Consider this reverse scenario: four separate planes carrying hundreds of IDF soldiers crash in a single year all due to mysterious circumstances not traceable to mechanical or human failure. Israeli nuclear scientists die in bombings and under other violent circumstances. Retired Israeli generals and a deputy defense minister are kidnapped and spirited to Teheran. Mysterious explosions at Israeli missile bases leave scores dead. And a mysterious computer worm leaves the Dimona nuclear reactor virtually incapacitated. Whenever asked about any of these incidents Iranian politicians and military officers smile knowingly while Iranian media are filled with stories trumpeting the derring-do of its intelligence services. Finally, various Iranian generals, intelligence directors and political leaders publicly call for regime change in Israel, a full-fledged assault on Israel to force it to renounce its nuclear program, end the Occupation and topple the current government.
Put the shoe on the other foot and think how Israel would react if it came under the type of attack to which Israel is subjecting Iran. Of course, Israel would react with full scale war. It would warn Iran that the next such incident would invoke full-fledged hostilities. And it would be true to its word. Now compare this with how Iran has reacted to the same types of provocations. Iran has not declared war on Israel. It hasn’t demanded a Security Council session to denounce Israeli aggression. Iran is keeping its cool relatively well considering what it’s facing. Much better than Israel would under similar circumstances.
On a similar subject, a recently released Wikileaks cable reveals that Mossad chief Meir Dagan met with Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns in August, 2007. The unbelievably self-serving nonsense that emerged from Israel’s chief intelligence official is astounding. Among other things, he urged the U.S. to join together with Israel on a plan for regime change:
Turning to Iran, Dagan observed that it is in a transition period. There is debate among the leadership between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad and their respective supporters. Instability in Iran is driven by inflation and tension among ethnic minorities. This, Dagan said, presents unique opportunities, and Israelis and Americans might see a change in Iran in their lifetimes. As for Iraq, it may end up a weak, federal state…
Dagan said that more should be done to foment regime change in Iran, possibly with the support of student democracy movements, and ethnic groups (e.g., Azeris, Kurds, Baluchs) opposed to the ruling regime…Iran’s minorities are “raising their heads, and are
tempted to resort to violence.”
Dagan urged more attention on regime change, asserting that more could be done to develop the identities of ethnic minorities in Iran. He said he was sure that Israel and the U.S. could “change the ruling regime in Iran, and its attitude towards backing terror regimes.” He added, “We could also get them to delay their nuclear project. Iran could become a normal state.”
By which Dagan clearly means a state that is obedient to Israeli and U.S. interests.
Clearly, there is coöperation and coördination between the U.S. and Israel regarding covert ops/destabilization efforts against Iran as this passage of the cable indicates:
Covert Measures: Dagan and the Under Secretary agreed not to discuss this approach in the larger group setting.
Given all of the information quoted above it seems entirely credible, even certain that the Mossad, with the collaboration of internal dissident forces like Jundallah and Mujuhadeen e-Khalq, have been responsible for the series of bombings, assassinations and attempts against the lives of political leaders and nuclear scientists within Iran. The grand plan of the Mossad seems to be to combine paralyzing economic sanctions which provoke instability and unrest, with sabotage and political fragmentation to weaken the regime and eventually topple it.
The language of the cable seems to indicate that the U.S. isn’t quite on board with the regime change aspect of Israel’s plan. But certainly Dagan is quite content that existing policy and a few energetic shoves of the right direction will bring an end to the Ayatollah regime and replace it with one that is “normal” (whatever that means). One wonders what might have to be done to create an Israel that its neighbors and the rest of the world might view as “normal.”
The unfortunate truth for Dagan is that at least so far, his grand scheme has come up short. While Iran is under increasing economic distress as evidenced by yesterday’s quadrupling of the price of gasoline and announcement that other critical subsidies for bread and other necessities would be lessened or phased out, Iran remains a coherent, though troubled state. While the message doesn’t seem to have been heard in Tel Aviv, the ability of the regime to withstand the discontent following the June election fiasco indicated to any reasonable observer that this was not a political system that would go easily or willingly. It will take a lot more to topple the mullahs than a couple of bombings and a sabotaged nuclear program.
To put it even more directly, Israeli policy regarding Iran is founded on completely unrealistic, even deluded premises. As I recently heard former CIA officer Ray McGovern say about U.S. views on Iran’s nuclear program, Israel’s approach to Iran is faith-based rather than evidence-based. And faith-based policy or intelligence is the absolute worst kind. You can convince yourself of virtually anything if your analysis is not based on rock-solid evidence and reality, as Israel has done. Faith-based analysis got us into Iraq and to an extent fueled Obama’s foray into Afghanistan. Faith-based intelligence policy is hunting down Taliban militants in Pakistan with CIA drones. None of this will bring the types of changes the U.S. would like to see in the region. Just as none of the principles Dagan enunciates above will bring the type of result he wishes (a new Iranian regime).
This article was published at Tikun Olam and is reprinted here with the author’s permission