Why Would the CIA Now Reveal its Role (with Mossad) in a Middle East Assassination? To Remind Israel that it Still Needs the USA
One should ponder why American officials would suddenly leak details of the assassination of Hezbollah’s military chief, Imad Mughniyeh, seven years after the lethal explosion in Damascus.
Why would they decide to tell reporters on the espionage beat that the CIA acted together with Israel’s Mossad? And why would they apparently emphasize that the CIA was on the spot in Damascus, doing the key job of planting the cleverly designed bomb – after the bomb was created and tested at a base in the United States?
The answer seems linked with the current, recently increased tensions between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It is as though Obama wishes to remind Netanyahu that Israel still needs the United States: America’s expertise and long reach.
White House officials are obviously angry that Israel’s prime minister plans to come to Washington to address a joint session of Congress on March 3. The event designed by Republican leaders in Congress is aimed at adding pressure to their desire for legislation that would threaten tougher sanctions against Iran.
Netanyahu would love for such a bill to pass, but he seems to be ignoring Obama’s strong opposition to the bill.
Obama has explained that if Congress insists on threatening more sanctions now, that might give Iran an excuse to walk away from the nuclear talks – with the U.S. and five other nations – and some in the world may blame America for derailing the process.
Obama claims he gives the talks with Iran only a 50-50 chance of success, and he says U.S. military action against Iranian nuclear facilities is a real possibility.
Netanyahu, for years now, hints at the possibility of unilateral military action against Iran by Israel.
He has been criticized by his opponents – in Israel’s election scheduled for March 17, a mere two weeks after the speech to Congress – for ruining relations with Israel’s all-important ally in Washington.
Netanyahu’s critics, both in Israel and in the U.S., say the tiny country of 8 million people seems to forget that it is the junior partner in an alliance with a superpower (of over 300 million people).
When American officials point to a joint mission with Israel to kill a notorious terrorist in 2008 – emphasizing the leading role played by the CIA, while the Mossad was the junior partner – that seems to include a political message that the Israelis should remember their place and their dependence.