Colorful metaphor or a little wink-wink nudge-nudge about the form the reprisal for Mughniyeh will take?

General Mohammad Ali Jaafari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has sent a letter of condolence to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah following the assassination of the organization’s senior commander Imad Mugniyah, saying he believed “the cancerous bacterium called Israel” would vanish soon, the Iranian news agency Fars reported Monday.

According to Jaafari, “I am convinced that with every day that passes Hizbullah’s power increases, and in the near future we will bear witness to the disappearance of this cancerous bacterium, Israel, by the radiation of Hizbullah’s fighters.”

Israel’s already deploying Patriot batteries to the north, although a Kuwaiti paper alleges the Iranian/Hezbo response will focus on assassinating Israeli leaders, not mass attacks against civilians. Meanwhile, Debka thinks the unthinkable as only Debka can: Could Mughniyeh have faked his death? He eluded intelligence services for 20 years and wasn’t above plastic surgery to change his appearance; a grand ruse would be par for the course. It’d also explain how his killers managed to penetrate such tight security, in Damascus no less (answer: they didn’t), and why the accounts of the hit don’t quite add up. Eyewitnesses told WaPo that he was blown 15 feet into the entrance of a nearby building; the Times of London said he was done in by a bomb planted in the car’s headrest, which somehow managed not to blow his head clean off; yet another version says the bomb wasn’t in his car at all but in the car next to him. Possible/plausible? Seems a little too Truthery/Debka-y for me, especially in the absence of a motive. Why now? Why not 10 years ago? If someone’s looking for a pretext to hit Israel (and again, why now?), surely there are less elaborate ways than a fake death and state funeral. Besides, if it’s a ruse, Mossad would doubtless already know by now. Why not announce it and deny Mughniyeh the opportunity in the future to make his dramatic return, in much the same way the U.S. insists Bin Laden’s alive?

Exit recommendation: If you want something more plausible from Debka, read this.

Tags: Israel