Ex-Mossad chief: Attack on Iran means regional war

Former Mossad director Meir Dagan (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—The previous head of the Mossad warned the nation on Tuesday that a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would result in a three-front war with massive Israeli casualties.

Former Mossad director Meir Dagan said in a television interview that Iran would retaliate for such a strike with a missile barrage of its own, plus massive rocket attacks by its Hezbollah and Hamas proxies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Given the worsening security situation in Syria, it too might be tempted to join the onslaught.

Dagan warned that such a war would result in heavy Israeli casualties and paralyze the country for an unforeseeable length of time. His comments were apparently directed against a remark recently by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who played down the threat of war and said it would result in no more than 500 Israeli dead.

“A war is no picnic, but in any scenario there won’t be 50,000 or 5,000 or even 500 dead,” Barak told Israel Radio three weeks ago. Barak also led a chorus of politicians who objected to Dagan speaking out on the Iranian situation so soon after leaving his sensitive position.

In the television interview Dagan responded to such critics by asserting his civil rights. “We are not living in an undemocratic country; in democratic countries, even people like me have the right to express their opinions,” Dagan said.

Dagan’s outspoken interview was preceded on Tuesday by a report that he will lead a group that intends to lobby for an overhaul of Israel’s parliamentary system. The Ma’ariv newspaper reported that the group—which includes leading figures in business, culture, and law—hopes to strengthen the bigger parties to immunize them from blackmailing coalition partners and to institute at least some constituency elections to the Knesset.

Ma’ariv reported that Dagan is aiming to collect one million signatures from Israelis who support changing the system, and then using them to pressure the government to take action.

“We must change the political system immediately,” he told the newspaper. “It won’t be a political movement and won’t have any connection to any current party. It will be a public movement whose sole goal will be to change the current political system as soon as possible. I intend to go for this with full force. The current political system is a threat to the future of the state and if we don’t change it we’re lost.”