Given the astonishingly poor record of U.S. intelligence agencies when it comes to the weapons programs of hostile nations, I suggested last night that we might do well to defer to Israeli intelligence on the matter of Iran’s program. Although Israel too has made mistakes, and has interests that are not necessarily aligned with ours in every respect, its track record is far better than that of our intelligence community. (This is due perhaps to the following “imperfection” in the alignment of interests: Israel faces the prospect of annihilation if its assessments are mistaken).
Here, according to AP (via Breitbart News), is Israel’s view of whether Iran’s nuclear weapons program is proceeding:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “it’s apparently true” that Iran stopped pursuing its military nuclear program in 2003. “But in our opinion, since then it has apparently continued that program,” Barak told Army Radio. “There are differences in the assessments of different organizations in the world about this, and only time will tell who is right.” Asked if the new U.S. assessment reduced chances that the U.S. will launch a military strike on Iran, Barak said that was “possible.” However, he said, “We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the earth, even if it is from our greatest friend.”
Israel’s assessment is plausible. Iran had good reason to reconsider pursuing WMD in 2003 after we removed Saddam Hussein. Since then, its incentive to remain non-nuclear has decreased.
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