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Israeli Air Attack in Syria Killed IRG General

hassan shateri

Funeral of IRG Gen. Hassan Shateri

Free Syrian Army sources revealed several days ago that an Iranian general, Hassan Shateri (also known as Hussam Hush Nawis) was killed in Syria recently.  First reports made it appear he might’ve been killed by the FSA.  Iran, however, said that he was killed by Israel.  But since it didn’t add any further information, I couldn’t figure out how Israel would’ve done so.

Now, I’ve put the pieces together with the help of my own intuition, a Ynetnews report, and an Israeli source.  Israel killed Shateri two weeks ago in an air attack on an Iranian arms convoy that was carrying advanced weaponry through Syria, making its way to Lebanon.  Shateri, in fact, was responsible for the Iranian reconstruction project of rebuilding southern Lebanon after the 2006 war.  He even had a diplomatic position, which would mean that not only did Israel invade Syrian sovereignty in killing him, it also killed an Iranian diplomat.  There may be those who scoff at the notion that an IRG general may be a diplomat.  But there are many military attaches who serve in embassies around the world, yet enemies of these nations don’t generally go around offing them.  Israel holds that special distinction.

Perhaps most important here is that the Iranian official was killed during the same set of raids which Syria claimed attacked its military research center, home of that nation’s biological and chemical weapons programs.  In fact, my Israeli source tells me either there was no raid on the research center or, if it was damaged, it was collateral damage and the sole focus was the weapons convoy, which was in close proximity to the center.  The target was located in Jamraya in Syria.

I don’t know whether the convoy attack was a targeted assassination of Shateri himself; or whether the weapons themselves were the target and his presence in it hadn’t been known to the Israelis.  Given the level of Israeli intelligence in these matters my money is on this being a targeted assassination.  This is further confirmed by the news that several of Shateri’s key aides who were traveling with him were also killed.  Iran’s admission that Israel killed Shateri is further proof that Iran believes it was a targeted hit.

Though Israel has assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists inside Iran (whose level of security was low), it has not succeeded in felling IRG generals.  There was one case in which a missile plant explosion killed the leader of the IRG’s national missile program.  My Israeli source reported that this was an act of Israeli sabotage.  That would mean that Shateri is the second IRG general to be assassinated by Israel.

In this case though, Shateri had nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program.  This is the justification Israel has used all along to defend its covert campaign against Iran: that it was protecting the nation from existential threat from WMD.  Killing Shateri means Israel will kill any high level Iranian target it can get its hands on who has military value.  The nuclear threat claim has gone out the window.

If Israel killed him deliberately this explains why it would’ve wanted to plant the fake Fordo sabotage story just before the attack.  It would’ve served to distract the Iranians ever so slightly, so that they might not suspect it was planning to attack such a high-level Iranian asset inside Syria.

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{ 74 comments… add one }
  • BorisG February 17, 2013, 3:40 AM

    From http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=303460

    “Reports in the Iranian media suggest Shateri was an important figure who had both overt and a covert roles.

    Officially, Shateri was described as being in charge of Iranian construction efforts in southern Lebanon following the 2006 Second Lebanon War. However, one of the mourners at his funeral, an employee of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, described him as being “no less [important]” than assassinated Hezbollah field commander Imad Mugniyah.

    The comparison to Mugniyah could be a reference to the centrality of Shetari’s role in aiding Hezbollah’s armaments efforts. The organization is currently estimated to be in possession of some 65,000 rockets.”

    • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 3:27 PM

      Yes, well the JPost would say that wouldn’t it. I’d feel a lot more comfortable seeing that in a more credible publication.

  • Eden February 17, 2013, 6:14 AM

    If this was not a legitimate military target then what is?

    • BorisG February 17, 2013, 7:13 AM

      Eden, but Iran and Israel aren’t at war, are they?

      • eden February 17, 2013, 8:42 AM

        What are they missing to be at war?

        • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 3:16 PM

          This is a patently ridiculous question which begs its own answer. Think back to real Israeli wars waged against real Israeli enemies & the amounts of military personnel, weaponry and deaths involved. Then you’ll have your answer. And please don’t waste our time with sophistry.

