Harriet Sherwood: Ehud Barak Restates Case for Military Strike on Iran!
Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak restated the case for a military strike on Iran's nuclear program before it reaches the "immunity zone", dismissing criticism from the country's former intelligence chief that political leaders were misleading the public over the consequences of action. "I believe it will be well understood in Washington, as well as in Jerusalem, that as long as there is an existential threat to our people, all options to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons should remain on the table," Barak told a meeting of the Foreign Press Association. But in a clear reference to former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin's comments, he added: "Parts of the world, including some politically motivated Israeli figures, prefer to bury their heads in the sand." In an explosive speech to a community meeting on Friday, Diskin said he had no faith in Israel's "messianic" political leaders to conduct a war. Barak and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu were "not the people whom I would truly want to be at the helm when we set out on an endeavour of that sort." He cited expert opinion that a military strike was likely to accelerate Iran's program. Barak conceded that a military option "would be complicated with certain associated risks. But a radical Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons would be far more dangerous both for the region and, indeed, the world." Defense officials believe that once Iran's nuclear program reaches what it terms the "zone of immunity", the option of Israeli or US military action will be closed off. The zone was defined as the point when it would become impractical to "surgically attack" Iranian nuclear sites because of their number, location, degree of protection and the amount of uranium being enriched.