2020 will be a black year for Iran. Not only because of the corona and the economic situation, but against the background of the blows it has suffered: a year in which the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards was assassinated, ends with the assassination of the father of the Iranian nuclear program.
The two, Qassem Suleimani and Muhsan Fahrizada, were unique figures. Each of them was very dominant in his field and concentrated in his hands great power. Suleimani was the man who was entrusted with exporting the Shiite revolution outside Iran’s borders; Fahrizada was entrusted with the strategic plan that was to grant the Ayatollahs regime immortal immunity, and freedom to continue its imperialist actions carried out by Suleimani.
Pharisees will also have a replacement
The cliché says that there is no person who has no substitute. This is true, but the more correct question is who is the replacement. Ismail Kaani, who replaced Suleimani at the head of Quds Force, is having a hard time getting into his big shoes. This is evident in his lesser influence on the authorities in Baghdad and Damascus, and in the difficulties he encounters in his efforts to harm Iran’s enemies – from Israel to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, and of course the United States.
Pharisees will also have a replacement. He worked in an orderly organization, and according to defined plans. Nor did he have the nuclear knowledge in his head. He had quite a few partners, and it is likely that some of them will inherit him now. But it is doubtful whether the heir will succeed in being as dominant as Fahrizda was: after all, he was involved in the Iranian nuclear program from its infancy, was a key partner in its ups and downs and all the fraudulent maneuvers that followed and tried to disrupt it, and most importantly – just like Suleimani. Leader Ali Khamenei’s reservations, and hence aroused awe and admiration for him on the part of the entire security and civilian establishment in Iran.
Act as requested
Fahrizada has been on target for more than a decade and a half. It was previously reported that Israel was considering eliminating it, but then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not ultimately approve the operation. It can be assumed that there were other attempts, especially at the beginning of the previous decade – at a time when Israel, according to foreign publications, eliminated some prominent nuclear scientists in Iran.
Since then, Fahrizda has also acted as wanted. The security around him and the armored car he was driving in while he was killed show how much he was aware of the danger. The helicopter sent to evacuate him to the hospital shows his immense value to the authorities, who did everything to save him – and failed.
The attack on Pharisaism is an impressive operational achievement of the Mossad, to which the assassination is attributed in Iran and in the international media. If you add a series of foreign publications, the organization has recently managed to carry out several actions that indicate high operational capability in a hostile and complicated target, including the explosion at the centrifuge plant near the Natanz nuclear facility and the August assassination of Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah, number two in al-Qaeda hiding in Tehran , Who was the bride of Osama bin Laden. The U.S. allegedly asked Israel to carry out this assassination for it because the Mossad has better operational capability on Iranian soil than that of the U.S. intelligence services.
Careful preparation and planning
It is likely that this ability was used again last Friday. It has previously been reported that in such assassinations, the Mossad is assisted by foreign – non-Israeli – mercenaries who carry out the assassinations for it. This is to avoid the possibility that the operation will fail and Israeli agents will be caught. But it seems that the use of sub-operations did not impair the quality of the execution: the analysis of the operation indicates careful preparation and planning and the high professionalism of the operations, which operated, hit and fled with great success.
If it was Israel that was behind the operation, it seems that it sought to take advantage of the window of time until President Biden entered the White House to be reimbursed by one of its sworn rivals, before the new world police officer set new rules of conduct. Israel has probably taken into account the expected condemnations (in Europe, and also from the person who served as head of the CIA in the Obama administration, John Brennan, who called the assassination “state-sponsored terrorism”), but there is no need to get overly excited about them: A better place, and any Iranian delay on the way to the bomb is welcome.
The silence is stronger than words
But more than the condemnations, Israel must take seriously the threats of revenge heard in Iran. Suleimani was eliminated by the Americans – an opponent too big and dangerous for the Iranians; It seems that the Israelis eliminated Fahrizada – an opponent who is easier to deal with. The response can come in a variety of ways: from operations along the borders in Syria and in all likelihood in Lebanon, through attempts to harm Israeli personalities, to attacks on Israeli missions around the world.
It can be assumed that this response will not reach an automaton. Iran’s top interest is to remove economic sanctions from it, and the way there is back to the nuclear deal – a common goal for it and the Biden administration. Therefore, it is doubtful that it will risk an event that could torpedo this strategic goal, and it is likely that it will try to find a goal that will hurt Israel, but will not break the tools.
This requires Israel to maintain strong defenses in Israel and around the world, but at the same time lower its profile. There is no use in the allusions heard over the weekend: sometimes things are so clear that silence is stronger than words.
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