Analysis: The How and Why of Modern Assassinations

Bomb blast site in New Delhi, IndiaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
Reports on the discovery last week of a synchronized plan to attack Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia, and Thailand, are still unfolding. At least four people —including the wife of an Israeli diplomat— were injured in New Delhi, when a bomb ripped through a van belonging to the Israeli embassy there. Another bomb was defused by Georgian counterterrorist forces after it was found fastened under an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in Tbilisi. And in Bangkok, two Iranian nationals were arrested after a bomb they were manufacturing exploded prematurely in a rented house in the Thai capital. In an interview I gave this past weekend to The Journal, one of Ireland’s most popular newsmagazines, I noted that the use of targeted assassinations as a means of achieving broader political goals is, of course, not new. But there are definite trends that we have been able to see developing during the past decade or so. For starters, even though the methods of assassination vary greatly, there are common trends one can point out, particularly in the organizational infrastructure of state-sponsored assassination operations. There is, to be precise, an increasing complexity in the way these operations are planned prior to their execution by specialized hit teams. I told The Journal’s interviewer, Susan Ryan, that the increasing sophistication of these types of operations can be appreciated by comparing older examples with case studies that are more recent. Take, for instance, the Black September killings, conducted by Israeli intelligence in response to the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. These were —for the most part— pretty crude undertakings, relying on relatively small, dedicated teams of operatives, which involved plenty of rudimentary tactics and even luck (or criminal stupidity, in the case of the 1973 murder of Moroccan waiter Ahmed Bouchiki in Norway). Contrast these case studies with more recent assassinations, such as those of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London, and of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Both were extremely sophisticated and involved a lot more preparation than similar operations conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. In the case of al-Mabhouh, I told The Journal that I estimate the involvement of close to 40 operatives on the ground, including intelligence collection, surveillance, non-destructive entry, transportation, logistics, and weapons procurement teams. There is, in other words, a high degree of compartmentalization and specialization, which is employed to contain the possibility of operational failure. Furthermore, I note that the details that have emerged from last week’s planned attacks in India, Georgia, and Thailand, seem to indicate that the operatives involved carried them out in a hurry, without having done their homework, which may indicate that they were acting under political pressure from their superiors. Finally, I stress that, according to relevant academic studies, so-called “decapitation operations”, even when tactically successful, rarely achieve their strategic aim, namely the neutralization of targeted groups. The complete interview is available here.

5 Responses to Analysis: The How and Why of Modern Assassinations

  1. Carl Clark says:

    The attacks have the Mossad trademark, using irans anti government factions who committed the assassinations of the iranian scientists, the sticky bomb used in delhi was the same as the bombs used in iran, this all points to an excuse to attack iran and to discredit them around the world.
    Mossad are the masters of deception and I myself have learned much from them in the past, but it does look as though they are getting sloppy and are making mistakes, Dubai, Iran and now these three attacks, have all the MO of Mossad, many years ago they would leave either no trace or they would leave it as Mossad did take them out. I do not know why they have started operating in this manner, I know of many assassinations carried out by Mossad put down to accidents or heart attacks or cause of death unknown. One thing you never do is underestimate their capabilities and a false flag attack on mainland U.S is a possibility to get the attack on Iran pushed ahead so all eyes are on U.S interests at home and abroad, we have had the probing attacks we may now see the main one going ahead, which finally pushes the U.S into the war that is inevitable.

  2. myVieW says:

    US & allies want to control the entire world, what they will achieve? Is first thing, Mr.Obama, can put order to stop production of arms in the Lockeed? is UN ready to demate arms free society? No one is ready to bell the cat, so how can we achieve peace in this world.
    It’s impossible to ineluctable to the arms busienss. Because of middle east uprsing, who gained it? is the People , no and not definite, only westerners gained and made more arms sales to the casticated monarchy. Even from my point of view, Iran’s escalation is perfect for the west to influence to the middle east monarchy in the arms race.

  3. Carl Clark says:

    I agree with my VieW, the middle eastern monarchies are just bankers for the west its a win win situation that benefits both parties.

  4. Barry says:

    Why don’t you tell us about the most Infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant which is operational since January 24th 2002, with blatant extra-judicial assassinations…?

  5. Carl Clark says:

    Hi Barry

    All I can say there is plenty of truth on websites about murder inc and also plenty of misinformation, operations are still in full swing we saw a few over the last few years of heart attacks and death by unknown causes, we had gary williams, MI6 here in pimlico london that was an assassination by a team being directed from the U.S, he died of unkown causes? zipped up in a holdall in a bath? houdini reversered? it is not being treated as suspicious, and he was discredited in the media, one of the best crypologists in the world and as fit as they come. Murdered for turning down working with the CIA and NSA.

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