          • Eden February 17, 2013, 3:28 PM

            Iran and Israel have been in a direct war and a war by proxy for years.
            “During the 2006 Lebanon War, Iranian Revolutionary Guards were believed to have directly assisted Hezbollah fighters in their attacks on Israel. Multiple sources suggested that hundreds of Revolutionary Guard operatives participated in the firing of rockets into Israel during the war, and secured Hezbollah’s long-range missiles. Revolutionary Guard operatives were allegedly seen operating openly at Hezbollah outposts during the war. In addition, Revolutionary Guard operatives were alleged to have supervised Hezbollah’s attack on the INS Hanit with a C-802 anti-ship missile. The attack severely damaged the warship and killed four crewmen. It is alleged that between six and nine Revolutionary Guard operatives were killed by the Israeli military during the war. According to the Israeli media their bodies were transferred to Syria and from there, flown to Tehran.[96]”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Israel_relations

          • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 7:19 PM

            Israel & Iran are not in a “direct war.” You know what a war is & you know this isn’t war. If you want a war Israel can easily begin one, then you’ll find out the difference between this & real war. When a million Iranians and a few hundred thousands Israelis die as happened in the Iran-Iraq war then you’ll know what a real war is.

            Your entire line of argument about proxy war is off-topic. Stick to the direct topic of the post. If you stray far from it you’re violating comment rules. Don’t.

          • Nimrod February 17, 2013, 11:19 PM

            one could say Israel and Iran are in a state of a “cold war”, similar to the one the US and USSR have been to.
            i.e. not by directly attacking each other, but exhausting each other via “proxy wars” – arming each other’s enemies like in Vietnam, and later on Afghanistan.

          • BruceT February 17, 2013, 3:36 PM

            Eden, that’s nothing for Richard Silverstein. He needs something far more serious, such as an Israeli trimming a tree near the Lebanese border. For Richard, that was a declaration of war and the tree trimmer was legitimately killed in an act of self-defense.

          • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 7:16 PM

            Off topic. Snark is not wit & when it comes from the likes of you not funny. Stick to substance. If you have no substance don’t waste yr time attempting to entertain.

        • You're kidding, right? February 17, 2013, 8:21 PM

          eden: “What are they missing to be at war?”

          Errr, how about the complete absence of armed conflict?

          As in: post-ww2 the entire ediface of Formal Declarations of War, Articles of Surrender, etc. etc. has been replaced by the concept of “armed conflict”.

          And that is an entirely fact-based concept i.e. you are either shooting at each other (in which case you are in an “armed conflict”) or you aren’t shooting at each other (in which case there is no “armed conflict”).

          And this is a fact: there is no “armed conflict” between Israel and Iran, not now, not in the past, not ever.

          Consequently, this is axiomatic: Israel can’t go around claiming that Anything And Everything In An Iranian Uniform Is A Legitimate Military Target, precisely because – double-do’h! – if there is no “armed conflict” then there aren’t ANY “legitimate military targets”.

          Q: Why not?
          A: Because the very concept of “legitimate military targets” presupposes that you are in an “armed conflict”, and Israel and Iran have never been in an “armed conflict” with each other. Not now. Not ever.

          Is that simple enough for you?

          • Eden February 18, 2013, 6:12 AM

            The killing of Iranian nuclear scientists and a general is an act of war. Isn’t it? So Israel and Iran are at war. You need 2 country to agree to be at peace but only one to have a war. So, if it makes it easier on you to accept it simply blame Israel for starting it and ignore years of arming and training militia in Lebanon resulting in the shelling of Israeli cities.

          • You're kidding, right? February 18, 2013, 11:03 PM

            eden: “The killing of Iranian nuclear scientists and a general is an act of war. Isn’t it?”

            No, it isn’t. It’s an assassination, plain and simple.

            Look, you are simply unaware of how archaic your arguments are.

            There are now no such thing as “an act of war”, any more than there are such things as “formal declarations of war” or it’s flip-side the “formal articles of surrender”.

            In the post-ww2 world there is only “armed conflict”. And you are either in an armed conflict, or you aren’t.

            Assassinating a general, or a scientist, or a politician, or some Prominent Member Of The Ruling Regime is not an “armed conflict”, however illegal that act of murder might be, no matter how outrageous a violation of the norms of civilized behaviour it might be, and regardless of how loudly the aggrieved party might proclaim its willingness to take revenge against such an outrage.

            Look, sorry, but this isn’t as unusual as you might think; the assassination of foreign nationals is simply not an uncommon occurance.

            Take your blinkers off and see the world as it is, and not how you want to manipulate it to be in order to reach your pre-determined outcome.

