How the US and Jordan Took Out Mustafa Badr Al-Din

The Obama administration reportedly planned to carry out a large-scale cyberattack against Iran if nuclear negotiations failed and a war broke out between Iran and Israel. One part of the “Nitro Zeus” contingency plan was the Stuxnet computer worm that destroyed centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility in 2009 and 2010.
In the event, talks on a nuclear agreement began in Oman between the US and Iran. So Washington later suspended all of its plans to attack Tehran’s nuclear program and military forces, including the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The “ceasefire” between the two countries lasted for six years. On Thursday, May 12, 2016 an American missile hit within two meters of a group of Hizballah and IRGC commanders, killing the head of Hizballah’s forces in Syria, Mustafa Badr Al-Din. The missile was fired by a small team of Syrian rebels in western Damascus that had secretly entered the country from Jordan after being trained by US military instructors and intelligence officers.
DEBKA Weekly’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources report exclusively that the group of Iranian and Lebanese commanders was on its way to Hizballah’s military headquarters in Syria after meeting Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Al Qods brigades of the IRGC and of Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq, who had earlier participated in a meeting at the headquarters.
The hit squad which was in constant contact with US and Jordanian intelligence officers in charge of the secret operation from the CENTCOM forward command center in Jordan, recognized Gen. Soleimani among the commanders and asked the operations room whether to assassinate him as well. However, they were told to wait until he left the scene. Somebody in Washington who monitored the operation decided not to risk causing a rupture in ties with Tehran. The order to launch the missile was only given after those in charge of the operation in Washington and Amman were convinced that Soleimani was no longer in range.
Our sources add that immediately after the missile was fired, the killers made their getaway with the help of a small unit of Jordanian special forces troops in the area that whisked them out of the country at top speed.
Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate was actually the one that tipped the CIA on Hizballah commander Al-Din’s movements within and around his headquarters in Damascus. Previously, the GID provided intel that led to the December 2003 Operation Red Dawn, in which former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured, and to the June 2006 assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the commander of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Israel also had a role in the hit on Al-Din, although it was limited. It assisted in the background checks of the assassins and provided intelligence on the location of Hizballah’s headquarters and its routine.
Everyone in the Obama administration and the CIA involved in Al-Din’s assassination understood that it was a direct strike against an Iranian related target, not a Hizballah one. The question remains why Obama decided to attack Al-Din after six years in which he avoided attacking Iranian related targets, and less than a year since the July 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran and ten months before leaving the White House.
Al-Din was targeted for two main reasons:
1. This month, Tehran violated UN resolutions and the nuclear agreement for the third time since the nuclear deal became effective. It tested a new ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads in October and November, tested two ballistic missiles in March and two weeks ago tested a missile that hit within 25 feet of its intended target. Obama has decided to respond.
2. The attack was connected to Obama’s decision to renew large-scale US military and intelligence operations in the Middle East.

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