Israel issues rare public remarks about nuclear threats om rogue states.
to listen to the Israeli position and
that, in itself, is extremely important,"
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
srael is taking unprecedented
steps in publicizing its capabili-
ties to counter what it describes
as a dire threat from rogue
Ephraim Halevy, the chief of the
Mossad security agency, hardly ever
makes public statements on Israel's
strategic assessment. But that is pre-
cisely what he did in Brussels in late
June, when he appeared before 19
NATO ambassadors and urged them
to do all they could to prevent the
Middle East from going nuclear.
The terrorist attack on America on
Sept. 11, 2001, Halevy said, "was the
official and blunt declaration of
World War III."
The strategic threat would come
from the lethal combination of sui-
cide terror and weapons of mass
destruction in the hands of Islamic
regimes opposed to the West and its
To win the war, Halevy argued,
Western nations would have to work
together to fight terror and keep the
Middle East from turning into a for-
est of nuclear-tipped missiles.
Otherwise they risk the renewal of
nuclear brinkmanship, the possibility
of nuclear terror or even all-out
Halevy's remarks came as reports
surfaced about specific U.S. plans to
oust Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But his
strategic assessment went beyond Iraq.
Israeli arms control experts say there
was no major new development in
any of the rogue states on U.S.
President George W. Bush's "axis of
evil" to trigger the Mossad chief's
But, they say, the ongoing nuclear
intentions and efforts of countries like
Iraq and Iran, and the highly specific
warnings Israeli intelligence has
picked up on Palestinian plans to
commit acts of mass destruction or
mega-terror in Tel Aviv, were enough
to prompt Israel's decision to share its
strategic concerns with the NATO
Halevy used the opportunity to
spell out the common threats to Israel
as awro y Sao,
Residents of Ramat Gan survey the damage to cars and property after an Iraqi Scud
missile hit the neighborhood during the 1991 Gulf War.
and the West and to suggest that
NATO and Israel were on the same
side in "the third world war," whereas
the Palestinians, under their present
leaders, were siding with the enemy,
and employing the same modus
Halevy's statement served a dual
purpose — to alert NATO to a gen-
uine perception of threat and to fur-
ther delegitimize the Palestinian use of
Halevy's address was part of
NATO's "Mediterranean dialogue,"
launched in 1994 with a number of
North African and Middle Eastern
countries with a view to promoting
Although the exchanges with Israel
have been the most intense and sus-
tained, the address by the Mossad
chief was a departure and raised con-
tacts to an unprecedented level.
Gerald Steinberg, an expert on arms
control at the Begin-Sadat Center for
Strategic Studies in Ramat-Gan, says
that over the past few months, the
mood in Europe and NATO has
changed to one of more sympathy for
Israel's predicament and more respect
for Israeli claims.
"There is greater NATO readiness
In his preentation, the Mossad chief
singled out four rogue states — Iran,
Iraq, Syria and Libya — all of which,
Israeli experts agree, have biological and
chemical weapons and the missiles to
That poses a considerable threat. But
the danger would be far more acute if
any of the four were to acquire nuclear
So far, only Iran and Iraq have anything
approaching the necessary infrastructure
to make a nuclear breakthrough.
According to Halevy, both Tehran
and Baghdad are doing their utmost to
produce an atomic bomb as soon as
Iran, he said, is developing "weapon-
grade capabilities," but that for "obvi-
ous reasons" he could not provide the
According to Israeli intelligence
sources, Iran could be as little as three
years away from producing a bomb;
American intelligence thinks it could
take as long as 10.
As for Iraq, Halevy said it-had been
very close to producing nuclear
weapons when the Gulf War erupted in
1991, and that it was reasonable to
assume that it renewed its efforts as
soon as United Nations inspectors left
Still, it seems, the Americans don't
think Iraq is about to go nuclear
overnight. If they did, they wouldn't
Israel Seeking U.S. Security Role
Washington/JTA — With U.S. lawmakers now focused on
the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, Israel
is hoping to play a pivotal role.
Uzi Landau, Israel's minister of public security, met con-
gressional leaders late last month to discuss the possibilities
of U.S.-Israeli cooperation within the emerging
Department of Homeland Security.
Specifically, Landau is seeking a point person within the
department to work with other countries, especially Israel.
"Israel has become a laboratory for suicide bombings and
terrorism," said a consultant to the minister, who sat in on the
U.S. meetings. "We are learning how to deal with terrorism."
Israeli officials say that Israel can provide cooperation on
research and development of homeland defense strategies.
Israel can also share information on terrorist suspects,
exchange information on how to combat individual threats,
and engage in joint training with the United States on
Many of these initiatives are already proceeding infor-
The United States has looked to Israel frequently since
the Sept. 11 attacks for counterterrorism advice, specifically
on airline security. But Landau wants the cooperation to be
formalized within the emerging new department.