The fallout of assassinating Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

The fallout of assassinating Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
    The fallout of assassinating Mohsen Fakhrizadeh



Political assassinations require considerable preparation and planning. It is almost certain the killing last week of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the Iranian nuclear program, was timed to avoid cancellation of the hostage exchange involving Australian-British academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert.


The nuclear program is under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and the Iranian terrorists released from Thailand had gone there to carry out an attack on the Israeli embassy following an earlier Israeli assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist.


Australia would almost certainly have consulted Israel about the plan to exchange the prisoners for Kylie Moore-Gilbert.


However, there is no reason to believe Australia would have had prior knowledge of the Israeli intention to carry out the assassination if that is indeed the country behind the attack.


There are several possible reasons for the timing of the assassination. One obvious explanation is an intention to remind the IRGC that Israel will continue to extract a price from the IRGC for any attacks on Israel or Israelis, either directly or through surrogates including Hezbollah.


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The risks of witnessing a spiral of military responses are not all that great, despite the rhetoric which flowed from Tehran after the attack. Another perhaps secondary but still possible explanation is that the Israelis (with US President Donald Trump’s blessing) want to take every opportunity to damage the prospects of president-elect Joe Biden reaching an agreement with the Iranians (in effect, the Supreme Leader and the IRGC) to resume US participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is anathema to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Trump. The IRGC was never keen on the JCPOA in the first place.
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