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Friday, February 15, 2008

Syria had nothing to do with Mugniyah's death, and Israel?

The article I linked earlier regarding news in the Kuwaiti media seems to imply that Syria may have had some role in the death of Imad Mugniyah. Tony Bay demolishes that argument:
But it's also a huge embarrassment for Syria. As Michael Rubin noted at NRO's Corner, "as important as who was killed is where." Not that we needed this, or Mughniyeh's aunt Fayza for that matter, to know that Damascus is terror central.

Coming a few months after the Sept. 6 hit on their nuclear facility in Deir el-Zor, this hit on a most-wanted terrorist, harbored in a joint Iranian-Syrian location in the heart of Damascus is a major embarrassment for Assad. Regardless who did it, it reflects quite badly on Assad, not long after his secret nuke facility was pulverized. Speculation over who did it only adds to the embarrassment no matter how you cut it, and whether Israel did it or not, the suspicion that it did would once again make a mockery of Assad's and Hezbollah's proclamations regarding the "loss of deterrence" after the 2006 war.


The Syrians, exactly like they did after the hit on the nuke site in Deir el-Zor, issued an unofficial official response through their proxy, the PFLP-GC, whose Anwar Raja declared that the assassination of Mughniyeh "crossed all red lines, and it is an act of aggression against the sovereignty of an Arab state, and has political and security fallouts."

And this brings us to the issue of what the retaliation might be. Syria was exposed after the strike against the nuke site and neither it nor its proxies (the outrage of the PFLP-GC at the time notwithstanding) were able to mount a retaliation, further exposing Syria's weakness.
Read it all. So who was behind the rubout of Mugniyah? The Mossad has drawn more than its share of nominations:

Hezbollah and Iran are blaming Israel for Mugniyah’s death. "This action is yet another brazen example of organized state terrorism by the Zionist regime," said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali. Israel has denied any involvement in Mugniyah’s death.

But Israel was very likely behind Mugniyah's death. The method of assassination -- by booby-trapped automobile -- strongly suggests that Israel is responsible. The Jerusalem Post reported the car's driver's seat and the rear seat were "blown away by the force of the blast" in a well-placed bomb.

The Jerusalem Post's report of a well-placed car bomb seems to be confirmed by Al Jazeera reporter Abdul Hamid Tawfiq, who is reporting from Damascus. "When taking a close look at the car, we noticed that it was not burnt or blackened, but the driver’s and passengers’ seats were damaged." Tawfiq said. He believed that a bomb had been planted under the driver's seat.

This description matched the assassination Izz El-Deen Sheikh Khalil, a key Hamas operative in Damascus, who was killed by Israeli intelligence in September 2004.

I don't think this necessarily indicates that Israel is responsible. Would author Bill Roggio therefore argue that Israel was responsible for the car bombings of several Lebanese politicians over the last three years, most of which have actually been attributed to Syria? I don't think Israel had an interest in killing, for example, Rafik Hariri or Pierre Gemayel. In fact, the only reasons that I would not rate the Syrians suspects are that I don't believe that they would do it in their own capital and I don't believe they would do it within touching distance of an Iranian installation. Mugniyah was clearly an Iranian agent.

But as Allah points out, it's in everyone's interest to claim Israel is responsible: including Israel's:

Who finally got him? Read the cryptic anecdote at the beginning here and draw your own conclusions. It’s in everyone’s interest to blame Mossad, Israel’s included since it restores the agency’s fearsomeness in one fell swoop. If they did do it, it was obviously by flipping someone very, very trusted: “Steinberg says whoever killed Mughniyeh not only found him in the upscale Kfar Sousse neighborhood but booby-trapped his Mitsubishi Pajero from under his security’s nose. He figures it was an inside job, which should cause Hezbollah and Iran to worry about infiltration at the highest levels.” Indeed. Spend a minute on Meir Javedanfar’s piece at Pajamas for a quickie recap of western intelligence coups against Iran over the past year. The upshot:

The assassination of Mughniyeh is likely to lead to a major restructuring of Iran’s intelligence operations abroad, and even at home. Mughniyeh was a man who traveled frequently between Tehran and Damascus. Therefore it is very possible that his assassins were tracking his movements inside Iran as well. The worst case scenario for Tehran would be if he was compromised by someone inside Iran, a scenario which Iran’s intelligence agency, known by its Farsi acronym as VAVAK, would quite likely be looking into.

Fearing infiltrations elsewhere, it is also possible that Iran’s nuclear program, especially its nuclear scientists, may be forced to go even deeper underground due to the apparent progress in Western efforts to find valuable Iranian targets.

I do suspect that Israel is somehow connected to Mugniyah's death. And that's nothing of which to be ashamed. Lest any of you have doubts who Mugniyah was, have a look at this picture from his funeral that was at the bottom of Allah's post linked above. Yes, really.


At 5:01 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Hezbollah does use the Nazi salute at rally. The picture says more about the terrorist organization's true nature than all the words in the world.

At 1:23 AM, Blogger M. Simon said...

I believe Mugniyah was munged up very close to an intel agency bldg in Damascus.

Very embarrassing.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I have seen this salute used in Hezbollah propaganda videos also.


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