Monday, February 2, 2015

Behind the scenes - Yoav Limor



by Yoav Limor


The reports attested as to the intimate defense relations between Israel and the U.S., which go beyond the exchange of information, to the fact that each party is willing to place its security and the security of any assets on the ground in the other party's hands.

It is a rare occasion when the public gets a glimpse into covert operations such as the 2008 Damascus assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh, which was, according to The Washington Post and Newsweek, the result of a secret Israeli-American collaboration.

The details offered by both reports are mind-boggling: The arguments in Washington; the search for an advanced, precision explosive device that would eliminate Mughniyeh but cause little to no collateral damage, and details about the 25 tests performed until the proper explosive device was found; transferring the device to Syria via Jordan; the way the lay of the land was studied and scrutinized, right down to finding the perfect place to park the car which carried the explosives; and the daily surveillance of Mughniyeh for over two months, to make sure they knew his every move.

Another astounding detail revealed by the reports was that the operation that targeted Mughniyeh, could have also targeted Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Quds Force, which is widely considered to be Tehran's black ops arm, and the man responsible for spreading Iran's evil around the world.

The reports delved into tactical and strategic details alike, saying that contrary to early reports suggesting the explosive device was hidden inside the driver's seat, it was actually planted in the spare tire, and stating that this was not solely a blue-and-white production, but a blue-and-white and stars-and-stripes production, and while it was agreed that Israel would push the proverbial button, it was also agreed that it would not do so until Washington gave it the green light.

The reports attested as to the intimate defense relations between Israel and the U.S., which go beyond the exchange of information, to the fact that each party is willing to place its security and the security of any assets on the ground in the other party's hands. 

This, of course, is not the only example of this kind of cooperation. According to foreign media reports, 2011's Operation Olympic Games, which saw the Stuxnet virus ravage computer systems at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, reportedly destroying roughly a fifth of Iran's nuclear centrifuges by causing them to spin out of control, was an Israeli-American collaboration; and according to WikiLeaks, prior to the alleged Israeli strike on Syria's al-Kibar nuclear facility in 2007, Washington had assisted Jerusalem is verifying that the target was indeed a nuclear installation.

The detailed reports, as well as the fact that they appeared in two major publications simultaneously, makes one wonder as to any potential motives regarding their timing. It is possible that this was a belated American desire to claim credit, or perhaps an attempt to show how when both administrations get along there is nothing they cannot achieve -- a hint at the strained relationship Israel and the U.S. are currently experiencing. 

The latter is rather a flimsy possibility, as chances are these reports have been in the making for a long time and also because they embarrass not only Israel, but the U.S. as well: So far, Hezbollah has held Israel solely responsible for Mughniyeh's death and has vowed to exact revenge accordingly. Attributing the assassination to a joint Israel-U.S. operation has potentially placed the U.S. in Hezbollah's crosshairs.

Another issue that arose from the reports, although in a more minor way, was the orderly fashion in which Washington green-lights assassinations of this kind, including meticulous legal counsel throughout the entire process, and strict do's and don'ts for everyone involved. These operations are never rushed, and they are always the product of careful thinking and in-depth planning. The situation in Israel is believed to be similar, but the volatility of such operations mandate that no one's finger be quick on the trigger.


Yoav Limor

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=11445

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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