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Former CIA Head: Obama Will Strike Iran if Needed

Former CIA Director claims Obama won't hesitate to strike Iran if needed, INSS director says US-Israel ties need to be healed.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 1/29/2014, 1:14 AM

At the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Tuesday, former CIA Director General David Petraeus spoke and claimed US President Barack Obama would use force against Iran if negotiations fell through.

"Obama will not hesitate to use force if he has proof that Iran is advancing, despite the agreements, towards a nuclear weapon, and that there is no other possibility to prevent it from doing so. He said that several times," remarked Petraeus.

The former CIA director's comments came in response to a question by Major General (res.) Amos Yadlin, the former Head of Military Intelligence and current head of INSS. Yadlin asked "how reliable is the American threat to use the military option against Iran?"

At the same conference, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned “the intermediate agreement in Geneva put Iran a mere six weeks farther from a bomb, by our estimate. ...We will not allow Iran to develop the ability to develop a nuclear weapon. That was, and remains, Israel’s position."

Petraeus also discussed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, stating "the goal of the war in Afghanistan was to allow the Afghanis to rule themselves in security. That's not a simple mission but the path ahead is paved."

Regarding Iraq, which is spiraling into growing violence, the general assessed "we left Iraq in a relatively good state. ...The violence was reduced and the oil export rose. However, the policy of the Iraqi government...severely harmed our efforts. Iraq went backwards to a great extent since the exit of American forces." 

Petraeus opined that the two wars have left the US tired of battle and wary to commit troops in the region. He added "the American policy on the Syrian issue brought confusion among our allies."

Yadlin - "Iran's nuclear program keeps me awake at night"

Yadlin spoke as well, saying "what keeps me awake at night is Iran - Iran's nuclear program is built to achieve a nuclear weapon. The main levers against Iran, the sanctions and threat of the use of military force, are being undermined and that greatly concerns me."

As for the talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), Yadlin remarked "the status quo in the Palestinian issue is not positive," noting how through the talks, relations between Israel and the US have been harmed. Reports indicate US Secretary of State John Kerry is manipulating European boycotts to pressure Israel.

"We have to return the relations to their proper path," declared Yadlin, adding "energy independence in the US is positive for Israel - the fact that Arabs won't have leverage over the Americans is positive for the interests of Israel."

"The fact that peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt are stable is a positive development. The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood regime is not in power is positive; the Brotherhood regime supported Hamas and didn't recognize Israel," concluded Yadlin.