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RE: Insight -- IR902 - Iranian Diplomat on HZ Threat

Released on 2012-03-13 17:00 GMT

Email-ID 79931
Date 2008-03-27 18:51:42
Here are some thoughts from my response to a client question earlier today
on this matter:

Have heard that assassination of Israeli officials in transit in 3rd
countries is a potential option that Hezbollah is contemplating. But
ultimately what Hezbollah does on a tactical level will be guided by the
larger geopolitical situation, which limits what the group can and can't

First and foremost, Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party, which is
embroiled in two separate conflicts at this point: 1) The power struggle
between the anti and pro-Syrian camps for control of the Lebanese govt,
particularly its presidency.; 2) Its need to show that it is not a foreign
(Iranian) lackey that is putting the interests of its patrons above the

Secondly, Hezbollah knows that Israel is looking for an excuse for a
re-match so it would not want to retaliate in such a way that provides the
Israelis a pretext for an attack.

Thirdly, the Mughniyah assassination has shown that the movement cannot
trust the Syrians. Sources have been telling us that Hezbollah blames Asef
Shaukat, Syria's intel chief and President Bashar al-Assad's

Fourth, Hezbollah knows Iraq is far more important for Iran than Lebanon,
which further places constraints on Hezbollah's calculus.

In the light of these considerations, Hezbollah will have to be very
careful in how hits back. Most likely attacks against Israeli interests in
3rd countries.

From: Fred Burton []
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:47 PM
To: 'Reva Bhalla'
Subject: RE: Insight -- IR902 - Iranian Diplomat on HZ Threat

The Jordanians are a very capable service. Better than the Israelis on
some target sets, because guess who helps them?


From: Reva Bhalla []
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 12:46 PM
To: Fred Burton
Subject: Re: Insight -- IR902 - Iranian Diplomat on HZ Threat

we've been hearing the same things from ME1's sources on how Hez and syria
are not on good terms following the IM assassination.

i asked someone here who the Arab country is that Syria is hinting was
involved. source says not egypt, very likely Jordan.

which makes me think that we could see the Hez retaliatory attack take
place in Jordan..
----- Original Message -----
From: "Fred Burton"
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:36:27 PM (GMT-0500) America/New_York
Subject: Insight -- IR902 - Iranian Diplomat on HZ Threat

PUBLICATION: Not at this time



ITEM CREDIBILITY: Unable to verify the veracity of the information at
this time. Have asked for additional clarification.


SPECIAL HANDLING: secure list only

Regarding Hizbullah's plans to avenge the assassination of Imad Mugniyah.

He told me that the assassination has soured relations between Hizbullah
and Syria who has been less than forthcoming on providing information in
connection with the assassination. He believes Syria is embarrassed
because certain Syrians are definitely involved one way or another in the
assassination plot. Syria will announce the outcome of its
investigation after the end of the forthcoming Arab summit.

Hizbullah has made up its mind on putting all the blame on Israel. He told
me that they will not avenge his assassination at the moment because they
have core urgent issues to deal with such as the deep political crisis in

Hizbullah is currently in a state of confusion and shock and does not know
how to respond, even though they are preparing a list of soft targets in
Latin America and some Arab countries such as Jordan and Morocco. He
added that revenge is not a top priority for Hizbullah at the moment. They
know that it would invite disproportionate Israeli retaliation for which
they are not ready.

Iran has also cautioned them against making a wrong move at the present,
because they cannot count on Iranian assistance beyond a display of
solidarity and pep talk.