In a rare interview with the American magazine The New Republic, former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin has revealed that the coming year will be the decisive year for resolving the perceived nuclear threat from Iran, and that Israel does not require a green light from the US to attack Iran because it is willing to unilaterally strike if it concludes that doing so is necessary.
Throughout the interview Yadlin stressed that Israel should not and does not oppose any diplomatic efforts "that will halt the Iranian dash toward the nuclear bomb", but also warned that unless a reasonable deal is reached in the coming year, and by reasonable he means a deal that meets Israel's strict requirements, then he believes that Israel will have the "legitimacy to take preventive action to stop Iran".
While he was still intelligence chief back in 2010, Yadlin strongly opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak's push for a military strike against Iran, saying that diplomacy must be given a chance. However during the interview he clarfies that: "I supported them on the notion that if we come to the fork in the road, where we have to choose between very tough alternatives-the 'bomb' or the 'bombing'-I'm with the prime minister, for 'the bombing'."
And it is obvious that Yadlin now believes that such a fork in the road is fast approaching. As he says, "the Iranians are now very close". Indeed he foresees Israel taking military action "in late 2013 or early 2014, especially if America sees that Iran is not serious about reaching an acceptable agreement and only continues to buy time." He adds that by then, "the US will accept an Israeli attack".
However Yadlin also revealed that Israel is willing to carry out a strike against Iran even if the US was not in full agreement, affirming that, "Israel doesn't need America on D-Day. It can do it alone. It even can cope with the day after, but it does need the US for the decade after."
He explained that while an Israeli strike would theoretically disable Iarn's nuclear programme for about five years, more damage could be done if the US was on board.
According to the interviewer, Yadlin "is widely considered one of the nation's leading security authorities". He was one of the eight Israeli F-16 pilots that destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 and is also thought to have been a key player in Israel's discovery and destruction of a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.