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International war of terror singes India

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Since January 2010 there have been a series of murders of Iranian scientists by an unknown agency. Here is a report from the scholarly journal, Nature reported in January:

Last week’s assassination of an official working at Iran’s uranium-enrichment facility was worthy of a James Bond film: the 32-year-old was killed by a magnetic bomb placed on his car by a passing motorcyclist.

But the murder of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Behdast is unlikely to result in a neat filmic denouement. His death is the latest in a string of assassinations and other attacks seemingly aimed at Iran’s nuclear programme over the past few years.

Heinonen, former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, points out that there is still no proof of who ordered the assassination, or why. Ahmadi Roshan was named in many Western press reports as a nuclear scientist (his degree was actually in chemical engineering), but the Iranian press identified him as deputy director of marketing at the uranium-enrichment facility in Natanz, suggesting that he was not a crucial figure in Iran’s nuclear programme.

Yesterday this undeclared war reached India when exactly the same modus operandi was used against an Israeli embassy car. TOI reports:

On Monday afternoon, a motorcycle-borne youth tailed an Israeli embassy vehicle on Aurangzeb Road in the high security zone in New Delhi, close to the PM’s residence, and allegedly placed “something” on the rear of the car when it stopped at a traffic signal at the intersection of Aurangzeb Road and Safdarjung Road in the Capital’s high-security zone.

Seconds later, there was an explosion and the Toyota Innova car, bearing registration number 109 CD 35, went up in flames. Three persons including the Israeli defence attache’s wife Tal Yehoshua Korene, who was going to pick up her children from the American Embassy School, were injured.

Investigators later got a crucial clue to the assailant in the footage from two CCTV cameras installed at industrialist Analjit Singh’s 15, Aurangzeb Road residence. The bomber, in brown jacket on a motor cycle, is seen tailing the embassy car at 3.10 pm at a distance of 2-3 seconds. The cameras could not capture the registration number of the bike.

Reuters reported the response:

Israel accused arch-enemies Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind twin bomb attacks that targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia on Monday, wounding four people.

Tehran denied involvement in the attacks, which amplified tensions between two countries already at loggerheads over Iran’s nuclear program, and accused Israel of carrying out the attacks itself. Hezbollah made no comment.

In the Indian capital New Delhi, a bomb wrecked a car taking an Israeli embassy official to pick up her children from school, police said. The woman needed surgery to remove shrapnel but her life was not in danger.

Her driver and two passers-by suffered lesser injuries.

The reasons for a covert war of terror are easy to see in news headlines every day. LA Times joins the dots:

Whatever the case, many analysts predict that a vigorous — yet publicly deniable — campaign of violence is in the offing.

“This is an extension of the shadow war,” said Uzi Rabi, chair of Middle Eastern studies at Tel Aviv University. “We will be seeing more of this.”

Israel is believed by many to have initiated a covert assassination campaign to slow Iran’s nuclear program, which it fears will be used to build atomic weapons that will one day be used against it. Iran insists its nuclear program is meant for civilian energy purposes only.

To maintain credibility with its allies and the Iranian public, analysts say, Tehran needs to retaliate for the attacks on its scientists it blames on Israel. But closing the Strait of Hormuz or attacking Tel Aviv would be too risky, Rabi said. Even encouraging Hezbollah to resume rocket fire against Israel might lead to a destructive regional war, as it did in 2006.

“So the only recourse left at Iran’s disposal is to hit back in the same way it claims it has been hit,” Rabi said.

By the same token, Israel will find its options limited in responding to Monday’s attacks, according to experts. Though it maintains a tough deterrence policy with the Gaza Strip-based militant organization Hamas — retaliating for virtually every rocket fired against southern Israel — Israel would be reluctant to openly move against Iran for Monday’s incidents given the region’s current instability.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

February 14, 2012 at 3:50 am

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