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Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Boomerang Bombs" Used Against Iranian Scientists

A traditional method of sending a powerful message to those who seek to harm you is to use their own weapons against them.

The Israelis did this to great effect during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, in which the Israelis captured an almost unimaginable quantity of Soviet weapons supplied to the PLO and other Palestinian groups.  Those captured weapons (particularly rocket launchers) were then used against the PLO in the seige of Beirut, and after the war recycled into efforts against the Soviets and their sponsored terrorists groups and governments.

Using weapons supplied by your enemy makes it harder assign public blame (since you would have to admit supplying the weapons in the first place).  But more important, it lets your enemy know that what goes around comes around.

Two senior Iranian nuclear scientists recently were attacked in Tehran by bombs attached by passing motorcyclists to their cars.  One of the scientists (who reportedly headed Iran's anti-stuxnet efforts) was killed, and the other seriously wounded.

Now, as reported by DEBKAFile, it turns out the "sticky bombs" were recycled from weapons provided by Iran to al-Qaeda in Iraq:
The sticky bombs used by the assassins were of Iranian manufacture. Al Qods Brigades arms designers had developed them for Al Qaeda's use in its terrorist attacks in Iraq. Bomb fragments found in the two cars led investigators to the discovery that the bombs Al Qods had smuggled into Iraq had been shipped back to Tehran in a clandestine "boomerang" operation set up by the party which orchestrated the attacks on the scientists.
Another of those "too good not to be true" moments.

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  1. If OTOH as Ledeen had suggested at PJM the scientists were killed by the Iranians themselves, it would be even more obvious why Iranian bombs were employed, wouldn't it?

  2. Boom, Like That

    "these boys have
    got the touch
    it’s clean as a whistle
    and it don’t cost much
    wham, bam
    you don’t wait long
    shake, fries
    patty, you’re gone"

  3. It's these heartwarming stories that keep me coming back to LI. Thank you Professor.

  4. What cf said. We don't know who killed these two scientists. So if it was the Iranian government who did it, the "boomerang theory" falls apart.

  5. I don't know if I buy the theory of the Iranians offing their own scientists, especially if they were in charge of cleaning up the damage the stuxnet virus had wrought. I suppose it could happen if the Iranians thought that these scientists were responsible for it, or (more interesting I think) if it was a faction within the Iranian government working against the mullahs.

    I'm leaning more towards the Israelis, the US, or maybe another Arab nation, but hey, anything's possible in this strange case.

  6. It's also possible the scientists were considered expendable, and a liability if they remained alive, a potential source of secret information if they could be kidnapped, coerced, or bribed. If they had already done everything they could do for the Iranian regime, why keep them alive when their assassination would be so easy to pin on the Israelis, or the US.

  7. It is as I suspected all along, that the devices were explosively formed penetrators like those used for roadside bombs in Iraq. Now, who would have access to the devices? The UK? The US? certainly. Israel as I recall did not send troops to Iraq and were basically asked not to. so they did not have a contingent of ground troops to collect any of them. They would either have had to send covert operators to Iraq to obtain them or they got them from either us or the Brits. I'm naot saying that is not a possible scenario but it does make one wonder if perhaps WE didn't do it ourselves.

  8. I believe the correct phrase (with actual historic accuracy) would be "hoist by their own petard."