Dagan: Israeli airstrike on Iran nuclear plant a silly idea

Former Mossad chief warns attack on Iranian reactors would cause regional war in which missiles from Iran, Hezbollah would be fired.

Dagan 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Dagan 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan over the weekend stated that an Israeli airstrike on Iran's nuclear reactors would be "a silly idea that would not grant any advantage." Dagan, making his first public appearance since recently stepping down as Mossad chief, made the comments at a leadership and security conference at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
"Whoever attacks Iran must understand that he may start a regional war in which  missiles from Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon will be fired. The Iranian problem must be made an international problem and we must continue to act to delay the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities," Dagan said.
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Dagan downplayed the significance of protests throughout the Arab world, particularly Egypt, saying Cairo had merely seen a "change of leaders and not a revolution."
Dagan said that the same elite would continue to rule over Egypt and that the chances that the Muslim Brotherhood would take power were minimal. He added that, although the usual anti-Semitic rhetoric would probably continue,  there would be no major change in relations with Israel because the Egyptian leadership understands that a change would go against Cairo's economic and other interests.
The former Mossad chief said that the so-called "tsunami" in the Middle East, was actually giving expression to historic rifts in Arab society. He added, however, that a certain barrier of fear had been broken and that it was no longer possible to hide events taking place in the region.
Dagan saw the possible ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad as a positive step for Israel, given the Alawite leader's cooperation with Hezbolllah and Iran.  He did not estimate that Assad would step down under pressure of anti-regime demonstrations, saying the Syrian leader and his minority Alawite supporters understood that they had no alternative but to fight until the death.