          • You're kidding, right? February 18, 2013, 11:05 PM

            eden: “So Israel and Iran are at war. You need 2 country to agree to be at peace but only one to have a war.”

            Soooooo very 19th century.

            Q: Is there an armed conflict taking place between Israel and Iran?
            A: No, there isn’t.

            Q: So can Israel claim the “right” to strike out within the Laws of War?
            A: No, it can’t.

            It really is that simple.

      • Ilan Hadar February 17, 2013, 9:18 AM

        Of course they are, are you blind? of course you don’t. and if you do you just want to tease. You do not see all the terror attacks of Iranian against Israeli targets? you do not see the support Iran is handing to Hezbollah and other anti Israel organization like Hamas?

        • Deïr Yassin February 17, 2013, 9:49 AM

          “You do not see all the terror attacks of Iranian against Israeli targets”
          Haha, and you have the chutzpah to talk about being blind.

          • eden February 17, 2013, 11:10 AM

            To be honest both Israel and Iran have conducted operations which de facto make them at war. Agajn as I said a General or a convoy of wespons is a very legitimate target, certainely more than a tourist bus or ciltural center.

          • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 2:58 PM

            There is no such category as “de facto at war.” You just made it up. You’re either at war or not. Iran has never assassinated Israeli scientists or generals. But you can be sure now that it will do so at the first opportunity. Israel is the culprit. Israel always escalates threats beyond their highest previous threshhold. Israel sabotages Iranian nuclear plants. You approve of that. Great. Now prepare for sabotage of Dimona & don’t come crying to any of us when it happens. You’ll have only yrself to blame.

          • Eden February 17, 2013, 3:18 PM

            You should read this. You could learn something.
            https://bc.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/Fazal_12.10.09.pdf

          • You're kidding, right? February 19, 2013, 1:55 AM

            eden: “To be honest both Israel and Iran have conducted operations which de facto make them at war.”

            To be honest, you have not the faintest idea what you are talking about.

            There is no such thing as a “de facto war”.

            There is only “armed conflict”, and you are either in an armed conflict or you aren’t i.e. it is an entirely fact-based concept of international law.

            Q: Is there an armed conflict taking place between Israel and Iran?
            A: No, there isn’t.

        • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 3:06 PM

          What terror attacks by Iranians against Israeli targets? You mean that Israeli general murdered by Iranian agents? That Israeli nuclear scientist murdered by Iranian agents? That Israeli missile base destroyed by an Iranian bomb? You mean that computer virus Iran infiltrated into Dimona destroying Israel’s uranium enrichment program? You mean all those terror attacks that Iran perpetrated against Israel?

          • BruceT February 17, 2013, 6:28 PM

            Ever heard of the Iranian Revolution? Hezbollah? Hamas?

    • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 3:22 PM

      I would like you to explicitly affirm that an attack by Hezbollah or Iran on an IDF general ferrying weapons that would be used to attack either of them would be a legitimate military target & you would not object if it happened. In fact, you’d defend their right to kill the general. If you reject this then you nothing but a friggin’ hypocrite.

      • Eden February 17, 2013, 3:48 PM

        I think that what you describe would be legitimate much more that blind shelling of cities and civilians.

        • Kyle Renner February 26, 2013, 1:46 AM

          What’s that?
          An Israeli who is a lying hypocrite?
          You don’t see many of those around. Ha ha.

          • Richard Silverstein February 26, 2013, 4:18 AM

            I don’t see that this advances the discussion and is little more than name-calling. Please read the comment rules and respect them.

  • Itai Leshem February 17, 2013, 6:31 AM

    When reading your post on this Richard I can only assume that Shateri was on some extremely important and secret diplomatic mission to negotiate a deal that would end the suffering of Syrians and bring world peace when he hitchhiked a ride on trucks carrying sophisticated missiles for Hezbollah that were only intended to take down the asteroid that, alas, hit Russia 2 days ago.
    And Israel fucked up the entire thing…

    In Lethal Weapon 2, when the words “diplomatic immunity” were said just before, Gibson showed the diplomat what he thinks of such immunity, did you side with the diplomat?

    • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 2:53 PM

      Unlike you, I don’t get my idea of how the world should work from Lethal Weapon movies.

