The first thing I noticed when reading the reports of the bombings of targets remotely related to Israel was that one of the attacks had all of the hallmarks we have come to associate with assassinations carried out by agencies like the Israeli Mossad, American CIA, etc. and/or their proxies like the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and Jundallah.
End the Lie
In this article we will also be looking at the possible motives for the attacks, if the attacks came out of Iran as individuals like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have claimed, or if indeed they were false flag attacks carried out by Israel itself.
The piece of information that set alarm bells ringing immediately was the mention of a magnetic device being used to attach the explosive to the minivan carrying an unnamed Israeli diplomat's wife to pick up her children at the American Embassy School in New Delhi.
Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta reported that the attack occurred soon after 3 PM just a few hundred yards away from the prime minister's residence.
In the vast majority of assassinations in Iran, usually targeting nuclear scientists, the assailants use a motorcycle and a magnetic bomb.
The most recent murder of a nuclear scientist in Iran followed this same blueprint with reports that the individuals responsible approached and escaped via motorcycle while the bombing itself involved a magnetic explosive attached to the car.
Just days before Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed (assassinated), Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the Israeli military chief, hinted at foul play being involved in the many "accidents" and deaths in mentioning the "things that happen to [the Iranian nuclear program] unnaturally." Similarly, Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said of the Roshan assassination, "I certainly am not shedding a tear."
Obviously this makes the link to Israeli/American intelligence and their terrorist proxies purely circumstantial, but nonetheless the evidence indicating that the attacks were actually carried out or ordered by the Mossad and/or CIA is much more compelling than the total lack of evidence linking Iran.
There is also the possibility that the attacks were totally genuine and carried out by independent terrorist organizations not in the pocket of an intelligence agency as is the case with al Qaeda, the MEK, Jundallah and others.
However, the timing of and targets of these attacks seem much too convenient to have the timing and targets chosen be pure coincidence, although it is impossible to rule it out entirely until more data emerges.
Speaking of lack of data, the question mark in the title is there precisely because there is far from enough information to actually prove anything in this case as of now, either way.
In addition to the attack in New Delhi and the thwarted attack in Georgia, Netanyahu claims that Israel has stopped attempted attacks recently in Azerbaijan and Thailand, although they have presented nothing to substantiate the claims in any way.
"Iran is behind these attacks and it is the largest terror exporter in the world," Netanyahu said to Likud legislators, although some say that these attacks might not have as large an impact as we might think.
Reuven Pedatzur, an Israeli military analyst quoted by the Associated Press, claimed that the bombings were unlikely to affect Israel's plans regarding Iran, adding that they were isolated incidents with a low impact.
I have to agree with Pedatzur in that these attacks were relatively low impact in terms of actually hurting the Israeli government in any way.
If Iran was actually behind this, as Israel has said (which has yet to be backed up by India, I might add) why would they target individuals with little to no importance whatsoever?
I don't mean to be callous but killing the wife of an unnamed Israeli diplomat in India isn't quite like killing a prime minister or any other major figure. In all honesty, it isn't even comparable with killing a lower-level government official like a Knesset member.
If this was actually a terrorist attack meant to somehow hurt Israel, why would they target individuals with such little value in a governmental sense? I'm not one to say that any human life is worth more than another, but when taking the point of view of a terrorist or assassin, one must consider the value of the target in terms of governmental operations, diplomacy, international image, etc.
Not a single individual was killed in the attacks, and while four people were injured, the only ones even slightly connected to Israel were an Israeli Embassy driver and the diplomat's wife.
What kind of terrorist targets the wife of a relatively minor diplomat and a driver? That would be like if terrorists blew up an empty grocery store in Oklahoma, injuring some random people in the process. There's no doubt that it is wrong, but it has to be the most ineffectual terrorism in the world.
There is also the matter of the incident in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, where an "explosive device" was placed underneath the car of a driver for the Israeli Embassy.
Shota Utiashvili, the spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, reported that the driver claimed to have noticed a package on the undercarriage of his vehicle, after which he called the police, who then found and defused a grenade.
Obviously this attack does not fit the mold of the attacks on nuclear scientists in Iran with the magnetic bomb and the assailants on motorcycle, but it raises some very glaring questions of its own.
Why a grenade? Furthermore, why place a grenade, which are usually quite small, on the bottom of a car in a way which was so obvious that the driver could see it.
Unless the car is significantly raised off the ground (like a sport utility vehicle) or the driver decided to randomly get on his back and check out his vehicle, the chances of someone just happening to see a small device placed on the undercarriage of his or her car are quite slim.
Then again, I am unfamiliar with Israeli Embassy protocol so they might have their drivers check the undercarriage of their vehicle before driving off as part of their routine.
UPDATE: A Jerusalem Post article shed a bit more light on the attack in Georgia. They report that the driver, who was in fact a local Georgian national, heard something during his drive. He then pulled over to the side of the road, noticed the bomb (same points as above apply) and then called the local authorities who then dismantled the bomb. This brings up another point, how do you hear a bomb underneath your car? Was the bomb so shoddily attached that it was making noise as he was driving? Once again we see either a purposefully failed attack or complete incompetence on the part of the alleged terrorists.
