Analysis: The limits of Israeli espionage
March 30, 2010 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman (The Secret War with Iran) has written an editorial in Yedioth Ahronoth, in which he argues that Israel’s espionage successes in recent years have failed to bring about significant changes on the strategic level. Bergman briefly recounts the significant post-9/11 reforms in Israeli intelligence, most notably the appointment of Meir Dagan as the director of the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency. Dagan has “created a new Mossad”, argues Bergman, one that is more narrowly focused in its operations, and more collaborative with foreign intelligence agencies –notably American, Jordanian, Turkish and Indian. This shift in focus and tactics has undeniably helped Israel score some significant espionage victories, including the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah in Beirut, Lebanon; the seizure of several ships carrying Iranian and Syrian weapons to Hezbollah; as well as the more recent assassination of Hamas military official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Nevertheless, argues Bergman, the intelligence victories listed above have failed to “change reality” on the strategic level. Hezbollah remains as powerful as ever in Lebanon, and Hamas is still considered “the leading political force in the Palestinian camp”. Even the acquisition of critical intelligence on the Syrian nuclear weapons program, which led to the 2007 bombing of the Syrian nuclear reactor, may have halted the Syrian nuclear program (note: this is disputed), but it “did not convince [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] to end his support for Hamas and Hezbollah or shut down the headquarters of other groups” in Damascus, says Bergman. The same can be said about Iran, whose nuclear goals remain as resilient as ever. The solution? Bergman insists that “[a]t the end of the day, there is no substitute for dialogue and for a diplomatic process that always ends with some kind of compromise”.