Jerusalem – The political weakness of U.S. President George W. Bush will prevent the possibility of American military measures against the Iranian nuclear facility – so concludes an internal assessment of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which was put on paper a month and a half ago already and distributed to top government and security officials.
High-ranking security officials in Israel said that the conclusions of the “National Intelligence Estimate,” whereby Iran ceased its military nuclear program in 2003, only strengthen the assessment that the American military option for Iran has been dropped completely.
The document, which was met with disappointment by the security establishment, says that hopes should not be raised about an American military strike in Iran if efforts fail to stop the Iranian nuclear program by means of international sanctions.
This is the first time the Israeli Foreign Ministry used, in an official document, the term “lame duck” referring to President Bush’s activity on the Iranian matter.
A high-ranking Israeli security source said: “The new American intelligence report that says the Iranians basically dropped the military nuclear program in 2003 is the last nail in the coffin of a possible military strike by the Americans in Iran. The story is over.
“Now it all depends on the international sanctions that we all hope will stop the uranium enrichment.”
Israel Has Shown
The Americans Data Which Contradict Their Report
“From Israel’s point of view this is a grave political and propaganda blow,” a senior official said Tuesday night. “The existing Israeli policy does not provide an answer to this report, which strikes a grave blow at the credibility of the Israeli data.”
Although Israeli officials were surprised at the intensity of the reactions to the report, they were not surprised by its contents.
Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney presented the essence of the report to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak immediately after the Annapolis conference. American sources say there were sharp disagreements between the Americans and the Israeli leaders, who said the report was in flat contradiction to Israel’s intelligence evaluations.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said Tuesday:”There was no confrontation between Olmert and Bush.”
In the past few days Israeli officials have been making an intensive effort to change the spirit of the report. Israel submitted material to the Americans intelligence indicating that the Iranians have resumed their program to develop a military nuclear capability, and that they are closer to producing an atom bomb than the American intelligence agencies think.
Air Force Commander In Letter To Soldiers: Ahmadinejad
Identical To Hitler
Israel Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedi compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements to those of Adolf Hitler, and he warns against the seriousness of the Iranian president. This appears in an internal document distributed to commanders in the Air Force.
Gen. Shkedi recently ordered the director of the Air Force history department to collect all of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic statements and to compare them to those of the Nazi oppressor before and during World War II. Gen. Shkedi, who was recently appointed “commander of the Iranian theater,” wrote in the document that the comparison “is without a doubt, interesting and informative, and is another warning sign about the seriousness of his intentions. We must remember and not forget, we must rely only on ourselves.”
Gen. Shkedi contends, in the document, that there is great similarity between the statements made back then to those of today. “Listening today to the statements made all over Germany before the Holocaust is not a lesson from history, but a warning from history,” he writes.
“These statements, at this time, are becoming relevant, in light of the direct and veiled threats of the Iranian president about the existence of the State of Israel. The words take on special meaning in light of Iran’s efforts to build its military nuclear ability and platforms that are capable of carrying them to Israel.”
According to foreign press reports, in recent years the Air Force has been training for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear sites. Gen. Shkedi was put in charge of all the plans by the former chief of staff Dan Halutz.
The decision-makers in Israel will soon order Israeli intelligence to invest “every effort” in the hope of uncovering Iran’s “third plan” for achieving a military nuclear capability, sources in Israel say, in the wake of the publication of the American national intelligence evaluation on Iran.
In Israel it is believed Iran has a secret program that is generating enriched uranium. Our intelligence probe has to be expedited and all our national capability invested in order to uncover the real Iranian plans,” the decision-makers in Israel are saying. “The Americans are basing their evaluation on information which has accumulated in the past year and their judgment is to a large extent lenient. On the other hand we are talking about a nuclear capability in Iran, not in Mexico or Cuba. If it were in their back yard, we assume that their evaluation would be more rigorous, while we might be more lenient,” a senior Israeli source said.
At present, the view in Israel is that the Americans are likely, in the wake of the report, to change their approach and to adopt the “Kadafi method,” which means conducting a dialogue with Iranians, accompanied by the carrot and the stick, with the aim of diverting it from the nuclear track by economic and diplomatic means.
“It is important,” an Israeli official said, “that this or that string of intelligence data should not cause extreme changes in the general intention in the world to prevent Iran at all costs from acquiring a nuclear capability. Even the American evaluation speaks of an existing Iranian nuclear effort, which has not disappeared from the world, and this has to be addressed.”
In the meantime, Israel is not changing its own intelligence evaluation, which is that Iran can pass a point of no return on the road to an atom bomb at the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009.
This evaluation is based on the premise that the Iranians will move forward in the fastest way and will not encounter hitches.
U.S. Intelligence Possibly Duped
Israeli analysts and pundits could take solace in the analysis offered by security analyst Kenneth Timmerman, who wrote in NewsMax.com on Tuesday that that Washington has fallen for “a deliberate disinformation campaign” cooked up by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who laundered fake information and fed it to the United States through intelligence officers posing as senior diplomats in Europe and that the 150 pages National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s nuclear programs was coordinated and written by former State Department political and intelligence analysts – not by more seasoned members of the U.S. intelligence community.”
Mr. Timmerman points out, the National Intelligence Council, which produced the NIE, is chaired by Thomas Fingar, “a State Department intelligence analyst with no known overseas experience who briefly headed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.”
©The Bulletin 2007