Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikileaks: The US administration dismissed Netanyahu's estimates of time running out on Iran

Netanyahu warns US on Iran:

A 2009 claim by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran was months away from achieving military nuclear capability was dismissed by the Americans as a ploy.

According to German weekly Der Spiegel, a State Department official says in a classified cable that Netanyahu informed the United States of Iran's nuclear advancement in November 2009, but that the prime minister's estimate was likely unfounded and intended to pressure Washington into action against the Islamic Republic.

Israeli Intelligence on Iran:

"Major General Amos Yadlin, Israeli's military intelligence chief, warned last year: 'Israel is not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the US was on 11 September 2001'

On May 10 2009, Representative Robert Wexler (D, Florida), accompanied by Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Rogin and DCM Moreno, met with Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Chief, MG Amos Yadlin,MG Yadlin focused his discussion on the preparations for the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu to the United States and the Iranian nuclear program

"MG Yadlin explained that Israel tries to be more precise than the US in estimating Iran's intentions and timeline for obtaining a nuclear bomb. Iran is in the position of wanting to pay only a minimum cost for its current program. MG Yadlin stated that Iran could decide to produce a bomb by 2010, but Iran is waiting for the right time in the future and that there are some who will always doubt it despite the evidence".

"MG Yadlin said he does not oppose engagement, He feels there needs to be an agreed upon deadline; a measure for success or failure; and a plan B if engagement does not work in order for engagement to have any chance. He also expressed strongly that engagement should have already started. MG Yadlin outlined four possible outcomes of engagement. Two good outcomes would be the Iranian nuclear program stopped or a failure of engagement that allows Russia and China to see the US made all efforts to prevent the program diplomatically and allows for greater cooperation in the future. Two bad outcomes would be Iran playing for time with no claim of failure on the part of engagement or a bad bargain that still allows Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb even if in a longer timeline. it has to be understood that Israel sees things differently and that Israel has to be ready and can not remove the military option from the table'.

Ehud Barak Nov. 2010 is deadline to stop Iran nuclear ambitions:

In June 2009, Defense minister Ehud barak met with 2 US delegations - Senate Foreign Relations Committee led by Senator Casey, the other from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs led by Congressman Ackerman.

"Barak said we share the same intelligence, but acknowledged differences in analysis. He suggested that the US view is similar to presenting evidence in a criminal court case in which a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Barak said the fate of the region and the world rests on our ability to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons -- as such, the standards for determining guilt should be lower as the costs are higher".

"In both meetings, Barak described Iranians as "chess, not backgammon players." As such, Iran will attempt to avoid any hook to hang accusations on, and look to Pakistan and North Korea as models to emulate in terms of acquiring nuclear weapons while defying the international community. He doubted Tehran would opt for an open, relatively low-threshold test like the recent one in North Korea. Rather, Iran will seek ways to bypass the NPT while ensuring its program is redundant and well-protected to prevent an irreparable military strike. Barak estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable. After that, he said, any military solution would result in unacceptable collateral damage. He also expressed concern that should Iran develop nuclear capabilities, other rogue states and/or terrorist groups would not be far behind.

"To the contrary, he argued that if the United States had directly confronted North Korea in recent years, others would be less inclined to pursue nuclear weapons programs. By avoiding confrontation with Iran, Barak argued, the U.S. faces a perception of weakness in the region".

Saudi King and Arab Leaders urged the US to attack Iran's nuclear facilities:

"King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to leaked US diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.

"The Saudi king was recorded as having "frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons programme", one cable stated. "He told you [Americans] to cut off the head of the snake," the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir said, according to a report on Abdullah's meeting with the US general David Petraeus in April 2008.

"In a conversation with a US diplomat, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain "argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their [Iran's] nuclear programme, by whatever means necessary. That programme must be stopped. The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it." Zeid Rifai, then president of the Jordanian senate, told a senior US official: "Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won't matter."

"In talks with US officials, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later. "I believe this guy is going to take us to war ... It's a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive."

"In another exchange , a senior Saudi official warned that Gulf states may develop nuclear weapons of their own, or permit them to be based in their countries to deter the perceived Iranian threat.

Mossad Chief Dagan on Diplomacy with Iran:

Another cable published by The Guardian, from later in 2009, cites a meeting of the U.S.-Israel Joint Political Military Group, in which members of Israel's Mossad spy agency said Iran was using repeated attempts to resolve the nuclear issue through diplomacy to "play for time" and evade sanctions, "while pursuing its strategic objective to obtain a military nuclear capability."

The cable also quotes Mossad representatives as believing that Iran wanted "to become a regional hegemon, and is dictating its agenda by using Hamas and Hezbollah as force multipliers."

Regarding what he considered Iran's true nuclear capabilities, a 2007 cable quoted outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan as stating that Tehran was attempting to convey a "false presentation that they have mastered the uranium enrichment process."

"The reality is," Dagan said, "that they are not there yet, and they are paying a heavy political price [sanctions] for something they have yet to achieve."

In Dagan's view, the 2007 cable stated, there wasn't an "ideological conflict within the Iranian leadership (all wish to see the destruction of Israel), but there is a growing divide on tactics with some supporting a retaliatory position against the West and others favoring new policies of moderation."

Gulf States Await Action (From Others) on Iran:

Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (AFHSC), met Mossad Director Meir Dagan on July 12 for a general discussion of regional security threats:

"Mossad Director Meir Dagan began his two-hour meeting with Townsend by expressing satisfaction with sanctions against Iran.

According to Dagan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States all fear Iran, but want someone else "to do the job for them." Dagan characterized Qatar as "a real problem," and accused Sheikh Hamid of "annoying everyone." In his view, Qatar is trying to play all sides -- Syria, Iran, Hamas -- in an effort to achieve security and some degree of independence. "I think you should remove your bases from there...seriously," said Dagan. "They have confidence only because of the U.S. presence." Dagan predicted, with some humor, that al-Jazeera would be the next cause of war in the Middle East as some Arab leaders (specifically Saudi Arabia) are willing to take drastic steps to shut down the channel, and hold Sheikh Hamid personally responsible for its provocations.