August 6, 2016

NOT THAT THEY WERE A THREAT IN THE FIRST PLACE:

Is Iran Still Israel's Top Threat? : How the nuclear agreement looks in the country where its consequences are the gravest (GRAHAM ALLISON  MAR 8, 2016, Atlantic)

[C]onsider the following assessment:

"Without a doubt the nuclear deal between Iran and the West is a historic turning point. It is a big change in terms of the direction that Iran was headed, and in the way that we saw things."

"It has many risks, but also presents many opportunities. Our role is to look at the risk prism and the capability prism and to judge from that--not to assume that the worst-case scenario will take place, because that is as dangerous as the best-case scenario. Therefore, we are now revisiting our strategy."

"In the 15-year timeframe that we are looking towards, we are still keeping Iran high on our priority lists because we need to monitor its nuclear program. But this is a real change. This is a strategic turning point."

At a recent meeting in Washington, I challenged the participants to identify the author of these quotes. The most frequently proposed answer was Secretary of State John Kerry's speechwriter nominating his boss for the Nobel Peace Prize. No one guessed correctly.

These are the words of the individual who has primary responsibility for the defense of the state of Israel: Israeli Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot. Eizenkot, who commands the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), offered these unvarnished judgments publicly in a January speech to colleagues at Israel's premier national-security think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies. In speaking so explicitly about a deal Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called a "historic mistake" that raises the specter of a second Holocaust, Eizenkot settled the debate in Israel about where he and the IDF stand on this question.

This debate erupted last summer when Eizenkot, for the first time in Israeli history, released a public defense strategy. When the document was published, Israeli analysts found it almost unbelievable that the strategy said nothing about an Iranian nuclear threat. The omission was so blatant that members of the press speculated that a secret annex outlines the true scope of the Iranian nuclear threat, while others contended that the omission was the ultimate putdown to the prime minister. Eizenkot's January speech ended this speculation.

Posted by at August 6, 2016 7:06 AM

  

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