Israeli Mossad training Iranian exiles in Kurdistan: French newspaper

Israeli Mossad training Iranian exiles in Kurdistan: French newspaper

Predomiantly Kurdish Middle East regions

A leading French newspaper has claimed that Israeli intelligence agents are recruiting and training Iranian dissidents in clandestine bases located in Iraq’s Kurdish region. Paris-based daily Le Figaro, France’s second-largest national newspaper, cited a “security source in Baghdad”, who alleged that members of Israeli intelligence are currently operating in Iraq’s autonomous northern Kurdish region. According to the anonymous source, the Israelis, who are members of the Mossad, Israel’s foremost external intelligence agency, are actively recruiting Iranian exiles in Kurdistan. Many of these Iranian assets, who are members of Iran’s Kurdish minority and opposed to the Iranian regime, are allegedly being trained by the Mossad in spy-craft and sabotage. The article in Le Figaro claims that the Iranian assets are being prepared for conducting operations inside the energy-rich country, as part of Israel’s undercover intelligence war against Iran’s nuclear energy program. The Baghdad source told the French daily that part of Israel’s sabotage program against sensitive Iranian nuclear facilities, which includes targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear experts, is directed out of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, “where [Mossad] agents have stepped up their penetration”. For this, “the Israelis are using Kurdish oppositionists to the regime in Iran, who are living are refugees in the Kurdish regions of Iraq”, the source told Le Figaro. Although the article makes no mention of official or unofficial sanction of the Israeli operations by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities, it implies that the alleged Mossad activities are an open secret in Iraqi Kurdistan. This is not the first time that allegations have surfaced in the international press about Israeli intelligence activities in Kurdistan. In 2006, the BBC flagship investigative television program Newsnight obtained strong evidence of Israeli operatives providing military training to Kurdish militia members. Read more of this post

Turkish officials see link between Israel and Kurdish rebels

Turkish officials see link between Israel and Kurdish rebels

Israeli Heron UAV

Turkish intelligence agencies have authored a report detailing alleged Israeli assistance to Kurdish rebels, whose goal is to secede from Turkey and create an independent Kurdish homeland, according to a leading Turkish newspaper. The Ankara-based Zaman said the intelligence report was commissioned after Turkish forces detected Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) conducting reconnaissance missions over Turkey. The paper, which is tacitly affiliated with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, said the UAVs were spotted flying over Turkey’s Adana and Hatay provinces, both of which are adjacent to Turkey’s border with Syria. As intelNews reported last August, Turkey’s main intelligence directorate, the MİT, is convinced that the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad has increased its clandestine support for the largest Kurdish secessionist group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), in an attempt to court Syria’s 500,000-strong Kurdish minority. According to the Zaman news report, airborne intelligence collected by Israeli Heron UAVs is shared with PKK guerrillas, who then use it to construct training bases in Syrian border regions. This explains, claims the paper, why most PKK training bases in Syria are located “in areas that are known to be weak spots for the Turkish military”. The report also claims that Turkish intelligence has verified that senior PKK military commander Kenan Yıldızbakan has visited Israel “several times” in recent months. Yildizbakan is believed to have commanded a brazen PKK assault on a Turkish naval base in İskenderun in 2010, which killed seven and wounded four members of the Turkish armed forces. Earlier this month, we reported that an Israeli drone flying over Turkey was nearly shot down by the Turkish Air Force. IntelNews also reported earlier this month on a news story from leading French newspaper Le Figaro, which claimed that officers of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad were recruiting and training Iranian dissidents in clandestine bases located in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. The Paris-based daily cited a “security source in Baghdad”, who alleged that the Mossad was actively recruiting Iranian exiles in Kurdistan, for use in Israel’s clandestine war against the Iranian nuclear program.

The Grand Psyop Is Taking-On A German Flavor

[This is an update on yesterday’s story of a German Intelligence Cell Busted In Peshawar.  As usual, the Pakistani news sources have all garbled the Western names (just like Americans garble most foreign-sounding names), only The News came close to getting the names right.   They named one as Colonel Christine Wild, the rest of the media reported it as “Curtain Wild.”   The News reported the other two “Germans” as  Lawrence and Ralph Smith, while the others called them “Lauren and Rhodwolf Smith,” making Mr. Lawrence Smith sound like a woman.  It is doubtful that the man’s name was Christine and it is also unlikely that the “Smith” boys were really named Smith. 

