Iran’s terror proxy

Terrorists are never short of meaningful dates or excuses to spill blood in the name of what they aver is justice.

Hezbollah Imad Mughniyeh 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Hezbollah Imad Mughniyeh 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Three Azerbaijani Hezbollah mercenaries were recently arrested by Azeri security forces for conspiring to attack a Chabad center in Baku and Israel’s ambassador there, Michael Lotem.
This didn’t make headlines overseas. Even exceptionally gruesome atrocities eventually fade – at least somewhat – from collective consciousness, to say nothing of thwarted acts of terror. What was preempted, and didn’t transpire, isn’t necessarily news everywhere.
That said, the fact that Hezbollah, in its role as Iran’s terror proxy, plotted to hit Jews in far-off Azerbaijan speaks volumes about the nature of Israel’s enemies. Similar deadly designs were uncovered in Thailand and Bulgaria. Greece is also regarded as a likely venue for such sinister schemes.
There is, sadly, nothing new in the callous cowardice to which these attempts attest. When Hezbollah fears to face Israeli wrath head-on, it seeks “soft,” relatively risk-free targets in distant settings, where hostilities are naturally less expected.
Nonetheless, such attacks – by assorted terror groups, spearheaded initially by Fatah – proliferated since the late 1960s and through the ’70s and ’80s. Hezbollah/Iran adopted the tactic with relish in the ’90s.
On March 17, 1992, Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires was car-bombed, killing 29 and wounding 242. This became Argentina’s worst terror attack until July 18, 1994, when a van loaded with 275 kg. of explosives was detonated in front of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) Jewish Community Center, located in a densely-packed section of Buenos Aires. The lives of 85 innocents were claimed and many hundreds more were injured.
Argentine investigations were marred by gross ill-will and/or incompetence (former president Nestor Kirchner branded them a “national disgrace” in 2005). However, even the lethargic investigators agreed that Hezbollah/Iran masterminded the outrages. Indeed, in 1999 an arrest warrant was issued against Hezbollah senior military commander Imad Mughniyeh, who himself died in a 2008 car-bombing in Damascus.
Both Hezbollah and Iran blame Israel – which never admitted to anything – for Mughniyeh’s demise and have vowed furious vengeance.
Some four years ago Hezbollah and Iranian agents reportedly planned to set off a car bomb outside the Israeli embassy in Baku shortly after Mughniyeh’s assassination, but the attack was foiled. Their latest Baku plot was scheduled for implementation three weeks before the anniversary of Mughniyeh’s death.
If so, that in itself exposes a warped sense of justice, which denies Israel the right to punish Mughniyeh for the mass murders he instigated, but instead agitates for retaliating against whoever is presumed to have done away with the mass-murderer.
Still, this may be no more than a pretext, since terrorists are never short of meaningful dates or excuses to spill blood in the name of what they aver is justice. For instance, Iran may well hunger for reprisal for the assassinations of top scientists instrumental in its nuclear projects. These too are blamed on Israel (which has admitted to nothing in this case as well).
But the plain fact of the matter is that it does not really matter what Israel does or does not do. The craving for carnage is essentially unconnected with specific Israeli actions but instead stems from the fact that Israel exists at all.
During the years of Israeli presence in the south Lebanon security zone, Hezbollah argued that its sole aim was to drive Israelis off Lebanese land. Once this occurred, Israel was assured, Hezbollah would have no more bones to pick with the Jewish state.
Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Lebanese territory almost a dozen years ago, yet Hezbollah has only escalated its aggression – kidnapping Israelis, attacking Israelis within the country’s legitimate borders and heavily rocketing the entire North.
Despite UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War sparked by Hezbollah, the organization has regrouped and is now armed to the teeth as never before.
Much of the responsibility for this sorry state of affairs resides with the international community, which tolerates Hezbollah’s reinforcement, despite declarations to the contrary and the useless deployment of the the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Similarly scant attention is paid to Iran’s role as a worldwide sponsor of terror. But when Israel is forced to protect its people, a chorus of condemnation resounds.