Iran incensed over Mabhouh hit

The regime cared about the Hamas commander and others of his ilk who are key to keeping the arms flowing, so that resources can be in place should Iran be hobbled by sanctions or even attacked.

March 9, 2010 12:26
4 minute read.
A banner poster ofMahmoud al-Mabhouh

Mabhouh 311 AP. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

If one were to take the temperature of the Iranian regime’s who’s who right now, one would detect a slight rise. The regime cared about Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and others of his ilk who are key to keeping the arms flowing, so that resources can be in place should Iran be hobbled by sanctions or even attacked. While it is unknown who caused Mabhouh’s demise, it is a certainty that the arms supply chain to Gaza and potentially to Yemen has been affected.

Iran needs well-armed proxies to spin out some provocations now and then. The reasons are twofold: First, the Iranian regime needs to deflect some of the world’s attention for a little while longer until it successfully assembles a bomb on its long-range rockets; Second, every time Israel goes to war there is a build-up of global negative emotion toward it, in particular, and Jews, in general.

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Keeping the Mabhouh story alive takes some effort, though. Iran is leaning on the United Arab Emirates, in particular, rather heavily. The PR firms, reporters, politicians, and bureaucrats on the payroll globally are doing their best to keep the story alive, but the magnitude of Mabhouh’s demise has certainly put a small dent in arms smuggling to Gaza and preparation for the eventual multi-front attack on Israel.

The potential options for such attacks are either when and if Iran is attacked prior to having built the bomb, or when it has completed the building of the bomb and the regime is secure in the knowledge that it would not be attacked, no matter what it does in the world.

WHEN THE Iranian foreign minister raises the issue at the UN, it illustrates that they are attempting to keep the story alive, since most European politicians received appropriate intelligence briefings on the matter and are now back-pedaling to distance themselves from
their initial reactions. Fanning the flames further benefits Iranians in ensuring such eliminations do not happen in the future, as they would like to protect their network of arms dealers. These select reliable agents and facilitators are quite valuable, not to mention extraordinarily expensive to sustain. Even with a large delegation of foreign nationals on their payroll across the world, it is difficult to groom stable contacts and facilitators to replace Mabhouh.

At present, the situation is starting to become intolerable for the Russians as well. It’s been fun and games, and certainly billions in arms deals. But the Russians are starting to realize that they are going down the same path as Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s and early ’80s – humoring the regime. The significant shift from autocratic to military dictatorship is also putting most of the “stans,” along with Georgia, Turkey and Armenia at risk. Most importantly, Iranians have the inside knowledge and connections to the Russian arms black market throughout the old Soviet bloc.

Russia has had close calls like that in September 2009, when the Iranians had reportedly secured high-grade black market weapons such as X-55 cruise missiles and S300 anti-aircraft rockets without their knowledge and loaded them on board a ship, hidden in secret compartments, destined to be delivered to Teheran. The embarrassment caused by the Iranians, and particularly by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which has infiltrated the Russian underworld, caused the Kremlin to spare no expense in sending destroyers, subs and elite forces, with the Mossad’s help according to The Sunday Times, to secure the ship and return the shipment.

INDEED, THE elimination of Mabhouh, has shown that some of these facilitators, arms dealers and terrorists connected to the regime have been identified and are now on the radar. The flow of arms shipments from Syria to Lebanon is alarming. It will be probably take only a year, if not months, for the Lebanese army to be shadowed by a better-trained and well-armed parallel force, much like the IRGC.

Certainly for Israel, the likelihood of the next engagement being a multi-front war is high, especially with Washington at its weakest (morally, intellectually and financially) and the Iranians and their satellite states at their strongest. While most of us hope for peaceful solutions, others, like Syria, are either interested in wars (ideological or physical) or stand to gain financial benefits from it.

Although no one knows at present who caused the demise of Mabhouh and we can only speculate why, we can all agree that the controversy has benefited Islamists, terrorists and rogue nations. Israel has yet again been lambasted and public opinion has swelled against such extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings. While European and Australian politicians fell over themselves chastising and singling out Israel, their miscalculated selective domestically-oriented actions have fed the controversy, benefiting the Iranians by creating further instability in the region and furthering arm smuggling into these troubled regions.

The price of this misstep, particularly by Britain, portrays weakness before these rogue nations and the underworld and makes it difficult to unify nations against arms shipments to Hamas, Hizbullah and the Yemeni Shi’ite separatists.

Consequently, nations like the UK or Australia, France and the US may have to clean up the aftermath that ensues from arms shipments to terror organizations. There is no doubt that we will be facing a significant mopping up period in the near future. One hopes that we may be able to lessen its severity through unified global action now.

The writer’s name has been changed to protect his/her identity.

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