Olmert, Former Israel Prime Minister, Against Iran Strike

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    Apr 30, 2012 3:45 PM GMT
    This from Huffington Post source the AP - regarding speaches at a meeting in New York City of Israeli leaders speaking out against Iran war and for making peace with the Palestinians.

    A former Israeli prime minister added his voice Sunday to a growing chorus of Israeli officials against a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

    Ehud Olmert spoke to Israel's Channel 10 TV from New York.

    "There is no reason at this time not to talk about a military effort," he said, "but definitely not to initiate an Israeli military strike."

    Israel and the West suspect Iran is aiming to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

    Olmert was Israel's prime minister from 2006-2009. He was in office when a suspected nuclear site in Syria was attacked in 2007. It was assumed that Israel carried out the airstrike, but Israel never acknowledged that.

    Olmert's remarks came after Israel's former internal security chief, Yuval Diskin, said the government is misleading the public on the level of effectiveness of a military strike.

    Meir Dagan, Israel's ex-Mossad chief, told the station he supported Diskin's view.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been warning about Iran's nuclear program for years and calling for decisive world action to stop it. In recent days he charged that current Western sanctions are not enough to deter the Iranians from building nuclear weapons.

    Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, have hinted at the possibility of an Israeli military strike at Iran's nuclear facilities but have not made an open threat. They have said repeatedly that no options have been taken off the table.

    Israel considers Iran a threat to its existence because of its nuclear and missile development programs, frequent reference to Israel's destruction by Iranian leaders


    5:13 PM – 04/27/2012
    Another top Israeli defense official warns against Iran strike.

    Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin sharply criticized Israel's top leadership at the Majdi Forum in Kfar Saba Friday night, saying he has no faith in it and its ability to lead Israel, Army Radio reported.

    Referring to the leaders as "our two messiahs," a likely reference to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Diskin said "they are not fit to hold the steering-wheel of power. I have no faith in the current leadership in Israel and its ability to conduct a war."

    Regarding their handling of the Iranian nuclear issue, Diskin said the leadership "presents a false view to the public on the Iranian bomb, as though acting against Iran would prevent a nuclear bomb. But attacking Iran will encourage them to develop a bomb all the faster.

    1:49 PM – 04/27/2012
    Netanyahu faces 'unprecedented' level of criticism over Iran policy.

    Reporting for Al-Monitor, Meir Javedanfar writes:

    After winning the Kadima primaries on March 27, Shaul Mofaz gave his first television interview as head of the party. He immediately started attacking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, especially his policies and statements regarding Iran.

    “[Netanyahu] wants to create an image that he is the protector of Israel,” stated the Iranian-born Mofaz. He then went on to describe Netanyahu’s Iran policy as not just "spin," but worse. Mofaz warned against an early attack on Iran, which he said could be “disastrous” and bring “limited results” in terms of curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

    Bickering among Israeli politicians is the norm. If an Israeli politician were to have invented the wheel, it would not have been surprising to see his rivals try and dismiss the new invention.

    Nevertheless, the criticism to which the Netanyahu Iran policy has been subjected recently is unprecedented in Israel. This is especially true with regard to the opinion that a nuclear-armed Iran could bring a new Holocaust upon the people of Israel. Netanyahu constantly threatens to attack Iran, which according to his government is not within the coming months but is also not “years away.” There have also been numerous hints that Israel under Netanyahu may not wait for the United States and attack Iran single-handedly.

    12:16 PM – 04/27/2012
    Michelle Bachmann weighs in on Iran.

    Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), not well known for her foreign policy acumen, shared her thoughts on Iran on CNN.

    Jamal Abdi of the National Iranian American Council summarized her appearance on Twitter:

    Michele Bachman disagrees with Israeli military chief that Iran is a rational actor... Bachmann wanted 2 cut nonexistent diplomatic ties w/#Iran, now wants Iran to dismantle nonexistent nucl wpns facilities

    10:12 AM – 04/27/2012
    Panetta hopes Israeli military chief 'is right about Iran.'

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday that he hopes that statements from Israel's military chief describing Iran's leadership as rational were "correct."

    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Wednesday that the Iranian leadership "is composed of very rational people," and that while Tehran was reaching the point at which it could decide to build a nuclear bomb, the leaders had not yet decided whether to proceed.

    "I do not have any specific information that indicates (the Iranians) have made any decision one way or another" on whether to build a nuclear weapon, Panetta told reporters after meeting his Chilean counterpart Andres Allamand.

    Neither Israel nor the United States currently believe that Tehran has actually taken the decision to develop a nuclear bomb, a decision that would require the ability to quickly produce weapons-grade uranium.

    3:45 PM – 04/26/2012
    More Biden: Romney's 'loose talk' of war is helping Iran.

    ThinkProgress highlights two more Iran-related excerpts from Vice President Biden's national security speech today, in which he pushes back aggressively on criticism from Mitt Romney.

    First he notes that Romney demanded "crippling sanctions" on Iran after the Obama administration had already organized an historically broad and severe sanctions campaign:

    Here’s what he says. He says we need “crippling sanctions,” apparently unaware that through President Obama’s leadership we produced just that, crippling sanctions. He emphasizes the need for “a credible military option” and “a regular presence of aircraft carrier groups” in the region, apparently ignorant of the fact that’s exactly what our policy is and what we’re doing.

    Biden then reprimanded Romney for what he called "loose talk about a war," which Biden said has "incredible negative consequences in our efforts to end Iran’s nuclear quest":

    I think it’s fair to say the only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran. If that’s what governor Romney means by a “very different policy” then he should tell the American people. He should say so. Otherwise the governor’s tough talk about military action is just that, talk. And I would add, counterproductive talk. Folks, loose talk about a war has incredible negative consequences in our efforts to end Iran’s nuclear quest. And let me tell you why, because it unsettles world oil markets. It drives up oil prices. When oil prices go up, Iran’s coffers fill up, undermining the effect of the sanctions that are already in place. This type of Romney Talk is just not smart.

    JERUSALEM — The former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused the country's political leaders of exaggerating the effectiveness of a possible military

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  • tokugawa

    Posts: 945

    Apr 30, 2012 10:35 PM GMT
    Experts Believe Iran Conflict Is Less Likely

    The New York Times
    Published: April 30, 2012

    WASHINGTON — After a winter of alarm over the possibility that a military conflict over the Iranian nuclear program might be imminent, American officials and outside analysts now believe that the chances of war in the near future have significantly decreased.

    They cite a series of factors that, for now, argue against a conflict. The threat of tighter economic sanctions has prompted the Iranians to try more flexible tactics in their dealings with the United States and other powers, while the revival of direct negotiations has tempered the most inflammatory talk on all sides.

    A growing divide in Israel between political leaders and military and intelligence officials over the wisdom of attacking Iran has begun to surface. And the White House appears determined to prevent any confrontation that could disrupt world oil markets in an election year.

    “I do think the temperature has cooled,” an Obama administration official said this week.

    source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/world/middleeast/chances-of-iran-strike-receding-us-officials-say.html?_r=1&hp#