Between a rock and a hard place: The mullahs revenge for the assassination of Fakhri Zadeh

The mullahs are trapped between options for revenge, all of them bad. And an Arab media lobby pushes conflict with the Gulf States. Op-ed.

Dr. Salem AlKetbi  ,

Targeted assassination
Targeted assassination

The assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Zadeh reveals several very important points that deserve to be examined analytically to identify their potential implications.

The first of these points is that there is an Arab media “lobby” that owes loyalty or sympathy to Iran's mullahs, trying to promote the idea that the Iranian response to the last assassinations that harmed the prestige of the regime, is coming, inevitably, and that it will be a very strong response, as strong as an earthquake, and it will restore to the mullahs their prestige in the eyes of their supporters among the sectarian organizations in the region, and that the response has become “inevitable.” to restore the lost power of deterrence and prestige.

The mullahs realize that the timing element in the assassination has been chosen very carefully with the aim of shuffling the cards and putting a spoke in the wheel of the next American administration.
It is noteworthy that I noticed that this lobby is pushing for an Iranian retaliatory response, and this trend strongly fuels a deep-seated desire on the part of this team to involve the mullahs in a military conflict with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as the haters of these countries hope that the mullahs direct plans for revenge for the killing of Zadeh ​​towards their Gulf neighbors.

The second point is that the Iranian response options to the assassination of “the father of the Iranian nuclear program” seem to be limited and very difficult to implement. The timing element restricts all response options and makes them an actual misadventure unless a very “calculated response” is used to save the regime's face before its supporters and followers. This is mainly because any Iranian retaliatory operation will exacerbate the complications surrounding the implementation of President-elect Joe Biden's statements to return to the nuclear agreement signed with the mullahs of Iran.

The mullahs realize that the timing element in the assassination has been chosen very carefully with the aim of shuffling the cards and putting a spoke in the wheel of the next American administration. Perhaps it targets more in the event of the mullahs' recklessness and their prejudice towards the security of Israel or the American strategic interests in the Middle East, in a way that brings an American or Israeli counter reaction, as it is expected that any move in this direction will result in the issuance of President Trump's order to direct a limited military strike to the Iranian nuclear facilities before he leaves office.

The third point is that the assassination of the most prominent Iranian nuclear scientist has entrenched the idea that has been circulating in recent months about the weakness of the Iranian security system, which is full of loopholes. There is a strange penetration of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s measures to protect a nuclear scientist of this importance, and he is considered one of the prominent leaders of the Guard, where measures to protect him have failed and the perpetrators of the operation have obtained all the accurate information they needed about the plans of movement of Zadeh. This is a major failure that adds to a long series of security failures that the mullahs' regime is suffering from in recent months, as Iran witnesses with remarkable frequency, fires and explosions at nuclear and military sites, which the regime says are acts of sabotage. This is without mentioning the embarrassing theft of secret nuclear documents hidden in an area in the south of Tehran about two years ago, when they were transferred to Israel.

The fourth point is the emergence of signs of confusion and mismanagement of the crisis on the part of the leaders of the mullahs. It has been noticed that the confusion that occurred after the killing of General Soleimani has been repeated in the incident of Zadeh’s assassination. It seems that the mullahs have not learned from the previous lesson and the frequent crises surrounding them in the Iranian interior, and each time the perpetrator is unknown.

They do not prepare scenarios for managing such crises and dealing with them professionally, which reflects the stupidity of the administration and the excessive arrogance that caused them to fall again and again into silly mistakes, such as the rush of Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif to hold several parties, including Saudi Arabia, responsible for the assassination of the Iranian scientist. Zarif is fully aware that Riyadh has nothing to do with this type of operation, and therefore, this adds more complexity to already tense and complicated foreign relations mainly due to the practices of the mullahs and their confusion in managing their relations with the regional neighborhood.

In conclusion, the mullahs of Iran are aware that placing their bets on the strategy of waiting until the new master of the White House takes office officially on the twentieth of next January has become a very difficult test, as the assassination of Zadeh ​​put all the slogans and allegations of the Iranian regime into question, this by his supporters from the sectarian forces in the region The mullahs have become stuck between two options, each of them more problematic than the other, and waiting this time may be more difficult than the idea of ​​“drinking the poison cup” that the mullahs had previously succumbed to as the only way to end the war with Saddam Hussein's regime. Any decision to retaliate may cost the complete elimination of the Iranian nuclear program, a heavy cost that may completely end the mullahs ’project' to rule Iran.

Dr. Salem AlKetbi is a UAE political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate