Ehud Barak is the Minister of Defense of Israel, and by far the most hawkish of all the cabinet members. While the rest of the cabinet believe that even if Iran had the bomb, the Iranian government will act rationally, Barak believes that if Iran had the bomb, Israel should deal with it by a massive air attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. The key word here is “if.” If, Iran had the bomb, or planned to build it.
But does Barak believe the Iranian government has decided to build a nuclear bomb? Judge from his own words. The following is an interview he gave last week to Israeli army radio:
Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?
Barak: … [C]onfusion stems from the fact that people ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case.…
Question: How long will it take from the moment Iran decides to turn it into effective weapons until it has nuclear warheads?
Barak: I don’t know; one has to estimate.… Some say a year, others say 18 months. It doesn’t really matter. To do that, Iran would have to announce it is leaving the [UN International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection regime and stop responding to IAEA’s criticism, etc.
Why haven’t they [the Iranians] done that? Because they realize that … when it became clear to everyone that Iran was trying to acquire nuclear weapons, this would constitute definite proof that time is actually running out. This could generate either harsher sanctions or other action against them. They do not want that.
Question: Has the United States asked or demanded that the government inform the Americans in advance, should it decide on military action?
Barak: I don’t want to get into that. We have not made a decision to opt for that, we have not decided on a decision-making date. The whole thing is very far off.…
Question: You said the whole thing is “very far off.” Do you mean weeks, months, years?
Barak: I wouldn’t want to provide any estimates. It’s certainly not urgent. I don’t want to relate to it as though tomorrow it will happen.
So, again the question we need to ask is this: Is the war-mongering of our neocon politicians really helping our ally Israel? If their Prime Minister said that they don’t need our help to defend them, and if their most hawkish cabinet member says that Iran has decided to not build the bomb, why is there still war-mongering?