The recent thwarting of the Iranian attack in Cyprus has several takeaways, some of which should fill us with joy. Others should have us very much concerned.
First, it has been proved once again that the Mossad has exceptional intelligence reach when it comes to Iran, from the operational apparatuses and characters running the show to the smuggling routes and modus operandi and the ability to conduct real-time surveillance. Such rare capabilities, which are shared by other intelligence agencies in some cases, are rare and can have a major impact in terms of saving lives.
The second takeaway—knock on wood—is that Iran has repeatedly failed at carrying out deadly attacks against Israelis abroad since the 2012 bombing in Bulgaria. Dozens of such plots have been foiled, often in the nick of time or using hair-raising counterterrorism operations, as was demonstrated in Istanbul last summer.
The third takeaway is that the Mossad has close collaborative endeavors with other intelligence agencies around the world, especially in the region. This helped in frustrating the terrorist plots in Istanbul and Georgia earlier this year and was helpful in the Cyprus operation as well. Such cooperation is a strategic asset of paramount importance that must be nurtured. It often runs along a parallel track to official ties with Israel.
The fourth takeaway is that the Mossad has impressive capabilities on Iranian soil. This has been evident multiple times in the past with various explosions, assassinations and other mysterious events—but the arrest and interrogation of a key would-be perpetrator almost in real-time and the extraction of an incriminating confession that includes names of collaborators are a major feat. Let’s hope that this accomplishment will also lead to a significant boost in the deterrence of Iranian officials and other actors, who will hopefully scale back their operations for fear of being targeted by Israel.
The fifth takeaway is that Iran is hell-bent on killing Israelis. Last year the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence apparatus lost his job after his plot to kill Israelis was thwarted in Istanbul. He was replaced by another one who has now seen a similar outcome to his plot. The commanders get replaced but the Iranian motivation remains just the same, in part because Iran has not been forced to pay a price for its attempted murder of Israelis.
The final takeaway is that this intense Iranian effort has failed to cause any outrage around the world. The Mossad exposes plots, shows incriminating evidence and intelligence in practically every language, and shares it with key decision-makers and security chiefs in friendly and not-so-friendly countries, only to get a collective shrug in return. The conclusion is that Iran will continue to try to hurt Israelis and that the difference between success and failure ultimately boils down to just how good the Mossad is.
Originally published by Israel Hayom.