Message to Assad – is he listening?
Photo: Reuters

Terror expert: Assassination strong message to Syria

Researcher says Damascus deliberately chosen as site for assassination of Hizbullah military commander Mugniyah. Another expert says finding suitable replacement for terror chief to take long time

Syria was not chosen at random to be the site of Hizbullah military commander Imad Mugniyah assassination, Lt. Colonel (Res.) Moshe Marzouk, senior research fellow at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism said Thursday.


“The time, place and manner in which Mugniyah was assassinated sends a very clear message to Syria, a country which harbors and aids terrorist organizations and stands behind many terror attacks, yet denies that it does so,” Marzouk said.


Marzouk stated that he "congratulates whoever carried out this assassination,” and noted that Syria was chosen as the site for Mugniyah’s assassinations as this “links Syria intimately to this arch-terrorist. The way Mugniyah died clearly illustrates the path that both he and Syria chose, and which came back to strike at them both like a boomerang right in the heary of Damascus.”


While Syria tires to portray itself to the world as a peace-loving, stable country, Marzouk believes that its actions speak otherwise. “Syria is part and parcel of the axis of evil. It doesn’t only aid and harbor terror cells and organizations, but also helps them launch attacks on Israel, Jordan and even Iraq.”


Marzouk further noted that “Syria allies itself with the most extremist of terror groups, clearly indicating that it does not seek peace or co-existence. These terror groups seek the annihilation of the State of Israel, and will never acknowledge its right to exist.”


'Syria leery of direct confrontation'

Professor Eyal Zisser, Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel-Aviv University, said Thursday that he believes that although Syria is now licking its wounds, it will lie low for the time being in order to avoid armed confrontation. However, Zisser also noted that Damascus will most likely continue aiding various terror groups and organizations.


“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still maintains that official Syrian policy is not to aid or support terror, and so the fact that Mugniyah was assassinated in Damascus is a marked source of embarrassment,” said Zisser. “Assad could easily stop aiding and abetting these terror organizations, but right now it serves his interests.”


Zisser also noted that Syria has been supporting and harboring terror for over 40 years now in order to serve its political interests. “Syria is cool, calculated and very leery of direct confrontation,” he said, “and so it contends indirectly with its enemies by supporting, aiding and abetting these terror groups. Only when Syria is forced to pay the price for its actions does it recoil and retreat.”


‘Assassination likely prevented future attacks'

Chairman of the Council for Peace and Security, Maj. General (Ret.) Danny Rothschild, spoke to Ynet about the repercussions of Mugniyah’s assassination.


“This assassination likely prevented many future terror attacks, and ‘quality’ attacks at that,” said Rothschild, also noting that there is likely to be retaliation for Mugniyah’s assassination.


“There are two levels of retaliation at play here,” said Rothschild. “People are probably already on the phone to operatives to carry out small scale attacks as soon as possible. As for larger scale, ‘quality’ attacks, these take more time and planning, and will likely be carried out abroad.”


As for a successor to Mugniyah, Rothschild believes that the Hizbullah commander will be replaced “but no successor can function at his level of expertise. It will take them (Hizbullah) a long time to find someone who can plan and carry out ‘quality’ attacks of Mugniyah’s caliber.”


Rothschild further noted that “seeing as Hizbullah believes that Israel carried out this attack, it creates some sort of deterrence as far as we are concerned, and also with respect to Hamas. After all if Israel can pull off an operation like that in Damascus, it can carry out these types of assassinations anywhere.”


פרסום ראשון: 02.14.08, 19:04
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