In escalating shadow war, Israel emerging victorious
Let’s take score so far:
While foreign sources credit Israel with planting the Stuxnet computer worm that forced a long delay in the operations of the Natanz nuclear facility, Iran has struggled to do significant damage to Israel’s computer infrastructure, even though its hackers are reportedly trying very hard.
Several Iranian nuclear and military facilities, including a factory for the production of long-range rockets, have been blown up. Dozens of very senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders have been killed in these explosions, and others have died when their military transport planes mysteriously crashed.
Even Iran’s drive to arm Hezbollah and the terrorist organizations in Gaza has run into difficulties. Iran’s planes and ships have been intercepted in Turkey, Cyprus, Nigeria and other places. Its weapons convoys have been bombed in Sudan, and its smugglers have been killed in Sinai.
Even though its proxies do have more rockets than most conventional armies, Iran wants Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah to have much, much more.
Iran’s nuclear scientists have been dropping like flies, while Iranian attempts at retaliation [against Israeli targets] have failed spectacularly. And while there has been no physical evidence left on the scenes of the assassinations of Iranian scientists, this week’s failed hits in India, Thailand and Georgia have produced a plethora of clues: traceable explosive material, traceable phone calls, real passports, photographs, addresses, names, airline tickets etc etc
But worst of all for the plotters, an entire Iranian hit team [minus two amputated legs] has been captured in Bangkok and will surely undergo vigorous interrogation. It’s ringleader has been arrested in Malaysia [while buying a ticket to Tehran] and is likely to be deported back to Thailand.
The operation to kill the wife of an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi and a similar attack in Tibilisi, Georgia also failed. Now the Indian special police is all over this case, and together with Thailand, is revewing all the visas given to Iranian and Lebanese nationals over the past few years. That could shuffle things up substantially for the Iranians and Hezbollah who hope to operate in these Asian countries. India and Thailand could also get very angry at Iran, and this could put more economic pressure on Tehran.
Although unconfirmed, an alleged attempt to assassinate Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Singapore has also been foiled.
So, to sum up: scores of Iranian military and nuclear officials dead, scores of weapons shipments siezed, Iranian hit teams apprehended, and plots thwarted and failed.
No Israeli agents killed or captured, no Israeli officials assassinated, no Israeli diplomatic missions destroyed.
Sounds ok so far, but all of this is misleading. The real game is the continuing development of the Iranian nuclear military program. It will take, unfortunately, more than a shadow war to stop that. For that, the war will have to come out of the shadows and into the stark light.