The targeting of a driver and the use of a grenade is quite interesting and unusual. The fact that seemingly little explosives were used in both attacks is highly noteworthy.
If these were indeed genuine terrorist attacks, I don't see why the terrorists wouldn't opt to use enough explosives to ensure the target was killed, just as has been the case in Iran.
Interestingly, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the attacks highlighted American concerns surrounding the targeting of Israeli interests abroad, something which I reported on although obviously from an angle completely different than Carney's.
Netanyahu has already taken a hard line on this topic, saying that Israel will "systematically and with patience, use a strong arm" against the alleged terrorism coming from Iran.
Netanyahu displayed a great deal of brazenness in calling Iran "the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world" while Israel itself has been linked to terrorist groups not by so-called "conspiracy theorists" but indeed by U.S. officials, which was reported by mainstream media outlets in the United States.
In this case, officials were linking Israel to the MEK although in the past they have also been linked to Jundallah by United States intelligence memos.
The absurdity of Netanyahu' statements never cease to amaze me, especially when their connections to the MEK were so widely publicized just days ago. I guess Netanyahu and the many propagandists out there believe that if they continue to say Iran has links to terrorism long enough and loud enough, someone will finally believe them.
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Foreign Minister, said that Israel knows not only how to precisely identify those responsible for the attacks but also those who carried them out.
Unfortunately for him, they have presented no evidence and continue to do nothing more than blindly point fingers without any substantiation whatsoever.
Given Israel's history in pinning terrorist acts on whomever they please, I seriously doubt any meaningful evidence will be presented for public scrutiny, instead opting for the route where they continue to claim they know who is responsible and that they have evidence while never presenting it.
This is much like how the United States has dealt with the nonsensical alleged plot involving the Iranian used car dealer - which was promptly torn apart by countless analysts across the globe - in simply continuing to point fingers at Iran while never actually proving anything.
One could say this is exactly the same as what the American government did in the case of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
This is quite an easy thing to do as any alleged evidence can be indefinitely hidden from the public (who are then unable to examine it in any way) or any independent body under the guise of "national security."
Israel could easily claim that they have conclusive evidence linking Iran or Hezbollah to the attacks but then turn around and say they are unable to share any of the information due to national security concerns.
There is little anyone could do in that case and when nations have done it in the past the establishment media seems to pick up the claims and circulate them as fact indefinitely while never questioning the government's claims. Obviously one of the most glaring examples of this is the case of September 11, 2001.
While the evidence tying Israel to these attacks is indeed wholly circumstantial and based on historical precedent, there is even less evidence which we can use to tie the attacks to Iran.
Given the complete absence of any obvious links, one could look to the possible motives.
In the case of Israel the motives are clear: make Israel and all Israeli interests look like they are being threatened by Iran, thus giving the international community a strong push towards confrontation.
In the case of Iran, the motives are much murkier, if we can logically find any motives at all. One possible motive might be retaliation for the assassination of nuclear scientists in Iran, however, the fact that the attacks are attracting thousands of students to study nuclear science in Iran casts some doubt on this possible motive.
Furthermore, any attacks carried out by Iran or proxies of Iran would only serve to give the West the green light to bomb Iran into the Stone Age. Why would they consciously choose to open themselves up to an attack? It simply does not make any sense.
We can sum up the possible motives by saying this: Israel has everything to gain from the attacks (seeing as no Israelis were killed and it will only serve to give them a more iron clad justification for an attack) while Iran has everything to lose.
Indeed Ramin Mehmanparast points that out precisely in positing that Israel launched the attacks in order to "tarnish Iran's friendly ties with the host countries," while the Iranian state news agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that Mehmanparast said that "Israel perpetrated the terror actions to launch psychological warfare against Iran."
The Iranian ambassador to New Delhi, Mehdi Nabidzadeh also rejected Israel's claims saying, "Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official," referring to Netanyahu's bold accusations. "These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like previous times."
It remains to be seen if these attacks will be used to justify actions against Iran, or if they will be so easily debunked by the international community - like the alleged Iranian plot involving the used car salesman and the Mexican cartel member who ended up being a DEA agent - and thus pushed aside as they cannot provide the necessary impetus for war.
In analyzing the events, Yaakov Katz wrote for the Jerusalem Post that the Israeli defense community believes that these latest two attacks and the earlier thwarted attacks "could lead the group to escalate its activities and perhaps launch an attack on a larger scale."
This raises the ugly possibility that there could be even more false flag attacks on Israeli or American targets to be blamed on Iran, seeing as these were unsuccessful and will likely be torn to bits by astute researchers. There is also the fact that they are very unlikely to provide the final piece needed to go to war with Iran while still maintaining any semblance of legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.
Katz points to IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, who said just last month that "Hezbollah [should] not to test Israel's resolve by perpetrating a terror attack against an Israeli target overseas. If Israel does not respond, it could be perceived as a paper tiger."
Based on the statements from Netanyahu, it seems that Israel very well might retaliate but I do not see these two incidents being utilized as the final piece of evidence needed to attack Iran. That being said, there is absolutely nothing stopping them from doing exactly that.
Maybe my optimism is getting the best of me on this one but unfortunately there is nothing we can do right now but wait and see, all while hoping the world doesn't get pulled into a conflict that would be unimaginable in scope.