Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Quits

Ehud Barak along with Meir Dagan were two of the most visible opponents of an Israeli attack on Iran.

By AMY TEIBEL | AP | NOVEMBER 26, 2012

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday abruptly announced he was quitting politics, injecting new turmoil into the Israeli political system weeks ahead of general elections.

Barak, Israel’s most-decorated soldier and one-time prime minister, said he would stay on in his current post until a new government is formed following the Jan. 22 balloting.

His resignation could mean the departure of the most moderating influence on hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who holds a wide lead in polls and is expected to easily win re-election. Barak, who heads a small centrist faction in parliament, often served as Netanyahu’s unofficial envoy to Washington to smooth over differences with the Obama White House.

His impending departure comes at a key time for Israel, as the nation struggles to find its way in a region where the old order of Arab autocrats has been swept aside by the Arab Spring and the rise of Islamist political parties. Israel also faces a looming decision on whether to attack Iran’s nuclear program, which the Jewish state fears is designed to develop atomic weapons — a charge Tehran denies.

Less than a week ago, Barak led an eight-day military offensive against the Hamas militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. The fighting, aimed at ending rocket fire from the Palestinian territory. ended in a fragile truce.

“I didn’t make this decision (to leave politics) without hesitating, but I made it wholeheartedly,” he told a hastily arranged news conference, saying he had been wrestling with the decision for weeks.

He evaded repeated questions about whether he might agree to serve as a Cabinet minister in an upcoming government, leaving open the possibility that he might still retain an impact on Israeli politics. While most Cabinet ministers also hold parliamentary seats, they do not have to be elected lawmakers, and such appointments have been made in the past.

Barak, 70, made the surprise announcement even after polls showed his breakaway Independence Party gaining momentum after the Gaza campaign.

Despite the bump in the polls, Barak still could have found himself fighting for his political survival once election day rolls around. Surveys before the Gaza operation were unkind to his party, at times showing it polling too weakly to even send a single representative to parliament.

“I feel I have exhausted my political activity, which had never been an object of desire for me. There are many ways for me to serve the country, not just through politics,” he said, adding that his decision was spurred in part by his desire to spend more time with his family.

Possible replacements include Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon, a former military chief, and Shaul Mofaz, a former military chief and defense minister, who now serves as chairman of the opposition Kadima Party.

Barak’s political career was as turbulent as his 36-year military career was dazzling.

The former war hero and military chief of staff blazed into politics on the coattails of his mentor, Yitzhak Rabin, and had been viewed by many as his heir apparent. With a resume that includes commanding some of Israel’s most daring hostage rescue operations and raids, Barak was elected prime minister from the centrist Labor Party in 1999 — just four years after retiring from the military. Many Israelis hoped he would parlay what was seen as his sharp strategic mind and unorthodox methods on the battlefield into long-elusive accords with the Palestinians and Syria.

But the consensus-building so important in the political arena did not mesh well with the go-it-alone style that served him in the military. Political allies and foes alike considered Barak aloof and imperious, and others questioned whether he possessed the interpersonal skills necessary to negotiate elusive accords with Israel’s enemies.

Disappointed with his performance, Israeli voters booted Barak out of the premier’s office in record time — less than two years — after his government unraveled with the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising and the collapse of U.S.-sponsored peace talks.

Hard-liner Ariel Sharon trounced him in a 2001 election. Barak left behind a legacy of failed peacemaking with the Palestinians and Syria, despite unprecedented offers of sweeping territorial concessions, and a contentious decision to end Israel’s 18-year military occupation of south Lebanon overnight, which created a vacuum quickly filled by the anti-Israel Hezbollah guerrilla group.

For six years, the onetime Labor leader kept himself busy with lucrative speaking engagements and business consulting, reportedly amassing millions and cementing his image as a politician out of touch with his constituents.

But Barak returned to politics in 2007, handily recapturing the Labor leadership and replacing civilian Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who led a much-criticized war in Lebanon the previous summer.

But while Israelis liked Barak as defense minister, they didn’t want him as their prime minister, and his party, which had led Israel to independence and governed the nation for its first three decades, lost its public appeal. In the 2009 election that brought Netanyahu to power, Labor won an all-time low of 13 of parliament’s 120 seats.

Barak’s dovish base turned on him after he led Labor into Netanyahu’s conservative government, accusing Barak of betraying the party’s ideals by joining forces with a man who at the time did not even recognize the principle of a Palestinian state.

