The former head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, is warning that an Israeli strike on Iran could lead to a regional Middle East war.
In an Israel Channel 2 interview scheduled for broadcast later this week, Dagan says a military strike will result in massive missile and rocket attacks not only from Iran, but from its allies Hezbollah and Hamas as well. He also suggests Syria could join in, which for Assad’s regime would be a welcome distraction from domestic unrest.
"The question is what will happen the day after [an attack] and what prices we will pay the next day," Dagan said in a preview clip of the show “Uvda,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
Dagan added that such a war would take a heavy toll in terms of loss of life and would paralyze life in Israel. These comments were in response to a recent remark by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in which he claimed that if a war breaks out between Israel and Iran, it would result in no more than 500 dead Israelis.
"A war is no picnic, but in any scenario there won't be 50 thousand or 5,000 or even 500 dead,” Barak told Israel Radio in an interview three weeks ago...
Dagan also followed up on recent public comments that he made on the topic, after which he was criticized for speaking out on, saying that the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Finance Minister cannot prevent him from speaking his mind. “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 has faced criticism from Defense Minister Barak who thinks it’s inappropriate for a Mossad chief to be speaking out so soon after his retirement this year.
“The way in which this discussion has taken place, by including those who previously held high positions, was sometimes despicable.” Barak added, “When the head of the Mossad unprecedentedly brings journalists to Mossad headquarters and instructs them to oppose the prime minister… I think that is very serious behavior. I would have expected him to act intelligently, without manipulations."
Meanwhile, another former spymaster is also urging Netanyahu’s government to be cautious.
The former head of military intelligence for the IDF, Amos Yadlin, told reporters on Tuesday he too believes that if Iran is attacked, its proxies in Israel’s backyard (Gaza, Lebanon) would retaliate.
"Iran today has enough fissile material to produce four or five bombs, and the moment it wishes, it will be able, within 1 to 1 1/2 years, to have a nuclear bomb," Yadlin said in remarks that received broad media play Wednesday.
But Yadlin, who was among the eight Israeli fighter pilots who bombed Iraq's atomic reactor in 1981, was circumspect on whether Israel should take such action against Iran, whose facilities are more numerous, distant and well-defended.
Noting that the Iranians are unlikely to be surprised by any Israel strike, Yadlin counseled "opening channels of dialogue with those who have superior operational abilities than we do" -- an apparent allusion to the United States.
Though both he and Meir Dagan warned of possible regional conflict, Yadlin added "there are international mechanisms that will curtail the war between Iran and Israel."