Not Striking Iran in Time 'Greatest Failure Ever'

Dr. Uzi Arad, who was National Security Advisor when the strike was mulled, is livid over revelations on why it was aborted.

Gil Ronen ,

F-16 fighter jet
F-16 fighter jet
Flash 90

The former National Security Advisor, Dr. Uzi Arad, said Sunday that the recordings in which former prime minister Ehud Barak spoke about the aborted plans for a strike on Iran's nuclear program appeared to expose a scandalous failure.

It is unacceptable, he said, for the prime minister and senior ministers to support an attack, and for the attack not to be carried out. “The question is, why didn't they apply their full weight on this matter,” he said, according to Army Radio. “This question is important today because if Iran is in a position to have options to break out to a nuclear [weapon]... then this is the state's greatest failure ever.”

MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud), Chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Sunday the tapes should never have been made public.

"Where the hell was the Military Censor? I asked myself, how is this possible, and in all of the inquiries I've made since then, I have yet to receive a real answer on this matter,” he told Army Radio.

"I am going to summon the Military Censor's people to talk with us at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee," he promised. "We have been following the Censor's actions for years.”

Barak said in the recordings – which were made public by a pair of biographers – that in 2010, the person who prevented a strike on Iran was then-Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who said that the military preparations were "not ripe," and that in 2011-2, it was Ministers Yuval Steinitz and Moshe Yaalon who opposed it. The strike was supported, he said, by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Barak himself, who was defense minister at the time.

Steinitz and Yaalon are considered to be the ministers closest to Netanyahu. It is therefore somewhat unlikely that they would oppose a strike if Netanyahu had put full pressure on them to support it.

Liberman told the military radio station that when top secret matters like this are discussed in the open, Israel projects an image that lacks credibility and seriousness. “That is one of the reasons why Iran is embraced by the international community and why we have been pushed into a corner,” he said. “It raises questions, with other nations, to what degree Israelis can keep a secret, and to what degree you can share information with them.”