Hezbollah operatives and Iranian military officials, is a sign that things are going to get worse in the volatile area that encompasses southern Lebanon, Syria, northern Jordan, and northern Israel. (See also here and here.)
Among those killed were high-ranking Iranian officials connected with Hezbollah’s use of Iranian-supplied ballistic missiles, and with Iranian Special Forces units that focus on raids and small-unit tactics. In the words of a retired Israeli general (see first link, and below), this was a very high-level convoy, clearly preparing for serious incursions against northern Israel.
Meanwhile, we’ve reached the point in the post-Arab Spring Middle East at which many of the spin-off developments – perhaps most of them – are a consequence of the policies followed by the Obama administration. Although there have been long-term policy failures, it’s a specific, proximate policy failure that opened the door to the current result in the Golan Heights.
Because of the strategic importance of the terrain, Iran and Hezbollah have been building infrastructure there for some time. But their interest in the Golan skyrocketed in December.
A door opened by the Obama administration
The reason: ISIS gained a foothold there when the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade of the Free Syrian Army “defected” from the de facto alliance with the U.S.-Arab coalition against Assad, and declared its allegiance to ISIS. The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade had been one of the most active rebel factions holding territory directly adjacent to the “area of separation” between Syria and Israel administered (in theory) by the UN. In particular, it has held the southern line of confrontation with Syrian regime forces, in the transit corridor leading to the Quneitra border crossing.
That defection didn’t happen in a vacuum. It happened because in early December, the Obama administration disclosed (through the back door), after more than two years of cooperation with the FSA, that it would not be working with them to build a defense force in Syria.
The point here is not that Obama should have stayed with the wrong allies. The point is that passivity, lack of leadership, and ally-hopping have consequences. Part of picking allies is shaping who they are and what expectations they have. It starts with having common and enduring goals with those allies, which keep both sides committed. These things matter to a responsible power, at any rate. The Obama administration has consistently failed to exhibit signs of being one.
The failure has had a game-changing result in the Golan. Now ISIS is there, with an entrenched infrastructure handed to it by FSA factions, and Iran can’t afford to ignore that. Iran isn’t going to let ISIS build up a stronghold of its own on the Syrian border with Israel.
But don’t imagine that that means Iran and ISIS will be having at it. Think Persian. Certainly, the Iranians and Hezbollah want to be able to operate in the Golan, and attack Israel from it. But Iran and Hezbollah don’t want to invite retaliation from Israel on southern Lebanon, where it’s important to them to protect their own stronghold. Iran would like to get Israel shooting into Syria.
Israel has so far managed to keep that necessity limited. Until very recently, the impression of the situation in the Golan has been that it is relatively stable: worrisome, but not unstable to the point of being an exploitable opportunity for one or more bad guys. Iran would like to change that, in part because preoccupying the Israelis with self-defense is the key to limiting Israel’s strategic reach against Iran. The objects of that reach include, but are not limited to, the nuclear and missile programs inside Iran.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened this week’s Sunday cabinet meeting with a grim warning about the current negotiations taking place between world powers and Iran — and the implications for Israel.
World powers currently negotiating with Iran are liable to reach a framework agreement in the coming weeks, Netanyahu said in a statement at the start of the meeting.
The agreement, if reached, is “an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger, first and foremost, the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu warned.
“This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iran,” he continued. “This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
In a clear response to the past week’s brouhaha over Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress – not a first-time event for the prime minister in any case – Netanyahu then added:
“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”
For those readers who have become avid fans of the soap opera unfolding in the White House around the drama between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a tidbit just for you.
On Friday, as the White House press corps was engaged in its usual back-and-forth with spokesperson Josh Earnest, they finally managed to force a truth from his lips: The President and the Prime Minister, he said, have a “fundamental disagreement” about diplomatic talks with Iran.
Netanyahu “doesn’t share [Obama's] view,” Earnest admitted. But still, he claimed, those “differences of opinion” don’t undermine the “unshakable” American commitment to Israel’s security.
On America’s terms, of course. And if it happens to prove mistaken and an existential threat to the Jewish State, which is about the size of New Jersey, well. . .
As it happens, most members of Congress also have a “fundamental disagreement” with the President about the diplomatic talks with Iran, it seems. Not just the Republicans, who comprise the majority in both houses, but there are a fair number of Democrats who also believe Iran is using the talks simply to gain more time for its covert nuclear development activities.