  • pabelmont February 17, 2013, 6:46 AM

    If an Israeli rocket attack killed a man, destroyed an entire weapons convoy, and also damaged a chemical-weapons location, then that was a mighty big rocket attack! Too big for a narrowly-targetted attack on one man. sounds like an attack at least on the convoy, maybe on convoy and man. If the timing was set for proximity to the chemical-weapons place, adn attackers certainly do choose their time and place of attack, then maybe it was an attack on convoy and chemicals, or even on all three. It does sound too big an attack merely for ONE MAN (giving a modicul of credence to the un-lovely adjective “targetted” — as to which see below).

    As to the adjective “targetted”.

    Richard uses the term “targeted assassination” as if that were a better, a preferred, a necessary circumlocation for the old-fashioned term, “assassination”. I regard the use by bloggers and reporters and editorialists of government-sponsored terms, like “security” and “security service” and “targetted assassination” as an unnecessary kow-towing to the various governments which use these terms.

    Writers are often accused, and often rightly, of serving as “megaphones” or “amplifiers” or “passers-on” for government speech. One way to do that is to use the government’s own terminology. One way consciously to fight doing that is to refuse to use the government’s terms except when quoting a government spokesman, and quoting by name and with a date and place.

    When Richard writes that Israel may have “off’d” someone, he uses clear (if street) language. When he writes that Israel may have performed a “targetted assassination”, he voluntarily uses government-speak. (What were all the other and previous assassinations, “un-targetted”? “Careless”? “Accidental”? So many possibilities. Where does this cursed adjective come from,. this “targetted”? If it merely means “done by more-or-less accurate rocket fire”, then say so. And if it seems to harbor a suggestion of “care”, “accuracy”, “surgical-precision”, or “intending to do least feasible damage”, then that is not something the reported is likely to know from his own experience — the term MUST BE a government term which the reported should resist using.

    • eden February 17, 2013, 8:54 AM

      I think that what is meant by “targeted” bombing of someone or some place is that it was done with a technology that minimizes collateral damage. Non guidef missilles or rocket attacks are non targeted whereas a guided missile may be. When one intended building or person is taken out then one can aasume this is targeted as opposed for example to the carpet bombing of Dresden or the shelling of London during WWII. Accusing Richard or other to propagate propagana is not just in this case. The fact is the tools were to minimize collateral damage.

      • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 3:14 PM

        Targeted killings are only targeted in the sense that the perpetrators target a particular individual. The result of the missile strike is just as horrifying, ugly & damaging as using any other form of weaponry whether it be a pipe bomb or stick of dynamite. Israel killed Salah Shehadeh in a “targeted” killing using a 2,000 lb bomb on an apartment building which killed 16 other civilians. That’s a war crime. Targeted killings are war crimes. Whether the killers are U.S. drones or Israeli missiles.

        • Eden February 17, 2013, 3:39 PM

          War is a series of crimes. Shelling blindly Israeli cities from Gaza or Lebanon is a crime.
          Now, there are crimes and crimes. You can kill 10 or 20 or even 100 or you can systematically kill millions and attempt to eliminate a whole nation. None of these type of crimes have been committed in the middle east so far and I hope this will never happen.

          • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 7:21 PM

            Firing missiles at Israel fr Gaza isn’t war.

            If all you have to offer is hasbara you’ll wear out your welcome fast. This isn’t a propaganda fest or debating society.

          • BruceT February 17, 2013, 9:23 PM

            Randomly firing 12000 missiles into Israel forcing a million Israelis into bomb shelters for 10 years isn’t an act of war?

          • Richard Silverstein February 18, 2013, 2:36 AM

            Bruce: I think you’re doing the equivalent of chewing the scenery on this one. No overacting allowed here though I realize that Hasbara Central encourages it. Stick to facts & not histrionics. If 1-million Israelis lived in bomb shelters for 10 yrs we’d have a new species of Israeli who’d be a cross between human & mole.

          • Eden February 18, 2013, 6:04 AM

            What is Hasbara central? Is it controlled by the elders of Zion? Does every comment you don’t agree with must come from this terrible place? Do you also get input from some kind of centralized system or only those who don’t agree with you?

          • Fred Plester February 18, 2013, 8:29 AM

            I’ve always suspected it was in North Ilford, myself.

        • BruceT's Argument Is A Crock February 18, 2013, 12:59 AM

          Brucet: “Randomly firing 12000 missiles into Israel forcing a million Israelis into bomb shelters for 10 years isn’t an act of war?”

