Calming the Iran-Israeli Rhetoric

The Spy Who Wants Israel to Talk

By David Ignatius
Sunday, November 11, 2007; B07
JERUSALEM — Efraim Halevy, the former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, titled his memoirs “Man in the Shadows.” But now that he’s out in the sunlight, the 72-year-old retired spy chief has some surprisingly contrarian things to say about Iran and Syria. The gist of his message is that rather than constantly ratcheting up the rhetoric of confrontation, the United States and Israel should be looking for ways to establish a creative dialogue with these adversaries.
David Ignatius is one of the more dependable voices to be found in the editorial pages these days. Always well thought through, his opinions are steady and conservative (in the older and more useful meaning of that word)

“Halevy has battled for decades for Israel’s security, launching hundreds of secret missions over the years to defend the Jewish state. So he has earned the right to offer iconoclastic advice about his country’s strategic interests. At this delicate moment, he suggests, war talk about Iran is a mistake. “Sensible Iranians are not in short supply,” he confides. The challenge is to find them and to begin a serious conversation.”

In a time when voices of restraint are flooded by the tsunami of wild accusation, Ignatius is a writer to be taken seriously.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Current Affairs, check out

1 thought on “Calming the Iran-Israeli Rhetoric

  1. Iran & Israel: Love and Hate Relations

    Iran is a natural no-Arab nation for Israel security in the Middle East region. Persians and Jews have common historical and cultural links. People of Israel know that below the surface of verbal bravado from the present President of Iran and Israel, these two nations have to survive the sea of hostile Arabs. Iraq invasion of Iran was a reality check for Israel.
    The Iraqis army from 1983 to 1988 used mustard gas, tabun, sarin and possibly other chemical agents against the Iranians. Most notoriously, in 1988, Iraqi aircraft dropped sarin and mustard gas on Iraqi Kurdistan, killing up to 5,000 Iraqi Kurdish civilians.
    CIA special adviser Charles A. Duelfer in a detailed 350,000-word document (October 2004) reported “During the early years, Egyptian scientists provided consultation, technology and oversight allowing rapid advances and technological leaps in weaponization”. The Egyptians supplied Iraq with 9-foot-long Grad rockets pre-equipped with plastic inserts in the warheads to hold the poisons. In 1983, the Egyptians modified the Iraqis’ Grad 122mm multiple-launch rocket system to enable warheads to carry chemical agents. That powerful weapon system can launch 40 rockets with a range of 12 miles.
    Iraqi government paid Egypt $12 million for the service. Baghdad used nerve agents to kill thousands of Iranian soldiers and Iranian and Iraqi civilians.
    These findings are not surprising considering the integrated financial, technical, and armaments that were provided by many Arab countries to support Arabic Iraq against non-Arab Iranians and Kurds. The war began when Iraq with full encouragement of the President Ronald Regan invaded Iran on September 22, 1980. This war resulted in a death of over 250,000 Iranians and permanent physical and mental injury of several million other Iranians and Kurds. The consequence of this war was devastation for both Iraqi and Iranian people.
    Israel recognized that the same Arabic nations who supported Iraq against Iran will attack again Israel. Iran and Israel have a lot of common security interests.

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