by Florian Flade
Terrorist analysts and intelligence officials worldwide are throwing around guesses of many Al-Qaida fighters are actually present or rather said left in Afghanistan right now. The CIA estimate in recent years was that the number is approximately a few dozen to a hundred individuals. NATO thinks Al-Qaida´s presence in Afghanistan is deteriorating but the terrorist group is actively operating in some parts of the country, especially in the valleys of the eastern provinces Kunar, Paktika, Paktia and Nuristan.
Martyr eulogies that are appearing on the Jihadi Internet forums are a slight hint of how Al-Qaida´s face actually looks in Afghanistan today. Almost every month pictures and short biographies of recently killed Al-Qaida fighters are released by family members, friends or online comrades of the Jihadis.
By FARNAZ FASSIHI And JAY SOLOMON
An Iranian scientist working for a key nuclear site was assassinated in Tehran with a magnetic bomb attached to his car, in what the government said was a plot by the U.S. and Israel at a time of growing strains over Iran’s nuclear program.
The U.S. and Britain both condemned the death of 32-year-old chemical engineer Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan and denied any role in what has been a series of assassinations of nuclear scientists in Iran.
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on Iran’s accusation on Wednesday. Many intelligence officials and diplomats in Washington say they believe Israel has played a central role in a series of attacks on Iranians scientists.
Mr. Roshan was the fourth Iranian nuclear scientist killed in two years, a period in which the West has intensified covert actions against Tehran’s nuclear program, according to U.S. officials. Incidents including computer viruses and explosions have afflicted Iran’s nuclear program and security infrastructure.
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS* | intelNews.org |
The body of Iranian academic Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was still warm when officials in Tehran began accusing Israel and the United States of having planned his assassination. Leveling such accusations without offering adequate proof is certainly unstatesmanlike; but even hasty conclusions can be logical, and even sworn enemies of the Iranian government would find it difficult to point at other possible culprits. Keeping in mind that, at this early stage, publicly available information about the assassination remains limited, are there conclusions that can be drawn with relative safety by intelligence observers? The answer is yes. Roshan, 32, was a supervisor at Iran’s top-secret Natanz fuel enrichment plant. His scientific specialty was in the technology of gas separation, the primary method used to enrich uranium in Iran’s nuclear energy program. Continue reading
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
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. The program aired video footage showing Israeli expects drilling members of Kurdish armed groups in shooting techniques and guerrilla tactics. The Israeli government denied having authorized any such training, while Iraqi Kurdish officials refused to comment on the report. But Israeli security experts told the BBC that it would be virtually impossible for Israeli trainers to operate inside Iraqi Kurdistan “without the knowledge of the Kurdish authorities”. More recently, in September of 2010, the government of Lebanon arrested three Kurds in Jounieh, a coastal town 15 kilometers north of Beirut, which it accused of working for Israeli intelligence. All three were members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a secessionist armed group fighting for an independent Kurdish homeland in Turkey’s far-eastern Anatolia region.