          It isn’t an “armed conflict”, because the term “armed conflict” is something else entirely.

          Firing dinky qassams is what it is, which is this: a cross-border artillery barrage.

          There ain’t much that’s unusual or unique about that: India and Pakistan went through a period where they were firing artillery at each other every second day, and North Korean artillery fire elicits yawns from the good folk in South Korea.

          It is a provocation, sure, it is. And if *they* fire a few dinky rockets at *you* then *you* are perfectly entitled to fire a few missiles back at *them*.

          That happens all the time, and it happens around the globe. Israel thinks this is somehow exceptional because they consider themselves to be the exception.

          They. Aren’t.

          • Eden February 18, 2013, 8:20 AM

            Where do you live? I have lived on 4 continents and in 6 different cities, I don’t recall some kind of routine shelling coming from a neighboring country. I do not think anyone I know would see that as some kind of act of God like a hail storm. I believe that if it happened repeatedly most people would see that as a casus belli. WWI was started when one man was killed. Surely repeated shelling of cities affecting the life of 20% of a country’s population rises to the level of killing one person, independently of who that person is.

          • Richard Silverstein February 18, 2013, 6:21 PM

            But the truth is very few countries are occupying all the territory of a neighboring country. If this were the case, there would indeed be the same shelling. BTW, you’ve missed North & South Korea where the former shells the latter on a semi-regular basis. In reply, the South seems to have figured out a way to respond that doesn’t involve wholesale murder of thousands of North Koreans.

          • eden February 19, 2013, 9:10 AM

            There are many disputed territories without people being shelled routinely.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_territorial_disputes
            Comparing the Palestinians to N. Korea is insulting to them. As bad as the Islamists are in Gaza, I believe they are better than the N. Koreans.

          • BruceT February 18, 2013, 8:37 AM

            No. In NONE of the cases you cited were the belligerents firing directly into each other’s cities with the sole aim if killing as many innocents as possible. And this whole “homemade bottle rocket” crap is insane: firing thousands of them was enough to paralyze an entire swathe of the country, and many people were in fact injured and killed over the years. And furthemore the “homemade beercans with baking soda and vinegar” “missiles” have become more and more lethal and sophisticated, to the point that they have become REAL MISSILES like the Iranian FAJR, and they are being transported from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan. As Israel rightfully notes, they are in a very tough neighborhood which is largely governed by forces beyond Israel’s control, like the Iranian revolution, or pan-Arab nationailism, or Sunni Islamism. The problem with those on the left is they believe Israel CAN control this if it only does XYZ. The truth is that this is not the case, and Israel’s very existence as a JEWISH + NON-ARAB state in that region is what the problem is, independent of anything Israel does. The proof is this: if Israel were an Arab, Muslim country, and were a theocracy, or dictatorship, which murdered its own people, no one on Earth would care, let alone the “Muslim world”.

          • Richard Silverstein February 18, 2013, 6:18 PM

            @BruceT: “Many” people were not injured or killed over the years. Around 20 were killed over ten years. Thousands of Palestinian civilians were killed by the IDF in the same period.

            No Iranian FAJR missiles have ever landed in Israel. This is another falsehood. Listen very carefully, my comment rules do not permit exagerration of falsehoods in publishing comments here. They require precision & facts. Offer facts, not distortions or exagerrations. And take this advice seriously.

            Forces in the neighborhood are NOT “beyond Israel’s control.” In fact those very forces respond to Israel based on how Israel responds to them.

            Your comments are veering ever more clearly into outright hasbara. I am not looking for an Israeli cheering section here. I’m looking for readers and commenters who have things of substance to say. You’re offered grandstanding, propaganda & cheerleading.

          • Eden February 19, 2013, 6:36 AM

            “Many” people were not injured or killed over the years. Around 20 were killed over ten years.”

            Let me guess that none of these people were your brothers, sisters or children. The impact of the shelling is not only the direct killing of people but the damage done to the society and the economy.
            Among this damage is the strengthening of political parties which move away from helping resolve the conflict through a 2 state solution, which I believe you and I would support.
            When bombs fall on cities from Gaza or when a bus blows up in Jerusalem, it makes the life of those who argue for a peaceful solution more difficult. It feeds the demon of war.

