Monday, June 21, 2004

Israeli Agents and the Kurds in Iraq, Iran, and Syria

Seymour Hersh says that Israeli agents are operating in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, with a view to infiltrating into Iran and assisting the Kurds in Syria:
  • Israel operates hundreds of agents in the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq, according to a report published in the upcoming issue of The New Yorker magazine.

    In an interview to CNN on Sunday, reporter Seymour Hersh said that hundreds of Israelis, some of them Mossad agents, are operating in the region in order to collect information on Iran's nuclear program and monitor events in Syria.

    According to the report, Israel in the past has had many ties with the Kurds, which with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime are currently being renewed.

    Israel is not confident of the success of the American program for the stabilization of the country, the report says, and that is why it is interested in setting up independent connections in the region.

    Israelis operating in the region are also attempting to assist Kurds living in Syria, the report says. (Nathan Guttman, "Israel Operating Hundreds of Agents in Northern Iraq," Haaretz June 21, 2004)

  • Mossad agents and IDF Intelligence officers are working to infiltrate Iran through Kurdistan in northern Iraq to gather intelligence on the Shi'ite state's developing nuclear program, New Yorker magazine investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told CNN on Sunday.

    Israeli special units were said to have hunted Scud missile launchers in the western Iraqi desert in the build-up to the Gulf War, and it has been rumored among intelligence circles that Israeli intelligence officers aided their American counterparts since the end of hostilities last May.

    Officially, at least, Israel has taken no active role in the warfare in Iraq at the behest of US President George W. Bush's administration.

    "Hundreds" of undercover IDF Intelligence officers and Mossad agents resurrected their cooperation with Kurdish militiamen in northern Iraq, with the aim of crossing the porous Iraq-Iran border in the North and establishing cells in Iran that might yield new intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, Hersh told CNN.

    The Israelis are also providing an ancillary role to the Kurds and, according to Hersh, are aiding Kurdish elements in northern Syria. Kurdish riots and the seeds of a minor rebellion in northern Syria in recent weeks have rocked Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

    Israel has become increasingly pessimistic about the chances of a stable government forming in Iraq, and has thus moved on to "stage B" of its post-war campaign, establishing what amount to mini-intelligence stations, Hersh said. . . .

    Until the 1970s, Israel sold the Kurds arms and trained members of the Kurdish militia, the Peshmerga, for their guerrilla war against Iraq's Baath regime. . . .(Matthew Gutman, "Israeli Intelligence Agents Infiltrating Iran," Jerusalem Post, June 20, 2004)
Here's Hersh's own report: "PLAN B: As June 30th Approaches, Israel Looks to the Kurds" (The New Yorker, June 28, 2004 [posted online on June 21, 2004]).

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