Nuclear Iran the ‘Main Threat’ to Israel, ‘Tough Decisions’ To Make

[ 0 ] August 16, 2013 |

Dozens of people were reportedly killed in skirmishes in Egypt on Friday as those favoring the embattled Muslim Brotherhood took to the streets of Cairo and other cities to square off with armed police. On Wednesday, more than 640 people were killed when Egyptian security forces cracked down on Brotherhood loyalists marching in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. The violence in Egypt concerns the surrounding region and the broader international community, as well.

Bur Egypt isn’t the only security concern in the region. Iran and its nuclear capabilities has more than a few countries wondering what the future holds – Israel, in particular.

New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – a relative moderate who took office on Aug. 3 – appointed outgoing Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to head the Atomic Energy Organization on Friday, replacing a hardliner with a pragmatist to head up Tehran’s nuclear program. That should come as good news to Israel.

Watch General Amos Yadlin, the director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, as well as former Israeli Air Force (IAF) general and Israel Defense Forces military attaché to Washington, D.C., talk to genConnect about the threat of a nuclear iran, how to contain Tehran, and other threats facing Israel:

Click here for more video interviews from the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival 

As a former head of Israeli Intelligence and a leader in the Israeli military, Yadlin knows where Israel stands politically; he’s not naïve. “Israel faces a lot of threats,” he says, “terror from the Palestinians, civil war in Syria that can trickle down to Israel, chemical weapons, Hizballah…”

But Yadlin has confidence in his country. “We can handle it,” he insists. “Israel is a strong country with a very good military.”

“We can handle our very tough neighborhood,” he added.nuclearthreat

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Iran, however, is another story; particularly a nuclear Iran.  Yadlin says Iran’s radical regime and potential possession of nuclear weapons make it a “main threat.”

Iran has been very open about its desire to “erase israel from the map, destroy Isreal,” Yadlin says. “It is our goal … not to let Iran become nuclear.”

Israel can more easily deal with its other threat because other countries don’t possess nuclear weapons; the nuclear threat from Iran is very, very real. 

But the solution is complicated. Yadlin outlined five different but not mutually-exclusive strategies to contain Iran. They include: reaching some sort of agreement or “engagement” with Iran, implementing “tough sanctions” to ensure that Iran will make an agreement, a “regime change” to ensure the weapons are in the hands of another, less radical government that does threaten Israel, and a military intervention.

Unfortunately most of these tactics have not worked, and negotiations at a stand-still only buys time for Iran. “Even though I am not out of hope…” says Yadlin, “[but] towards the end of the year, some leaders in your country, in my country, will have to make tough decisions.”

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Amos Yadlin and President Obama

Yadlin also discussed how one who lives in the region such as the Middle East keeps from being “paralyzed” by fear, even though many countries are frequently engulfed in battle of some sort.

As for staying calm on the battlefield, Yadlin knows strong leaders harness fear rather than become paralyzed by it. “The real difference between those who can function when they fear and those who cannot function is whether the fear takes [away] your level of performance… Those [whose] fear paralyze them … they will never be a good fighter pilot, good leaders.”

“Everybody, everybody is afraid,” he insists.

As Yadlin has himself performed under pressure and led soldiers and his country through life-threatening operations, he has kept one piece of advice with him: “As you go up [the ranks] … Don’t think that you are above the law. Don’t think that if you are so successful … that it will be forever. Always be slightly paranoid that maybe you are going to fail the next operation. So try as if it will be the first one.”

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Category: Lifestyle, Politics, Views on the News

Profile photo of Amos Yadlin

About Amos Yadlin: Amos Yadlin, born in 1951, was named director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in November 2011, after more than 40 years of service in the Israel Defense Forces, ten of [...]
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