            BTW, I was “insulted” by one of the blogger and called a “zionist” and I believe you say you are one. I think one of the issue hurting the dialogue on this board and elsewhere is ambiguity. By this I mean people not stating what they would want to see as a permanent solution of the conflict. I suggest you ask those who are willing to state what their vision for this region is.
            Let me start that I am a zionist and I support the existence of a Jewish state living side by side with a Palestinian state. I believe the Jews who have settled in the land that would become the State of Palestine, should move into Israel proper and I believe the Palestinian right of return should be limited to that Palestinian state. The border between the two states should be negotiated based on the 1967 cease fire line with mutually agreed territory swaps aimed at minimizing the number of Jews from the territories who would move and maximizing the number of Arabs living in Palestine. In my vision, after a period of a few years, a free trade agreement and an open border policy would be implemented allowing both nations to live side by side and prosper in an interdependent economy which would make future conflict less likely.
            Now, I would like to know what the people who use the word zionist as an insult would like to see happen?

          • BruceT's Argument Is A Crock February 18, 2013, 11:11 PM

            Honestly, the amount of ignorance being spouted by both eden and BruceT is quite spectacular.

            Shooting rockets across a border is Not At All Unusual, as the citizens of both India/Pakistan and North/South Korea will readily attest.

            THOSE rockets/artillery/whatever have been infinitely more dangerous and vastly more deadly than the desultory and utterly uneffectual rockets fizzing there ramshakle way across the sky from Gaza.

            Grow up, fer’ cryin’ out loud, because both of you really do sound like nothing more than a whiny, woozy fluffy-girls-blouse.

          • BruceT February 19, 2013, 7:31 AM

            Mr. Crock,

            First of all, Israel in fact DID NOT respond, for YEARS, to the shelling of its cities. So Israel is comparable to S. Korea and India-Pakistan in that respect. Israel went into Gaza two times over the past decade to try and stop the shelling (which it did).

            Second of all, in the examples you mention, the shelling doesn’t render 20% of the country in question uninhabitable. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis made fleeing to bomb shelters a fact of life for years while the government did nothing. This is NOTHING like the parallels you bring.

            Thirdly, regarding India-pakistan, do you have any idea how many people have been killed because of that conflict? Look it up.

            Fourth, nuclear weapons might have an effect on the scale of retaliation as well. IND-PAK might be restrained by MAD, while SK is afraid of NK using nukes as well. All that being said, full blown war between these countries remains a distinct possibility.

            To sum up, your comparison of Israel-Palestine to these other conflicts is simplistic at best, ignorant and malicious at worst.

  • Fred Plester February 17, 2013, 9:10 AM

    I’m not sure that anyone who’s effectively escorting a weapons convoy, if that bit is true, can claim diplomatic immunity.

    According to the Brown Moses blog, the missile launch vehicles didn’t have any missile packs mounted, so they weren’t being used to protect anything at the time they were attacked. This may imply that they were about to travel a fair distance, because you wouldn’t necessarily dismount everything to move them a mile or two.

    http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/syrian-state-tv-provides-evidence-of.html

    This blog is slow, because the editor embeds so many videos in each post, but it is informative.
    Chinese manpads in the hands of the FSA is also interesting, not least because the Chinese Manpad in question looks rather like the French Mistral system, which I believe the Chinese bought a few of when they imported a handful of Gazelle helicopters in the eighties. (Mistral can be used from a variety of vehicle and aircraft launchers as well as single shoulder-launchers. It’s a lot more flexible than many of its rivals and in the first Gulf war was even used to attack armoured cars from the air.)

    I think I’d share the Brown Moses suspicion that the Malayan armed forces are supplying the FSA with these. Though not many people who’ve seen footage of residential urban areas being bombed, are going to condemn the Malayans for supply a basic means of air defence.

    The article about the high explosive/incendiary bomb is also worth a read, because it’s no longer lawful to use incendiaries against populated civilian areas. Not that this stopped Israel using white phosphorous a couple of years ago.

    I think the key to the Israeli airstrike is not so much the capabilities of the air defence system, perhaps destroyed in a narrow window of opportunity provided by the crews dismounting the missile packs for long-distance travel, so much as the capability of whatever the system was being moved to protect.

    If, when in Lebanon or possibly elsewhere, the air defence system would have secured an offensive system or weapons store from Israeli attack, that might explain why it was convenient to attack it.

    Convenient and legal are different things, of course.

    Any untargeted assassination is random murder, of course.

