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Ex-State Department aide says Israel won’t attack Iran

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is predicting that Israel will not attack Iran, citing the strategic costs to the Jewish state and the uncertainty created by revolts across the Middle East.

"The claim Israel will attack Iran soon is not credible. The strategic costs, while not static, still outweigh the prospects of success," Mr. Crowley said on his Twitter account Monday.

"The Arab Spring has sufficiently complicated Israel's strategic calculus that it is more likely to show restraint in the immediate term," he said in a second tweet.

His statements first were reported by the Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz.

Speculation has been rampant for years that Israel might attack Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent the Islamic republic from acquiring an atomic weapon. Iran's president has called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map."

Meir Dagan, the recently retired head of Israel's Mossad intelligence service, recently has gone public with his misgivings about a military strike and his fear that the current Israeli government might launch once.

"I decided to speak because when I was in office, [Yuval] Diskin, [Gabi] Ashkenazi and I could block any dangerous adventure," he said, referring to two other recently retired security officials. "Now I am afraid that there is no one to stop Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak."

Mr. Ashkenazi, the former army chief of staff, said last month that he believes pursuing international sanctions against Iran is still Israel's "best course of action" and that there is still "a long way to to go in that sense."

He argued that existing sanctions were having an effect.

Mr. Crowley agreed on Twitter: "Iran is on the defensive, with its politics splintering and economy sputtering. There is still time to see if the pressure track can work."

Mr. Crowley resigned his post in March over remarks he made criticizing the treatment of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

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