DHAKA: Major General (res) Aharon Ze’evi Farkash fears an attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons program may be imminent but would be premature and lack the necessary international legitimacy.
Farkash is so worried that he decided this week to break his longstanding silence on Iran and to share his concerns with the world.
As head of Military Intelligence from 2001 to 2006, Farkash is intimately familiar with Iran’s nuclear program and oversaw a large part of the intelligence work done in 2002 that led to the concrete evidence Israel had been looking for to prove that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon. He was later sent by prime minister Ariel Sharon on a number of diplomatic missions throughout Europe to present Israel’s smoking gun.
What prompted Farkash to speak out this week? A concern that an Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities could take place within the near future, a move that he says would be premature.
As a 40-year veteran of Israel’s intelligence service, Farkash bases his assessment on what he reads and hears between the lines in speeches given by the Israeli political leadership and primarily by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Israel, he explains, will likely not want to attack right before the US presidential elections on November 6.
“I think that within this window it is difficult to imagine that something will happen a month before elections,” he said.
Farkash added that from what he is reading and hearing a decision is not far off.
But, he warns, a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities now would be wrong.
“The timing is not now since, even if it is successful, it will ruin the legitimacy that is needed,” he said, suggesting instead that Israel wait six to eight months or even until spring 2013 before deciding on such an attack.
One word that repeats itself throughout the interview with Farkash is “legitimacy,” a reference to the required diplomatic support Israel will need after a strike to ensure that the Iranians are not allowed to rebuild their facilities and race toward the bomb – something he believes they will definitely and immediately do.
“An attack is not a single strike and once it happens we are in a whole other world,” he said. “Iran will pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad will reunite and it will be clear that they need a bomb now so that we cannot attack them again.
This means that Israel will need legitimacy to be able to maintain the operation with more attacks within weeks, months and years after. Otherwise what did you do?” “Israel needs to know if it can, over time, ensure that the attack is maintained,” he added. “This is the key to success or failure.”
BDST: 1540 HRS, AUG 03, 2012
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