If I were an Iranian intelligence official I’d be following very closely the travel schedule of Tamir Pardo, Israel’s Mossad chief. Last month, he visited his Turkish counterpart. Four weeks later, Israeli bombers flew from a Turkish airbase to attack the Syrian government weapons depot at Latakia, where they destroyed advanced Russian Yakhont anti-ship missiles.
Two Israeli TV news reports affirm that Pardo recently visited the United Arab Emirates. UAE is one of the bastions of the anti-Iran resistance among the Gulf states. I revealed a few weeks ago that the Israeli budget contains a secret allocation for establishing a military-intelligence coordination facility in the UAE. It would place Israeli agents and analysts in the Gulf so they can devise aggressive operations against Iran, together with their Arab peers from the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, etc.
The strategy Pardo adopted during his visit to Turkey and the attack on Latakia is very similar to the one devised for the Israel-UAE mission. Israel sent a clear signal to Assad with the attack that Israel and Turkey were united against him, despite whatever other differences they may have. This was meant to have a sort of psy-ops impact on the Syrian dictator.
Similarly, the new anti-Iran alliance Israel is organizing is meant to increase the former’s isolation and deal it a psychological blow, in addition to any tangible acts of sabotage or overt attack it may organize.
Interestingly, UAE is the very same place where Pardo’s predecessor orchestrated the assassination of Mahmoud al Mabouh, who was Hamas’ leading arms dealer with Iran. Dubai made a point of loudly declaring Bibi Netanyahu and Meir Dagan to be criminals and added them to the Interpol red list. But Pardo appears to have emerged unscathed as he was on leave from intelligence service at the time.
All this proves that alliances and allegiances are quite malleable in the Middle East. Someone who is your enemy one day is your ally the next. In this region, there appears to be no such thing as values, only interests. And the latter evolve constantly. This may explain why so much of the region, including Israel is in the mess it is.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.