  • Ilan Hadar February 17, 2013, 9:15 AM

    Only Now, You’ve put the pieces together?
    The news in Israel already discussing it for few days.
    Your sources are more of a turtle (no offence for the animals…)

  • muhammad February 17, 2013, 9:18 AM

    Based on what I have learned from internal Iranian sources, the target was the convoy of arms, not Shateri.

  • Bessam February 17, 2013, 9:22 AM

    “I think that what is meant by “targeted” bombing of someone or some place is that it was done with a technology that minimizes collateral damage.”

    Lovely.
    Using a silencer when murdering your wife is “targeted” killing because you used technology to avoid collateral damage of waking the baby.

    • eden February 17, 2013, 10:56 AM

      [comment deleted-I deleted this comment before I saw the comment that preceded it. I would not have deleted it had I seen that comment first. But generally I thoroughly disapprove of reference to hypothetical rapes or other such horrific crimes. Real people are raped every day & using the example in a hypothetical is offensive.]

      • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 2:58 PM

        I’m finding you & yr comments more & more repulsive. I warn you the next comment you publish in this vein will warrant moderation.

        • Eden February 17, 2013, 3:15 PM

          Richard, You are OK with “a silencer when murdering your wife” (see above) and I guess Bassam deserves praises for this from you. My comment was vague and not personal and simply illustrated a positive use of targeted killing
          As for deleting comments, how does that work with advocating the end of censorship and free discourse?

          • Yanshuf February 17, 2013, 10:00 PM

            It doesn’t.
            Those concepts are a one way street.

            One of the defense blogs I read yesterday mentioned that Israel actually attacked multiple targets in Syria. They only listed the missile convoy,the general and a warehouse in the military base that housed equipment for the dispersal of chemical weapons.

  • Elad R. February 17, 2013, 3:39 PM

    Do you think that Israel has the right to act militarily, if Hezbollah defies U.N resolution 1701 ?

    Please note that according to the LA times, the attack in which the IRG general died took place last week (Feb 10 – Feb -15).
    http://tinyurl.com/asvr4ad

    The WSJ quotes Iranian’s accusing “Zionist agents” but reports the attack took place on Feb 13.
    http://tinyurl.com/b3dzrmt

    The story was reported earlier last week in many Israeli media outlet.

    • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2013, 7:15 PM

      Do I think Israel has the right to define Hezbollah as in violation of the Resolution? And do I think Israel hasn’t itself violated the resolution with virutal daily overflights of Lebanon?

      As for using WSJ as an arbiter of what is credible: I think not.

    • You're kidding, right? February 19, 2013, 1:59 AM

      eden: “Do you think that Israel has the right to act militarily, if Hezbollah defies U.N resolution 1701 ?”

      Well, gosh!, that’s an easy one to answer.

      Ans: No, Israel has no “right” to unilaterally declare anyone to be in violation of an UNSC resolution.

      Declaring a violation of a UN Security Council resolution is the sole perogative of…… the Security Council.

      Funny, that, heh?

  • Oren February 17, 2013, 4:14 PM

    No doubt the assassination of nuclear scientists in Iran is very problematic. But bombing a convoy transferring sophisticated weapons to a militant group, one that is recognized as a terrorist organization by quite a few countries and has a history of attacking civilians indiscriminately, isn’t. Would any western democracy ignore a delivery of sophisticated weapon to a terrorist organization that operates freely in a neighboring country?
    As for the Iranian general, like Fred noted, a general escorting a weapon convoy to a terrorist organization can hardly be called a diplomat.
    As for the Iran-Israel war – there is obviously no open war, but a “dirty war” has been going on for years. In this war Iran has been much dirtier than Israel. Perhaps it should be reminded that Iran organized bombings against (Jewish) civilian and (Israeli) diplomatic targets in Argentina, killing over a hundred people and wounding hundreds more. Recently they’ve done it again in Bulgaria.

