by: Ilse Strauss
Wednesday, 22 June 2022 | The shadow war between Israel and Iran is nothing new. The covert conflict has raged—mostly behind the scenes—between the sons of Judah and the offspring of ancient Persia for over three decades, with both sides furtively taking swipes at the other on land, by air, at sea and by proxy in a manner that preserves plausible deniability.
Yet every so often, the clandestine clashes slip out of the shadows for a more conspicuous scuffle. This has been the case over the past month.
It started on May 22, when a high-ranking officer in the shadowy elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was assassinated in broad daylight in one of the most secure areas of Tehran in what Israeli media called a carefully coordinated operation.
The mullahs in Tehran didn’t officially accuse Israel of killing Colonel Hassan Sayyad Kodayari and the powers-that-be in Jerusalem have offered no official comment on the hit. However, reports revealed that Iran holds Israel responsible. Fearing revenge attacks, the Jewish state raised the security alert level at international embassies and consulates and prepared for the possibility of assaults on Jewish targets abroad as well as strikes from Syria or Lebanon.
Yet Kodayari was only the beginning. In the month since his assassination, the Iranian armed forces and military research centers have suffered an unprecedented number of violent deaths. Apart from Kodayari, another IRGC colonel died under suspicious circumstances. Then, an engineer at the Parchin military site—supposedly a hub for the development of missiles and drones as well as military nuclear research—was “martyred” late last month. Finally, two scientists died mysteriously two weeks ago.
Befitting the element of plausible deniability in a shadow war, Israel never claimed responsibility of the death of any of the “martyrs,” and neither did Tehran accuse Jerusalem outright of killing them.
However, a CNN report published yesterday accused Israel by implication when it claimed that Jerusalem keeps Washington out of the loop when planning and executing its covert operations to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The report, which cites multiple anonymous sources, explains that Israel has stepped up its efforts in recent weeks, and that the Biden administration largely turns a blind eye.
If media reports are accurate, Iran did launch a revenge plan against Israel, supposedly in its neighboring Turkey. However, thanks to the close cooperation between Israeli and Turkish security officials, these plans came to naught, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said. The fact remains: Iran did try to strike at Israeli targets—and continues to try. In recent days, Israeli media has been abuzz with reports of Iranian kidnapping attempts and Israel and Turkish rescue efforts that sound like something from a spy novel.
But why the uptick in Israel’s covert efforts against Iran? Tehran has been forthright about its desire to see the Jewish state annihilated and the leading role it hopes to play in that destruction. Negotiations between the Islamic State and world powers for a return to the Iranian nuclear deal is dying a slow death and the mullahs are racing towards the nuclear finish line instead of toeing the line. Israel is loath to see a nuclear weapon in the hands of the very people who vowed its destruction. And speculations are rife that Jerusalem is taking matters into its own hands to see that the mullahs never get their nukes.
So what does it all mean? Perhaps the one certain takeaway is that we probably know very little of what happens behind the scenes. Maybe the recent clandestine clashes slipping out of the shadows is but the tip of the iceberg, something thrust into the public eye unintentionally. Perhaps we’ll never see the armed forces of Israel going head-to-head against those of Iran on a battlefield somewhere in the Middle East. But that doesn’t mean a very real war isn’t raging on in the shadows.
Posted on June 23, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 22, 2022)
Photo Credit: Amin Ahouei/Fars Media Corporation/commons.wikimedia.org
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