Hezbollah Blames Syrian Rebels for Top Commander’s Assassination; But Don’t You Believe It.
Here’s why: though Hezbollah usually is quite prompt and forthright when it’s commanders have been assassinated by Israelis in the past, this time is different. It’s hard to know why. But I have a few theories:
I’ve been reading the Twitter timeline of Elijah Magnier, who is one of the most astute observers of both Hezbollah and the Syrian conflict. He believes the assignment of blame to Syrian rebels is deliberate disinformation. I’m inclined to agree.
Israel has assassinated as much of the top Hezbollah leadership as it can over the years. It killed Abbas Musawi, the top leader who preceded Hassan Nasrallah. It assassinated Imad Mugniyeh and later, his son. It’s also assassinated Syrian generals and IRG commanders in Syria. That’s why you shouldn’t believe the nonsense the world media offers about Israel’s alleged neutrality in the Syria conflict.
When someone as senior as Mustafa Badreddine is assassinated, it doesn’t happen by coincidence and not via an artillery shell. It’s a deliberate, targeted assassination–well-planned and executed with sophisticated weaponry. There is only one power in the region capable of doing this, and with a history of doing it in the past: Israel.
By the way, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted that there had been no artillery shelling of the airport for days before the assassination there.
Magnier adds another tantalizing piece of information: that only 30 minutes before his murder, Badreddine met with Iran’s top IRG commander, Qassem Soleimani in the same location where he died. If so, whoever killed the Hezbollah commander likely knew Soleimani was there and chose not to kill him. If Israel did it, the reason would be clear: killing Iran’s top military commander would necessitate a huge Iranian response. It would threaten to destroy the Iran nuclear deal at the heart of Barack Obama’s legacy. If the U.S. knew about the plans for this attack (and given the NSA’s penetration of foreign intelligence services, including Israel’s, that’s entirely possible), it would warn Israel not to kill Soleimani. But it would not care about Badreddine, since he and Mugniyeh were instrumental in attacks against U.S. interests in Lebanon in 1982. In assassinating Osama bin Laden, Obama has shown not just willingness, but eagerness to murder Islamists who’ve killed Americans. In fact, it’s the worst aspect of the outgoing president’s legacy.
Ronen Bergman wrote in his NY Times Magazine portrait of Mugniyeh’s assassination that the NSA played a key role in intercepting the victim’s communications. That, in turn led to locating and targeting Mugniyeh, information fed to the Israelis which permitted them to kill him. I say, if it worked once before why wouldn’t both the CIA-NSA and Israel try it again?
If the U.S. was involved in this attack as well, it would explain why Soleimani wasn’t killed. Obama would move heaven and earth to prevent Israel from killing a figure as critical as him, given the disruptive consequences to Iran-western relations.
UPDATE: The White House released a statement denying U.S. involvement or the involvement of any coalition forces fighting against ISIS in Syria. I find this odd. I’m not aware of anyone claiming such planes were involved in the assassination. So why would he bother to offer this denial? To me, it almost begs the question: are you trying to allude to the fact that other planes of another state were involved? Like Israel?
Why would Hezbollah release deliberately false information about the culprits? Because if they point the finger at Israel immediately, it will ratchet up pressure on them to respond. If they do not take revenge, their supporters and the world will think them weak and ineffectual. In the past, Hezbollah has been accused of mounting botched terror attacks in Asia, Africa and the Far East. It doesn’t want to be rushed when/if it responds. This cover gives them the time they need to decide how to respond and when.
Sealing the deal of Israeli responsibility is the Cheshire grin on the faces of Israeli intelligence officials when asked if Israel did it. The canned response is: “I don’t know, but whoever did it did the world a favor. And I won’t shed a tear for his sorry ass.” Or words to that effect. Ehud Barak used to do that when he was defense minister. Yaakov Amidror was the one who said virtually the same words as Barak in the current case. The other typical obfuscation you’ll hear from intelligence folk in Israel is: “Who did it? Oh I don’t know, but he sure had a lot of enemies. Any one of them could’ve done it.” In effect, Hezbollah pre-empted them when it blamed precisely the culprit Israel would blame: the rebels. All this is almost guaranteed to point to Israel as the culprit. The pattern of response is so standard that it’s getting boringly predicatable.
26 thoughts on “Hezbollah Blames Syrian Rebels for Top Commander’s Assassination; But Don’t You Believe It. – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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” If they do not take revenge, their supporters and the world will think them weak and ineffectual. ”
Their supporters will think them weak and ineffectual whether it was Israel or takfiris that carried out the attack.
Fact is, Israel is stronger than the the takfiris so Hezbollah would appear even weaker if takfiris were responsible.
@Abby: But they’re already fighting the rebels, they’re not fighting or attacking Israel, which makes them look worse, like hypocrites.
@Richard, I am inclined to agree with your analysis here, except that Hizbullah’s announcements have always tended to be accurate, they like to sound credible and not make bald faced lies. Also, it would be pretty damn risky for the Israelis to target Badreddine and try to avoid Soleimani. Last time they did that on the Golan they almost started a regional war by accident.
In any case its speculation at this point, we’ll find out when the archives are declassified…
Oh no, we’ll find out much sooner than that. Perhaps in a week or a month. When an Israeli general or politician feels free to open his big mouth & brag about it. Or when Hezbollah attacks an Israeli targets and kills a lot of Israelis. Then it will feel free to brag about it. But you may be sure this will happen far sooner than when archives are declassified.
@ Abby: I don’t think Hezbollah’s supporters think Hezbollah weak & ineffectual. They understand that Israel, as the proxy of the most powerful military power in the world, has more capabilities than Hezbollah. In fact, they glory in Hezbollah’s resistance to such stronger powers. They worship “martyrs” (in their eyes) like Badreddine who offer their lives in sacrifice against such power.
