Report: Israel behind '08 assassination of Assad confidante, US monitors Israeli military communicationsThis guy is so secretive, I have not found his picture online.
Seven years ago next week, I reported on the apparent assassination of Mohammed Suleiman, a close confidante of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the port city of Tartus (which used to have a Russian Naval installation before Bashar was on the run). There were rumors all along that Israel had carried out the assassination.
Now, in a piece of convenient timing, it's being reported once again that Israel did it. But this time, the report is based on documents provided by Edward Snowden and confirmed by US intelligence (which by the way spies on Israeli military communications - imagine the scandal if that report were the other way around Mr. Obama) (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
While Israel has never spoken about its involvement, secret U.S. intelligence files confirm that Israeli special operations forces assassinated the general while he vacationed at his luxury villa on the Syrian coast.
The internal National Security Agency document, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, is the first official confirmation that the assassination of Suleiman was an Israeli military operation, and ends speculation that an internal dispute within the Syrian government led to his death.
A top-secret entry in the NSA’s internal version of Wikipedia, called Intellipedia, described the assassination by “Israeli naval commandos” near the port town of Tartus as the “first known instance of Israel targeting a legitimate government official.” The details of the assassination were included in a “Manhunting Timeline” within the NSA’s intelligence repository.
According to three former U.S. intelligence officers with extensive experience in the Middle East, the document’s classification markings indicate that the NSA learned of the assassination through surveillance. The officials asked that they not be identified, because they were discussing classified information.
The information in the document is labeled “SI,” which means that the intelligence was collected by monitoring communications signals. “We’ve had access to Israeli military communications for some time,” said one of the former U.S. intelligence officers.
The former officer said knowledge within the NSA about surveillance of Israeli military units is especially sensitive because the NSA has Israeli intelligence officers working jointly with its officers at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.Read the whole thing. My guess is that (a) this is true, (b) the timing was designed to throw the first of what will be many monkey wrenches in Israel's efforts to convince Congress to vote down the Iran deal, and (c) the part of the article (which I did not quote here) about Israel violating international law is meant to serve as a warning to Netanyahu not to get out of line in his efforts to defeat the Iran deal.
By the way, Netanyahu was not Prime Minister in 2008. Ehud K. Olmert was. Hmmm.