Israel’s shadow war with Iran is an obstacle to peace

20 Apr
Centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran.
APCentrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran.

OPINION by Donna Miles-Mojab, Dominion Post & The Press, 19 April 2021

The murky world of sabotage, assassinations and espionage might appear exciting in James Bond movies but, in real life, they are a source of escalating violence and perpetual shadow wars.

Take the recent attack at Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, where an Israeli sabotage caused a complete blackout and extensive damage to key facilities.

Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, vowed Iran would “take revenge” for what he said was “nuclear terrorism”.

Israel, itself a nuclear power, has long regarded Iran’s nuclear activities as an urgent existential threat, a claim paradoxical to its continuous opposition to the Iran nuclear deal which was designed to ensure Iran could not enrich uranium for weapons purposes.

In reality, Israel’s opposition to the deal has to do with the window it provides for Iran’s economic and geopolitical reintegration into the international community. It suits Israel to have Iran as the region’s maniacal bogeyman to justify its own hyper militarism and distract from its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

Interestingly, Natanz nuclear site was also ground zero for some cyber-war (look up Stuxnet)​ which damaged Iranian centrifuges in 2010.

But the setback was only temporary and the Stuxnet attack resulted in Iran developing better cyber defence and cyber-attack capabilities.

The same will be true of this recent attack. Iran has already promised to leap forward with its uranium enrichment and will gain new expertise that cannot be bombed out of existence.

Yes, it’s true that Israel can continue to assassinate Iranian scientists (four were assassinated between 2010 and 2012 and one last year) but science, like poetry, is immortal and unyielding to violence.

The timing of the Natanz attack, which came shortly after an attack on an Iranian cargo ship off the coast of Yemen, is not incidental. Iran is in the process of renegotiation with the US to lift its crippling sanctions on the country and restore the 2015 nuclear agreement Trump abandoned in 2018.

Supported by Israel, Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” was clearly meant to collapse the Iranian regime, but like most shadow wars of its type, has been counter-productive. Iran increased its uranium enrichment and the hardliners in Iran, emboldened by the failure of the deal they hated, have gained more political power.

Ordinary Iranians, because of economic hardship, have become the real victims of the sanctions and therefore dependent on the benevolence of the regime whose biggest support base has always been among the poor.

It’s been particularly frustrating for me to watch the squandering of the economic and cultural gains the Iranian women made in recent years – all in the name of a useless strategy which claims to uphold women’s rights in Iran.

Thousands of people gather at the shrine to the Ayatollah Khomeini on the 25th anniversary of his death on June 4, 2014.
JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGESThousands of people gather at the shrine to the Ayatollah Khomeini on the 25th anniversary of his death on June 4, 2014.

In fact, all shadow wars have wide-reaching consequences.

For instance, it is likely that Iran’s response to the recent attack will involve greater support for Hizbollah in Syria and Lebanon, resulting in escalation of cross-border violence there.

Hizbollah is a Shia Islamist militant group formed in response to Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and is designated as a terrorist group by several countries including the US and Western countries, but not by Russia.

Peaceful countries like our own can also get caught up in the crossfire of these shadow wars.

In 2004,​ two Israeli citizens were caught trying to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports, using an identity of a man with cerebral palsy. They were shown to be agents of Mossad,​ Israeli’s foremost intelligence agency.

New Zealand passports are sought after among international spies because New Zealanders are highly trusted throughout the world and can easily enter places like Iran, visa-free. But covert activities can also affect innocent civilians.

In 1973, Mossad operatives misidentified one of their targets and mistakenly killed an innocent Moroccan-born waiter in the Norwegian city of Lillehammer.​

Donna Miles-Mojab, Press and Stuff columnist
SUPPLIEDDonna Miles-Mojab, Press and Stuff columnist

The subsequent investigation of the crime by Norwegian authorities led to the arrest and conviction of five Mossad operatives as well as the exposure of Mossad’s extensive network of safe houses and agents throughout Europe.

The accidental killing of the innocent waiter as he walked home with his pregnant wife happened as part of Israel’s “Operation Wrath of God” to avenge the barbaric murder of 11 Israelis during the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The killings were carried out by members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, itself formed as an act of reprisal linked to Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank. See how violence begets violence.

Iran’s current regime is a brutal repressive theocracy – that I have always insisted on.

But Israel, whose very inception and continual existence has been based on violent colonialism, should not be exempt from criticism either, especially when its rogue activities are designed to sabotage negotiations meant to avert war.

It really is time to give diplomacy a chance. It is the only path to peace and to avoid perpetual shadow wars that threaten us all.

READ MORE (via Stuff):
* Iran calls Natanz atomic site blackout ‘nuclear terrorism’
* Iran boosts nuclear enrichment as US keeps carrier in Persian Gulf
* Iran plans 20pc uranium enrichment ‘as soon as possible’
* Satellite photos show construction at Iran nuclear site
* Blaze hits building near Iranian nuclear facility that enriches unranium

One Response to “Israel’s shadow war with Iran is an obstacle to peace”

  1. Lois Griffiths April 23, 2021 at 4:44 pm #

    fyi: I sent the following letter to the Press but it wasn’t printed….Dear Editor,

    As Donna Miles-Mojab’s article (Press 19 Apr) points out, “Ordinary Iranians..have become the real victims of the sanctions”, the sanctions of course, referring to the US imposed sanctions.
    Surely the whole point of US imposed sanctions, whether on Iran, Cuba, Venezuela or North Korea, (apology if any are left out), is to cause crippling hardship on the general public, hoping there will be a regime-changing uprising.
    Sanctions are a form of warfare. They are especially cruel now with so many countries suffering from Covid19. Economic hardship should not be allowed, let alone imposed, to make it difficult for countries to buy the medical supplies, including vaccines, needed to save lives.

    Lois Griffiths
    This letter has not been sent elsewhere.

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