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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Missing Iranian general connected to kidnapped US soldiers and to Ron Arad

An Iranian general who disappeared during a visit to Istanbul, Turkey nearly one month ago, may be connected both to the kidnapping and execution-style slaying of five American army officers in Karbala in January, as well as to the 'disappearance' of Israeli navigator Ron Arad, who has been missing since being shot down over Lebanon in 1986. Iran is accusing both the United States and Israel of being involved in the 'disappearance' of its former deputy defense minister and former member of the 'Revolutionary Guards' Ali Reza Asquari (also spelled Asgari or Azkari), 63.

Asgari disappeared from an Istanbul hotel on February 7 and no trace of him has been found. The Iranian web site BAZTAB reported that on February 6, two non-Turkish citizens paid cash for a reservation for General Asgari for three nights at the Istanbul Ceylan Hotel. Asgari landed in Istanbul on a flight from Damascus and never made it to the hotel. Instead, according to DEBKAfile, he booked himself into the more modest and cheaper Hotel Ghilan. He left his luggage in the room, walked out of the hotel – and vanished.

The Iranians have applied to Interpol to find Asgari, and the disappearance is being treated as a kidnapping and not as a defection.

Citing a "Middle East intelligence source," DEBKAfile believes that Asgari has been abducted in response to the murderous incident at Karbala cited above.
The Americans could not let this premeditated outrage go unanswered and had been hunting the Iranian general ever since.


The gunmen who abducted the American soldiers in Karbala - and then shot them dead execution-style – belonged to a special commando team of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, which was sent to Iraq especially for this mission.


The team was made up of intelligence officers who speak American English and were trained to masquerade as US troops, kidnap US soldiers and hold them as hostages for bargaining.

These officers are from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and other Arab countries, who studied in the US and can talk like Americans - even in the idiom of US troops. Teams of these masqueraders roam at large in Iraq, clad in American uniforms, armed with US weapons and driving stolen American vehicles.

Tehran’s plan was to snatch a group of US soldiers and hold them hostage against the release of the 8 Revolutionary Guards paratroops in American custody. However, according to our intelligence sources, the plan went awry for some unknown reason and the Iranian commandos decided to execute their captives before making a fast getaway from the Karbala region.

Tehran views this operation as a fiasco because it did not achieve its goal. At the same time, Iranian intelligence has not been put off its plan to take American soldiers hostage in Iraq. Its chiefs are determined to do whatever it takes to obtain the release of the third top man of the Revolutionary Guards al Quds division, Col. Fars Hassami, who DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports is not the only high-profile Iranian officer in American hands. Another is Mohammad Jaafari Sahra-Rudi, who was the kingpin of Iran’s terrorist operations in large parts of Iraq. His long record includes leading the Iranian death squad which assassinated Iran’s Kurdish Democratic Party leader Dr. Abdol-Rahman Qasemlou in Vienna in 1989.


The Iranians have explored every channel they can think of to break the agents out of American custody. When they realized that the United States was adamant about holding on to them, the heads of the Revolutionary Guards decided to go ahead with their campaign of abductions against US troops in Iraq. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad approved.
But there is also an Israeli angle to this story, and because of that Arab media reports have also accused Israel of involvement in the Asgari's apparent abduction. According to a report in yesterday's London Daily Telegraph, Asgari was one of the parties involved in Iran's 'purchase' of captured IAF navigator Ron Arad from the Lebanese Amal militia. Arad has been missing since he bailed out of his plane over Lebanon in 1986.
If Mossad does have him, he will be under pressure to shed light on that fate of Ron Arad, an Israeli combat pilot missing since he was shot down in 1986 over Lebanon.

It is understood Hizbollah militiamen might have passed him up the chain of command to their Iranian handlers.
The Telegraph also cites a Haaretz report that Asgari may have defected and speculates that the US and Israel may both be interested in him due to his apparent knowledge of Iran's nuclear capabilities.
For a senior Iranian military official to fall into the hands of Israel or the west is a tantalising thought at a time when western intelligence agencies are eager for any inside knowledge of the current Iranian defence establishment. He could provide key information about Iran’s role in supporting the Shia militias in Iraq.

Washington has grown increasingly angry at Teheran’s willingness to supply weapons and know-how to insurgents that have been used to kill US soldiers serving in Iraq.

The stand-off over Iran’s nuclear programme is underscored by a fundamental lack of good intelligence on exactly what technology Iran actually possesses and when it might be able to construct a nuclear weapon.

Any intelligence that would help Israel or the west fill in those important blanks would have direct bearing on whether an armed strike is launched against Iran.

America has warned that as regards stopping Iran acquiring nuclear weapons "all options remain on the table", which is diplomatic code for a military threat.
There has been no official Iranian statement about the affair. If Asgari has defected, someone has him hidden away somewhere. ABC's News Blotter claims that Asgari has been hidden away in Europe and describes this as a "serious blow" to Iranian intelligence capabilities:
One respected analyst with sources in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard says Gen. Ali Reza Asgari has defected and is now in a European country with his entire family, where he is cooperating with the U.S.

Other reports have suggested that the general may have been kidnapped by the Israeli secret service, the Mossad. A spokesperson at the CIA declined to comment on the reported defection.

"This is a fatal blow to Iranian intelligence," said the source, explaining that Asgari knows sensitive information about Iran's nuclear and military projects. Iran called tens of its Revolutionary Guard agents working at embassies and cultural centers in Arab and European countries back to Tehran out of fear that Asgari might disclose secret information about their identities, according to the analyst.
I've heard rumors over the past several months that there is actually a lot of discontent within Iran with Ahamdinadinnerjacket's government. Could this be the start of something?


At 3:43 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

war is coming...

let's hope this time the israelis and americans shoot more, aim tighter, and put a boot up their asses....

btw, these bunkers that hams and hezbollah use?

pump in salt water...


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