debkafile: Barak slaps down Israeli prime minister at Knesset panel

Defense minister Ehud Barak remarked: “Words won’t stop missiles, or declarations centrifuges” after prime minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee: “Israel will not accept a nuclear-armed Iran and therefore no options are ruled out in advance for preventing it.”
Barak’s “centrifuges” barb referred to Iran’s uranium enrichment program which, like its missile program, is not only alive but thriving since Olmert came to power, while the international sanctions policy endorsed by his government is petering out.
Barak added: “A lot can be done, but the last thing needed is a surfeit of words.”
The former Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen (Res.) Aharon Zeevi summed the situation up in a position paper he published on Jan. 9:
“The NIE (US National Intelligence Estimate of Dec. 3) has clearly weakened international support for tougher sanctions against Iran, and it closes off any military option for the Bush administration. The NIE has sent a signal to Tehran that the danger of external sanctions has ended. Furthermore, the NIE has weakened Turkey and the moderate Sunni countries in the region that were seeking to build a coalition against Iran. So, ironically, the NIE opens the way for Iran to achieve its military nuclear ambitions without any interference.”
Therefore, the Israeli prime minister’s assertion that no options can be ruled out for dealing with a nuclear-armed Iran is wide of reality. As inaction persists, those options are narrowing – if not closing off.

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