav Galant as IDF Chief of Staff. Galant was the choice of both Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu because he favored acting against Iran.

Fast forward nine months. Unsurprisingly, the current IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, tells Haaretz that Iran is not going to develop a nuclear weapon because they are - get this - rational. This is from the New York Times' soon-to-be bureau chief Jodi Rudoren (the last link).
The Israeli military chief described the Iranian government as “rational” in interviews published Wednesday and said he did not believe it would build a nuclear bomb, appearing to put some distance between himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

“I believe he would be making an enormous mistake, and I don’t think he will want to go the extra mile,” the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, told the left-leaning newspaper Haaretz, referring to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people,” General Gantz added. “But I agree that such a capability, in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who at particular moments could make different calculations, is dangerous.”


Several analysts saw his comments as more in line with the views of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment, including the former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, than with the harder line taken by the government. They were also seen as parallel to the position of his United States counterpart, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“What he said,” said George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in an Associated Press article, is “consistent with the views of the U.S. military leadership, the U.S. intelligence community. What’s interesting is why he said it out loud.”

Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli expert who lives in Tel Aviv, told The Guardian newspaper that Mr. Gantz’s comments were “a welcome development” that “takes the hysterics out of Israel’s public assessment of the Iranian nuclear program.”
Three points: First, I believe that Ganz is wrong, as do many, many (maybe even most) Israelis.

Second, let's assume for a minute that Ganz is right and Iran does not actually develop a nuclear weapon. Let's say that - like Japan - they go to the edge and stop. Do we really want to live with a nuclear-capable Iran? Most Israelis do not.

Third, looking back on Glick's article, you should all be struck by the importance of the circumstances in which Gantz was appointed. Once again, the branja, the country's wealthy Ashkenazi (no relation to the former IDF chief of staff) elite has imposed their will on the country by force, because they know better than us. When will it stop?

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At 5:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that there is every reason to believe that Haaretz's headline = and then New York Times (aND WaPo) distorted what the General said, namely that Iran would not build a bomb unless "they feel invulnerable"--that is believe that their defense capability outweighs American or Israeli will and or ability to attack, and then they will build it.


What Gantz tells Haaretz is that while the Iranians are actively working on a nuclear program, they have yet to activate the final stage of the project that would convert the material to a nuclear bomb. This is no revelation, as not even the most alarmist account of Iran’s efforts has stated that this final stage has been reached. Nor did Gantz express a belief that Iran wouldn’t build a bomb. Rather, he said the Iranians would do it only if they felt themselves “invulnerable.” He said he thought the ayatollahs were “rational,” but added that a weapon in their hands would be “dangerous.”


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