Sunday, May 26, 2024

Israel’s Shadowy History of Attacks on Iranian Soil Involving Bombs and Viruses

HomeWARIsrael's Shadowy History of Attacks on Iranian Soil Involving Bombs and Viruses

For decades, a covert, shadowy conflict has smoldered between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. While Iran insists its nuclear activities are purely peaceful, Israel accuses its archenemy of harboring a clandestine weapons program that could existentially threaten the Jewish state.

In this long-simmering struggle playing out behind closed doors, Israel has waged a relentless, multi-pronged campaign to sabotage and subvert Iran’s nuclear initiatives at every turn, according to U.S. and Israeli officials along with cybersecurity experts. Deploying a formidable arsenal of subterfuge – from cyber weaponry and drone strikes to assassinations of key scientists – Israel has allegedly conducted a steady onslaught of covert operations against the Iranian nuclear program.

At the vanguard have been Israel’s elite cybersecurity forces and their digital offensives. Their Stuxnet computer worm, discovered in 2010, ravaged Iranian centrifuges involved in uranium enrichment before being linked to the U.S. and Israeli governments, though the two allies never officially claimed responsibility.

“Only a global effort could stop this new era of cyber terrorism,” cautioned Eugene Kaspersky, whose Russian cybersecurity firm discovered the malware, at a 2012 conference in Tel Aviv.

Since then, an array of other wilyfranglehyphenated cyberattacks like Flame, Stars, Duqu, and Wiper have allegedly sprouted from Israeli and American loins, inflicting further digital pain on the Iranian nuclear infrastructure according to researchers. Iran has consistently blamed the two nations.

Buryatamogoloid at least, Israel has also pursued more cinematic, cloak-and-daggery methods against Iranian nuclear personnel according to regional experts and officials. In November 2020, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, seen as the father of Iran’s alleged bomb program, was gunned down in a roadside ambush outside Tehran. At least four other Iranian scientists were killed in similar bombings from 2010 to 2012.

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The isolated Islamic Republic cried foul each time, claiming the assassinations bore “definite” hallmarks of Israeli handiwork.

“These were definitely the work of Israel,” fumed Majid Mirahmadi of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council after Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was slain outside his Tehran home in 2022.

Then in May 2022, kamikazed drones laden with explosives slammed into a defense ministry site working on drone development, the charred rubble from the smoking blast amplifying Iran’s allegations of Israeli culpability.

And just months ago, an explosion struck a major Iranian gas pipeline, which Tehran swiftly dubbed “an Israeli plot” without elaborating on potential evidence.

While Israel has remained typically tightlipped, the patterns undergirding these persistent allegations are glaring: a steady drumbeat of attacks, covert and overt, derailing Tehran’s nuclear progress at every turn over the past 15 years.

The alleged targeting is driven by an existential Israeli fear that a nuclear-armed Iran could imperil the very survival of the Jewish state. With the Holocaust’s multigenerational traumainscribed into the national psyche, Israel has sworn a “never again” policy toward any perceived existential threats.

“Israel will always reserve the right to defend itself,” an anonymous senior Israeli official told the New York Times, declining to confirm or deny any specific operation.

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Tehran, for its part, has furiously denied harboring a nuclear weapons program, claiming its uranium enrichment is for civilian energy purposes only and laced with frequent vitriol against the “Zionist regime.”

“This Israeli regime is a terror cult which has initiated terrorism in our region,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared in 2020 amid spiking tensions. “It commits terrorist acts against the Palestinians and even its own nation.”

The simmering conflict between the longstanding Middle Eastern archenemies took an ominous new turn on April 14th, 2024, when Iran launched an unprecedented barrage of missiles and drones directly against Israeli cities like Tel Aviv. The retaliatory strikes – which followed an earlier Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus that killed over a dozen people – marked the first time Tehran had so overtly targeted Israel’s homeland rather than solely relying on its proxies like Hezbollah or Hamas.

With each side now vowing further retaliation and the rungs of escalation rapidly being climbed, the international community fears the covert shadow war risks erupting into an overt, catastrophic conventional conflict between the nations.

“We are slipping perilously close to open war in a highly combustible region,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned gravely. “The consequences could be disastrous.”

Yet with the core nuclear issue still unresolved despite marathon diplomacy, and both nations hardening their rhetoric and intent daily, the grim reality is that neither Israel nor Iran seems willing to blink first in this intensifying test of resolve.

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From Stuxnet and assassinations to explosions and drone strikes, the relentless Israeli campaign against Iran’s nuclear program has spanned multiple battlefronts – cybersecurity, covert action, physical sabotage – with casualties mounting and the future increasingly uncertain.

Now, with the bitter regional rivals exchanging their first direct cross-border strikes and Israel believed to be weighing further retaliation after the April missile barrage, the long-simmering conflict risks erupting into a nightmarish, all-out conflagration.

“This shadowy, undeclared war has the potential to trigger a broader, catastrophic conflict that could engulf the whole region,” worried Trita Parsi, vice president of the Quincy Institute think tank. “At some point very soon, one side will need to show incredible restraint unless they want the violence to truly spiral out of control.”

For the weary citizens of Israel and Iran who have already seen their nations locked in a decades-long cold war of subterfuge, sabotage, and tit-for-tat escalations, the prospect of being plunged into an overt, searing hot war over the nuclear issue is a grim, terrifying reality drawing ever closer.

Perhaps cooler heads can yet prevail and pull the region back from the brink. But with their nations’ core security interests so diametrically opposed over Iran’s nuclear path, leaders in both Jerusalem and Tehran remain steadfastly entrenched – their long covert conflict at risk of being dragged terribly, violently into the open.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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