Will Iran invent stories about ‘revenge’ on Israel? – analysis

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This would be the third attack in the last month and a half on alleged Israeli-owned ships in that area.

https://www.jpost.com/-By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

IRGC siezes ship near Bu Musa Island, Iran (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In the absence of being able to actually strike at Israel, Iran’s regime may invent stories of “successful” operations in the wake of the Natanz incident. Iran painted itself into a corner this week by claiming that it would take action after an incident at its nuclear enrichment facility. A full court press was unleashed by Iran’s media. But then the question remained whether Iran has any real options to strike at Israel without escalating tensions too much.

What we know is that Iran has said, at the foreign ministry and government spokesperson level, that it wants revenge. It has also said it will now enrich uranium to sixty percent. It then sent its government propaganda English language media Press TV to publish claims of an attack on an Israeli ship off the coast of the UAE. The details have been downplayed in Israel.

This would be the third attack in the last month and a half on alleged Israeli-owned ships in that area. These are commercial ships so Iran’s attacks are a flagrant violation of basic international laws. Iran’s Press TV says that Israel “awaits” the Iranian response. It likely knows this is Israel’s Memorial Day on April 13, so it is timing these news items for the day.

A more strange story emerged on April 13 alleging Iran was targeting “Israel” in Iraq. How did this unfold. Iran’s Press TV claimed that “Israel’s Mossad spy agency has come under attack in Iraq, security sources say, with a number of Israeli forces killed or wounded in what was described as a ‘heavy blow’ on the Zionist regime.”

The story actually began at Sabereen News which claimed that the “resistance” forces in Iraq struck at a “Mossad safe house” in northern Iraq. It said it would show pictures. It said that Israeli “spies” were struck. This is a generalized account because “northern Iraq” is a big place and an “Israeli spy” could be a random person. A “safe house” can be any house that the pro-Iran militias have identified. The wording is important here. The “resistance” in Iraq is made up of pro-Iran militias such as Badr, Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and others. They have threatened Israel before.

Iran has provided them ballistic missiles in 2018 and 2019. They have even blamed Israel for a strike on a Kataib Hezbollah house in Albukamal in Syria in the summer of 2018 and four airstrikes in Iraq in 2019. Asaib’s leader even went to Lebanon in 2017 and met Hezbollah and vowed to help Hezbollah against Israel.

Online accounts that track open source intelligence like Aurora Intel notes that official “news agencies Arabic RT, Al-Alam News Agency, Fars News Agency and Press TV are all reporting the story.” Their ur-source is Sabereen news. An account named Intel Sky was one of the early ones to put out the report. But many are skeptical. Nevertheless Israeli radio picked up the Iranian reports as well.

The question that remains is whether Iran and its widespread media network and militias that it uses as proxies from Yemen to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, will attempt retaliation at Israel, or merely claim to have “retaliated” so they can say they did something. This has happened in the past. In July 2020 Hezbollah vowed retaliation after a member was killed in Syria.

It claimed to keep Israel on alert and several incidents took place. But nothing major actually happened. In another incident in 2020 Hezbollah “retaliated” by cutting holes in a fence. In 2019 Hezbollah even fired missiles but ended up harming mannequins.

 

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