And Iranians have long made it clear both in the street and in their mosques that their targets will not be limited to Israel; America is in the cross-hairs as well. Members of the intelligence community are well aware of it, as are members of Congress and the Israeli government.
So as early as last October, U.S. Rep. John Boehner was talking to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu to address the Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. The formal invitation was made public last week – and accepted as well – to the apparent “surprise” of the White House.
It’s a bit hard to believe that any of The President’s Men – or Women – could be caught off guard. But let’s leave that bit for quiet contemplation.
It turns out the annual AIPAC conference is being held in March this year – a “must” for every Israeli head of state, and Netanyahu is no exception. The address to Congress made much more sense scheduled around AIPAC, and was penciled in for the same week.
Utter fury at the White House. Sarcastic remarks from press secretary Josh Earnest, with a reference to the Speaker of the House making a “departure from protocol.” On the Prime Minister’s visit, Earnest was altogether tight-lipped, saying his boss was “reserving judgment.”
Later reporters were told that neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Israel’s head of state while he is in Washington for both events.
Imagine. One of America’s “closest allies” comes to the capital and neither the President nor the Secretary of State makes time to meet with him, when the United States shares military, intelligence, economy, academic and who knows how many other priorities with Israel.
Not to mention their “differences of opinion” that are so important to work out – something that one would believe an administration so committed to the process of “diplomacy” would consider a priority.
The White House spokesperson tried to put a good face on it.
“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” he explained Thursday.
Just days before Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment on Jan. 19, 2015, he took measures to make sure his research into the Jewish Center bombing and high-level conspiracy didn’t disappear with him, according to a Makor Rishon report.
Nisman sent an email to three friends with a backup of his research and report.
It was the last email that Israeli-Argentine writer and educator, Gustavo Daniel Perednik, received from Nisman. A few days later Nisman was found with a bullet in his head.
A month before, Perednik met with Nisman in a cafe, where Nisman told him about what he was working on. Nisman told Perednik, “In case someone murders me, all the data is saved.”
The emails were sent from Nisman’s private, secure account in the prosecutor’s office.
Another recipient is believed to be Jaime Stiusso, Argentina’s former chief of counterintelligence, who was fired last year by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner.
Judicial officials in Argentina dropped a bombshell Thursday and released the 300-page file prepared by prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had been murdered earlier this week, on the day before he was to deliver his testimony regarding conspiracy involving the country’s president and its (Jewish) foreign minister.
President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner immediately declared that Nisman committed suicide but reversed herself Thursday, in the face of evidence to the contrary, as well as nationwide anger at Nisman’s death.
Nisman’s investigation focused on the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AIMA).
His report accused President Kirchner of “deciding, negotiating and arranging the impunity of the Iranian fugitives in the AMIA case.” She and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman allegedly “took the criminal decision of inventing Iran’s innocence to satisfy commercial, political and geopolitical interests of the Argentine republic.”
These officials planned to get Iran off the hook in return for oil and weapons, while imaginary suspects would be fingered for the bombing,
Nisman also charged Minister Timerman with obstructing justice and had prepared to ask that his assets, worth $23 million, be frozen.
Kirchner, after flip-flopping on the suicide theory, is now trying to convince the public that Nisman was duped by people whom he wrongfully thought were intelligence agents and who gave him false information.
Kirchner is acting the part of a concerned woman who feels sorry for Nisman for being misled by people who she says were trying to act against the government, used Nisman for their own purposes, and then finished him off when they had no more use for him.
How delightful. At least she no longer believes Nisman killed himself. It’s the bad people who did it.
Earlier this week, a locksmith debunked the theory that it must have been a suicide because the bathroom door was locked. He said the service door to the late prosecutor’s apartment was closed but unlocked.
Government prosecutor Viviana Fein said that the locksmith was mistaken, insisting that the service door of Alberto Nisman’s apartment was locked when his mother and the bodyguards arrived, the Buenos Aires Herald reported.
Fein explained the different versions by pointing out that there were two locks on the service door and that Nisman’s mother had unlocked one of them before the locksmith arrived.
Argentine senator Ernesto Sanz said that if Kirchner “thinks he was killed, she needs to remove Security (Ministry) chiefs. This is very serious… If they first thought that it was a suicide and now they don’t, it is because there is someone linked to the State who convinced them of this.”
Security Secretary Sergio Berni said Nisman’s apparent murder was an “operation against the government,” according to the Herald.
“Everyone understands that this was a big operation against the government,” Berni said in a radio interview, explaining that murdering Nisman only made his complaints more serious.
