Israeli government and defense officials felt somewhat vindicated Sunday by the Wikileaks reports released over the weekend, which detailed how the United States conducted itself in the war in Iraq, and also expose Iran’s covert involvement in her neighbor’s affairs.
On the one hand, disclosure of the number of civilians killed – over 66,000 – during just five years of the war is used by some government officials to highlight how difficult it is to fight terror anywhere, and that Israeli policy is par for the course.
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It will be interesting to see whether the United Nations establishes a Goldstone-like commission to investigate the US for alleged war crimes – or if Goldstone-type investigations are reserved solely for Israel.
The chances that any real tribunal will be established are slim. First, the US has far more influence over international organizations such as the UN than does Israel.
But apart from that, the world has moved on. This certainly applies to America, currently in the throes of midterm elections and far less interested in the Wikileaks discoveries.
On the other hand, the 400,000 documents leaked to the world’s premier media were proof of another claim Israel has been making for years: the dangerous role Iran plays in the region.
According to the documents, Iran has provided extensive aid to Iraqi militias. One document from 2006 posted on the New York Times website describes a plan by a Shi’ite militia commander to kidnap US troops in Baghdad. The kidnapping, carried out later that year, was led by a senior Iraqi terrorist who had been trained by Hizbullah operatives in the Iranian city of Qom under the supervision of the Revolutionary Guards al-Quds Force.
The documents also detail how, over the years, Iran has provided weapons, rockets and lethal roadside bombs to Iraqi militias.
This may be making frontpage news around the world, but it came as little surprise to Israel. While the public tends to focus its attention on Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian regime’s influence is felt throughout the region due also to its massive support of proxies – from Hizbullah in Lebanon to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, from insurgents in Iraq to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Iranian strategy, as explained by one defense official recently, is
quite simple. By using proxies, Iran seeks to inject maximum instability
with minimum responsibility.
Israel has been claiming for years,
for example, that while the roadside bombs the IDF faces in Gaza and
Lebanon do not come from the same factory as those the US troops face in
Iraq and Afghanistan, they are manufactured via the same method since
all the terror groups have the same teacher – Iran.
and nurture its proxies, the regime in Iran established the al-Quds
Force – the Jerusalem Force – in the early 1980s as an elite branch of
the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The first commander of
the al-Quds Force, Gen. Ahmed Vahidi, is currently Iran’s defense
minister. He was responsible for creating Iran’s greatest success to
date – Hizbullah. Vahidi has been known to Israel for years, and is
wanted by Interpol for his involvement in the deadly bombing of the AMIA
Jewish community center in Argentina in 1994.
Not much is known
about the current commander, Gen.Qassem Suleimani, although it is
believed he orchestrated the recent delivery of long-range missiles to
Hizbullah and Hamas.
The hope in Israel is that the Wikileaks
reports exposing Iran’s dangerous involvement in Iraq will greatly firm
up the determination of the US to halt Iran’s nuclear program.