But I do think Hezbollah is being careful about how it proceeds so as not to set expectations too high too soon regarding how it may respond.
@Richard I’m not sure I understand the point of the article. Certainly whoever eliminated this man did the world a favor. He was a killer’s killer. So what difference does it make if the deed was done by the Israelis or someone else?
@ Cheesecake: I’ll have no problem with your point of view when you agree that Israel’s enemies, who see Israeli generals and intelligence chiefs who’ve killed thousands of Arabs, as legitimate targets for assassination.
The world is indeed rid of a stinking rat.
In an attempt to free Badreddine from prison, for killing Americans in Kuwait, Badreddine’s brother, Hassan, hijacked a TWA flight 847 and murdered American Navy diver Master Chief Robert Dean Stethem, may he rest In peace.
@RichardSilverstein – Again I don’t understand. I have to see them as legitimate targets? What, do you believe, even for a minute, that Hamas, Hizbullah and others don’t see them as targets? Of course they do. If they could get to them. Hamas and Hizbullah will kill anyone, at any time, at any place. Civilians, military figures, or anyone else. What, Hizbullah didn’t kill hundreds in Argentina?
@Cheesecakr: You didn’t answer my challenge. If you see Israel’s right to assassinate enemies at will & in foreign countries you concede Hezbollah & Hamas’ right to do the same. Yes or no. Simple question.
As for your claims about Hamas & Hezbollah. They are false. During Israeli invasions of Gaza, Hamas could’ve easily killed civilians through tunnels. But it deliberately spared civilians & killed soldiers instead.
The IDF, on the other hand, kills far more civilians than combatants during such operations. It is the IDF who will kill civilians almost any time anywhere during such atacks.
I tend to agree with your analysis most of the time, but Hezbollah prides itself on being honest and truthful at all times.
@Ras: I agree. That’s why I said that this time is different. Because normally they are scrupulously honest.
Scrupulously honest except when Hezbollah denies involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
I’d hazard a guess that the pair were targets – both Soleimani & Badreddine – a twofer . . . cept Soleimani ( who must be as twitchy as all get go to have lived this long ) ducked out early ( Not implying anything by saying that – just that he’s a never-stay-in-any-one-place-too-long type of guy. As for who done it . . . Yeah 99.99% it’s the chosen ones. For sure.
How come in this case it is merely “disinformation” but even Israel uses the same tactic they are called “lies”?
@ Israel: Because Israel lies routinely about virtually everything and Hezbollah doesn’t. BTW, since when is “disinformation” less derogatory than “lies?” They’re actually pretty close to synonyms.
I don’t understand why you call the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the “worst” aspect of Obama’s legacy? Don’t you support the killing of Osama bin Laden? Do you suggest that we should have left him to live happily with his many wives and allow him to continue plotting against the United States? It must have been a typo right? You probably meant that the assassination of the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was the “best” aspect of Obama’s legacy. Right?
@Gaby Miliki: No, I don’t support state sponsored assassination. I support a quaint notion that is alien to the Israeli world-view: the rule of law. It would’ve been easy to capture try & convict him. But Obama calculated that Bin Laden alive would generate more terror attacks than Bin Laden dead.
Don’t put words in my mouth, ever.
@Richard:”the rule of law”.
At your age, I would have assumed that you understand that the “rule of law” is determined by the powerful.
In order to avoid sounding too cynical, let’s just say that international law can be interpreted to allow extrajudicial killings/targeted assassinations in wartime.
That’s your usual shtick: All is relative, there is no morality, and all of that wrapped in a lot of pseudo-philosophical blahblah. Usually heading towards: So give cute, democratic little Israel a break. Defending the indefensible you have to become amoral, I get that. But it’s pretty sad, if you ask me.
But I read that Israel has one of the highest rates of lawyers and judges per capita in the world. A former president and a former prime minister serving time in jail for corruption and rape. How could you say the rule of law is alien to the Israelis.
@ Gaby: Oh God, we’ve been over this 20 times in the past. A few convictions of a few celebrities doesn’t mean a nation observes the rule of law. Not to mention that the prosecutor gave Katsav every opportunity to plead to a lesser charge & serve hardly any time in prison. It was his obstinacy that led to a rape conviction. So no, this wasn’t the nation’s finest hour. As for Olmert, he was corrupt for decades & for some reason it took that long to convict him of his corrupt deeds. What Lieberman’s & Sharon’s corruption? Never charged, never prosecuted. What about Bibitours? Still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that one.
To capture Osama bin Laden and bring him to the US without Pakistan’s knowledge, consent or extradition would have been ilegal under international law and since you are big on following the rule of law, I’m sure that’s not what you meant. You probably meant that Obama should have asked Pakistan, maybe their intelligence services who didn’t know that Osama bin Laden was living next door, to capture Him and to kindly hand him over to us.
@ Gaby: So yr argument is that it would be more respectful of international law to violate a country’s sovereignty & kill someone being harbored by that country’s security services than it would to capture & bring him to justice? Under what insane conception is it more desirable for U.S. assassins to murder Bin Laden on Pakistani territory?
But I am impressed with your new found zeal fir international law. It show even the worst, most cyn7val malefic tors like you can do d incer er teshuvah.
Capture and bring to justice Osama bin Laden, and than what? Wait for an onslaught of high profile kidnappings, ransoms and hijackings committed in order to free Osama?
Please don’t gamble with my life, thank you.
@Abby: Sorry, but many of the high-profile terror attacks all over the world were motivated by Islamists avenging our murder of Osama bin Laden.