  • ron February 18, 2013, 2:09 AM

    [comment deleted--commenter banned for comment rule violations]

  • Eden February 18, 2013, 6:01 AM

    Richard,

    Some of the comments you make indicate a level of disconnection from human logic. For example, arguing that shelling of Israeli cities is not an act of war is honestly bizarre.
    Now, twice I have also proven you wrong with evidence in hands. One was the fact that dual citizens do not have the right to claim that they are foreign in their country of citizenship.The second time was that war is not declared anymore through some kind of medieval gallantry.
    Next, you have removed my comments even though all I was doing was responding to someone who was suggesting I was killing my wife with a gun equipped with a silencer. That offensive comment is still available.
    Finally, even on threads responding to the argument that censorship should not exist, you have used again and again threats of moderating my comments and intimidation which honestly makes the overall argument that you support a free society with free exchange of ideas unlikely. If you would rather have me stop commenting or even visiting your website, say so rather than repeatedly threaten me and censor me.
    As for me, despite what you are saying, I am not from Israel. I do not work for Israel, do not live in Israel and I do not claim to represent Israel.
    My life history is very complex. I can easily sympathize with all the victims of history including the Palestinians and the Israelis since I was born and raised in a country which I would not be able to even visit freely and which I have had to escape from with the clothes on my body.

    • Richard Silverstein February 18, 2013, 6:28 PM

      I explained that what offended me was your hypothetical reference to the rape of a 5 yr old girl. Some of us have had direct experience through loved ones or family of the act of rape. I do not accept such references here unless they deal with an actual event.

      I also explained that I deleted yr comment BEFORE I saw it was responding to a similar comment from another person. Had I seen that comment first, I would not have deleted your comment. I don’t appreciate having to repeat myself. But I did it because you either are trying to make a federal case out of this or didn’t see my original explanation.

      If you want to wax rhapsodic about censorship or other nonsense don’t do it here. Get on with commenting on and reading the posts if you choose. No more histrionics.

      I do not claim to represent Israel.

      On the contrary, much of what you write represents Israel and defends Israel.

      • eden February 19, 2013, 6:16 AM

        Why is my hypothetical reference to rape an issue for you (which I can definitely understand) but the reference that preceded it of me killing my wife acceptable?
        Wives being killed is also a crime that happens too often and is real to many. Also my reference was hypothetical. I did not “raping” your child and made my reference as impersonal as possible This is not the case with the post you chose not to remove.

    • You're kidding, right? February 19, 2013, 2:05 AM

      eden: “For example, arguing that shelling of Israeli cities is not an act of war is honestly bizarre.”

      An. Act. Of. War.

      How wonderfully 19th century of you.
      You are a zionist, I take it?

      You must be, because zionists have their world-view frozen in… oh…. somewhere in the 19th century.

      A cross-border artillery barrage is a cross-border artillery barrage.
      One that is invariably met with a counter-barrage across that very same border.

      Nothin’ particularly unusual about that but, apparently, a zionist seems to think that this is something Quite Unique, and doubtless driven by anti-semitism.

      Hmmm, so how to explain the cross-border artillery barrages that take place between India and Pakistan, or between North and South Korea?

      And how to explain why those DON’T result in “war”?

      Maybe other countries are just…. I dunno…. more grown-up than the Regime Occupying Qods.

      • eden February 19, 2013, 6:12 AM

        “You are a zionist, I take it?”

        Yes, I am a zionist in that that I believe that jews have the right to a country and that country should be in their historical homeland.
        I believe the owner of this website is a zionist as well based on what how he defines himself.
        I gather you are not one. Good for you!!
        As for the argument you make, it is weak very weak. This is not one isolated artillery barrage on a border. These are repeated barrages with thousands of shells over years and these attacks are directed against civilians not empty fields or military targets.
        Also, if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime. If the people in Gaza or Lebanon don’t want Israel to retaliate, don’t shoot rockets.

  • Shtarka February 24, 2013, 4:21 PM

    [this is a comment rule violation; your next violation will result in being moderated]

  • Shtarka February 24, 2013, 4:29 PM

    For the record Mr. Silverstein, and for the benefit of us ignorant masses, please list your credible sources.

  • Ariel February 25, 2013, 12:43 PM

    ‘…justification Israel has used to justify its covert program against Iran’. Israel has never admitted it has such a program. So how can it justify what has never been admitted, in the first place? Good job, Richard!

    • Richard Silverstein February 25, 2013, 2:13 PM

      It’s only covert in the sense that Israel doesn’t admit to specific acts. But Meir Dagan has publicly bragged that Israel engages in all manner of internal interference in Iran’s domestic affairs. So in general terms Israeli leaders not only admit to this, they brag about it. Good job covering up for Israel, Ariel!

  • Ian February 26, 2013, 3:23 AM

    [comment deleted--references to "Nazis" are prohibited under the comment rules except under very limited circumstances. You should read the rules if you wish to comment further here]

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