Yedioth: IDF Chief of Staff told US Israel has no military option against Iran

Posted: February 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, the US and us, war | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

According to reports in the Israeli media, a major reason for the bad blood between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and departing Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was their differences of the issue of Iran, and especially what Barak saw as an attempt by Ashkenazi to bypass him

Did the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran play a major role in leading to the current IDF generals’ wars? Yedioth Ahronoth’s veteran diplomatic pundit Shimon Shifer claims that one of the reasons for the all-too-public rift between Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the IDF’s departing Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was a move by Ashkenazi that was interpreted by Barak as an attempt to undermine the military option:

Discussing the bad blood between Barak and Ashkenazi, Shifer writes (my translation):

Barak claims that Ashkenazi did not respect his authority in many cases. The most serious charge is that Ashkenazi told the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral [Michael] Mullen, that talks by [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and Barak regarding an Israeli military option against Iran are empty words. Israel has no military option.

The unrest in the army’s leadership has reached new heights last week, when Barak and Netanyahu were forced to cancel the nomination of Major General Yoav Galant as the incoming Chief of Staff, after it was established that Galant didn’t tell the truth in documents involving the acquisition of agricultural lands and the construction of his home.

Despite public pressure, Barak decided not to extend Ashkenazi’s term at the head of the IDF (which will end in ten days), but rather asked Major General Yair Naveh to serve as a temporary Chief of Staff until the government approves a new candidate.

Reports in the Israeli media linked some of the recent events in the IDF leadership and the political system to the possibility of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Barak and Netanyahu are said to be favoring such an attack; Ashkenazi, as well as government ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Moshe “Bugi” Yaalon (a retired chief of staff himself) and possibly President Shimon Peres are said to be on the skeptics’ side. Speculations were that Major General Galant was more comfortable than Ashkenazi with the idea of a military strike. With him out of the picture (at least for the time being), Barak will have to look for a new candidate that would not undermine his authority on the issue of Iran.

UPDATE: reports are that Barak has made up his mind to appoint Major General Benni Ganz as the incoming Chief of Staff. Ganz dealt with Iran during his time at the IDF, and upon his retirement, he called Iran “a threat to Israel and the entire world.”

It was also speculated that the one of the main reasons for Netanyahu’s successful attempt to split Labor a few weeks ago was his desire to have Barak, a decorated officer and a former Chief of Staff, at his side when he decides to push forward with the military option.


“Israeli Wikileaks”: Kamm could face 9 years in prison

Posted: February 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: In the News | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

A plea bargain was reached in the case of Anat Kamm, the former soldier who leaked documents showing IDF senior commanders allegedly approved illegal assassinations of Palestinian militants

The Israeli media is reporting today that the general prosecution has reached a plea bargain with the attorneys of Anat Kamm. Kamm, 23, was charged with illegally obtaining and leaking 2,000 classified military documents to Haaretz’s reporter Uri Blau.

Two of the documents lead to a story in which it was revealed that senior Israeli generals, including chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and incoming chief of staff Yair Naveh, knowingly violated Supreme Court rulings by ordering the assassination of Palestinian militants even when they didn’t pose an immediate threat or when it was possible to capture them alive.

Asked about the High Court guidelines regarding assassinations under his jurisdiction, Major General Naveh said: “Leave me alone and don’t bother me with High Court guidelines.”

Yesterday, the Supreme Court allowed proceeding with Naveh’s appointment as the IDF’s new chief of staff despite the assassination orders he issued.

Anat Kamm served as a soldier on Central Command HQ under Naveh. After Haaretz published the targeted killings story, an internal security service investigation was initiated to locate the source of the leaked documents. Kamm was arrested, and Israeli media was prevented from reporting the story for several months. Only after details of her arrest were published abroad, the gag order was lifted.

If the plea-bargain is accepted, the prosecution is expected to demand a sentence of up to 9 years in prison.

Related stories:

Israeli “liberals” make light of sexual assault and assassinations by the IDF

Internal Security violated agreement with Haaretz to get to Anat Kamm