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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Israel conducting 'covert war' against Iran

London's Daily Telegraph reports that Israel is conducting a 'covert war' against Iran in a bid to disrupt its nuclear development (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Despite fears in Israel and the US that Iran is approaching the point of no return in its ability to build atom bomb, Israeli officials are aware of the change in mood in Washington since President Barack Obama took office.

They privately acknowledge the new US administration is unlikely to sanction an air attack on Iran's nuclear installations and Mr Obama's offer to extend a hand of peace to Tehran puts any direct military action beyond reach for now.

The aim is to slow down or interrupt Iran's research programme, without the gamble of a direct confrontation that could lead to a wider war.

A former CIA officer on Iran told The Daily Telegraph: "Disruption is designed to slow progress on the programme, done in such a way that they don't realise what's happening. You are never going to stop it.

"The goal is delay, delay, delay until you can come up with some other solution or approach. We certainly don't want the current Iranian government to have those weapons. It's a good policy, short of taking them out militarily, which probably carries unacceptable risks."
And according to the Telegraph, if US - Israeli relations become strained - for example by friction between the Obama administration and a Netanyahu government over the 'Palestinians' - the covert operations are likely to increase.
"As US-Israeli relations are bound to come under strain over the Obama administration's outreach to Iran, and as the political atmosphere grows in complexity, an intensification of Israeli covert activity against Iran is likely to result."
The Israeli operations are the stuff of spy movies.
Mossad's covert operations cover a range of activities. The former CIA operative revealed how Israeli and US intelligence co-operated with European companies working in Iran to obtain photographs and other confidential material about Iranian nuclear and missile sites.

"It was a real company that operated from time to time in Iran and in the nature of their legitimate business came across information on various suspect Iranian facilities," he said.

Israel has also used front companies to infiltrate the Iranian purchasing network that the clerical regime uses to circumvent United Nations sanctions and obtain so-called "dual use" items – metals, valves, electronics, machinery – for its nuclear programme.

The businesses initially supply Iran with legitimate material, winning Tehran's trust, and then start to deliver faulty or defective items that "poison" the country's atomic activities.

"Without military strikes, there is still considerable scope for disrupting and damaging the Iranian programme and this has been done with some success," said Yossi Melman, a prominent Israeli journalist who covers security and intelligence issues for the Haaretz newspaper.

Mossad and Western intelligence operations have also infiltrated the Iranian nuclear programme and "bought" information from prominent atomic scientists. Israel has later selectively leaked some details to its allies, the media and United Nations atomic agency inspectors.

On one occasion, Iran itself is understood to have destroyed a nuclear facility near Tehran, bulldozing over the remains and replacing it with a football pitch, after its existence was revealed to UN inspectors. The regime feared that the discovery by inspectors of an undeclared nuclear facility would result in overwhelming pressure at the UN for tougher action against Iran.
This story really isn't that new. The US has long been trying to sabotage the Iranians, and I'd guess Israel has been doing so too, but no one has said anything about it until now.

The bigger issue is that while a strike against Iran's nuclear capability is only likely to set the program back a few years and not destroy it, covert operations will do even less. Covert operations are simply not the answer.

At Hot Air, Allah adds that if the US makes a 'grand bargain' with Iran, one provision will be that the US will no longer push for 'regime change' in Iran. That would make the longshot of stopping Iran even longer.

Hopenchange for me but not for thee I guess.


At 9:37 AM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

It's interesting that this information 'leak' will also cause delay. Which parts are defective, and where, and what might be the consequences of overlooking bad parts? And is this story a lie? From the Iranian perspective, can they afford to ignore this? Someone in Iran just got a really bad headache and lots of paperwork--to issue and examine.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

They're probably overly paranoid about the Zionists - a war like this is fought on all fronts and it is no secret this is a war of national survival for Israel.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

And I suspect that the Iranians are well aware of this. Haven't executions increased in recent months? No telling if they're getting the right people. I'm guessing not.

At 5:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Israel smuggle some nukes into iran and set them off in a way that looks like an accident? That will slow down irans nuke program.


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