The "I-Word"
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem
March 16th, 2012
02:55 PM ET

The "I-Word"

By Kevin Flower

Not long before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threeday visit to the United States earlier this month, a senior government official in Jerusalem said the Israeli leader had issued strict orders to members of his cabinet “not to mention the I-word”.

There had been, said the official, too much talk and rampant media speculation about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program. He suggested that Netanyahu, before his important visit to the White House, wanted to lower the temperature after weeks of heated war talk in Israel and the United States.


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Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Nuclear • Security Brief • weapons
February 13th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Israeli embassy vehicles targeted, Iran blamed

By Kevin Flower, reporting from Jerusalem

Four people were wounded when an explosive device attached to an Israeli Embassy van detonated near the Israeli mission in New Delhi, officials said Monday.

It was one of two explosives discovered on Israeli Embassy vehicles Monday. The other was found on an embassy car in Tblisi, Georgia, and that device was detonated in a controlled explosion with no injuries, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed both incidents on Iran, calling it "the biggest exporter of terror in the world."

Israeli Foreign Ministry personnel based overseas have been on alert in recent weeks to the heightened possibility of attacks at Israeli facilities by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Muslim militant group and political party.

Sunday was the fourth anniversary of the death of Hezbollah leader Imad Mugniyah, who was killed in a car bombing in Damascus, Syria in 2008. His death is believed by many to have been the result of an operation by the Israeli spy agency Mossad.

Read more of Kevin's reporting here

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Filed under: Hezbollah • Iran • Lebanon
February 3rd, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Iran on their minds

By Kevin Flower reporting from Herzliya

Every year the who's who of Israel's national security community gather in the tony seaside city of Herzliya for a three-day conference that organizers describe as "an informed debate on the most pressing issues on the national and international agendas."

The 12-year-old Herzliya Conference has in short time become one of the most important forums for open discussion of Israel's national security and foreign policy objectives.

In 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used the conference to announce his support of the "road map" for peace with the Palestinians, and in 2006 his successor, Ehud Olmert, told conference attendees that he supported the creation of a Palestinian state and that Israel would have to give up parts of the West Bank if it were to remain a Jewish majority country.

In keeping with tradition, Israeli politicians and military leaders lined up to hear speeches and participate in panels at this week's conference, which ended Thursday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Analysis • Iran • Israel • Middle East
February 2nd, 2012
09:28 AM ET

Israel: Iran developing long-range missiles

By Kevin Flower

Iran is developing a missile capable of delivering payloads up to 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) away, Israel's vice prime minister charged Thursday.

Speaking to Israel's annual Herzliya national security conference, Moshe Ya'alon, who also serves as Israel's minister for strategic affairs, suggested that an Iranian military compound that mysteriously blew up late last year was developing a long-range missile capable of hitting the United States.

Ya'alon said the project was "aimed at America, not us" and said it served as further argument that Iran posed a "military problem" that needed to be stopped.

"Such a non-conventional regime should not have such non-conventional capabilities," he added.

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Filed under: Iran
Yadlin: Keep Iran military options on table
File footage of an Israeli F-15
January 24th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Yadlin: Keep Iran military options on table

By David McKenzie and Kevin Flower reporting from Jerusalem

Amos Yadlin, the recently retired chief of of Israeli military intelligence, told CNN’s David McKenzie today that while newly announced sanctions against Iran were certainly welcome, the option of using force against the country’s nuclear program should not be taken off the table.

Yadlin sat down with CNN for a rare television interview today in Tel Aviv, the first with a foreign reporter since stepping down from his post as head of army intelligence.

"All strategies all options should be on the table simultaneously," Yadlin said.

"Including a strike against Iran?" asked McKenzie.

"If the Iranians will not see a credible action against their nuclear sites and their facilities, if they will not assess at the end of the day what President Obama has said that he will not let Iran be nuclear by all means, that all the options are on the table. This is very important," explained Yadlin. FULL POST

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Filed under: Iran • Israel • Nuclear
On Iran, US and Israel not fully in synch
January 20th, 2012
08:09 AM ET

On Iran, US and Israel not fully in synch

By Kevin Flower reporting from Jerusalem

America's top military official began a series of high-profile meetings with Israeli leaders Friday amid growing international concerns that the Israeli government could act on its own to thwart Iran's nuclear program.

In his first trip to Israel since being named the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey appeared to downplay differences in policy between the two countries and stress U.S. – Israeli cooperation.

Meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Lt. General Benny Gantz, Dempsey said his visit reflected "the commitment we have with each other, and I'm here to assure you that's the case."

Gantz echoed the importance of cooperation between the two nations but appeared to allude to differences in policy approaches. FULL POST

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Filed under: Dempsey • Iran • Israel • Military
Barak: Decision to attack Iran "very far off"
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
January 18th, 2012
06:59 AM ET

Barak: Decision to attack Iran "very far off"

By CNN's Kevin Flower

Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that an Israeli decision on whether to strike Iran’s nuclear program was “very far off”.

Speaking to Israeli Army Radio, Barak would not offer a concrete estimate as to when he believes Iran may develop a nuclear weapon.

“I don’t know its a long way off. Some will say a few years some will say six months. It really doesn't matter.”

Pressed on whether the decision to use force might be weeks or months away Barak said “I wouldn't want to make any estimates. It’s not urgent.”


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Filed under: Diplomacy • Foreign Policy • Intelligence • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Military • Nuclear
Israel's Iran intentions debated
A picture taken near Israel coastal Palmachim military base shows the launching of a rocket-propulsion system on November 2.
November 2nd, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Israel's Iran intentions debated

By Kevin Flower

Is Israel on the verge of initiating a military strike against Iran? If you've been reading Israel's newspapers or watching its news broadcast the last few days, you might think so.

The drums already are beating as the International Atomic Energy Agency prepares to release a report next week on Iran's nuclear program, specifically on research and development that Tehran may have carried out that would help it to build a nuclear warhead.

In Israel, the debate over how to stop Iran went critical last Friday when Israel's largest newspaper, Yedioth Aronoth, published a report headlined "Atomic Pressure" by renowned columnist Nahum Barnea that suggested Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both supported an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear program.