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Bergman’s piece credits Dagan’s improved Mossad, in tandem with Israel’s military and domestic intelligence, with making possible a series of blows to Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts—and to its allies.
Just some of the latter were: the Israeli air force’s almost total destruction of Hezbollah’s long-range rockets in 2006; its destruction of Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007; the 2008 assassination in Damascus of Hezbollah mastermind Imad Mughniyeh; and the air force’s massive blow to Hamas in December that year.
Yet Bergman, at the time of his 2009 op-ed, remained pessimistic. “These are all excellent achievements,” he wrote, “but did they change reality?” He answered “Mostly not,” and went on to say that “the heads of Israeli intelligence are now losing sleep over recent information showing that attempts to delay the Iranian nuclear project have failed.”
But that was before some further blows to that project in which the Mossad may have had a hand, including the assassination in November of nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari in Tehran—and most significantly, of course, the Stuxnet worm, which many see as an Israeli brainchild and may well have been one of the “malfunctions” Dagan mentioned to the Knesset committee.
If, to the story of Meir Dagan as Mossad chief, one adds Israel’s destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, then Israel emerges dramatically as the opposite of what many claim it to be: a major, even indispensable, force for stability in the Middle East and beyond.
If you doubt it, think of the implications for regional and global stability of nuclear bombs in the hands of the likes of the Saddam, Assad, and Ahmadinejad regimes.
Those intent on denigrating Israel will say, of course, it was its presence—and misdeeds—that sparked those nuclearization drives in the first place. Which is patently false, since all three of those regimes, while indeed radically hostile toward Israel, have had broader ambitions and preyed on smaller, fellow Arab or Muslim countries (such as Kuwait in Iraq’s case, Lebanon in Syria’s case, Lebanon and the Gulf states in Iran’s case, etc.).
Meir Dagan’s legacy, then, is an extension of the best in the Israeli stabilizing tradition: the prevention of catastrophe and the enabling of civilization to endure.
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