As far as I can tell, no one has as yet tied this disruption of a German intelligence cell in KP to an alleged “Taliban abduction” two days before in Multan, of a German and Italian pair, who worked for a German NGO–Welthungerhilfe.  From trying to track-down the truth about this one, it seems as though the abduction may have taken place in an office building run by a French NGO called ACTED  in Dera Ghazi Khan, on the outskirts of Multan.  (View ACTED Base map in a larger map )

It is no coincidence that the Pak authorities then busted German spies working under cover of perhaps the same NGO, two days later in Peshawar (ACTED has an office in Peshawar).  If a connection on information sharing can be made between the two incidents–one involving alleged “Taliban,” the other involving Pak. authorities, then it will go far in finally proving the solid link between govt. forces and so-called “Taliban,” who run abduction rings.  The last time this military/militant nexus came close to being revealed, it was in the Gen. Alavi murder plot.  The Pakistani psyop is taking on a new face, as it has multiple times in the past (SEE:  Putting-Off the Moment of Truth in Pakistan).  Whatever the CIA and the ISI have cooked-up for us next, we are beginning to see the elements being lined-out for us now. 

Whatever it is, it will have a German flavor.  

The News report links the sudden appearance of Germans in the equation to Pakistan’s stance since the Salala attack, which led them to boycott the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.  Pakistan spoiled Hillary’s party in Bonn, where the Empire was going to get all its little ducks in a row and institute new marching orders to the co-conspirators.   Since Americans were rapidly becoming a taboo in Pakistan, it was only logical that an Imperial ally like Germany would begin to fill in the gaps, that were left after Pakistan’s attempted eviction of the CIA. 

If this Pakistani crackdown on Imperial NGOs spreads, it will eventually insulate Pakistan from the subversive Western NGOs, the primary weapon of Imperial subversion, as other countries have begun to do.  Some nations, like Turkmenistan have remained friends with the West as they accomplished that goal in a more subtle manner, by limiting NGO licensing to only those based in-country.  It remains to be seen what new conditions Pakistan will set down to further insulate Pakistan from the West, before returning the  transit privileges which have been suspended. 

What a stinking mess!]

3 Germans held, freed after interrogation

PESHAWAR: Three Germans including a serving colonel of the army were arrested for illegally staying in the provincial capital and indulging in suspicious activities during a raid in the University Town here on Saturday, officials said.

The three foreigners were later handed over to the German embassy in Islamabad after brief interrogation.

A police party headed by superintendent of police (SP-cantonment) along with officials of the intelligence agencies raided a building in the University Town and arrested the three Germans.

They claimed to be part of the diplomatic staff of the German embassy running a liaison office of the diplomatic mission in Peshawar.

The foreigners, however, failed to produce the no objection certificate (NOC), which all foreigners need for staying in Peshawar due to the uncertain law and order situation in the city and province.

“The office was also being run without any authorisation by the Pakistani authorities,” a source said.

A police official, on the condition of anonymity, told this scribe that there were confirmed reports that the office was involved in suspicious activities and had also played a key role in damaging Pakistan’s image before and after the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.

Pakistan had boycotted the conference in protest against a Nato attack on its security post in Salala in Mohmand Agency on November 26 last year in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed.

One of the detained men was stated to be a serving colonel of the German Army. He was identified as Colonel Christine Wild. The two other German nationals held from the building were Lawrence and Ralph Smith.

A number of diplomatic missions and international organisations have their offices in the University Town. Some offices of the foreign organizations are also located in Hayatabad and Cantonment areas.

There are reports that some of these offices are involved in suspicious activities.

It may be recalled that many foreign nationals, mostly Americans, were detained in recent months and sent back to Islamabad.

Authorities have directed the foreigners coming to Peshawar to obtain an NOC from the concerned authorities so that they could be provided security.

The Home and Tribal Affairs Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recently asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad to shift all the diplomatic missions and offices of international organisations to a single place in Peshawar for security reasons. Four locals were also detained from the building that was raided who are being questioned.

A fractured policy

A fractured policy

Hindustan Times
In the video Taliban chanting can be heard: 'We will cross all limits to avenge your blood,' it said, referring to fighters killed by Pakistani security forces
A Taliban militant speaks after the killing of Pakistani soldiers in this still image taken from video obtained by Reuters.

With the stage set for secret US-Taliban talks in Qatar, the White House strategy for a phased exit from war-ravaged Afghanistan is now couched in nice-sounding terms like ‘reconciliation’ and ‘transition to 2014’. These terms hide more than they reveal. In seeking a Faustian bargain with  the medieval Taliban, President Barack Obama risks repeating the very mistakes of US policy that have come to haunt regional and international security.

