05 November 2011

Did former Israeli security chiefs rat out Netanyahu?

Meir Dagan, former head of Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service, is no admirer of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has accused Netanyahu of being "irresponsible and reckless" and feels that Israel's security is being mismanaged by the prime minister and Ehud Barak, the defence minister.

According to a story in the Guardian, Netanyahu is now said to believe that Dagan and Yuval Diskin, former head of Shin Bet, Israel's domestic intelligence agency, are trying to sabotage plans being drawn up by him and the defence minister to attack Iranian nuclear sites. Apparently, he has ordered an investigation into leaks of the plans and suspects the two former security chiefs of being the culprits. Netanyahu's suspicions are justified. When Dagan ran the Mossad, he referred to an attack on Iran as "the stupidest idea I've ever heard."

Dagan is no dove. He was once described as "one of the most right wing militant people ever born here ... who ate Arabs for breakfast, lunch and dinner." As head of Mossad, he was in charge of operations that included sabotaging computers and assassinating scientists to delay Iran's nuclear program, setting up an attack on a Syrian nuclear reactor, and assassinating Hezbollah and Hamas agents. When a man with this record considers his prime minister "irresponsible and reckless," alarms should go off.

In the West, we tend to focus on Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when we think of troublemakers in the Middle East. Perhaps we should pay closer attention to Benjamin Netanyahu.

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