Friday, July 20, 2012

It Takes a Village, and Some… The Recent Attacks Against Israelis

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

On July 18, 2012, attack on an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria took the lives of 5 Israeli nationals, a Bulgarian, and the mysterious suicide bomber. It is reported that the suspect, a young Caucasian, had a fake Michigan driver’s license. According to Israeli Haaretz, a top Bulgarian official warned that it would be a “mistake” to blame a specific country or organization for the attack. However, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had other ideas.

Quick to point the finger at Iran, Mr. Netanyahu called it an “Iranian terror network spreading throughout the world”. He added: "Exactly 18 years after the attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina, the Iranian terror continues to hurt innocent people." Apparently, it takes a village and some to set Iran up.

These serious allegations with a potential for disaster, demand scrutiny on several levels. The most fundamental question which needs to be addressed is who benefits from these attacks. One must question the location – location, location, location. And finally, analyze the empirical data.

Who Benefits?

In spite of Israel and its Washington lobbies pushing for a war against Iran, of late, prominent voices have adopted a less bellicose stance towards Iran and its nuclear program. The possibility of any military action against Iran which would undoubtedly lead to a closure of the world’s most important oil chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz, has prompted politicians around the globe to opt for a diplomatic solution to end the impasse with Iran.

Somewhat optimistically, Iran is investing its efforts in diplomacy. While continuing to work towards a mutually acceptable solution with the P5+1, Iran is making extensive preparations for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit it will be hosting in Tehran in August. Over the past three centuries, Iran has never initiated a war and it would seem unlikely that at this juncture Tehran would resort to terrorism and solicit condemnation and possibly war. On the other hand, the targeting and killing of Israeli citizens by Iran would serve to support and justify Netanyahu’s call for military action against Iran.

For Netanyahu, domestic dissatisfaction aside, Israel’s policy of settlement expansion, a policy which government appointed jurists called legal, has brought international condemnation. With the moderate Kadima party pulling out of government, leaving Netanyahu in charge of hard-line coalition opposed to Middle East peace, Israel needs support from its allies more than ever. Undoubtedly, Israel would have greater support as a victim instead of an aggressor.

Location, Location, Location

In addition to the Bulgaria attack, Mr. Netanyahu has blamed Iran for attacks in other countries, including the apparent foiled attack in Cyprus and the accusations leveled against Iran for plotting an attack in Kenya.

Bulgaria - Bulgaria and Israel have very cordial relations. In July 2011, an Israeli-Bulgarian declaration pledged wide range cooperation. A year later, on July 8th, Bulgaria’s former foreign minister Solomon Passy told The Times of Israel that Israel should aggressively seek to join NATO and the EU. Passy said: “Israel is part of Western civilization and of the Euro-Atlantic political culture and that’s why Israel shouldn’t be shy to vocally say that it wants to become a member of NATO, the EU and OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe],”. Ten days later, an attack against Israel took place in Bulgaria.

Thailand – Thailand and Israel have had cordial relations with moderate and steady trade. In January 2012, Thailand recognized Palestine as an independent state. A month later, Israel blamed Iran for “terrorist attacks” in Bangkok. Allegedly, one of the perpetrators had carried his “Iranian” passport on him to carry out the mission.

India - India and Israel have had very amicable relations. On July 17, 2003, JINSA’s executive director delivered a speech in Washington to the US–India Political Action Committee International Conference on Terrorism in India in which he put Israel, the United States, and India in the same boat – as the number one on the terrorist hit list (Bonney 2008). In 2008, India launched Israel’s spy satellite into orbit. In spite of its close ties to Israel, India has not stopped trade with Iran. In fact, two days prior to the Israeli embassy staff in India were targeted on February 13, 2012, India defended its oil trade with Iran.

Georgia – Israel’s relations with Georgia are unique. It was widely reported in 2008 that Israel had the green light to attack Iran from Georgian territory. Israel is thought to have played a prominent role in the Russian-Georgian conflict (see link for full details of the relationship. In 2010, Georgia and Iran entered a new phase in their relationship and Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister expressed that “ties will further deepen”. As with India, Iran was blamed for the bomb attempts in Georgia.

Given the nature of Israel’s relations with these countries, one cannot definitively conclude why these countries were picked by the perpetrators of these crimes. Perhaps these Israeli allies are not safe for Israelis, or they are safe for false-flag operations.

Empirical Data

Mr. Netanyahu made a clear reference to 1994 saying: “Exactly 18 years after the attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina, the Iranian terror continues to hurt innocent people." The 1994 bombing in Argentina was blamed squarely on Iran without any evidence while all other voices were silenced. Prominent voices such as Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles who suggested that [Argentine] government and military figures may have sought to embarrass the Menem government because of its decision to release the files” being investigated in the AMIA building at the time. An important project being carried out at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building was a review of previously secret government files that reportedly reveal how Nazis entered Argentina following World War II helped by Argentine officials. The review of the files had gone on for two years, but had not been completed at the time of the bombing. “Speculation centered on the possibility that former Argentine government and military officials, fearful of exposure, were responsible for the bomb attack." 1

This is but one of the many instances where allegations against Iran have been made without any proof. However, there have been many instances where Israeli false flag operations have come to light.

Many reports as well as a detailed account (“Operation Cyanide”) reveals the Israeli plan to kill everyone on board the USS Liberty in 1967 and put the blame on Egypt. The survivors prompted President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to order the investigation to conclude the attack was a case of mistaken identity.

Israel has always had a knack for stealing passports and other IDs to carry out false flag operations. According to The New Zealand Herald (September 21, 2004)2 Mossad agents tried to steal New Zealand passports, causing friction between New Zealand and Israel. It is not the first time this has come to light, according to the same source.

Mossad agents had stolen Canadian passports to assassinate a Jordanian leader. These are not isolated cases.

In January 2012, it came to light that Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents.

According to two U.S. intelligence officials, while toting U.S. passports and posing as CIA officers, they recruited Jundallah operatives. One month later, in February, NBC reported that according to US officials, Israel armed and trained the terrorist MEK.

While there is plenty of empirical data to support that Israelis are not shy about false flag operations, one would be hard pressed to accept that Israel would carry out a false flag operation and kill its own. Not so.

The 1976 Operation Entebbe was a great tribute to Israeli courage and praise of Israeli commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who rescued Israeli citizens at Entebbe airport in Uganda. But newly released British government documents reveal that the 1976 rescue of hostages, kidnapped on an Air France flight and held in Entebbe was a false flag operation – the file claims that Israel itself was behind the hijacking.

This “rescue operation” which became known as “operation Jonathan” in honor of the unit’s leader – Yonatan Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister’s brother. Yonatan was killed in the false flag operation – as were four other Israelis.

When it comes to Israel’s political agenda, no sacrifice is too great. A move against Iran will reverberate throughout the world. It is important for political leaders around the globe to understand that it may take a village to implement a political agenda, but it is up to them to make sure that the agenda does not destroy the global village.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher and blogger with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.

1Jewish Center Bombed in Argentina. The Christian Century. Chicago:Jul 27, 1994. Vol. 111, Iss. 22, p. 716 (2 pp.)

Saker addendum: See this article about the Buenos-Aires bombing.