Anybody out there still doubt some Israeli military planner's are crazy...
-Caveat Lector- http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=37380&d=2&m=1&y=2004
How Israeli Plot to Kill Saddam Became a 'Training Accident'
Richard H. Curtiss, Special to Arab News
WASHINGTON, 2 January 2004 — What has long been called a "training accident" has finally been revealed in Israel. The tale begins with an unbelievable botch-up which the Israelis never fully described.
Let's start from the beginning. The Israelis wanted to be involved in the war on Iraq in 1991. The United States desperately wanted to keep Israel out of the war because it might so anger all of the other Arabs that the carefully crafted coalition would quickly unravel.
Meanwhile, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein began firing missiles at both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Day after day the United States warned Israel to stay out of the war despite Iraqi provocations.
The Israelis did not become involved and in fact only two Israelis, one Saudi, and 30 Americans were killed despite the fact that more than 39 missiles were fired from Baghdad.
The Israelis, however, thirsted for revenge, and set out to assassinate Saddam Hussein. The plot was an ingenious one. But, as usual, with the Israelis too clever by half.
The mechanics of the scheme were first suggested by an Israeli intelligence officer, Nadav Zeevi, on Oct. 2, 1992, when it was learned that Saddam Hussein would be likely to attend the impending funeral of his maternal uncle and father-in-law, Khairallah Tulfah, who was dying of diabetes. The then-Prime Minister of Israel Yitzak Rabin signed off on the plot, but he also said that he would have to sign off a second time when the uncle actually died and the timing was perfected.
The elite Israeli commando unit Sayeret Matkal was put in charge of the plot, dubbed Operation Bramble Bush. Then, a large number of Israeli dignitaries were invited to the Tzeelim training base in the southern Negev Desert on Nov. 5, 1992, to see a dress rehearsal of the assassination scheme.
As Zeevi put it, "It was basically a show for the generals." A number of Israelis wearing uniforms similar to those used by Iraqis played the part of Saddam Hussein and his bodyguards. As the event began, the Israeli actors took their places.
Incredibly, however, the Israelis made one ghastly mistake. Somehow they used a live missile rather than a dummy one to start the sequence of events. Of course there was a huge explosion. Five Israelis were killed in the action and another six injured.
The Israelis scattered and headed for home. Even today there is some confusion as to who all of the dignitaries were, but stories had it that then-Israeli chief of staff Ehud Barak did not even wait to see which actors lived and who had been killed. (Barak was elected prime minister in 1999.)
Israeli military censorship clamped a very tight lid of secrecy on the entire incident. The Israeli Defense Forces censor finally allowed Israeli media to report the event after Saddam Hussein's Dec. 14 capture in Tikrit. Moshe Y'alon said even now, after 11 years, publicizing the 1992 event was "irresponsible."
In the days after the accident, the Israelis came up with a totally false scenario to explain the rumors that kept circulating. The Israeli government planted a story in two foreign newspapers saying the commandos were training to assassinate the Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. They even suspended the reporters' press credentials as part of the deception. By artfully blending in the cover story of the Lebanese assassination, they concealed the fact that it was Saddam Hussein who was supposed to have been killed.
Thus, the story stood until Saddam Hussein's recent capture, when details of the plot were released for the first time. As the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported, the plan had called for commandos to be flown into Iraq and split into two groups. One would serve as lookouts giving the signal to their colleagues that Saddam had arrived for his uncle's funeral.
The second group would be 13 km away, where they would fire two custom-made guided missiles called "Obelisk." When the missiles exploded, the Israelis would seek to escape to a temporary airfield where a helicopter or perhaps two would be waiting and they would be flown out of Iraq. If they were not successful, the elite commandos were instructed to go down fighting and not be caught alive.
Critics of the planned operation in 1992 included Shimon Peres, who then was Israel's foreign minister, and the current head of the Labor Party. Peres recently told the Israeli newspaper Maariv, "If the operation had not ended in an accident, it would have caused a world war." Whether the attack succeeded or failed, according to Maariv, it could have triggered Iraqi retaliation in the form of a biological attack.
The commando unit that prepared the faulty plan, Sayeret Matkal, has figured prominently in many Israeli events. It was used in the 1976 raid in Entebbe that released Israeli hostages from a hijacked plane in Uganda.
Now 13 reservists from Israel's elite military commando unit have said that they will no longer serve in such operations in the West Bank and Gaza. These elite soldiers said they are taking the dramatic step of publicly criticizing Israel's policies "out of deep fear for the future of the State of Israel as a democratic, Zionist and Jewish country and out of concern for its moral and ethical image." This condemnation of Israeli government policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israeli commandos echoes similar remarks by 27 reserve pilots, four former chiefs of Israel's security service, and the Israeli military's current chief of staff, and a separate list of 574 army reservists.
The statements by all the reservists are being organized by a group calling itself "Courage to Refuse."
— Richard H. Curtiss is the executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine.
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