Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Those Attacks on Israeli Diplomats


Let’s assume that sections of the military and security apparatus in Iran are responsible for the string of bombings in Georgia, Thailand and India. What would be the motive? The argument that Iran is retaliating for the murder of five civilian nuclear scientists in Iran is not plausible. If Iran wanted to target Israeli interests, it has other means at its disposal. It is hard to imagine that the Iranian government would send Iranian operatives to friendly countries, completely equipped with Iranian money and passports – making the case against them as obvious as possible.

If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are as professional, highly trained and politically savvy as we have been told repeatedly by Israeli politicians themselves, if they have successfully trained and equipped the cadres of Hezbollah and other movements with paramilitary wings in the region, then why would they launch such a clumsy and self-defeating operation?

And why India, Georgia and Thailand, three countries that Iran has had cordial relations with during a period when Iran is facing increasing sanctions spearheaded by the United States? A few days ago, India agreed a rupee-based oil and gas deal with Iran and resisted US pressures to join the western boycott of the Iranian energy sector. As a net importer of 12% of Iranian oil, India’s total trade with Iran amounted to $13.67bn in 2010-2011. What would be the motive for damaging relations with one of Iran’s major trading partners and regional heavyweights?

For Iran it doesn’t make sense to risk alienating India by launching an assassination attempt in the capital of the country. Similarly, Iran has good economic and political relations with
Georgia and Thailand. Why would the leadership in Tehran risk a major crisis with these countries during this sensitive period when IAEA inspectors are moving in and out of Iran to investigate the country’s nuclear programme?

The true answer is that at this stage no one knows for sure who is behind the attacks. There have been news reports that the security agencies in India are examining the similarities between the explosion in Delhi and the Jama Masjid shooting and blast in 2010 when similar methods were used. According to these reports, the culprits could be the so-called Indian Mujahideen, which is unrelated to Iran and which is opposed to India’s relations with Israel. There are several other such groups that support the Palestinian cause and that have targeted India before.

It is politics that will prevail over the truth in this case; the Netanyahu administration will attempt to exploit the situation in order to make the case for increasing sanctions against Iran. Undoubtedly, it will attempt to derail Iranian-Indian relations, which has been a primary objective of the administration’s grand strategy to isolate Iran. For the Netanyahu administration, the culprit of these attacks has to be the Iranian government, irrespective of the truth, because it is politically expedient to represent the country as an existential threat in order to hype up the nuclear issue and to divert attention away from the Palestinian question. Certainly, on the fringes of the Israeli right wing the drumbeats for war will beat louder.

The Iranian government, on the other hand, will continue to deny any involvement in order to ward off a diplomatic fallout. Iran is not interested in any military confrontation. But at the same time Israel is a convenient bogeyman for Iran’s own right wing. Cyclical, confined confrontation with Israel is politically useful in order to foster support for the country’s policies, both domestically and in the wider Arab and Islamic world. Finally, the international community, including the Obama administration, is likely to contain the repercussions of what happened in order to give diplomacy a chance, and to cool down the hawks in Tel Aviv. We are in the middle of the realm of politics then, not the truth.

Apart from a tiny minority that is tied to the military industrial complex, no one really has a penchant for yet another disastrous war in the Islamic world. One thing is certain, however. If the current cold war between Israel and Iran is not managed diplomatically sooner rather than later, the tensions will continue to rise with potentially devastating consequences for Israelis and Iranians alike.

Policies of terror and intimidation yield wars; diplomacy and dialogue yield peace and stability. It is time that this fundamental logic of international politics is enforced in west Asia and north Africa. To that end, the case for reconciliation has to be made continuously and emphatically, especially during periods of massive rage and trepidation. We are exactly at such a decisive juncture. It is all the more imperative then that intellectual acumen and analytical sobriety prevail over the resurgent pro-war lobby.

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is reader in the comparative and international politics of western Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of several books including Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic and A Metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations

This article originally appeared in the Guardian.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?