‘Israel’, not Iran, has more to gain from blast

Iran India Gas Pipeline Route
Iran India Gas Pipeline Route

By  Seema Mustafa

 Friday, February 17, 2012

Bad journalism was on display as Indian news channels scrambled to beat each other in covering the alleged attack on an ‘Israeli’ diplomat’s wife in New Delhi. ‘Israel’ predictably hit the ground running, insisting that Iran was responsible for the alleged attack in which the woman was travelling even before the flames had been doused. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set the political ball rolling as he declared within minutes of the incident that Iran had launched a terror attack on ‘Israel’.

Predictable, because ‘Israel’ seems to be on a one-point mission to isolate Iran so that it can attack the country for a variety of trumped up reasons. The US might be paying the price for invading Iraq, at home and internationally, but from the ‘Israeli’ strategic point this has constituted a victory at all levels. A hostile state has been turned into a terror hellhole, a well-known anti-‘Israel’ leader has been exterminated, and the political forces in Tel Aviv are reaping the benefit. Iran and Syria are next on ‘Israel’s’  list and currently its diplomacy is focusing on getting the world to support military action against the two regimes.

It was thus very unfortunate that the Indian media decided to accept ‘Israel’s’  allegations as the gospel without any regard for the facts, or the consequences. The investigations had not even begun when the media launched into discussions of an ‘Israel’ vs Iran war being fought on Indian soil. The Iranian denial was drowned in the din and one suspects an over-eagerness to please the corporate and allied interests. By the second day, sections of the print media joined the bandwagon, with not a single story questioning the legitimacy of ‘Israel’s’ claims.

Fortunately, despite the tremendous pressure from Washington and Tel Aviv, India has continued to resist the temptation to support ‘Israel’, and cut off links with Iran. It is no secret that the US made its displeasure of India’s renewed friendship with Iran very clear during foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai’s visit to Washington.

But New Delhi seems to be holding out, although given Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s proximity to the US, one cannot say at this stage for how long.

Fortunately, there is a division in the strategic elite establishment that crowds government corridors. Iran is quite a favourite with the Indian people, as well as sections of the establishment. Given the dip in growth statistics, it is apparent even to those in government that the need to mop up energy resources is urgent. India cannot afford to dismiss Iran as it had earlier. Against this backdrop, the timing of the attack could not have been better for ‘Israel’, not Iran.

After a hiatus, India had started to mend relations with Iran. This was clearly a source of worry for ‘Israel’ and the US. Thus, the questions that need to be answered are: why would Iran at this stage risk its growing friendship with India by launching a terror attack against ‘Israel’? That too on Indian soil? Against a lowly ‘Israeli’ official?

Sleuths across the world establish the motive first while investigating a crime. In this case, ‘Israel’ has a motive, in that it wants relations between India and Iran to sour and break. Iran does not have a motive as its efforts currently are to strengthen relations as it needs India’s friendship in countering the ‘Israeli’ offensive.

Investigators also like to study the modus operandi. The sticky bomb that was supposedly used to blow up the ‘Israeli’ diplomatic vehicle has till now been used only by ‘Israel’ in its targeted assassinations across the world. The magnetic bomb was used by Mossad operatives to kill Iranian nuclear scientists in recent months. It is well known that Mossad specialises in such operations, and crosses borders to reach and exterminate targets. Iran has not adopted such a modus operandi yet, and has really been more of a victim on this front than an aggressor. But now the Israelis would have the world believe that their weapons and their methods are being used by targeted nations.

India did err by voting against Iran at a crucial juncture at the IAEA on the nuclear issue. It also dropped out of the energy-rich Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, under US pressure. Many experts criticised this move, and it has taken some time for the UPA government to realise that Iran is essential for energy, which is essential for growth, which is essential for the ruling Congress before the next general elections.

India will make a major strategic mistake if it shifts position against Iran under pressure. It might be recalled that after abstaining from a vote at the UNSC against Syria, it has now sided with the US against Syria, costing it much goodwill in the neighbourhood. Foreign policy under the UPA government has taken the shape of a see-saw that bends on the one or the other side under pressure. This has weakened India’s position in the developing world, as non-western governments are no longer sure of its policy at any given point in time. The government has often moved back from categorical assertions, defying comprehension.

One can only wait and see how the current crisis plays out. Meanwhile, one can only hope that the Indian media strikes a more independent note, and instead of reporting opinion, sticks to the facts.


The writer is a senior New Delhi-based columnist



  1. Both Iran and Hizbullah have zero record of assassinating Israeli or other foreign leaders, diplomats or scientists. Contrary to that Israeli Mossad was involved in the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and his younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy. Mossad also assassinated Hizbullah military and political leaders, Lt. Col. Massoud Ayyaz (2001) and Imad Mughniyah (2008) – and five Iranian scientists associated with Iran’s nuclear program – not to mention over three dozens of Hamas senior leaders including its founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on March 22, 2004.
    Israel’s senior military and intelligence analyst, Ronen Bergman, wrote in the NYT Magazine last month that Israeli Mossad was behind the attacks on five Iranian scientists. He mentioned several incidents of targeted assassinations, at least couple of which are very similar to the manner in which the Israeli diplomat’s car was attacked in New Delhi yesterday. Ronen mentioned the assassination of Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, who were killed after motorcyclists attacked ‘limpet mines’ or ‘magnet bombs’ to their cars and sped away. A third scientist Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, was targeted similarly, but he escaped.
    Mossad is known for its close relations with Indian and Georgian intelligent agencies. Indian RAW is known to have used Mossad and CIA services to carry-out bombing, assassinations and other terrorist activities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
    India is Israel’s top military customers after China. Until Georgia-Russian war in 2008 – Israel-Georgia military coopertion was unmatched. In addition to the supply of arms and military training, Israel maintained two military bases in Georgia – thanks to country’s Jewish Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili, a Hebrew-speaking former Israeli. On August 12, 2008, Israeli daily Jerusalem Post had reported: “Georgian Prime Minister Vladimer Gurgenidze made a special call to Israel Tuesday morning to receive a blessing from one of the Haredi community’s most important rabbis and spiritual leaders, Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman”.
    However, in recent years, both India and Georgia have committed some ‘unkosher’ acts. India has refused to join USraeli sanctions against Iran and Georgia established closer relation with Iran. Ironically, Georgia’s President Mikheil (“Misha”) Saakashvili was brought to power in November 2003 via the “Rose Revolution”, which was funded and supported by the CIA, Israel and the Jew billionaire George Soro.