Uzi Landau:'Israel's Churchill' Warns of Iran'sHitler

Kenneth R. Timmerman

Monday, Dec. 18,2006

 Former Israeli Interior Minister Uzi Landau, a leadingcontender to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, was in the UnitedStates last week to sound the alarm on Iran.

 He believes the world needs to wake up to the threat from Iran,and compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler in1938.

 "In 1938, the world faced a gathering storm, when there was afanatic enemy who publicly said he was going to destroy you, and theworld did nothing."

 Today, Iran is presenting a similar dilemma to the world withits nuclear weapons program, Landau believes. "Iran is Germany, andAhmadinejad is Hitler," he told NewsMax in an exclusiveinterview.

 Landau, who left the Israeli parliament (Knesset) last yearafter losing a leadership battle within the conservative Likud party,is poised to make a political comeback.

As minister of public security in the government of Ariel Sharon inMarch 2002 when a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered scores of Jewsat a Passover dinner, he advocated a full-scale invasion of thePalestinian territories and is known for his hard-line approach toIsrael's enemies.

During Hezbollah's attack on Israel this summer, he told NewsMax thatIsrael should strike Damascus because the Syrian government washarboring the Hezbollah leadership and allowing Iran to openly supplymissiles and other weapons to the terrorist militia in Lebanonthrough the Damascus airport.

 Landau says he was dismayed by the recommendation of theBaker-Hamilton commission for the United States to open negotiationswith Iran and Syria. "This is 1938 revisited," he said.

That was when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returnedfrom negotiations with Hitler in Munich and declared that Hitler hadpromised "peace in our time."

 "The Baker report recalls Chamberlain's policy of appeasement,"Landau said. "One would have hoped, instead, for this report to soundthe alarm."

 A stubborn British opposition leader named Winston Churchillsounded the alarm against Hitler, but no one listened to him at thetime. While not pretending to be a reborn Churchill, Landau said hebelieved it was critical to learn from the past "to make sure weavoid a similarly bleak future."

 The Islamic regime in Tehran is "motivated by a malignantideology," he said. "This is a regime that has no regard for freedom,no regard for human life, that turns its own kids into suicidebombers," he said. "You would have wished a study group of suchlearned people would alert the American people" to the threat thatIran is posing to U.S. forces in Iraq, the region, and the UnitedStates.

 "Instead, the Baker committee report reflects the belief thatif you throw sheep one after another to a hungry wolf, you will turnit into a vegetarian," he said.

 Landau noted with dismay the Baker-Hamilton report's repeatedcalls for the United States to put pressure on Israel in response tothe deteriorating security situation in Iraq.

 "What does Israel have to do with the United States gettingbogged down in Iraq?" he wondered. "This all goes back to Arabrhetoric, and State Department rhetoric. This is a view that istotally detached from the realities of the Middle East."

While the Iraq Study Group report acknowledges that Iran and Syriahave power to influence events in Iraq, it concluded that bothcountries saw it in their interest to prevent Iraq from descendinginto chaos.

 "This is simply out of touch with reality," Landau said. "Iranis very much behind the violence, as is Syria. Do the people on theBaker commission really believe they want the United States to leaveIraq as a free a democratic country? On the contrary: Syria and Iranfear a free and democratic Iraq because that example will endangertheir own dictatorial regimes."

 Understanding the goals of Iran and Syria was not all thatcomplicated, Landau said. "These things are clear to every boy in theMiddle East."

 His real concern, even more than the Baker panel's suggestionthat the United States put pressure Israel, is the message the reportsends to other countries in the Middle East who would potentiallylook to the United States for protection or support.

 "Countries such as Sudan, Qatar, Yemen and others are wonderingwith whom they should align themselves. Should they go with Iran,which these days is backed by Russia and China, or with the UnitedStates?"

 By beating up on the Iraqi government and on Israel, along-standing American ally, the Baker-Hamilton report sends themessage that it is worse to be a friend of America than to beAmerica's enemy. "Who is going to make an alliance with a brokenreed?" Landau said.

 Faced with Iran's nuclear program, Landau believes Israel musttake a "conservative" view. "We have to do whatever we can to stopthem," he said.

 Whether Iran is two, three, or five years from the bomb, whatis clear is that they are building facilities "capable of producing25 atomic bombs a year," he added.

 Iran has already test-fired missiles capable of reachingEurope, and have announced they are working on a future generationmissile that can reach the United States. "They mean business,"Landau said.

 Landau said the U.S. and its allies also needed to keep an eyeon Iranian subversion in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich eastern province."Iran's political objective is to gain dominance in this region, andif they do, they will become a power with global influence that willdominate the air and maritime routes connecting Southwest Asia andthe Far East to Europe and the West."

 Should Iran ever reach that point, "it will be a totallydifferent kind of ball game," he said. "I think we need to alert thefree world. This is a global plan in the service of a madideology."

 Earlier this week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert broke 40 years ofambiguity toward Israel's alleged nuclear weapons arsenal in aninterview with a German television network.

Olmert was widely condemned in Israel for his remarks, which openlyreferred to Israel as a nuclear weapons state. Former Likudcolleague, Yuval Steinitz, called on him to resign.

 Landau pointed out that "there is no change in Israel's policy"of nuclear ambiguity, but said he would withhold further commentuntil returning to Israel next week.

 For some, politics still stops at the nation's shores.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is president of the Middle East Data Project,author of "Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown withIran," and a contributing editor to