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Photo: AP
Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: AP
Olmert pins hopes on Lieberman to stop Iran
Prime minister wants Israel Our Home chairman to coordinate work of Israeli agencies monitoring Tehran's nuclear drive

Beyond politics, what is the real intention behind the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Minister for Strategic Affairs?

 

Lieberman as Deputy Prime Minister, will serve as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's right-hand man to liquidate Iran's nuclear bomb before it is created.

 

Lieberman will coordinate deal with the threat on the international and security level.

 

Under instructions by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Lieberman will coordinate between the Mossad, the special services, the Committee for Atomic Energy, the IDF and the National Security Council.

 

On the eve of Lieberman's appointment, Olmert was concerned the international community's feeble effort to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

 

Following North Korea's nuclear test on October 9 Olmert was worried that Iran would be encouraged to conduct a similar test in the future, especially in light of the world's helplessness in the face of Pyongyang's daring move.

 

Beside Olmert's faith in President Bush and the United Nation to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms, the prime minister is seeking to speed up Israel's preparations for a possible confrontation with Iran.

 

"Israel will not accept a nuclear Iran," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week.

 

Olmert explained that Iran should be threatened otherwise it won't be deterred from plans to acquire nuclear weapons.

 

Olmert fears that Iran is reaching a 'no way back' stage in its nuclear program.

 

Israeli deterrence 

Reports on Monday that a new nuclear plant was set up only added pressure on Olmert to act and his first step was Lieberman's appointment as a top coordinator of all the bodies following Iran's nuclear program.

 

"The prime minister is seeking to put together and Israel deterrence force against the Iranian bomb," a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said.

 

Under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the Iranian issue was under his sole supervision. But while diplomats dealt with developments on the international community, security officials we preoccupied with intelligence and military plans.

 

The problem was the lack of coordination between the various bodies dealing with the issue. Lieberman will be asked to step into the prime minister's shoes to deal with the issue.

 

His first mission is to draft an action plan and a team that can decisions.

 

Olmert will convene ministers and security officials following the Iranian issue for a meeting next week: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livin, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Acting Justice Minister Meir Shetreet, Mossad head Meir Dagan, the head of the National Security Council, IDF Chief of Staff Lit.-Gen. Dan Halutz, Military Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, Air Force chief Maj.-Gen. Elyezer Shkedy and the head of the Atomic Energy Commission.

 

Officials said Lieberman would undermine the powers of the various bodies in charge of dealing with Iran's nuclear threat, but he would consolidate their work.

 

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