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Terrorism double standard: Framing Mossad-CIA story

Foreign Policy’s piece about Israel’s false flag activities reminds us that Israel has been supporting terrorists for a long, long time

Mark Perry’s piece in Foreign Policy detailing how Mossad agents recruited terrorists in Pakistan – members of the Jundallah organization – to carry out attacks in Iran is getting plenty of attention. Of course, that’s not how the story is framed: Oriented to the American public, its focus is on the fact that Israeli agents did as best they could to frame the US in their acts. But if you have a broader outlook than that of the Beltway crowd, this story should raise some awkward questions about Israel’s double standard on terrorism. It should be noted that Israeli officials have unofficially denied the story, in a rather unconvincing manner.

Why is the story of the Jundallah operations, carried out according to Perry in 2007-2009 and reaching its climax in the late Bush years, coming out now? I think the best answer is that this is a signal from the Obama administration to stop its terror campaign in Iran. Another Iranian scientist was murdered this week, along with some members of his family, much to the delight of the Israeli media. The IDF Chief of Staff joked about “unnatural events” in Iran, and the media lapped it up.

The Jundallah operations were the domain of Meir Dagan, the former Mossad chief. Dagan, who held the position for eight years (only one man, Isser Harel, held the job for longer, and that was in the totalitarian age of Ben Gurion) became the favorite of doves who oppose a war with Iran since he is a vocal opponent of such a war. But Meir Dagan is not a dove: He is Israel’s Lord High Executioner. Ariel Sharon, who appointed him, said his specialty was “separating an Arab’s head from his body.” He was the commander of the secretive unit Rimon, active in the Gaza Strip in the early 1970s and whose tactics included assassination of Palestinian activists; Dagan, which would make it to major general in the IDF, reported at the time to Sharon, who was commander of the Southern Command.

This new information puts Dagan’s assertion that an open war with Iran is inadvisable in a new light: Dagan was arguing not cessation of hostilities with Iran, but rather for continuing a silent war on Iran, instead of public escalation.

Meir Dagan (R) with Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (L) (Photo: Israel Defense Forces, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Meir Dagan (R) with Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (L) (Photo: Israel Defense Forces, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Iran and Israel have been locked in shadow-boxing for a few decades now. Shin Bet and Iranian agents duked it out in Lebanon, where both Israel and Iran maintained allied militias. Iranian intelligence was heavily involved in the attacks on Israel’s embassy in Argentina and on the Jewish Center there in the 1990s. It would take a decade for the Israeli public to dimly learn the reasons for the attack on the embassy. Four Iranian diplomats were murdered in Lebanon during the Israeli invasion in 1982, and the Iranians kept demanding information about them. The Israeli government kept the public from knowing about the incidents until one of the deals with Hizbullah – I think it was the Tannenbaum deal – when Israel officially made a response to the Iranian demands: It claimed the four diplomats were captured and executed by the Falanges. How verrrry convenient.

Similarly, the news about a Hizbullah attempt to blow up the Israeli embassy in Bangkok should be seen in the same light: An Iranian retaliation after yet another Israeli attack on its territory.

Dagan’s shadow war with Iran continues a long tradition of Israeli intelligence to carry out terrorist attacks in foreign countries. The most celebrated ones came after the Munich murders in 1972, with Mossad assassins roaming Europe and Lebanon, looking for Palestinian terrorists. But it started long before that.

One of the most drawn-out political dramas in Israel’s history was the “esek bish” (“the mess”), which was the result of a botched terrorist campaign by Israel’s military intelligence in Egypt in 1954. The terrorists were ordered to attack American and British targets in order to, err, undermine American and British support for the Nasser regime, which didn’t exist. The terrorists were captured, some were executed, and the prolonged political mess would, in the end, serve as the excuse to finally unseat Ben Gurion.

The attacks in Egypt were part of a broader strategy, dubbed the Minorities Strategy or the Periphery Strategy in the 1950s: Israel should support minorities in Arab countries and encourage them to rise up against the central government. Israeli agents were very active in the Arab world and Africa, stirring trouble. There is reason to believe (Hebrew) Israel was behind Idi Amin’s coup in Uganda, so it could maintain its line to the rebels in South Sudan. It supported for a long time the Kurds in Iraq – then, at the order of Kissinger, abandoned them to their fate. Many groups supported by Israel would engage in what would be described as terrorism; This didn’t bother the Mossad, or Israel’s leadership, all that much.

All of which should be borne in mind when Israel next decries terrorism.

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    1. aristeides

      Taking the American point of view, I find nothing more disgusting than US politicians like Santorum coming out in praise of these terrorist acts.

      Although that shot of Ashkenazi comes close.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      The irony of supporting terrorist organizations that sow murder and mayhem in neighboring countries has never given anybody in Israel any pause for reflection. Apparently, terrorism is okay as long as it’s Arabs/Muslims who get blown up.
      However, there is an even more sinister side to Israel’s hypocrisy. For decades, Israel has propped up some of the most vile and despicable regimes in the world, including apartheid South Africa, Burma’s military junta, Uganda’s Idi Amin (until he became friendly towards the Palestinians, at which point he conveniently became an enemy), and, of course, the oppressive dictatorial regime of Iran’s Shah (which is ironic in its own right, since much of Iran’s terrorist “expertise” was actually taught to them by Israel in the 1970’s).

      Reply to Comment
    3. Dossi

      Wasn’t Perry Arafat’s adviser? Isn’t he apologist for Hizbolla and Hamas?

      If there was an ounce of truth then Mossad head would have been declared persona non grata in the U.S. a long time ago.

      And why the report time for only just now?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Zsolt

      And don’t forget to add to the story that Israel initially supported what later became Hamas, in order to counterweight the PLO and more specifically Fatah.
      They did something similar, though more indirect with Hezbollah to counterweight Amal in Lebanon.
      And the list goes on and on and on…

      Reply to Comment
    5. aristeides

      Mossad would no more be kicked out of the US than the attackers of the USS Liberty were held accountable. It’s hard to think of a crime that Israel could commit that the Zionist-occupied US would actually hold it accountable for.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Richard Witty

      I don’t have a clue as the basis of any definitive moral judgment on reciprocal murdering.

      Its a question of whether it is more moral to murder or to be murdered. There is no good guy, no bad guy.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Anne O'Nimmus

      Witty, what on earth are you taking???
      When can it ever be “more moral to murder or to be murdered”???
      This is an act of terrorism on foreign soil.
      If ordained by a government it is a covert act of war.
      Whichever, it is a crime. There IS a “bad guy” and it’s not the young scientist or any of the other victims!

      Reply to Comment
    8. ToivoS

      Dossi asks: “And why the report time for only just now?”

      If you are asking why the CIA leaked this information to Mark Perry today then there is a simple answer. The Obama administration is beginning to get worried that Israel is going to provoke a war between Iran and the US. That would not be America’s interest. Two points are served by the leak today: First it is a message to Israel that we are displeased with their actions and we can make things uncomfortable for them if they continue making trouble in Iran and second it is a message to Iran that the US is not responsible for last week’s assassination but it was Israel who did it.

      This is really big news. This is one strong statement that the US and Israel are not a single allied force and a fissure is beginning to open. If Israel wants to go to war with Iran, they will be on their own. This is not just big news, but also good news. America and Israel have their own national interests and it not healthy for America to sacrifice its interests for Israel’s benefit.

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      Toivos – if only the US congress believed that!

      Reply to Comment