Since coming to office, Obama has pursued an Afghan War strategy summed up in just four words: surge, bribe and run. The military mission has now entered the ‘run’ part, or what euphemistically is being called the ‘transition to 2014’.

The central objective at present is to cut a deal with the Taliban so that the US and its Nato partners exit the “Graveyard of Empires” without losing face. This deal-making is being dressed up as ‘reconciliation’, with Qatar, Germany and Britain getting lead roles to help facilitate a settlement with the Taliban.

Yet what stands out is how little the US has learned from past mistakes. In some critical respects, it is actually beginning to repeat the past mistakes, whether by creating or funding new local militias in Afghanistan or striving to cut a deal with the Taliban. As in the covert war it waged against the nearly nine-year Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, so too in the current overt war, US policy has been driven by short-term interests.

To be sure, any president must work to extricate his country from a protracted war. Obama thus is right to seek an end to the war. He, however, blundered by laying out his cards in public and emboldening the enemy.

Within weeks of assuming office, Obama publicly declared his intent to exit Afghanistan, before he even asked his team to work out a strategy. A troop surge that lasted up to 2010 was designed not to militarily rout the Taliban but to strike a political deal with the enemy from a position of strength. Yet even before the surge began, its purpose was undercut by the exit plan. This was followed by a publicly unveiled troop drawdown, stretching from 2011 to 2014.

A withdrawing power that first announces a phased exit and then pursues deal-making with the enemy undermines its regional leverage. It speaks for itself that the sharp deterioration in US ties with the Pakistani military has occurred after the drawdown timetable was unveiled. The phased exit has encouraged the Pakistani generals to step up support to the Taliban. Worse, there is still no clear US strategy on how to ensure that the endgame does not undermine the interests of the free world or further destabilise the region.

US envoy Marc Grossman, who visited New Delhi last Friday for consultations, has already held a series of secret meetings with the Taliban over more than a year. Qatar has been chosen as the seat of fresh US-Taliban negotiations so as to keep the still-sceptical Afghan government at arm’s length (despite the pretence of ‘Afghan-led’ talks) and to insulate the Taliban negotiators from Pakistani and Saudi pressures. Meanwhile, even as a civil-military showdown in Pakistan compounds Washington’s regional challenges, the new US containment push and energy sanctions against Iran threaten to inject greater turbulence into Afghanistan.

In truth, US policy is coming full circle again on the ISI-fathered Taliban, in whose birth the CIA had played midwife. The US acquiesced in the Taliban’s ascension to power in 1996 and turned a blind eye as that thuggish militia, in league with the ISI, fostered narco-terrorism and swelled the ranks of the Afghan war alumni waging transnational terrorism. With 9/11, however, the chickens came home to roost. In declaring war on the Taliban, US policy came full circle.

Now, US policy, with its frantic search for a deal with the Taliban, is coming another full circle. The Qatar-based negotiations indeed highlight why the US political leadership has deliberately refrained from decapitating the Taliban. The US military has had ample opportunities (and still has) to eliminate the Taliban’s Rahbari Shura, or leadership council, often called the Quetta Shura because it escaped to the Pakistani city.

Yet, tellingly, the US has not carried out a single drone, air or ground strike in or around Quetta. All the US strikes have occurred farther north in Pakistan’s tribal Waziristan region, although the leadership of the Afghan Taliban or its allied groups like the Haqqani network and the Hekmatyar band is not holed up there.

When history is written, the legacy of the Nato war in Afghanistan will mirror the legacy of the US occupation of Iraq – to leave an ethnically fractured nation. Just as Iraq today stands ethnically partitioned in a de facto sense, it will be difficult to establish a government in Kabul post-2014 whose writ runs across Afghanistan. And just as the 1973 US-North Vietnam agreements were negotiated by shutting out the Saigon regime – in consequence of which South Vietnam unintentionally disappeared – the US today is keeping the Afghan government out of the talks’ loop even as it compels President Hamid Karzai to lend support and seems ready to meet a Taliban demand to transfer five incarcerated Taliban leaders out of Guantanamo Bay.

Afghanistan, however, is not Vietnam. An end to Nato combat operations will not mean the end of the war, because the enemy will target Western interests wherever they may be. The fond US hope to regionally contain terrorism promises to keep the Af-Pak belt as a festering threat to regional and global security. This is a chilling message for the country that has borne the brunt of the rise of international terrorism – India.

Brahma Chellaney is Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research.