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Friday, June 29, 2012

Experts: Unlikely Israel liquidated Ranaja

Experts are dismissing as unlikely the prospect that Israel liquidated Kamal Ranaja. This is from the first link.
Former senior Mossad member Rami Igra said, "Practically, it's not reasonable that Israel or a Western country would settle accounts with a man like this, at this stage, in Syria. He's not big enough."

"He's not important enough. To assassinate him would be a very complicated, dangerous operation, and it would be taking a huge chance. I don't see Israel or any Western country willing to take this risk," Igra said, noting the unstable Syrian situation.

On the other hand, "it would not be a problem for any gang in Damascus, maybe one working for Assad, to do this," Igra added. "With certainty I can say, it was not Israel."

Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior terrorism expert from the Interdisciplinary Center's Institute for Counter-Terrorism, agreed.

He said the most likely entity behind the killing was the Syrian regime, since Ranaja may well have been "involved in smuggling weapons to the Syrian opposition," particularly to the Muslim Brotherhood.

"If he really was an aide to Mabhouh," Karmon said, referring to reports that Ranaja was the aide of the late Hamas arms smuggler assassinated in Dubai, "the he had connections to weapons smuggling. The Muslim Brotherhood are in a state of crisis with the regime. There is a reasonable chance that he provided arms to the opposition," Karmon added.

A second possibility is that Hamas itself killed Ranaja after suspecting him of pocketing cash given to him to pay for weapons, ships, and smuggling teams. "We saw this happen with Fatah, when Arafat killed his own operatives in Europe for stealing cash," Karmon noted.

The third and least likely explanation is that Israel was behind it, though it is highly doubtful that Jerusalem "would take the chance of sending a team to Damascus, which is under heavy security," Karmon argued.

"Even journalists can't get in to Damascus," he added, and the price of failure would be enormous for Israel. It was also possible, though most unlikely, that a proxy team of Palestinians hired by Israel carried out the hit, Karmon added.

"The fact is, Israel is unlikely to take such a dramatic chance for mid-level operative," Karmon concluded. "I don't believe Israel did this."
The Middle East is amazing place. There are so many people who would have wanted Ranaja dead. Israel is a small fish in this pond. Read the whole thing.

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