Israel’s Analysis Stirs Up Furor Against Netanyahu and Ridicule of Mossad

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Assassinated Hezbollah commander, Imad Mughniyeh. Al-Akhbar

By: Yahya Dbouk

Published Monday, February 2, 2015

The US leaked [document] on the assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh was the top story in Israeli media. While many analysts questioned the timing, motive, and target of this new “revelation,” they agreed that Washington is trying to send a message to Tel Aviv, and to the Israelis in general, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is compromising US-Israeli relations, which will eventually harm bilateral security and intelligence services, and “this is a sample of these services.”

The new “US revelation” follows a number of disputes and mutual criticisms between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration, namely over the Iranian nuclear program. Tel Aviv is concerned about a potential US-Iranian agreement, which is being sought by Washington. The latest dispute came after Netanyahu accepted an invitation to give a speech before the US Congress. The US administration saw the move as “offensive” to Obama because it was not previously coordinated, and prompted the White House to release a statement saying that Obama and his cabinet will not meet the “unwelcomed guest.”

The “US revelation” was preceded by arguments, misunderstandings, and refutations between US security sources and members of the Congress and Israeli intelligence (the Mossad) regarding the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran, which the US Congress was seeking to do. The Americans revealed that the Mossad, unlike Tel Aviv, opposed the imposition of new sanctions, out of concern that such a move would compromise the negotiations with Iran and reflect negatively on Israel. The Mossad’s position provoked Netanyahu, who instructed the Israeli Intelligence agency to issue an unprecedented official statement, in which he referred to a “misunderstanding” and inaccuracy on the Americans’ part. The US administration considered the statement as a refutation of the intelligence provided by its sources.

The report on the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, published by the Washington Post and Newsweek last week, came as a shock for Tel Aviv, as it was released after a series of mutual criticism by “unknown officials” in both countries on the terms of the ongoing deal with Iran, which included leaks and counter-leaks, refutations, and accusations of publishing inaccurate information.

Last Friday, Israeli television channels quoted anonymous Israeli officials in the main news bulletins as saying that the Obama administration agreed to a deal that would allow Iran to retain thousands of efficient centrifuges — almost 6,500, according to Israel Channel 2, and over 7,000 centrifuges, according to Israel Channel 10. This means that the Americans will allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb within a few months. The Americans responded immediately, describing the leaks and talk about “Obama’s subjugation to Iran” as “plain nonsense.”

For his part, Yair Lapid, former Israeli minister of finance and Yesh Atid party chairman, described the US reports as a reflection of the strained US-Israeli relationship.

“The Obama administration leaked the Mughniyeh story to tell us: ‘If you mess with us, you lose this vital collaboration, and would be risking part of your security,’” Lapid stated.

Alon Ben David, senior defence correspondent at Israel Channel 10, said that the two US reports are a clear message to Israel, and a reminder of the good relationship the two countries enjoyed under former US President George W. Bush and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Under the title “You can’t manage without us,” Israeli intelligence commentator at Maarif newspaper Yossi Melman said that the publishing time was not “a coincidence, and it appears that someone wanted to convey a message to the people of Israel and Netanyahu that ‘you cannot do anything without US assistance, and the policy adopted by your prime minister is harming mutual relations.’”

Ronen Bergman, senior Israeli correspondent for military and intelligence affairs for Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, spoke about the “the role of the US embassy in Damascus in the assassination of Mughniyeh.” He said that “Washington has an embassy in Damascus, and its diplomatic mail could have been used in the operation. Furthermore, its employees are legal residents of the Syrian capital, and the embassy could may have served as an asylum for the perpetrators after the assassination.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

The US could only be so lucky to severe ties with the Jewish state. Such a move would force Israel to pay it's own occupation bills and therefore end it.

Makes no sense for the US to expose its role in this just to get at Israel. It is cutting your nose to spite your face.
Who is in charge there?

By releasing that report, the US has placed itself in a serious and dangerous position as Hezbollah and their US based supporters, will want to punish the US for its participation. Thus releasing this secretive information will no doubt backfire on the US.. Whoever gave the order to expose the combined CIA-Mossad participation will when the time comes, pay a very heavy price for it....

You're an idiot. Hizbollah is too disciplined and strategically minded to attack the U.S. directly, and certainly not at home. In addition, Hizbollah probably already knew about this. This leak is aimed at Israel. Israel better get its act together and stop provoking its main backer and sustainer: U.S.A.

You assume Hezbollah had lousy intelligence collection. Most analysts know better. Further, they have no interest in provoking the U.S. and bringing about retaliation American style.

I don't assume anything. Whether Hezbollah has good or bad intelligence is not the case. What is would be the reprisal American citizens would undertake against peaceful Muslims on US soil. There is only so much patience and if the bubble were to bust many Muslims living peacefully in the US would suffer. If Hezbollah did indeed attack US interests, all hell would break loose and Hezbollah would soon find itself on the short end of the stick. Just for your information, Non-Muslims of Lebanon are indeed fed up with Hezbollah. You will soon be seeing quite a few reprisals in Lebanon created by such free living people.

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