Strike on Iran`s N-assets would spark `unbearable` challenge

Israel said a strike at Iran`s N-ambition would cause a security challenge.

Last Updated: Jun 02, 2011, 22:22 PM IST

Jerusalem: Israel would not be able to
withstand a regional conflict ignited by an aerial strike on
Iran`s nuclear facilities, but can delay Tehran`s acquisition
of the bomb, a former chief of Mossad spy agency has warned.

Contrary to Israel`s declared position to "keep all
options open on the table", Meir Dagan said a strike to foil
Iran`s nuclear ambition would create a security challenge that
would become "unbearable".

"If anyone seriously considers (a strike) he needs to
understand that he`s dragging Israel into a regional war that
it would not know how to get out of. The security challenge
would become unbearable," Dagan was quoted as saying by
Ha`aretz daily at a conference in Tel Aviv.

Israel has declared Iran`s nuclear programme an
"existential threat" and its leaders have threatened with
possible military action to foil the same from time to time.

The former spy chief underlined that the "military
option is the last alternative, not preferred or possible, but
a last resort. Every other alternative must be weighed before
the use of force."

Dagan`s frank admission comes close to an earlier
statement last month that a future Israel Air Force (IAF)
attack on Iranian nuclear facilities was "the stupidest thing
I have ever heard."

Dagan, who retired in September, has been dubbed
Israel`s superman in various parts of the Arab world and the
`Person of the Year` by some Israeli media outlets in the past
for various daring acts attributed to him in the foreign
press.

Participating in the discussion, Zhang Junshe,
vice-president of China`s Naval Research Institute, said there
was "no discernible naval arms race, but modernisation".

"China pursues a national defence policy which is
purely defensive in nature, and implements a strategy of
active defence," he said, adding "Where conflict threatens our
national interests, a strong navy can deter the ambitions of
aggressors and protect our citizens while working to maintain
good order at sea."

Ball said that during the 1980s and 1990s, Asian
countries spent on replacing obsolescent equipment and
modernisation.

This century had seen the rise of "action-reaction
dynamics", shown by the acquisition of destroyers and
frigates; large amphibious transports, helicopter carriers and
"sea control ships"; submarines and anti-submarine
capabilities; sea-based air and missile defence platforms; and
electronic warfare systems.

China now had 62 attack submarines compared with the
US`s 53, Ball was quoted as saying by the Australian daily.

Taiwan had acquired 14 new frigates and four guided
missile destroyers, while South Korea had built the first of
three Aegis-equipped destroyers, and was constructing nine
German-designed submarines.

During the more predictable, bipolar Cold War
situation, there were numerous arrangements, constraints and
firebreaks, he said.

Now, however, "there are no arms control regimes
whatsoever in Asia that might constrain or constrict
acquisitions, which since 2000 have all been aimed at one or
other particular neighbour", Ball said.

PTI