Has the killing of the ‘father of Iranian nuclear program’, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi (59), allegedly by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, started to mark the beginning of an Israel-led US war on Iran?
There has been speculation about the US launching a strike on Iran before US President Donald Trump demits office in January 2021.
As, after all, the imprints of Israel in the background of this murder stem from the press conference of PM Benjamin Netanyahu on April 30, 2018, where he had said — “remember that name” (of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh) — accusing Iran of keeping the “work in progress” towards acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has vowed revenge, with the country’s foreign minister Javed Zarif tweeting –
“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice — with serious indications of Israeli role — shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators. Iran calls on int’l community—and especially the EU—to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”
If analysts can be given plausible credence, then during the recent meeting of Netanyahu and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia crown prince MBS, in Neom City, on November 23, 2020, it was discussed how to tackle a “strike on Iran”. And the meeting wasn’t exactly that much about the incoming normalization of KSA and Israel, as was disclosed by Lebanese website Al Manar, the same day, and the ‘result’ of it has arrived within five days.
The killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist is, therefore, a gift from the US to Israel and from Israel to the Arabs! For Israel (read the US) has very steadily, for the last 40 years, when the Iranian revolution came, sold the dread that the same revolution would eat on the Arab monarchies, which made the Gulf states train their guns on Iran. And the last 40 years have found only death and destruction i.e. Iran-Iraq war, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen etc., in the Gulf region, with the only exception of Israel straddling to its superpower status.
It may be known that, on the next day of the Netanyahu-MBS meeting, Iran’s ambassador to Pakistan Syed AM Huseini, according to 24NewsHDTv, had called for Islamabad to initiate a dialogue to iron out all the outstanding differences between KSA and Iran, but perhaps, by then the fate of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh had been sealed.
He was on the hit list of Mossad and his death has come within months of the killing of Al Qaeda No. 2 Al Misri (in August 2020) in Tehran. The incident shows how Mossad was working deep behind enemy lines, inside Iran, which is ostensibly known for its anti-Israel views.
In fact, Fakhrizadeh was on the US watch list from 2008 onwards when his assets were ordered ‘frozen’, according to New York Times, and was also sought for ‘interrogation’ through the UN by the Atomic Energy Agency, which Iran had denied.
Fakhrizadeh’s killing has for sure delighted Trump who very willingly retweeted a tweet from the prominent Israeli journalist Yossi Melman that read, “Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi assassinated in Damavand, east of Tehran according to reports in Iran.
He was head of Iran’s secret military program and was wanted for many years by Mossad. His death is a major psychological and professional blow for Iran”.
Iran, obviously, cannot target Israel but surely would try to harm the US military bases in Qatar, the UAE, Iraq or in KSA, from Syria or Lebanon, or it might again seek help from the Afghan-Taliban, and maybe through Houthis, attack KSA – which would be an advantage for Israel as there would be more tumult in the Gulf region, thus a ‘reaction to further reaction’ is what is to be counted for.
Israel has proved it to KSA that its rival (Iran) has been given the severest blow as KSA too had long been apprehensive of the Iranian nuclear program.
Israel by its latest action may have reopened its policy of ‘hot pursuit’ as it had allegedly killed four of Iran’s nuclear scientists (2010-12), the operation which had been later suspended due to the pressure from the Obama administration.
Thereafter, it had led to Obama forging a nuclear deal with Iran, but which was set aside by Trump, and which now Israel fears might again be reopened up by Joseph Biden. But, Mossad may be rejoicing its success, for having ‘done it’, that too multiple times inside Iran’s capital, as after all, its agents work under multiple identities, like through NGOs, researchers, media personnel, etc., and with multiple citizenships too!
The region, therefore, is getting poised for war, as the US is also quite capable of fomenting a false attack on its assets and, therefore, find an excuse to bombard Iran as it did to Iraq on the pretext of finding weapons of mass destruction, where there were none.
Already, the US aircraft carrier Nimitz is getting deployed into the Persian Gulf to rise up to any Iranian reaction.
Let’s see how China, an arch-foe of India, relates to all of this as it has recently entered into a 25-year $400 billion ‘trade and military’ deal with Iran.
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics.