Killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
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Israel's crimes against Iran in the past decade include the sabotage through the Stuxnet virus of the centrifuges in its nuclear development program, the killing through missile attack of its militia members in Syria,the sabotage of its Natanz nuclear plant in July this year and the murder in recent years of five of its leading nuclear scientists, most recently, a few days ago, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Each of these attacks would have been carried out at least with the approval of the US government, if not the active involvement at some level of both the US and its puppet Iranian terrorist organization, the MEK (Mujahedin e-Khalq). In reverse, Israel would have been closely involved in the US assassination of Qasim Suleimani in Iraq in January this year. These murders might be state operations but are no different in their brazen nature, their illegality and their brutality from hits organised by Mafia gangs. In the case of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a distinguished physicist, he was apparently dragged from his car during the attack and finished off in the middle of the road. The crime was so heinous that even voices usually hostile to Iran (including the New York Times and former CIA director John Brennan) were appalled.
Each of these attacks is a casus belli for war. Two can play at this game, which means that by these attacks, Israel is virtually inviting the assassination of its own political leaders and military commanders, or its senior representatives abroad. That Iran does not strike back, in the same way, is not necessarily a sign that it does not have the capacity to organise such retaliation. Apart from the criminality and violations of international law that such actions represent, Iran is never going to strike back at a time of Israel's choosing.
Nevertheless, the government is under pressure from its own people to deal a devastating counter-blow, not necessarily against individuals but against Israeli infrastructure such as the port at Haifa. Each of these provocations pushes Iran closer to the edge, as intended by Israel. The repeated refusal of the government to respond is being criticised in Iran as a sign of weakness, as the more Israel gets away with the more it will try to get away with. At the same time, even though Israel is responsible, an Iranian reprisal would trigger off a large-scale military response by Israel and full-scale war that no one in their right mind would want. It is a further sign of the moral void at their centre that Netanyahu and many of the fanatics around him do want such a war and are prepared to drop bombs on live nuclear reactors to achieve their aims
The general view seems to be that Israel did this so Biden would not be able to sign back on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement from which Trump withdrew the US in 2018. That may be so, but Netanyahu might have calculated that this latest savagery would be the final spark igniting the war he has wanted for years. Either of these outcomes would suit him.
There are always parallels in history and for Israel's attempts to provoke an open war with Iran, one parallel would be Israel's attempts to draw Egypt's President Gamal Abd al Nasser into war in 1967. This was no 'preemptive' war but another war of choice. 1948 was the first, because only through war could the zionists seize Palestine, at least most of it. 1967 was the second, launched to destroy Egypt's armed forces, to destroy Nasser's Arab world leadership, and to occupy the rest of Palestine.
It was strikingly successful. All Palestine ended up under occupation and the Egyptian military was shattered. Nasir's pan Arab leadership was not destroyed but gravely weakened by Egypt's failure to see the war coming and defend itself.
Just as Israel has been trying to draw Iran into the open through the assassination of its scientists and the sabotage of its nuclear plants, so in the year before the 1967 war it set out to draw Nasser into the open through provocations along the Syrian armistice line. These took the form of incursions by armored tractors into the DMZ, triggering off shelling by the Syrian army and then air attacks by Israel.
Although Israel was determined to destroy any Arab nationalist government and to destroy Arab nationalism itself, the main target of these provocations was Nasser. He was the foremost Arab champion and Israel wanted him where it could get at him. It knew that sooner or he would have to respond to its provocations on the Syrian front by taking action on the Egyptian front.
When Israel shot down six Syrian planes in April 1967, the ball started to roll. Israeli politicians talked of going further than ever before, of teaching Syria a lesson, and even of invading Syria and occupying Damascus, 15 years ahead of its invasion of Lebanon and occupation of Beirut.
By the second week of May, war was regarded as inevitable. Nasser moved troops and tanks into Sinai and called for the withdrawal of the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) from the armistice line. Although Israel was the aggressor in the 1956 war, UNEF forces were inside Egypt because Israel refused to accept them on its side of the armistice line, and as usual, it got its way.
On May 22 Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran, the entrance point to the Gulf of Aqaba, but without actually blocking them to Israeli shipping. Under pressure, however, to stand up to the Israelis, he had moved the final piece on the board that set the stage for war.
Israel repeated the rhetoric of 1948. İt was again being threatened with extermination and annihilation at the hands of an Arab 'ring of steel.' In fact, it knew, and so did the CIA, that it would easily defeat any Arab army or combination of Arab armies. Behind the panic deliberately set in motion among the Israeli population, the generals could not wait to get going. They vowed to be on the banks of the Suez Canal within a week. This was an opportunity - one they had created - that Israel could not afford to miss. The military would deliver a knockout blow: according to Yigal Allon, "There is not the slightest doubt about the outcome of this war and each of its stages."
And so it turned out to be. On the Arab side, there is not the slightest doubt that Nasser did not want war. His threats were those of the Arab champion and his intended audience the Arab world, but behind the scenes, he was looking for a way out of the crisis into which he had been maneuvered. An Egyptian delegation led by Vice-President Zakaria Muhi Al-Din was due to fly into Washington on June 7 for talks to begin the following day on bringing the crisis to an end. On June 5, with the window of the opportunity for war about to close, Israel attacked.
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