Murphy's Law: Iran Seeks Israeli Spies

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May 12, 2009: So far this year, Lebanon has arrested seventeen Lebanese and accused them of being Israeli spies. Some of the suspects apparently are Israeli spies. Lebanon attributes this sudden success to closer cooperation with Hezbollah and Iran. Well, it admits that it is cooperating with Hezbollah, but plays down any Iranian involvement. But Iran has been sending more intelligence officers, including some senior ones, to Lebanon in the past two years. Most of these Iranian officials are there to keep an eye on the Hezbollah leadership, which angered their Iranian patron with their aggressive actions against Israel, that led to a 2006 war with Israel. Hezbollah declared a victory, but the Israelis inflicted far more damage on Hezbollah, and Lebanon, than they received. The 2006 attack angered many Christian Lebanese who had long been somewhat pro-Israeli. It was from this population that useful information about Israeli spies was obtained in the last few years.

The Lebanese have caught one or two Israeli spies a year for the last decade or so. It appears that the Israeli have an extensive, and not unexpected, espionage network in Lebanon and Syria. The Israelis are known to pay well, and try to get their agents, if discovered, out of trouble. Still, several Israeli spies have been executed by Arab countries over the last sixty years, as well as a number of innocents (who were prosecuted because the local counterintelligence officials were under a lot of pressure to "do something about Israeli spies.")

Some of these spies are Jewish, but most are local Arabs (Moslem, Christian or Druze) who hate the local rulers more than Israel. Many confess when caught, knowing that, otherwise, long periods of abuse and torture will ensue. The Israeli intelligence effort against its Arab neighbors has been intense, and prolonged. The Israelis also spy on their friends, which is not an unusual practice. But the Israelis tend to be more successful at it, in part because they live in a very rough neighborhood, and face extinction if they do not succeed in keeping their hostile neighbors at bay.

 

 


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