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#1 If true, this is a serious escalation by the Iranians and their Syrian proxies. They have escalated this and made it personal to the ruling family - unintended consequences can happen with a royal family and their reaction (Archduke Ferdinand and Serbia...).
It also shows how bold but reckless the Iranians have become. They are now giving a lot of people in the region good reasons to want them gone and increased the willingness to turn a blind eye to any strikes necessary to remove the Iranian threats.
Posted by OldSpook 2012-07-31 12:20||
#2 If true ... it's a big development alright.
It sets in motion an escalating chain of espionage and killings in the Middle East. Things are heating up.
Posted by Raider 2012-07-31 12:39||
#3 BTW - great job Rantburg on picking up this story so fast. I saw it here first!
Posted by Raider 2012-07-31 12:40||
#4 Keep in mind that the DEBKA speculation is just that, speculation, and it was likely generated in the head of the person at the keyboard as he was typing it.
I would wait. It looks to me like Iran is trying as hard as it can to precipitate an attack by someone.
Posted by crosspatch 2012-07-31 13:03||
#5 [On working for the CIA]
Vince Ricardo: Are you interested in joining? The benefits are terrific. The trick is not to get killed. That's really the key to the benefit program.
Peter Fauk as Vince Ricardo: The In-Laws, 1979
Posted by Besoeker 2012-07-31 13:03||
#6 If this is true, the famous saying 'so... it begins'.
Posted by lord garth 2012-07-31 13:05||
#7 "The trick is not to get killed. That's really the key to the benefit program."
You're killin' me Besoeker ... but not literally.
Good one :-) Comment of the week.
Posted by Raider 2012-07-31 13:39||
#8 "Serpentine, Sheldon! Serpentine!"
Posted by mojo 2012-07-31 13:42||
#9 What's the rule - 24 or 48 hours?
Til then - Oh no, not shot tentacle devastation!?!?!?
Posted by Halliburton - Mysterious Conspiracy Division 2012-07-31 14:03||
#10 If true the Saudi's should spread the implication that the group was attacked while visiting Mecca when hit by a bomb, the rock appears to be okay but the are removing residue or something like that which would be certain to inflame folks against Iran.
Posted by rjschwarz 2012-07-31 14:51||
#11 A mischievous person would light off a sub-launched cruise missile or two at this point, just to stir the pot.
Posted by SteveS 2012-07-31 15:01||
#12 It also shows how bold but reckless the Iranians have become.
Assassinating Assad's high command was a normal ordinary thing to do on the part of the Saudis, but a revenge attack by the Syrians on the official who masterminded the attack is reckless? Only if the proper posture of a Syrian is on his knees.
Posted by Zhang Fei 2012-07-31 15:06||
#13 I can only hope that this means war, and all parties will have at it. Popcorn.
Posted by Whiskey Mike 2012-07-31 15:23||
#14 Some of the comments on the article are hilarious. Did you know that SA takes order from the Mossad?
Can these loonies get anymore paranoid?
Posted by AlanC 2012-07-31 15:27||
#15 ZF, in the pecking order there, Syria is supposed to kowtow to Saudi Arabia. The fact that Syria are actively hostile and retaliate by hitting a high placed royal (instead of a less politically sensitive but military target) is a huge escalation, especially given the tribal politics and personal (family) impact of the actions. This is like if the Chinese went after the Secretary of State's aircraft instead of a Navy Recon plane (c.f. Hainan Island incident)
Posted by OldSpook 2012-07-31 15:40||
#16 Some of the comments on the article are hilarious. Did you know that SA takes order from the Mossad?
Can these loonies get anymore paranoid?
The background here is that some Muslims believe that the al Sauds are the descendants of converted Jews who never really converted or did convert and are still simpatico* with those of the Jewish faith. It would be amusing if this speculation is an outgrowth of the completely-fictional Harold Robbins novel "The Pirate".
* The banning of self-declared Jews from entry into Saudi Arabia would seem to contradict this supposed link to Judaism, but the theory is probably that they are prevented from showing any outward signs of favor by popular opinion (i.e. the day-in day-out avoidance of assassination attempts by disgruntled Jew-haters in the country).
Posted by Zhang Fei 2012-07-31 15:49||
#17 This is like if the Chinese went after the Secretary of State's aircraft instead of a Navy Recon plane (c.f. Hainan Island incident)
That's not remotely comparable. If the US assassinated the Chinese high command, you can bet they would come after equivalently senior US officials. Pecking order has nothing to do with it. Deterrence is what it's all about.
