The former head of Israel’s secretive Mossad, retired Gen. Meir Dagan, is surprisingly forthcoming when it comes to the subject of Iran. Dagan, now a consultant in Switzerland, thinks Israel would be stupid to attack.
ZURICH -- People in the geopolitical risk analysis business usually go out of their way not to draw attention to themselves. Which is why it's all the more astonishing that Arcanum (Latin for "secret"), an international consulting firm based in Zurich, revealed Wednesday that its newest consultant is none other than the former head of Mossad, Israel's secret service agency. The new addition, Meir Dagan, headed Mossad for eight years before retiring in January 2011. He is now 67 years old.
The Arcanum job is not full time. "Meir Dagan will be consulted in specific areas such as the defense sector, where his experience as a general is extremely valuable," said company spokesman Thomas Landgraf. Economic interests also underlie the firm's sudden openness, Landgraf added: word of mouth publicity is important to the firm, but occasional media presence doesn't hurt, he said. Arcanum's offices are located in one of Zurich's most prestigious buildings on General Guisan Quai. Mr. Dagan will not have an actual office there.
Attack would lead to regional war
If during his time as secret service chief Dagan was intensely low profile, since his retirement he has been considerably more voluble -- and he warns of the dangers of a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear installations, calling it the "dumbest idea" he ever heard of. Such an attack would lead to a regional war, he says.
As head of Mossad, Dagan used other tactics to hinder the Iranian nuclear program from pursuing military aims, such as taking out key Iranian nuclear scientists. The introduction of the Stuxnet virus into the program's computer system was in all likelihood also the work of Mossad.
Dagan, who served in the Israeli army for 32 years, was both admired and feared for his bluntness. When he appointed Dagan to the top Mossad job in 2002, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised the ex-general's special talent for "separating an Arab's head from his body."
The two men have known each other since the early 1970s, and fought side by side in the Yom Kippur War. Dagan was Israel's longest-serving Mossad boss, and he succeeded in improving the secret service's image. However, towards the end of his tenure the agency was involved in a number of botched jobs. Dagan was sharply criticized in particular for the murder of a Hamas arms dealer in Dubai.
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