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INSIGHT - Israel - IM assassination - IL1

Released on 2012-03-13 17:00 GMT

Email-ID 66013
Date 2008-02-21 22:00:39
PUBLICATION: For background/analysis

ATTRIBUTION: Israeli source (connected)
SOURCE Reliability : B



On the Mughniyeh assassination:

Definite M.O. of the Mossad. Was a very elegant attack. As the footage
showed, the car was still very much intact, controlled explosion fitted in
the head rest.

Mossad never claims assassinations. Only time they did claim was for the
Ali Hassan Salameh assassination (which is also one of the rare times
Israel acted without notifying US, and US was pissed b/c he was CIA

US for sure knew about the assassination, and state dept's comments on the
assassination reflect that.

I really believe that Mossad had been tracking IM for some time. This
small editorial showed up the day after the assassination in haaretz
talking from an operative perspective on how attached you get to someone
you're tracking and that weird sense of sadness when they're eliminated
b/c you've been following their every move for so long. Can only be
understood from an operative's perspective. He was a great asset for
Mossad to follow, but unclear why he was taken out now. Perhaps connected
to a desire on part of the US/Iran to apply pressure on Iran at this point
or a good opportunity presented itself. Mossad knew he had been
reactivated for some time now...he had been tracked for a while.

How the operation was likely carried out:

Mossad works in modular teams. This op took a lot more than just 3 people,
but you never have that many in country at the time of the attack. You
have one person go in for surveillance, take them out, send in another
person to acquire the explosives, take them out, a bomb maker sent in and
out, etc. Unclear if they had anyone in country at the time of the actual
attack .. would not be surprised if the bomb was detonated by a sat signal
(my note - maybe my cell phone ping theory is true?). Also, anyone they
did have working with them in country at time of attack was likely an Arab
recruit (probably why Syria and Iran are implicating an Arab regime in
this). No question though that this was Mossad op.

IM was a key asset, and was active. He was able to survive for so long b/c
he was so closely guarded by the Iranians. When I say he was active, I
don't mean he was an operative directly involved in all the training, etc.
He was the strategist, they called him their chief of staff. And you get
fat when you're sitting in Tehran as the chief of staff. It's the nature
of the biz.

Retaliation will come. It's not a question of if, but when. Will be more
like the Buenos Aires attack - overseas, covert op. And it will be a big
one. Hezbollah has the overseas assets to pull this off, and remember in
the BA attack the Iranians succeeded in bribing the Argentinian security
officials and investigation team.

Israel is militarily ready for another war. Ashkenazi has done a
phenomenal job over the past year in reforming the's really
quite amazing. He's a Golani - that means he is hardcore. We have jokes in
Israel that the Golani Brigades are the ones that eat dirt and are the
toughest...Ashekenazi is way serious about this, and has not given a
single interview.

Also, Meir Dagan has totally transformed Mossad. He came in and literally
shut down the Mossad's research dept. He said I don't want any more
academic papers, all focus is on operations. This Mughniyeh hit was his
baby. It's no coincidence that Olmert extended Dagan's tenure to 2009 for
the first time RIGHT AFTER the IM hit.

Israel's ego was very badly bruised from the war with Hezbollah, and this
assassination plus the air strike in Syria is Israel's way of coming back
and showing they're still strong. It also earns Olmert the political
capital he needs. This is the kind of action are we going to see from
Israel - more operations like this.

Israel DOES NOT want another war with Hezbollah right now. They are not
trying to goad them into another war either. The focus is on covert ops.
There is no way Israel will try a repeat of the 1982 war in Lebanon. That
was Israel's Vietnam. Israel absolutely is sensitive to military
casualties, moreso than the US. That was what the Winograd report was all
about - note it didn't talk about the civilian casualties, it was all
about the military casualties and whether it was worth their lives to
launch the ground op so late in the game. This is embedded in the Israeli
psyche. Israel will not be for a high casualty war. Even during the
Lebanon war this was true.

On Hamas..

Backchannels b/w Israel and Hamas are ongoing. Egypt is the main channel
for these (Omar Suleiman mainly). Barak doesn't know what to do yet about
Gaza. There is even talk of reoccupying, but that's a messy situation
still. The Dimona bombing came from Hebron; ironically, Israeli peace
activists succeeded in stopping the wall building at the spot where the
bomber got through.

There is a lot of political pressure piling on Olmert to do something
about Gaza though. The Sderot families have influence. The Qassams are
more of a psychological weapon than anything, they don't cause much
damage. But the political effect can not be understated.