Rumsfeld: Israel shouldn't tell the US before striking Iran
Former U.S. defense secretary tells Fox News that international sanctions have had no impact on the Iranian regime • Given leaks at White House, Rumsfeld says he would not notify U.S. of Iran plans if he were in the Israeli government.
Eli Leon and Israel Hayom Staff
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "Sanctions have not influenced the Iranian regime."
Photo credit: AFP
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld expressed firm support this weekend for Israel's position on the Iran nuclear issue and said that international sanctions have not influenced the Iranian regime. Rumsfeld also said that if he were Israel, he probably wouldn't notify the U.S. of an impending strike on Iran given the current state of the relationship and frequent leaks out of the White House.
"Well, I think the prime minister of Israel, [Benjamin] Netanyahu, is probably correct," Rumsfeld said in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Thursday. "Their intelligence on Iran is excellent."
Rumsfeld said that sanctions usually don't work well over a prolonged period of time. He added that sanctions tend to hurt people more than governments.
Rumsfeld cited the example of Iraq, where sanctions didn't affect the actions of Saddam Hussein. "He kept building palaces and importing weapons and doing what he wanted to," Rumsfeld said of Hussein.
"I think any prime minister of Israel who gets up every morning and reads in the newspaper that the leadership of Iran says that the Israeli state should be annihilated, eradicated, incinerated, has to know that it's that prime minister's responsibility to see that that doesn't happen," Rumsfeld continued.
When asked how the U.S. should respond if Israel were to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, Rumsfeld said it would depend on who is in the White House at the time.
"We historically have looked at Israel as a very important relationship," Rumsfeld said. "We have been cooperative, and we have assisted them with various types of technology and weaponry."
Rumsfeld went on to speak out against White House leaks on the Iran nuclear issue.
"If I were in the Israeli government, I don't think I would notify the United States government of any intent to do anything about Iran," Rumsfeld stated. "I think that their [Israel's] relationship with the United States is such that it conceivably could leak out of the United States government that he called and that he plans to do something on Iran."
"So my guess is, given the pattern of leaks out of the White House, that any prime minister of Israel would not call the United States and give clear intentions as to what they plan to do."
Asked about Israel's capabilities to stop Iran's nuclear program, Rumsfeld said that Israel wouldn't need to destroy every Iranian nuclear site.
"All the Israelis need to do is delay them [the Iranians]," Rumsfeld said. "They [Israel] don't need to — you don't need to do something like that 100 percent, like they were able to do in Iraq when they had the bombing raid and took out the Iraqi nuclear facility, or in Syria, where they took out the Syrian nuclear facility."
Rumsfeld also spoke about the ongoing violence in Syria and said that the U.S. should provide aid to the rebels who are fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
"Syria and Iran are linked at the hip," Rumsfeld said. "They are terribly damaging to our country. They support Hamas. They support Hezbollah. They support other terrorist organizations. They are harmful to us in Iraq. They are harmful to us in Afghanistan. And they are harmful in the region."