Bangkok bombing 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
If there was any doubt, the capture of two Iranian nationals in Bangkok on
Tuesday – just hours after the home they were renting exploded in a work
accident – shows that the Israeli-Iranian war has now moved out of the
Iran is out to strike at Israel and appears to be panicking as
it tries. The three recent plots, including the relatively successful bombing in
New Delhi on Monday, are a demonstration of a determined Iranian effort to
attack Israel at almost all costs.
But there is something to be said
about Iran’s and Hezbollah’s failure so far to succeed fully in their
This could be evidence of what Israeli defense officials have
claimed since 2008: that replacing Imad Mughniyeh, the Lebanese group’s military
commander and terror mastermind assassinated that year in Damascus, was nearly
impossible, and his loss was a huge blow to the terrorist
Mughniyeh oversaw Hezbollah’s operations overseas in the 1990s and
2000s and is believed to have orchestrated the 1992 bombing of the Israeli
Embassy in Buenos Aires and of the AMIA Jewish community center there two years
On the other hand, while his loss has been a blow to Hezbollah,
Israel has moved in the other direction and has improved its intelligence reach overseas in recent years, mainly by opening itself up to cooperating with
foreign intelligence agencies.
An example of this cooperation came last
month, when Thai officials described how Israel had tipped them off – once in
late December and again in early January – about Hezbollah operative Hussein
Atris’s movements, with exact details of when and where the attack he was
plotting would take place.
What Iran is likely trying to do is hit Israel
hard enough to inflict pain, but not so hard as to give Israel justification to
retaliate, possibly even militarily.
In the meantime – and as long as the
attacks are not successful – Israel is going to try and use the spate of attacks
to its benefit, and specifically garner international support against Iran’s
Israeli intelligence agencies are now working to try and
connect the dots among the three recent terror plots – in New Delhi, Tbilisi and
Bangkok – in an effort to be able to portray Iran as what Israel claims it is:
the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
The goal will be to
show this Iranian violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and
try to get the world to impose tougher sanctions on the regime. The sanctions
would not help in stopping the overseas terror, but could have a greater impact
on Iran’s nuclear program.
The attack in New Delhi, for example, could be
instrumental in getting India to cut its economic ties with Iran, from which it
currently buys approximately 12 percent of its oil.
Israel is also using
the attacks to explain to the world the danger of a nuclear Iran. If Iran is
carrying out these attacks today, just wait until the ayatollahs have a nuclear
bomb, some officials are saying.
But this all depends on the Iranians. If
the attacks continue and one of them succeeds, Israel will need to consider how
For the time being, Israel is focused on the diplomatic
track, but one bomb could change everything.