Intelligence: Secret Arab Aid to Israel

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August 23, 2006: When Hizbollah raided into Israel on July 12th, killing Israeli soldiers and taking two captive, many Israeli intelligence officials were mystified. While there had been signs that Hizbollah was planning more aggressive operations, and were under increasing pressure from the Lebanese government to disarm, no one really expected them to invade Israel. It made no sense.
To try and clarify the matter, contacts in Arab intelligence agencies were queried. These contacts had been developed over the years, as a back channel for unofficial communication, and as a means of exchanging information for mutual benefit (as in fighting Islamic terrorism). It appears that the Egyptians tried to suggest ways that Israel might better handle Hizbollah. The Egyptians advised the Israelis to switch tactics during the Lebanon operation, to focus very closely on Hizbollah, and to make some info moves like offering truces or similar conciliatory gestures, with terms that Hizbollah would most likely reject.
All of these Arab intel agencies, except the Iraqis, were run by Sunni Arabs, and all of them were interested in seeing Hizbollah get beat up a bit. While many of the Arab intelligence officers also enjoyed seeing the Israelis take some punishment, they also recognized, as intel analysts, that Hizbollah didn't stand a chance militarily, and in the long run would not do all that well even in propaganda terms. That's because Hizbollah is seen as a pawn of the Iranians, and all Sunni Arabs see Iran as their most dangerous enemy. Thus, in the spirit of, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," the Israeli queries were not simply ignored, and were often answered with thoughtful, and sometimes useful, advice.

 


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