In other words, if someone murdered Nisman it was not to protect Kirchner but rather to make her appear even more suspicious.
In a country where bribery and lying are part of the culture, someone has to be paid to tell the truth and not a lie. it could very well be that Iran and Hezbollah got rid of Nisman, regardless of the consequences for Timerman and Kirchner.
The most interesting, if not incredible, view on the report released by judicial officials came from Secretary to the Presidency Aníbal Fernández, who was quoted by the Herald as saying, “The complaint was not even written by Nisman.”
Among those whom Nisman fingered as being involved in the deadly bombing are Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran; Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran’s foreign minister when the AIMA Jewish center was bombed; Ali Fallahian, former chief of the Iranian intelligence ministry; Mohsen Rezai, the former director of the Revolutionary Guards; Ahmad Vahidi, former head of the Quds Force and minister of defense; Ahmad Reza Asghari, former official at the Iranian embassy; Iran’s former ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimpanpour; and Mohsen Rabbani, former attaché of the Iranian embassy in Argentina.
Argentinean president leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said Thursday it is clear to her that prosecutor Alberto Nisman did not pull the trigger of the gun that left him dead hours before he was to deliver evidence that would exposed Iran as part of a 20-year-long conspiracy of terror,
Original reports that Nisman committed suicide in his 14th-floor apartment Sunday were immediately dismissed by most of the Western world as well as by many Argentines.
Within hours, enough questions were raised that all but proved that Nisman was murdered. Iran, Hezbollah and their Argentinean agents are the most obvious suspects.
Nisman had prepared documents and testimony to present his case before a congressional committee that the bombing of the Jewish AMIA center in 1994, which killed 85 people and hundreds were wounded, was part of a chain of executions and acts of terror funded and organized by Iran and Hezbollah.
Nisman’s murder was only the latest execution.
Several Argentinean government officials were involved in a cover-up of Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing, according to Nisman’s evidence.
Government spokesman Anibal Fernandez was one of the suspects.
Framing a suicide was aimed at getting rid of Nisman neatly and cleanly, leaving Iran pure and innocent.
But whoever staged the apparent suicide left open too many holes.
If Nisman shot himself, obviously at close range, why didn’t the bullet go through the other side of his head?
Why weren’t there any signs of gunpowder? Perhaps that was because a small-caliber gun was used.
But if the door to his bathroom, where he was found dead, indeed was locked, the perpetrators of the suicide story forget to lock the service door that the murderer or murderers might have used.
A locksmith said that he had no trouble standing outside the bathroom and using a wire to punish the lock inside, which would make it appear that no else could have been in the bathroom.
But besides the fact that the service door was not locked, investigators noted that entry to the bathroom could have been gained by using a narrow corridor in which the air conditioning unit was mounted.
President Kirschner wrote in a letter posted on Twitter Thursday she is “convinced” the death was not due to suicide. Considering that he worked 10 years on the case and was on the eve of triumphant testimony fingering Iran, why would he put an end to his life?
Regardless of all the theories, Nisman is dead.
But the evidence remains.
Israel knew exactly who it was eliminating an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general in Sunday’s strike on Iranian and Hezbollah forces, according to the usually reliable al-Rai Kuwaiti newspaper.
First reports of Sunday’s attack on terrorists, known as “fighters” in sterile MediaSpeak, indicated that the aerial bombing wiped out six Hezbollah members, including a top General and an Iranian soldier.
Israel, of course, played dumb.
Reports from Iran began to surface that six Iranians were also killed including a Guards commander, and anonymous Israel officials told foreign wire services, “Huh?”
Israel’s intelligence is unarguably the best in the world. It occasional slips up, but it usually is on the mark. But someone in the top echelon was trying to sell a story that, yes, the IDF attacked terrorists who were planning to launch attacks on Israel, but did not know that one of the targets was Iranian General Mohammed Allahdadi.
Then the threats poured in like Hezbollah missiles during the Second Lebanon War. Revenge will come. Israel is doomed. Run for the sea.
Israel media analysts had a field day clawing Israeli intelligence to bits.
No one thought “out of the box” and suggested that maybe Israel was faking it to convince the Iranians, “Gee, sorry. It was an accident.”
It might have been, but it is difficult to believe that Israeli intelligence knew so many details that it was able to pinpoint the targets without knowing exactly who they are.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-may-have-been-faking-that-killing-iranian-general-was-a-fluke/2015/01/22/
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