Yadlin: Iranian issue more complex than it seems (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Ynet Published: 08.16.12, 00:30)
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Former MI chief says discourse over Iran must emphasize that Israel
is not the only one concerned; says diplomacy must be exhausted prior
to strike, which at best can delay bomb by five years
Politicians, military officials and pundits has been increasingly
pondering in recent weeks whether the ramifications of a military
operation in Iran outweigh the risks posed by a nuclear Islamic
Republic, but a top security expert says that issue is far more
complex than deciding whether to strike or not to strike.
Former Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin says that before
Israel can consider striking Iran´s nuclear facilities, it must
exhaust all other alternatives – namely, the diplomatic route to stop
Tehran from developing an atom bomb.
In an essay titled "A Conceptual Framework and Decision Making Model
for Israel about Iran," Yadlin, who now heads the Institute for
National Security Studies, notes that substantive sanctions must be
employed in an effort to coerce Tehran into a "good agreement." Such
a deal would force Iran to get rid of most of its enriched uranium,
stop operations at the Fordo plant and allow for in-depth inspections
of its facilities.
"A good agreement would be measured by its ability to stop the
nuclear clock and even turn it back," Yadlin says. "A good agreement
would keep Iran at least two years away from nuclear bombs."
´Israel can´t do it alone´
But Yadlin also states that without a credible threat of military
action, diplomacy and other strategies to block or delay Iranian
nuclearization would be ineffective. In addition to sanctions, he
lists negotiations, covert action and regime change as alternatives
to a strike.
Meanwhile, the international community must ready for the possibility
that no such agreement will be reached, Yadlin says: "It is also
important to build up maximal legitimacy for a future strike should
Yadlin stresses that if the military option is chosen, it won´t be an
isolated incident, but would require a broader, long-term strategy
that incorporates the entire international community.
"Theoretically, the best result of a military operation would be a
five year delay. To turn those five years into ten – and then into
many decades… – it is incumbent to ensure that the entire world is
prepared to participate in the ongoing effort to stop Iran the day
and the decade after the attack.
"Demonstrating the scope of losses to Iran from maintaining its
military nuclear program, continuing the sanctions, blocking critical
technologies and materials, threatening repeated attacks, and
continuing diplomatic pressure are all part of a necessary next stage
campaign in which Israel cannot succeed on its own.
"This manifests the importance of gaining legitimacy for an Israeli
strike and international – or at least American – recognition that
Israel acted only after all other attempts had failed."
And any effort to garner such legitimacy would have to begin with a
transparent dialogue between Jerusalem and Washington.
"An open, in-depth dialogue between Israel and the United States may,
to the extent there is trust between the two leaders, lead to the
possibility of realizing the third option, i.e., neither ´the bomb´
nor ´the bombing,´" Yadlin says.
"If the Iranian nuclear project is not blocked by agreement or covert
activity and its nuclear clock does not stop ticking, military action
against Iran would earn greater legitimacy, along with American
support the day and the decade after. Without legitimacy allowing an
international campaign over the subsequent decade, Israel faces the
risk of finding itself opting for bombing and bearing its full cost,
and still ending up with the Iranian bomb and its attendant dangers."
´Iran´s retaliation would be tolerable´
Addressing the Iranian retaliation to an attack within its territory,
Yadlin postulates that it won´t be as perilous as suggested by some
"Iran’s threats prior to an attack are an effective means of
deterrence, but the Iranians have neither the capability nor the
interest in setting fire to the entire Middle East," he writes. "It
is almost certain that there would be an Iranian response after an
attack, but calculated Iranian interests suggest that it would be
measured and tolerable, especially in light of the achievement of
stopping Iran’s nuclear program."
Furthermore, Yadlin stresses that the discussion of the Iranian issue
must veer away from the notion that Israel alone is concerned.
"The Iranian nuclear issue is a strategic, security, and political
challenge to the entire international community, and Israel must
avoid leading the global charge against Iran," he emphasizes. "It
behooves Israel to take a back seat and not assume exclusive
responsibility for preventing Iranian nuclearization." (Copyright
2012 © Yedioth Internet 08/16/12)
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