Former US official: Iran attack would be counterproductive

Dov Zakheim says Israel does not have to use military strike to stop Teheran's nuclear program.

Zakheim 311 (photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
Zakheim 311
(photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
An Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be pointless and could turn the Obama administration against the Jewish state like never before, former US under-secretary of defense Dov Zakheim said on Monday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Herzliya Conference, Zakheim said in an interview that in his opinion, Israel did not have to attack Iran to stop its nuclear program. Israel, he said, has developed the Arrow 2 ballistic missile defense system, which, together with US Navy Aegis missile defense ships in the Mediterranean, would likely succeed in intercepting an Iranian missile fired at Israel.
“There is less than a 1-percent chance that an Iranian missile will get through these defenses,” Zakheim said. “Iran, however, is worried about Israel’s alleged nuclear program, and their fear is 100%, so why would they want to take a 1% chance if there is a 100% chance that they will be destroyed?” Zakheim also warned about the potential fallout Israel would face from such an attack. He said that on the one hand, Israel would turn the Iranian people into its “permanent enemy,” and on the other hand, an attack could lead to “terrible relations” with the US.
“The US will be attacked in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this could turn the administration against Israel like never before,” he said.
Earlier in the day, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy played down the severity of the Iranian threat and claimed that Israel and the US were actually winning the war against Iran.
“Israel is in a situation that it is one of the most powerful forces in the Middle East,” he said.
“We have an inferiority complex of a minority, and we behave as if we are a minority,” he went on. “The time has come for us to face Iran as one of the powers in the Middle East, and I believe the Iranians in their hearts know that we are one of the [leading] powers.”
As proof, Halevy cited Iran’s refusal to step in and attack Israel during the Second Lebanon War against Hizbullah in 2006 and during 2009’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“In 2006, during the war in Lebanon, the Iranians themselves didn’t fire one shot, even though Hizbullah was a blood ally. And in 2009 in Gaza, when we fought with Hamas, Iran did nothing,” he said.