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Iran Publishes Concerning Khodaei Assassination and UNSC Report Reveals Details of Terror Groups

May 26 - June 1, 2022 | Issue 9 - CENTCOM

Giorgio Tiberio, Muskan Muskan, Elizabeth Leoce, Sofia Pantoula, CENTCOM Team

Hannah Norton, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor\


Israel Defense Forces - Standing Guard in Nablus[1]


Date: May 29, 2022

Location: Iran

Parties involved: Israel; Israel Defense Forces (IDF); Israel’s national intelligence yy Mossad; former IDF Head of Military Intelligence Directorate Amos Malka; former IDF senior officer in the 8200 intelligence unit, Gal Ganot; technology executive and former 8200 officer Inbal Arieli; cybersecurity expert Amir Levental; cybersecurity expert Amit Meltzer; Islamic Republic of Iran; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei; Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency

The event: Fars News Agency named and published photos and details of five Israelis whom Iran could target over Khodaei’s assassination last week. The individuals of interest- Malka, Ganot, Arieli, Levental, and Meltzer- are associated with the IDF and cybersecurity companies.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Former IDF officers are likely more vulnerable to attacks than current IDF personnel, as there are likely increased security measures to protect the latter from Iranian threats. However, Fars News Agency likely named these five individuals to prompt enhanced security measures around Israeli security forces while plots are likely planned to target Israeli businessmen or civilians. There is roughly even chance that the IRGC is planning multiple attacks, making it challenging for Israel to counter them.

  • Iran will almost certainly target Israeli cybersecurity experts who are connected with Mossad. The targeted Israelis likely worked with Mossad to plot the killing of Khodaei, likely to expose Iran's vulnerabilities and demonstrate Israel’s intelligence superiority. It is unlikely that Iran will directly attack Israeli cybersecurity experts due to increased security since Khoadei’s death. Iran will likely retaliate using cyberwarfare, such as hacking the individuals’ phones or laptops, through cybersecurity companies, likely affecting Israel’s defense and intelligence security protocols through malware attacks.

Date: May 29, 2022

Location: Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, Afghanistan

Parties involved: United Nations Security Council (UNSC); UNSC 1988 Sanctions Committee; Taliban-controlled government in Afghanistan (the Taliban); Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM); Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT); IS-K; Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP); Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM); Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; India; Pakistan; Tajikistan; Uzbekistan; Turkmenistan; China

The event: A UNSC report revealed that terrorist groups, JeM and LeT, are running at least 11 training camps in Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. JeM operates eight camps, three of which are directly controlled by the Taliban, and LeT controls another three camps. Both Pakistan-based groups seek to merge the Indian-administered Kashmir region with Pakistan and have carried out numerous attacks against military and civilian targets in India. The UNSC report disproves the Taliban’s claim that Afghanistan, which is currently facing an economic crisis, would not be used by terrorist organizations to launch attacks against other countries, as groups like ETIM and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are still active.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Both JeM and LeT will likely seek to recruit more members in Afghanistan, where interference from Pakistani or Indian law enforcement agencies is unlikely. The groups will likely target Jammu and Kashmir regions due to increased operational capacity, as the new recruits from Afghanistan will likely be relocated to these areas. This will very likely aggravate the unstable border security situation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, likely leading to further clashes between local groups and the Pakistani Armed Forces.

  • Due to the economic recession, the Taliban will likely be unable to enforce law and order in the country, especially in rural areas. These conditions will very likely favor the growth of terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, such as IS-K and TPP, likely increasing the threat of future attacks against regional neighbors. Any IS-K and TTP attacks on neighboring countries will likely lead to criticism against the Taliban for offering sanctuary to these groups.

  • The presence of ETIM training camps in Afghanistan will likely increase the terrorist threat level for China. China will likely conduct military operations on ETIM bases in Xinjiang province, likely forcing the group to halt its operations and deter future attacks. There is a roughly even chance that China may approach Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to create a joint diplomatic alliance against the Taliban’s support for terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1]Israel Defense Forces - Standing Guard in Nablus” by Israel Defense Forces licensed under Public Domain

[2] Iranian outlet names five Israeli intel and tech experts as potential targets, The Times of Israel, May 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-outlet-names-five-israeli-intel-and-tech-experts-as-potential-targets/amp/

[3] 'Hundreds of Fighters, 11 Training Camps': UN Report Reveals Taliban's 'Aid' to JeM, LeT in Afghanistan, News 18, May 2022, https://www.news18.com/news/world/hundreds-of-fighters-11-training-camps-un-report-reveals-talibans-aid-to-jem-let-in-afghanistan-5272015.html

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