Monday, November 15, 2004

Mossad on the offense

From AFP:
Dagan, a close associate of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has come under fire for launching risky operations abroad, a documentary broadcast on the private Channel 2 television said. ...

When Dagan, a reserve general, took over the agency in October 2002, Mossad turned its sights on international terrorism with a renewed focus on overseas commando operations ...

But the Israeli press has accused him of pushing the fight against "Islamic terrorism" to the top of its priority list at the expense of its information collection and analysis...

In 1970, Dagan ran a secret commando unit called Rimon, which, according to press reports, summarily executed Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip

From UPI via Washington Times:
Dagan's tendency for operations comes in stark contrast to his predecessor, Ephraim Halevy, who was more of a diplomat. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly told Channel 2 TV in a background briefing that Dagan has succeeded in turning a diplomatic organization into an operational one and that Dagan's appointment was very good.

I hope it's true mostly because I suspect it means they have a lot more information on Iran's nuclear program than most are giving them credit for. For example, from an article in this month's Atlantic concerning the likelihood of a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities:
Yet from the U.S. perspective, it looks as if a successful pre-emptive raid might be impossible-or at least so risky as to give the most determined Israeli planners pause. Partly this is because of the same lack of knowledge that handicaps the United States. ... In our scenario as in real life, the Americans thought Ariel Sharon and his successors could not be sure how many important targets were in Iran, or exactly where all of them were, or whether Israel could destroy enough of them to make the raid worth the international outrage and the likely counterattack. Plus, operationally it would be hard.

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