Moral Low Ground


Report: IDF, Mossad Chiefs Refused 2010 Order to Prepare for Iran Attack

Did top Israeli security officials reject orders to prepare for an attack on Iran? (Photo: Kevin J. Gruenwald/USAF)

Two years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Mossad intelligence agency to prepare for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But the heads of the IDF and Mossad refused to follow those orders, fearing a strike on Iran would be illegal and lead to a potentially catastrophic global conflict.

So claims Israel’s Channel 2 television network, whose program “Uvda” (“Fact”) conducted an investigation broadcast on Monday’s show.

Haaretz reports that former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan were vehemently opposed to an attack on Iran. The two men believed that Netanyahu and Barak were trying to “steal a war” and refused to carry out the orders to prepare for an attack.

According to the investigation, Ashkenazi and Dagan were among seven senior Israeli government officials at a 2010 meeting at which Netanyahu ordered an escalation in Israel’s security preparation to level “P-Plus,” meaning that a military strike was imminent.

“You are likely to make an illegal decision to go to war,” Dagan allegedly told Netanyahu and Barak. “Only the cabinet is authorized to decide this.”

For his part, Ashkenazi reportedly accused the prime minister and defense minister of “creating new facts on the ground” that would lead to a wider war.

Ashkenazi allegedly told the group that Israel was not yet ready for an attack on Iran and that he lacked the operational capacity to proceed with the strike.

But Ashkenazi claims that despite his serious reservations, he went ahead and prepared for the attack.

Although conservative politicians in both Israel and the United States claim that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to “wipe Israel off the map,” Defense Minister Barak said in April that Iran has “not yet decided to manufacture atomic weapons.”

That assessment is shared by IDF Chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, who called Iran’s leadership “very rational” and said that attacking the Islamic Republic would be “a huge mistake.”

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also said that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, as did a 2011 US intelligence assessment. As he retired from the Mossad in 2010, Meir Dagan also asserted that Iran had halted work on its fledgling atomic weapons program.

As for the alleged “wipe Israel off the map” remark, even Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor admits that President Ahmadinejad never uttered those words.

Still, the United States has been preparing for war with Iran since the Bush administration, with preparations continuing to this day. The US, which has a long history of internal meddling and provocation in Iran, has established military bases and increased military presence in countries surrounding Iran and has sold tens of billions of dollars in arms to allied nations near Iran.

Washington also supports the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK)removing the militant group that has killed Americans from the US terror list, training them on US soil and aiding in their terror attacks against the Iranian regime.

campaign of assassinations, bombings and sabotage against Iranian nuclear scientists and facilities has also been widely attributed to the US, Israel or both, although both nations deny any involvement.

When asked about who he believed was behind the wave of killings inside Iran, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta coyly replied that he had “some ideas” who carried out the attacks.

For its part, Iran backs anti-Israel militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah in the occupied Palestinian territories and Lebanon, and the Iranian regime is a staunch ally of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who is accused of slaughtering tens of thousands of his own people as his regime attempts to crush a nationwide uprising that began during the 2011 Arab Spring. Iran also aided Iraqi Shia militants opposed to the 2003-2011 US invasion and occupation of neighboring Iraq.

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