Mossad head Dagan may be replaced

Due to criticism following Dubai assassination Dagan likely to be out.

June 27, 2010 06:01
2 minute read.
Mossad chief Meir Dagan.

meir dagan 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Meir Dagan’s tenure as head of the Mossad is likely to end in the coming months, reportedly in wake of the international criticism that Israel suffered following the January assassination of Hamas archterrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

Dagan, a former IDF general, was appointed head of the Mossad in 2002 by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. During his eight-year tenure, the Mossad has been attributed with assassinating Hizbullah’s military chief in Damascus, a top Syrian general in Tartus as well as a number of top Iranian nuclear scientists.

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Dagan: Israel less of a strategic asset for US
'Mossad Chief to leave post'

While according to the Channel 2 report Dagan asked for an extension, the Prime Minister's office issued a statement Saturday night saying that Dagan never requested an extension. "The Prime Minister decided last year to extend the head of the Mossad's tenure by a year. Since then no additional decision has been made," the statement said.

When Sharon appointed him to the post, Dagan decided to focus the Mossad’s work on stopping Iran’s nuclear program as well as acting against global terrorism. He has been credited with restoring the Mossad’s relevance to the global war on terrorism and, according to foreign reports, the Mossad has in recent years succeeded in sabotaging and thereby delaying Iran’s nuclear program. The decision to end Dagan’s tenure was reported first Friday night on Channel 2 News, which also claimed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu planned to appoint his successor from within the Mossad’s ranks.

One possible candidate is T., who served in the past as Dagan’s deputy, left the Mossad and recently returned.

Other candidates are believed to be the head of Tzomet, the Mossad branch that directs its worldwide network of agents, as well as the head of the Tevel Branch, which is responsible for the Mossad’s ties with foreign intelligence agencies.

Predictions within the defense establishment are that Netanyahu will decide on a successor to Dagan after Defense Minister Ehud Barak chooses a successor to IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who is set to finish his fouryear term in February. This is because one of the generals vying for the top IDF post could be given the Mossad directorship as a consolation prize.

Another candidate is Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), who is also scheduled to complete his term by the end of the year, and head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin.

The decision not to renew Dagan’s appointment is reportedly related to the fallout from the Mabhouh assassination. A number of states friendly to Israel were angry by the use of their passports in the operation.

As a result, diplomats were expelled from Britain, Ireland and Australia.

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