In January 2011, he bolted Labor to form a new party, Independence, which has largely failed to resonate with the public.

Israeli hard-liners disliked him, too, accusing him of undermining the West Bank settlement movement by holding up building approvals, clearing squatters from West Bank homes and encouraging Netanyahu to support a temporary settlement construction slowdown.

But if Barak was unpopular with the public, he retained his clout with Netanyahu, whom he commanded in an elite special operations unit. As the prime minister’s point man with the United States, Barak was welcomed in Washington as a moderating influence on Netanyahu’s hard line policies toward the Arab world and Iran’s nuclear program.

That alliance saw some rocky times recently with reports the prime minister objected to Barak’s newly moderate tone that Israel should defer to the U.S. in deciding whether to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

But the two seemed to have patched up things, appearing to work harmoniously on the recent Gaza campaign.

In a statement Monday, Netanyahu said he “respected” Barak’s decision.

Mossad e o Exército Israelense se negaram a criar plano de ataque contra o Irã

POR LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | 18 NOVEMBRO, 2012

Todo mundo sabe que Benjamin Netanyahu, o primeiro-ministro israelense, e o seu ministro da Defesa, Ehud Barak, mal podem esperar para bombardear o Irã. Todo mundo, também, está consciente de sua incapacidade de convencer os seus militares sobre a inevitabilidade de um ataque iraniano a Israel.

Também está claro que o governo liderado por Barack Obama não gostaria de realizar um ataque ao Irã – pelo menos não neste momento – apesar do espírito de luta mostrado por Netanyahu, principalmente ao longo dos últimos dois ou três meses. Se George Bush ou Mitt Romney tivessem sido presidentes nos últimos quatro anos, o ataque ao Irã seria teria uma melhor chance de ocorrer do que durante o tempo que Obama está no cargo.

O que não se sabia é que tanto Mossad quanto o exército israelense se recusaram a preparar um plano para atacar o Irã. O plano foi solicitado por Netanyahu, de acordo com o Canal 2 da televisão israelense. O atual primeiro-ministro pediu a elaboração de planos específicos e ainda ordenou que o país se preparasse para um ataque iminente em 2010. Mossad e o Exército, ao contrário do que Netanyahu tinha em mente, se recusaram a criar ou implementar tais planos.

Gabi Ashkenazi, então chefe de estado, e Meir Dagan, chefe do Mossad, mostraram a sua oposição aos líderes políticos e deixaram claro que um ataque ao Irã seria equivalente a uma declaração de guerra, o que eles consideravam um erro estratégico de primeira ordem.

Uvda foi o programa do Canal 2 que fez as revelações na noite de segunda-feira em Israel, segundo foi anunciado pela imprensa local. A reportagem fala de uma reunião que aconteceu em 2010 e contou com a presença de sete ministros do Executivo.

Imediatamente após a reunião e pouco antes de Ashkenazi e Dagan saíram dessa reunião, Netanyahu ordenou a elevar o nível de alerta chamado “P Plus”, o código usado para a preparação para um ataque militar iminente.

Dada a incerteza do Primeiro-Ministro, Ashkenazi e Dagan se recusaram, informou o jornal Yedioth Ahronoth. “Você pode estar tomando uma decisão ilegal em ir à guerra”, Dagan disse a Netanyahu.

O chefe do Mossad estava se referindo às implicações políticas da declaração desta suposta declaração de guerra. O fato de que Netanyahu ordenou ao exército e  Mossad a se prepararem para um ataque significa que o primeiro-ministro tentou forçar seus ministros a aprovar tal decisão e deu a si mesmo o poder de tomar decisões sobre ir à guerra sem consultar ninguém.

Uvda quis confirmar esta versão dos acontecimentos com o ministro Ehud Barak e ele os confirmou. O ministro da Defesa Barak aparentemente se distanciou de Netanyahu após a reunião por causa de sua intenção de atacar o Irã. Netanyahu disse que não iria deixar o Irã produzir uma arma nuclear.

Enquanto Teerã sustenta que suas instalações nucleares são utilizadas apenas para a energia, o Ocidente suspeita dos planos do Irã e o primeiro-ministro israelense considera uma ameaça existencial para o seu país.

No seu recente discurso à Assembléia Geral das Nações Unidas no final de setembro, Netanyahu deu a entender que o ataque ao Irã poderia esperar até a primavera ou até mesmo o próximo verão.

