Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Najaf Rumor Harvest

So, Emad Mugniyah was assassinated by the Iraqi Intelligence Service, according to a doyen of the Iraqi Gossip Mill. Something about infiltrating a Sadrist-related Special Group (...HUMINT rather than SIGINT, according to the rumor) that was being given "master courses" by "Professor" Mugniyah in Damascus.

The Iranians are going crazy, pointing fingers all around and roughing-up Sadrists.

Does Shahwani really have it in him to pull something like this off? Was he even involved, or was the decision taken further down the line? Whoever did it, well done: the espionage geek within me thought it was a work of beauty and elegance.


Blogger CMAR II said...

Does Shahwani really have it in him to pull something like this off?

I don't know, but it would be equally great if he only leaked that they did it in order to cause havoc among the Sadrists and the Revolutionary Guard?

Perhaps this is the the rumor mill finally working in the cause of good. Let paranoia reign among the sadrists and IRG!!

9:29 AM, February 21, 2008

Blogger Iraqi Mojo said...

Mughniyah was killed by car bomb, yet nobody else was killed. Compare to Iraq, where car bombs kill people randomly.

8:36 PM, February 21, 2008

Blogger Abbas Hawazin said...

Interesting, keep us posted.

8:44 PM, February 21, 2008

Anonymous gj said...

One thing's for sure the Iranians are jumping like scalded cats in public. Highly unusual.

Initially the element about the affair that struck me was how the Israelis could have finally assassinated Mugniyah after 27 years without very serious inside help?

So ... an IIS infiltrator to a special group makes wonderful sense to me. Even if it isn't true, it's great thinking it could be!

2:12 PM, February 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mughniyeh’s “Ghost” Haunts the Region

The assassination of Hezbollah’s external security chief Imad Mughniyeh, nicknamed the “ghost," in Damascus on Feb 12 drove a wedge into the hitherto solid alliance between Damascus, Tehran and the Shi’ite movement. Each camp is conducting its own inquiry into the attack, refusing to divulge its findings to its allies who are suspected, at best, of negligence in the attack or, worse, of actual complicity. The identity of the killers will be particularly hard to establish because no less than three intelligence agencies participated alongside Mossad in the operation.

How He Vanished for Good. Contrary to reports carefully distilled by Hezbollah's security service, Mughniyeh resided neither in Damascus nor in Iran but indeed in Lebanon. He travelled frequently to the Syrian capital for very brief visits during which he met with Iranian or Palestinian envoys. His lone Syrian contact in Damascus was Assef Shawkat, chief of Syria’s Military Intelligence agency. On Feb. 12, without informing Syria’s security service in advance, Mughniyeh crossed the border between Lebanon and Syria by car, presenting a passport in the name of Sheikh Redwane. Two hours later he took part in a reception at the Iranian legation in honor of the new Iranian ambassador to Damascus, Ahmed Moussavi, who finally succeeded the long-standing Mohamed Hassan Akhtari in the post (IO 559). Mughniyeh remained only a few minutes at a cocktail party organized in a room next to a Farsi-language school in the ultra-secure neighborhood of Kfar Soussa, and limited himself to telling Moussavi that he would soon be visiting him. Just as he was climbing into his black Mercedes on the street, a Mitsubishi Pajero parked just beside it exploded, killing him instantly. The head of Hezbollah’s domestic security department, Wafik Safa, who was dispatched urgently from Beirut by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, formally identified his body.

Parallel Investigations. The very next day, Syrian president Bashar al Assad set up a board of inquiry to investigate the attack which occurred in a neighborhood housing the headquarters of several Syrian security services. The chief of the General Intelligence department, general Ali Malouk, was put in charge of the board, which also counted Mohamed Mansoura, alias Abu Jassem, and gen. Amin Charabeh among its members. Mansoura is boss of the country’s Political Security service while Charabeh heads the military intelligence service’s counter-espionage department (known as the Palestine Section after the name of the building it occupies in Damascus). Hezbollah’s counter-espionage service run by Ali Youssef Chami, nephew of Nasrallah, asked that one of his service’s officials sit on the board, as did the Iranian intelligence service Vavak and the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdarans). All were turned down by Damascus which said the killing was a matter of national security. Furious about being shut out, Hezbollah set up a five member panel to conduct its own investigation and to study possible flaws in the movement’s security system following last year’s arrest of Mughniyeh’s personal representative in Iraq, Ali Mussa Daqduq, by American forces (IOL 555). Daqduq is reported to have provided numerous details about Mughniyeh’s movements and his personal security detail.

An Iraqi Connection? According to a consensus that appears to be emerging among Arab and Western intelligence agencies, the attack against Mughniyeh could well have been fomented in Iraq. It may have been the handiwork of an Iraqi Shji'ite commando unit with keen knowledge of Syria that was trained at Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan by Mossad’s Caesarea unit which was already responsible for the elimination of Ezzedine Khalil, a Hamas leader, in Damascus on Sept. 25, 2004. The Israeli agents are said to have benefited from the protection and support of Peshmergas from the clan of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, as well as of the CIA station in Baghdad. Mossad put down roots in Iraqi Kurdistan at the end of the Iraqi Freedom operation in 2003 and uses the population and contiguous territory between the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Iran and Syria to mount operations and infiltrate agents into the latter two countries.

1:05 PM, February 27, 2008

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