The warped reaction to the Fakhrizadeh assassination

Decent people cheer the removal of an evil man. Obama acolytes lament it

Stop the Iran Nuclear Deal rally, US Capitol, Washington DC, 2015

Startling evidence that members of the former Obama administration simply inhabit a parallel universe over Iran has been revealed in their reaction to the assassination last Friday of the mastermind of the Iranian nuclear weapons programme, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Details of the precise circumstances of the assassination remain unclear, including the identity of its perpetrators. For obvious reasons, however, there is a widespread assumption that Israel was a prime mover in the ambush of Fakhrizadeh’s convoy as he was travelling to his house near Tehran.

Any decent, rational person would surely utter a silent cheer at the removal of this dealer in evil. As Iran’s chief nuclear scientist, he has been considered the driving force behind Iran’s nuclear weapons programme for two decades. As the New York Times reported, he 

continued to work after the main part of the effort was quietly disbanded in the early 2000s, according to American intelligence assessments and Iranian nuclear documents stolen by Israel.

…Iran has always denied it was seeking a nuclear weapon, insisting its production of nuclear material was purely for peaceful purposes. But an Israeli operation in early 2018 that stole a warehouse full of Iranian documents about “Project Amad,” what the Iranians called the nuclear weapons effort 20 years ago, included documents about Mr. Fakhrizadeh and his involvement. 

Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel singled out Mr. Fakhrizadeh in a televised presentation, when he described the secret Israeli operation to seize the archive. Iran had lied about the purpose of its nuclear research, he charged, and he identified Mr. Fakhrizadeh as the leader of the Amad program. 

Israeli officials, later backed up by American intelligence officials who reviewed the archive, said the scientist had kept elements of the program alive even after it was ostensibly abandoned. It was now being run covertly, Mr. Netanyahu argued, by an organisation within Iran’s defence ministry known as SPND. He added: “You will not be surprised to hear that SPND is led by the same person who led Project Amad, Dr. Fakhrizadeh.” 

His killing also further undermines the Iranian regime. Fakhrizadeh was presumably one of the most heavily guarded and protected individuals in Iran. Yet a team of assassins was able to kill him under the regime’s nose. 

This didn’t just expose the weakness of the physical defences around Fakhrizadeh. Far more devastating, it demonstrated that the regime’s internal security apparatus had been compromised. And that means that an unknown number of Iranians, at unknown levels of seniority, are now working for Israel and/or its allies.

Nor is this the first such demonstration; the audacious heist of Iran’s nuclear archive in January 2018, not to mention the damaging explosions at the Natanz uranium enrichment site earlier this year, also suggested a high degree of internal co-operation with Israel and/or its allies. 

And let’s not forget the air-strike ordered by President Donald Trump last January that killed the irreplaceable Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force in Baghdad.

All this tells the regime that Israel and its allies can pick off its members at will. All this in turn significantly weakens the regime in the eyes of the Iranian public and thus further loosens its hold on power. 

This should cheer any decent, thinking person. The Iranian regime is driven by the aim of wiping Israel off the face of the earth and defeating America and the west, against whom it declared war when it came to power in 1979 and has accordingly waged such a war ever since.

The regime is dominated by religious fanatics who believe that the Shia messiah, the Twelfth Imam, will return to earth during an apocalypse which they are happy to engineer.

The prospect of such a regime obtaining nuclear weapons is therefore beyond chilling. The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, brokered by former president Barack Obama, would have merely delayed Iran’s nuclear weapons programme by a few years while funnelling billions of western dollars into the regime allowing it to escalate its appalling activities — a deal which the presumptive president-elect, Joe Biden, and the team he is assembling have declared they wish to revive.

And now look at the reaction to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination by Obama’s cheerleaders for that 2015 deal. John Brenner, the former CIA head, tweeted: 

This was a criminal act & highly reckless. Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials. 

Oh? So was the assassination of Osama bin Laden under the Obama administration similarly to be condemned?

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor for strategic communications — who according to the New York Times promoted a misleading timeline among journalists about the Iran negotiations and created an “echo chamber” of reporters to sway public opinion — said: 

This is an outrageous action aimed at undermining diplomacy between an incoming US administration and Iran. It’s time for this ceaseless escalation to stop.

Ben Friedman, a defence specialist at George Washington University, said the killing was

an act of sabotage against U.S. diplomacy and interests

and would

likely help Iranian hardliners who want nuclear weapons. 

And the European Union called the assassination

a criminal act.

But of course.

Iran declared war against the west decades ago, and has committed numerous attacks and sponsored repeated acts of murderous terrorism against America, coalition forces in Iraq, Israel and diaspora Jews. Yet the western establishment, which has perversely refused to defend its interests against such attacks, continues to behave as if Iran is not responsible and that only a western military response would be an act of war. 

Progressives say the regime will be contained by reaching out to it in negotiation. Once again, this is an example of the west’s ineffable arrogance in assuming that its own value-system is shared by the rest of the world. To the Iranian regime, attempts to negotiate are a sign of weakness and thus an incentive to further aggression. When the west extends its hand in conciliation, the regime views it as an opportunity to chop it off.

No-one in their right mind could be sanguine about the prospect of an all-out war with Iran. Equally, no-one in their right mind should be sanguine about enabling it to produce a nuclear bomb. 

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh, along with all the other measures Israel and its allies have taken against the regime, shows how asymmetric warfare (or warfare by terrorists or rogue states outside the rules of war) need not mean that the bad guys always win. All it needs is the moral will to defend the free world against this novel form of aggressive warfare through novel ways of waging a just war. 

Israel and the Trump administration possess that moral will. Obama and his retreads, along with the craven Europeans, do not.

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