O primeiro-ministro calcula que, a partir deste momento, o programa nuclear do Irã poderia chegar a um ponto em que seria capaz de produzir uma bomba nuclear dentro de semanas. Washington tem se mostrado relutante até o momento em participar de aventuras militares juntamente com Netanyahu.

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Mossad y ejército israelí se negaron a crear plan de ataque contra Irán

POR LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | 9 NOVIEMBRE, 2012

Todo el mundo sabe que Benjamin Netanyahu, el primer ministro israelí, y su ministro de Defensa, Ehud Barak, no pueden esperar para bombardear Irán. Todo el mundo también es consciente de su incapacidad para convencer a sus fuerzas militares y de inteligencia con respecto a la inevitabilidad de un ataque iraní contra Israel.

También está claro que al Gobierno que preside Barack Obama no le gustaría llevar a cabo un ataque contra Irán — al menos no en este momento — a pesar del espíritu guerrero mostrado por Netanyahu, que ha quedado más claro durante los últimos dos o tres meses. Si George Bush o Mitt Romney hubieran sido presidentes en los últimos cuatro años, el ataque contra Irán tendría una mejor oportunidad de ocurrir de lo que ha tenido durante el tiempo de Obama ha estado en el cargo.

Lo que no sabíamos es que tanto el Mossad como el ejército israelí se negaron a preparar un plan para atacar Irán. El plan fue solicitado por Netanyahu, de acuerdo con el canal 2 de la televisión israelí. El actual primer ministro pidió la elaboración de planes concretos, e incluso ordenó al país a prepararse para un ataque inminente en el 2010. El Ejército y el Mossad, contrariamente a lo que Netanyahu tenía en mente, se negaron a crear o ejecutar dichos planes.

Gabi Ashkenazi, jefe del estado mayor entonces, y Meir Dagan, jefe del Mossad en ese momento, se pusieron de pie y mostraron su oposición a los líderes políticos y dejaron en claro que un ataque contra Irán sería equivalente a una declaración de guerra, la que consideraron un error estratégico de primer orden.

Uvdá (Hecho) fue el programa del canal 2 que hizo las revelaciones al aire la noche del lunes en Israel, según lo anunciado por la prensa local. El informe habla de una reunión que tuvo lugar en 2010 y que contó con la presencia de los siete principales ministros del ejecutivo.

Inmediatamente después de la reunión, y poco antes de que Ashkenazi y Dagan salieran de tal reunión, Netanyahu ordenó elevar el nivel de alerta llamado “P Plus”, el código utilizado para la preparación para un ataque militar inminente.

Dada la incertidumbre del Primer Ministro, Ashkenazi y Dagan se negaron, informó el diario Yedioth Ahronoth. “Usted puede estar tomando una decisión ilegal al ir a la guerra”, dijo Dagan a Netanyahu.

El jefe del Mossad se refería a las implicaciones políticas de esa supuesta declaración de guerra. El hecho de que Netanyahu ordenó al Ejército y el Mossad  preparar al país para un ataque significa que el primer ministro trató de obligar a sus ministros a aprobar tal decisión, y se dio a sí mismo el poder de decisión sobre ir a la guerra sin consultar a nadie.

Uvdá quiso confirmar esta versión de los hechos con el ministro Ehud Barak y este los confirmo. El ministro de Defensa Barak aparentemente se distanció de Netanyahu tras la reunión debido a su intención de atacar a Irán. Netanyahu dijo que había que no iba a dejar a Irá producir un arma nuclear.

Mientras que Teherán sostiene que sus instalaciones nucleares son exclusivamente utilizadas para producir energía, Occidente desconfía de los planes iraníes y el primer ministro israelí lo considera incluso una amenaza existencial para su país.

En su reciente discurso ante la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas a finales de septiembre, Netanyahu dio a entender que un ataque a Irán podría esperar hasta la primavera o incluso el próximo verano.

A partir de ese momento, según lo calculado por el Primer Ministro, el programa nuclear de Irán podría llegar a un punto de no retorno en el que el régimen de Teherán podría producir una bomba atómica en cuestión de semanas. Washington se ha mostrado reacio hasta ahora a participar en aventuras militares como los supuestos planes solicitados por Netanyahu.

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Mossad and Israeli Army refused to prepare plan of attack against Iran

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 6, 2012

Everyone knows Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, can’t wait to bomb Iran. Everyone is also aware of their failure to convince their military and intelligence regarding the inevitability of an Iranian led attack on Israel.

