The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyassa reported today (Wednesday) that a deal has been struck between Iran and an unnamed Western country that will reveal information regarding the fate of long-missing Israeli Air Force pilot Lt. Col. Ron Arad.
Information on Arad's fate would be given in exchange for information on the fate of four Iranian diplomats who disappeared in 1982 near Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. The report also states that the deal would determine if any of the 5 missing men are still alive; if not, the deal would also bring to the table the burial sites of each of the men.
On October 16, 1986, Arad and co-pilot Yishai Aviram were on a mission to attack PLO targets near Sidon, Lebanon, when a bomb their aircraft had dropped exploded too early, forcing both men to eject the aircraft. Aviram was rescued hours later, but Arad was reportedly captured by the Lebanese rebel group Amal.
In 1987, photos of a bearded Arad and several letters were received by Israeli intelligence officials, proving that the pilot was still alive. In 1988, Israel attempted negotiations for his release, but talks eventually failed. Despite many government efforts to determine Arad's fate during the 90s and 2000s, no reliable data has yet been uncovered.
Al-Siyassa maintains that the information has been passed to intelligence agencies by Hussein Mousavi, brother of one of the Iranian diplomats. Mousavi served as an assistant to Iran's Foreign Minister during the Arad kidnapping, and is considered to be one of the few people alive to know the fate of the missing pilot.
Multiple attempts have been made in the intervening 27 years to ascertain Arad's fate, despite the now-common assumption that he is no longer alive. The most recent attempt was a possible deal reportedly discussed between Syrian President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Likud Beitenu), through a third party, to receive information on Arad's fate in exchange for the establishment of an independent Allawite enclave in Syria.