The Guardian’s Julian Borger quotes a former Iranian government official as conceding that the explosion at an Iranian missile base was the work of the Mossad, news I was the first to report here based on a confidential authoritative Israeli source:
Speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, however, a former director of an Iranian state-run organisation with close links to the regime, said: “I believe that Saturday’s explosion was part of the covert war against Iran, led by Israel.”
The former official compared Saturday’s incident to a similar blast in October 2010 at an IRGC missile base near the city of Khorramabad. “I have information that both these incidents were the work of sabotage by agents of Israel, aimed at halting Iran’s missile programme,” he said.
I note Borger’s report credits Karl Vick’s Time Magazine report based on a western intelligence official (likely American) who also claimed it was Mossad handiwork. But Borger doesn’t credit Tikun Olam as the first source in the world to report this. Based on Julian Assange’s decision to renounce the so-called authorized biography Borger wrote of him, I can see why he might’ve made such a decision. As far as the MSM is concerned, Rodney Dangerfield had it about right: we don’t get no respect.
Another indication that the IRG are lying regarding their contention that the explosion was the result of an accident is the arrest in Iran of Hassan Fathi, a source for a BBC Persia report, who contradicted the official claim that the mishap occurred in an ammunition depot (you may sign a petition here calling for his release). Instead Fathi said it happened at a missile base. Borger reports that the blast involved a Shahab III missile whose redeployment was being overseen by Maj. Gen. Hassan Moqqadam, the senior IRG commander who supervised much of Iran’s overall missile program.
Borger also notes the distinct possibility that Iran will begin affecting its own form of retaliation for such attacks against Israeli and U.S. targets. He also quotes a western expert on the Iranian nuclear program who says killing supposed key figures in Iranian military programs doesn’t do as much harm as the Mossad would like to think:
Michael Elleman, an expert on Iran’s ballistic missile programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies said he doubted that Moghaddam’s death, accidental or otherwise, would have a decisive impact. “Given the sophisticated and disciplined engineering management structure applied to Iran’s missile efforts, the loss of any one person should result in minimal damage to the overall programme,” he said.
Which brings me back to another theme you’ve read here before, the U.S.-Israel massive campaign of terror against Iran is not a policy. It’s a substitute for a policy. It’s a sign of how desperate and hopeless the state of international affairs is regarding Iran. There is no engagement with Iran, which seems to suit both sides just fine. In the absence of a policy, violence and mischief fill the vacuum. But killing even hundreds of Iranian commanders, scientists, etc. won’t deter Iran from its goals nor will it prevent a nuclear weapon if that is the nation’s mission. If there is any way to do this, it must be through mutual agreement. If there is no chance for that, then there will be an Iranian nuclear weapon (if that is indeed Iran’s goal). The only way to prevent such a development is through a massive military assault on Iran aiming to overthrow the Ayatollahs and institute a so-called democratic, western-backed regime as we did in Iraq. In other words, it ain’t gonna happen.
Only in the wacky world of Israeli politics does a campaign of terror by the nation’s spy works killing scores if not hundreds of Iranians, allow the Israeli political echelon to argue that it doesn’t need to go to war, which would kill hundreds or thousands of times more than the terror operations do. In a deeply twisted sense, these acts of assassination, sabotage and cyberwarfare become a more moral choice (or at least a less morally objectionable one) than the alternative. It’s a strange moral calculus: if we kill enough Iranian generals and scientists then we can argue that we’re doing our part against the Iranian madmen, and not have to do even worse.
Last night, Maariv reporter Tal Schneider interviewed me for the paper’s weekly Q&A column (Hebrew), which profiles a newsmaker. Our conversation ran over much of this territory, but also covered the general themes of secrecy, national security, freedom of information, the public’s right to know–all the bread and butter issues of this blog. She did a great job of presenting my ideas to her readers. I’m gratified by the exposure that offered.
I’m befuddled and even a bit angered by Israeli commenters here who ask whether I don’t feel responsible for bringing Iran and Israel that much closer to armed conflict. Not only is this blaming the messenger, it fundamentally misunderstands reality. ISRAEL is the one who’s bringing itself and the region closer to conflict. I didn’t plant that bomb and sabotage that missile. Israel and its MEK henchmen did it (and by the way, in all the coverage, let’s not lose sight of MEK involvement as well–Mossad could not have done this alone). So blaming me shows a misplaced sense of things.
I’m also waiting for apologies from the hordes of “friends of Israel” who swore up and down that this story, my source and I were frauds. I may be waiting for quite a while.