Posted by Zhang Fei 2012-07-31 15:51||
#18 actually ... i have to agree with Zhang Fei here. These incidents were triggered by the bomb going off in Damascus, so there is an argument that the Syrians are responding in kind. What's unusual is that they were able to strike back so quickly, so accurately, and so deep inside the territory of Saudi Arabia. The circumstances lend credibility to the claim by Debka that perhaps the Iranians, and maybe Al Qaeda proxies inside Saudi Arablia, were responsible for planting the bomb.
Posted by Raider 2012-07-31 16:22||
#19 Thanks ZF for the info.
I think, though, that your take only proves to me that, yes, these loonies CAN get more paranoid!!
Posted by AlanC 2012-07-31 16:31||
#20 Or the AQ miscreants are lighting the candle at both ends. Zawahiri would be grinning the whole time.
Posted by Mullah Richard 2012-07-31 16:42||
#21 I think, though, that your take only proves to me that, yes, these loonies CAN get more paranoid!!
Paranoia is defined as fears borne of irrationality or delusion. False flags are not anything new in the world of international relations. The Alawites have remained a distinct sect in the Middle East for a thousand years by pretending to be mainstream Muslims, when in fact they are either a Muslim or a Christian heresy. And in Israel's case, false flags are not exactly a new phenom - many an Arab spy has been recruited by Mossad agents posing as operatives of Euro intel agencies. While I doubt the Saudi royal family is composed of Jews or ex-Jews, most non-European societies are not like the US. In those societies, secrets remain secrets because they are, unlike in the US, a matter of life-and-death for entire clans or tribes.
Posted by Zhang Fei 2012-07-31 17:46||
#22 DEBKA sourced rumor. Doubt it. Wouldn't bet any money on it yet.
Posted by tipper 2012-07-31 17:59||
#23 The Lavon affair was an infamous false flag operation that failed in spectacular fashion:
The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation, a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, "unspecified malcontents" or "local nationalists" with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt's Suez Canal zone. The operation caused no casualties, except for those members of the cell who committed suicide after being captured.
The operation became known as the Lavon Affair after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon, who was forced to resign because of the incident, or euphemistically as the Unfortunate Affair or The Bad Business (Hebrew: העסק ביש, HaEsek Bish or העסק הביש, HaEsek HaBish). After Israel officially denied the incident for 51 years, the surviving agents were in 2005 officially honored with a certificate of appreciation by the Israeli President Moshe Katzav.
Blood matzos are obviously the product of overactive imaginations. Other events are not equally obvious. If I had to posit a reason some Arabs believe Israel might have engineered the 9/11 attacks, I'd point to a combination of the Lavon Affair and the Israeli recruitment of Arab agents while posing as operatives working for European intel agencies. I guess it's conceivable that Israelis might have posed successfully as operatives for Arab intelligence agencies or terrorist groups, given the number of Mizrahi Jews from Middle Eastern countries in Israel who are, by accent and appearance, indistinguishable from the Arabs in the region from which they came.
In the end, though, al Qaeda and bin Laden did claim credit for 9/11, and it's a real stretch to believe that they would take credit for an event used as the justification to kill them on sight anywhere they are found, especially when the al Qaeda body count is in the tens of thousands. No amount of street cred from falsely claiming credit is worth the systematic root-and-branch slaughter of your organization's personnel.
Bottom line? While the preponderance of evidence points to the conventional wisdom, Arab conspiracy theories are not based on pure fantasy.
Posted by Zhang Fei 2012-07-31 18:10||
#24 OS: ZF, in the pecking order there, Syria is supposed to kowtow to Saudi Arabia.
In fact, I'd be extremely surprised if the Alawites did not view the Saudis with a mixture of suspicion, fear or even hatred. Any majority Muslim country, from Egypt all the way to Indonesia, that has received religious funding from the Gulf states (public or private) has engaged in pogroms against its religious minorities. When you consider that Sunnis outnumber Alawites 100 to 1, and the way in which Gulf state money makes its way via hawalas and the usual money-laundering vehicles into Syria to the Sunni troglodytes who can't nurse their grievances on blessings from Allah alone, I'd think the Alawites would have cultivated agents in the Gulf state establishments who cannot stand the Bedouin scum who rule the country (or the even scummier populace they rule over), some of whom might even be Shiites, atheists, communists or fascists. Or it could boil down to a simple matter of blackmail and/or big money payoffs.
Posted by Zhang Fei 2012-07-31 20:23||
#25 "I'm sure if I look around here long enough I'll find my sympathy."
I don't know where you keep your sympathy, but mine's under my nanoviolin, in the nano-dictionary - right between sweat and syphalis.
Posted by Barbara 2012-07-31 20:43||
#26 syphalis syphilis
Posted by Barbara 2012-07-31 20:56||