Poor Bibi, he don’t get no respect. Even his Mossad chief is bad-mouthing his cherished dogmas about Iran being an existential threat to Israel. This week, the MFA hosts its annual confab for its ambassadors in which they hear off the record pep talks and briefings from the high and mighty in the political, military and intelligence hierarchy. Among the speakers was Tamir Pardo, the Mossad director, who spoke candidly about Iran.
One of the ambassadors did a no-no and leaked Pardo’s comments to Barak Ravid, who reported them in today’s Haaretz. Pardo said:
…If Iran actually obtained nuclear weapons, it would not mean the destruction of the State of Israel.
“What is the significance of the term existential threat?” the ambassadors quoted Pardo as asking. “Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That’s not the situation. The term existential threat is used too freely.”
What’s remarkable about this is Pardo’s recognition that Iran may get a nuclear weapon. When Bibi and Barak and Barack are all fulminating against Iran and claiming they won’t allow them to get a bomb, the realists like Pardo and Dagan are recognizing that it may already be too late to stop this development. Instead of guarding the barn after the horse has left, why don’t all of these parties spend some time deciding how best to either contain or co-exist with a nuclear Iran?
In all this, Pardo follows on the heels of his predecessor, Meir Dagan, who’s made it a personal crusade to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. Pardo too appears to have gone out of his way to diss his nominal boss. This may be a good sign that there are some in the senior echelon who are not cowed by either Bibi or Barak and who will speak up candidly when necessary. Statements like this give Bibi heartburn. He vastly prefers toadies who do his bidding.
Of course, it does not mean there won’t be an attack on Iran. That would be going too far. But at least there’s one forthright individual in the halls of power.
Ravid also reports on a Daily Beast post by pro-Israel neocon, Eli Lake, in which he claims that the Obama administration is attempting to reassure the Israelis by determining with them what would be red lines beyond which Iran would not be allowed to cross without a military strike in response. One red line noted is an Iranian attempt at “break-out,” that is moving from having the potential for creating a nuclear bomb to actually creating one.
If this is correct, it’s virtually meaningless since Iran is likely too smart to move from researching how to make a weapon to actually making one. It too understands the implications of such a move. I personally doubt if Iran had the capacity to make a weapon that it would do so, unless it felt it faced an existential threat. By this I don’t mean the term as Bibi used it, which is patently fake. But an actual threat to the regime’s existence or to the nation from invasion or massive assault.