Hit On "Most Wanted" Terrorist Sends Message

[New York Jewish Week] Stewart Ain - The killing of Hizbullah's Imad Mughniyeh "is a major setback because he is an important military figure," said Reuven Ehrlich, director of the Tel Aviv-based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, said that whoever was responsible would never acknowledge it, but if Israel played a role, "it shows a strengthening of the Mossad's [Israel's secret intelligence organization] operations." During the 1990s and the early part of this decade, Steinberg noted, there was a perceived "weakening of Israel's operational capabilities." But he said the killing of Hizbullah's top military officer and the reported Israeli attack on a nascent Syrian nuclear plant late last year send a message that Israel's strike capabilities have been restored. Eldad Pardo, an expert on Hizbullah at the Hebrew University's Truman Institute, said it also sends a message to Iran because Hizbullah is intrinsically connected to Iran. "There is an image in some countries that Israel is about to collapse, which is foolish," he said. "Israel is a young, vigorous state that is very strong but also wants peace. It's hard to project this duality. Just because we want peace does not mean we are a kind of sissy." "The Syrians are assassinating people in Lebanon one after another," Pardo said. "It is important that the West project some resolve...that it is not sleeping. And it shows that there are a lot of collaborators inside Hizbullah; it creates uncertainty. And it is a signal to Mubarak and King Abdullah that America is not going to disappear from the Middle East....This shows that it is not over 'till it's over. And this is just as important with Iran and its nuclear project."

2008-02-15 01:00:00

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