Israel’s dovish former prime minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday that a military operation to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program is more comparable to the pinpoint mission to kill Osama bin Laden that to a full scale war.
In an interview on CNBC, Barak said the operation would take only “a fraction of one night” and added that “the Iranians can do nothing about it, except for attacking Israel.”
“The administration uses the term ‘war,’” Barak said “and people are thinking that probably it is something like a war on Iraq or a war on Afghanistan, [but] that’s not the case. Technically speaking, the Pentagon and the armed forces of America under the backing and probably directive of the [US] president [could] create an extremely effective means to destroy the Iranian nuclear military program over a fraction of one night.”
Barak, who also served as Israel’s defense minister, said that on a “spectrum between the War on Iraq and the killing of Osama bin Laden it is much closer to killing Osama bin Laden.”
This “is something that should be understood” Barak added, “the Iranians can do nothing about it, except for attacking Israel.”
Barak’s assessment of what a military intervention against Iran’s nuclear program might look like followed his advice that Iran should be given a clear ultimatum to abandon its nuclear project “or else.” He sharply criticized the White House’s negotiation strategy saying that US concessions are far more entrenched than Iran’s because as a democracy the US can’t shift its positions on a whim.
He said, “All of us prefer a solution that might be reached through negotiations, but in order to negotiate, the other side should understand and believe… that if they will not come to terms with the real demands, to put all of the enriched material out of Iran, to close Fordo, to stop all working on weaponization, on making the preparations for weapons. If all this is not agreed right now, they face the alternatives.”
The former prime minister’s comments serve as an indication of how widespread the criticism of the recently announced framework agreement is in Israel, spanning across the political spectrum.
Barak also had words of praise for President Obama and said that he was confident that the president was well intentioned.
“The support of the administration to Israel in security, the cooperation and intelligence is unprecedented,” he said. “I don’t question for a moment the commitment of President Obama and everyone in that administration for the security of Israel.”