Jerusalem: Israel would not be able to withstand a regional conflict ignited by an aerial strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but can delay Tehran’s acquisition of the bomb, a former chief of Mossad spy agency has warned.
Contrary to Israel’s declared position to “keep all options open on the table”, Meir Dagan said a strike to foil Iran’s nuclear ambition would create a security challenge that would become “unbearable”.
“If anyone seriously considers (a strike) he needs to understand that he’s dragging Israel into a regional war that it would not know how to get out of. The security challenge would become unbearable,” Dagan was quoted as saying by Ha’aretz daily at a conference in Tel Aviv.
Israel has declared Iran’s nuclear programme an “existential threat” and its leaders have threatened with possible military action to foil the same from time to time.
The former spy chief underlined that the “military option is the last alternative, not preferred or possible, but a last resort. Every other alternative must be weighed before the use of force.”
Dagan’s frank admission comes close to an earlier statement last month that a future Israel Air Force (IAF) attack on Iranian nuclear facilities was “the stupidest thing I have ever heard.”
Dagan, who retired in September, has been dubbed Israel’s superman in various parts of the Arab world and the ‘Person of the Year’ by some Israeli media outlets in the past for various daring acts attributed to him in the foreign press.
Participating in the discussion, Zhang Junshe, vice-president of China’s Naval Research Institute, said there was “no discernible naval arms race, but modernisation”.
“China pursues a national defence policy which is purely defensive in nature, and implements a strategy of active defence,” he said, adding “Where conflict threatens our national interests, a strong navy can deter the ambitions of aggressors and protect our citizens while working to maintain good order at sea.”
Ball said that during the 1980s and 1990s, Asian countries spent on replacing obsolescent equipment and modernisation.
This century had seen the rise of “action-reaction dynamics”, shown by the acquisition of destroyers and frigates; large amphibious transports, helicopter carriers and “sea control ships”; submarines and anti-submarine capabilities; sea-based air and missile defence platforms; and electronic warfare systems.
China now had 62 attack submarines compared with the US’s 53, Ball was quoted as saying by the Australian daily.
Taiwan had acquired 14 new frigates and four guided missile destroyers, while South Korea had built the first of three Aegis-equipped destroyers, and was constructing nine German-designed submarines.
During the more predictable, bipolar Cold War situation, there were numerous arrangements, constraints and firebreaks, he said.
Now, however, “there are no arms control regimes whatsoever in Asia that might constrain or constrict acquisitions, which since 2000 have all been aimed at one or other particular neighbour”, Ball said. Agencies