It is also clear that the government headed by Barack Obama is not fond of carrying out an attack on Iran — at least not right now — despite the warrior spirit shown by Netanyahu, which has become clearer during the past two or three months. Had George Bush or Mitt Romney been presidents for the last four years, the attack on Iran would have had a better chance of happening than it did during Obama’s time in office.

What we did not know and is that both Mossad and the Israeli army clearly refused to prepare a plan to attack Iran. The plan was supposedly requested by Netanyahu, according to channel 2 from Israeli television.  The current prime minister asked for the crafting of concrete plans and even ordered the country to prepare for an imminent attack in 2010. The Army and Mossad, contrary to what Netanyahu had in mind, refused to create or run such plans.

Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff then, and Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad at the time, stood up to the political leaders and made it clear that an attack on Iran would be tantamount to a declaration of war, which they considered a strategic error of first order.

Uvda (Done) was the program from channel 2 that made the revelations aired Monday night in Israel, as advertised by the local press. The report talks about a meeting that took place in 2010 and that was attended by the seven chief ministers of the executive.

Right after the meeting and just as Ashkenazi and Dagan were about to walk out the door, Netanyahu ordered them to raise the level of alert called “P Plus”, the code used for the preparations for an imminent military strike.

Given the uncertainty of the Prime Minister, Ashkenazi and Dagan refused, reported the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. “You may be taking an illegal decision to go to war,” said Dagan to Netanyahu.

The Mossad chief was referring to the political implications of that alleged declaration of war. The fact that Netanyahu ordered the Army and the Mossad to prepare the country for an attack means that the prime minister tried to force his cabinet ministers to approve such decision, and gave himself the power to decide to go to war without consulting anyone.

Uvda confirmed this version of events with minister Ehud Barak himself. Defense Minister Barak apparently distanced himself from Netanyahu weeks after the meeting due to his intention to attack Iran, which Netanyahu said was necessary to stop the country from producing a nuclear weapon.

While Tehran maintains that its nuclear facilities are solely used to produce energy, the West distrusts Iranian plans and the Israeli Prime Minister considers it even an existential threat to his country.

In his recent speech to the UN General Assembly on late September, Netanyahu hinted that an attack on Iran could wait until spring or even next summer.

From that moment, as calculated by the Prime Minister, Iran’s nuclear program would reach a point of no return in which the regime in Tehran could produce an atomic bomb within weeks. Washington has been reluctant so far to participate in military adventures such as the alleged plans requested by Netanyahu.

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CIA Rushing Operations on Iranian Soil

by Helen Kennedy
NY Daily News
November 15, 2011

In public Sunday, President Obama was at a summit unsuccessfully leaning on Russia and China to back diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuke program.

In private Sunday, there was more evidence of an efficient and brutal covert operation that continues to degrade Iran’s military capabilities.

Iranian officials revealed that one of the 17 men killed in a huge explosion at a munitions depot was a key Revolutionary Guard commander who headed Iran’s missile program. And the IRNA state news agency reported that scientists had discovered a new computer virus in their systems, a more sophisticated version of the Stuxnet worm deployed last year to foul up Iran’s centrifuges.

Iran said the army base explosion was an accident and the new Duqu virus was contained. But Israeli newspapers and some U.S. experts said it appeared to be more from an ongoing secret operation by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat.

The covert campaign encompasses a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and a similar explosion at another Iranian missile base two years ago both widely attributed to the Mossad.

“May there be more like it,” was all Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said when Army Radio asked about the new blast.

There was a third mysterious event: The son of a top Iranian hard-liner was found dead — a seeming suicide — in a Dubai hotel on Sunday. His father called it “suspicious” and linked to the base explosion, without elaborating.

Israel was accused of deploying the 11 agents who killed a top Hamas terrorist in a Dubai hotel last year.

Tension has risen in recent weeks between Iran and the United States as a key United Nations report said Iran was close to being able to build a nuclear weapon.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii, Obama tried to get Russia and China to back a bid to tighten sanctions on Iran, meeting individually with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Afterward, Hu didn’t even mention Iran, and Medvedev said only that he had spoken with Obama about Iran.

Obama came under withering fire from the GOP presidential candidates at a debate Saturday, when the front-runners agreed he had been too weak on Iran and vowed to go to war to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions if needed.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) slammed Obama for not being “smart” on Iran.

Gingrich said he would launch “maximum covert operations” against Iran, “including taking out their scientists. . . . All of it covertly, all of it deniable.”

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters that pressure on Iran had put its leadership in disarray, and “the Iranian economy has ground to a halt.”