Ronen Bergman on How the Iraq War Has Affected Israel
Ronen Bergman is one of Israel's leading investigative journalists. The senior security and intelligence correspondent and analyst for Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, and an anchor on a leading Israeli television news program, he is the author of three bestselling books published in Israel. He was awarded a PhD by Cambridge University for his dissertation about the Israeli Mossad.
Question: How has the dynamic between Iran and Israel been affected by the Iraq War?
Ronen Bergman: I think the major change has been done in the United States’ public opinion. Being so deep in the quicksand of Iraq, I believe that the American public would be far less tolerable to any sort of military action, even a limited one, against Iran.
The US is facing two fronts, Afghanistan and Iraq, and I don’t see the American public very fond of a third one.
From the Israeli point of view, the only lesson that was learned by intelligence experts or intelligence officers, this deals with a secret report initiated by the committee for foreign affairs and security of the parliament, investigating how come Israel was part of the general view that Saddam Hussein held WMD. And when reading the classified reports, some of it recorded in [Bergman's book], “The Secret War with Iran,” you would think that, if it wasn’t so sad and gloomy, it could have been very funny.
There’s even one story there about information received by Israeli sources, titled “Not Reliable, or “Questionably Reliable,” and sent to the United States as the regular discourse and exchange of information from the United States to Germany, from Germany to French intelligence services, and then back to Israel--but without the identification of its origin. When it was received in Israel, it was seen as corroborated information and therefore tagged "Highly Reliable" and resent to the United States.
So, by these loop circles of information, something that was deemed unreliable becomes very reliable, and lead to the conclusion, that was false, that Saddam Hussein had WMD.
Recorded: Sep 19, 2008
Americans are less likely to support military intervention; Israelis wonder how this affects relations with Iran.
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