Ex-Israeli spy boss attacks Netanyahu and Barak over Iran (GUARDIAN UK) Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem 04/28/12)
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PM and defence chief not fit to lead Israel and are misleading the
public over Iran, warns former Shin Bet boss Yuval Diskin
Israel´s former security chief has censured the country´s "messianic"
political leadership for talking up the prospects of a military stike
on Iran´s nuclear programme.
In unusually candid comments set to ratchet up tensions over Iran at
the top of Israel´s political establishment, Yuval Diskin, who
retired as head of the internal intelligence agency Shin Bet last
year, said he had "no faith" in the abilities of the prime minister,
Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, to conduct
The pair, who are the foremost advocates of military action against
Iran´s nuclear programme, were "not fit to hold the steering wheel of
power", Diskin told a meeting on Friday night.
"My major problem is that I have no faith in the current leadership,
which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a
regional war," he said.
"I don´t believe in either the prime minister or the defence
minister. I don´t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based
on messianic feelings. Believe me, I have observed them from up
close ... They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to
lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off.
"They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the
public that if Israel acts, Iran won´t have a nuclear bomb. This is
misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would
accelerate the Iranian nuclear race."
Government aides described Diskin´s comments as irresponsible and
motivated from personal frustration.
Diskin´s remarks followed a furore over comments made on Wednesday by
Israel´s serving military chief, Benny Gantz, which starkly
contrasted with Netanyahu´s rhetoric on Iran. Gantz said he did not
believe the Iranian leadership was prepared to "go the extra mile" to
acquire nuclear weapons because it was "composed of very rational
people" who understood the consequences.
In what was seen as a veiled rebuke to the prime minister, Gantz
added: "Decisions can and must be made carefully, out of historic
responsibility but without hysteria."
The chief of staff later attempted to gloss over suggestions of a
breach between the military and political leaderships, telling
reporters there was "really no distance" between his view and the
Neither Netanyahu nor Barak have moderated their rhetoric. The prime
minister recently said that those who downplayed the threat from a
nuclear Iran "have learned nothing from the Holocaust". He
added: "The Iranian regime is openly calling for our destruction and
working frantically for the development of nuclear weapons as a means
to that end."
On Thursday, Barak said the chances of Iran halting its nuclear
programme in response to international sanctions appeared low. Iran,
he said, was not "rational in the western sense of the word".
Diskin´s comments also put him in agreement with the former head of
the Mossad, Meir Dagan, who has said that attacking Iran was "the
stupidest thing I have ever heard" and that the Iranian regime was
rational. (guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012
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