Iran And Israel Spar Over Cyber Warfare

Lockheed Martin RQ 170 Sentinel. captured by Iran in 2011. Source Wikicommons

There is a whole lot of churning going on in Iran, which has been at loggerheads with US, for around more than five-decades, as it traces its modern tussle with US to the way Muhammed Musaddiq government was over thrown by US in 1953 1, which later was followed by setting of a new nationalist government after US sponsored Shah of Iran was removed in what is known as Iranian revolution in 1979 2, paving way for a guided-democracy in Iran, and in its wake, inviting the severest backlash from the monarchies of the Gulf region.  The oil kingdoms, ruled by their respective oligarchs feared that democracy would upset their applecart and hence pummeled their resources to anyhow nib the Iranian revolution and the entire turmoil in the last forty years in the whole of Middle-East is what the story is all about. ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ has been the raison d’être of the Iranian revolution and which continues to be the life-line of the State of Iran.

The last two-decades and the events unfolding in Middle-East has been much to chaos as millions of people have been misplaced, millions turned to refugees, and millions have died in the wake of US invasion of Iraq, after Afghanistan was invaded, and later on when its fires reached Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Lebanon, with the exception, that as the Muslim nations went down on their kneels Israel strode to insurmountable  power, aided, abetted, supported and sponsored by US, so much so that Israel today strikes inside  Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine and also at Iranian assets as a sports-macho, so much so that it challenges even Russia for its support to Syria  which is also supported by Iran. Russia, which had entered into the embroiled waters of Middle-East, by its support to Syria 3 has helped Assad regime to sustain, much to the disliking of US and Israel, and in a way has also halted the US grandiose plans to invade Iran too or for that matter engineer a regime-change in Iran by sponsored public protests.  Remember US president George Bush had once called, on Jan 29, 2002, around 18 years back, ‘Iran, Iraq and North Korea as Axis of Evil’ 4 . Iraq has been reduced to a rubble and Iran and North Korea as still a constant pain in the neck.

China, for the first time, in the last around half a century has entered into the tumultuous currents of the Middle-East, by making a deal of 400 billion USD with Iran on July 13, 2020 5, which surprisingly, has come when Iran is in a midst of fire from Israel, as ‘on June 30, 2020, 19  people were killed in an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the capital Tehran, which an official said was caused by a gas leak. On June 26, 2020 an explosion occurred east of Tehran near the Parchin military and weapons development base that the authorities said was caused by a leak in a gas storage facility in an area outside the base’ . On July 2, 2020 Iran underground nuclear at Natanz was attacked which some Iranian officials said may have been a cyber sabotage ( of US and Israel combination) and warned that Tehran would retaliate against any country carrying out such attacks’ 6 . The attack obviously has now  turned the clock-back, of ongoing Iranian nuclear programme by months 7 as has come the admission from Iran.  In fact this cyberattack was quite in the making as US has openly declared that the outgoing US president Obama has accelerated these cyberattacks, which could not hit the bull-eye then,  only months after he had assumed office and named is as an operation Olympic-Games, with the help of Israel made worm known as  stuxnet.  An elaborative article on it had come in The New York Times way back in 2012. 8 On one hand Obama tried to secretly kill Iranian nuclear programme and on the other side forged a nuclear deal touted as a historical deal which would prevent Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons 9 . This is available on Obamawhitehouse.Archives which is now dysfunctional.

The latest attack now on Iran has been on its seven-ships at Bushehr Port on July 15, 2020 10 in which however no casualties were reported. There are many reports in US newspapers which are openly suggestive that Israeli intelligence chief Yossi Cohen had got planted a bomb inside Natanz nuclear site  where advanced nuclear centrifuges were being enriched. 11 Skeptics had believed that when Trump terminated the US-Iran deal 12  Iran would make nuclear weapons but what happened has been the opposite as Iran nuclear programme seem to be now at the mercy of cyberattacks from US and Israel, particularly since the abrogation of the US-Iran deal, although Israel has accused Iran of a cyberattack on its water and sewage system in April 2020, a news which remained unnoticed due to the spread of COVID1-19 pandemic. 13  It may be known that Iran-China went ahead with the deal after India was made to bow out of it on July 14, 2020. 14 Needless, to speculate that the deal has come much to the exasperation of US-Israel and India bloc, as US is locked with Iran in Middle- East apart from its fight for supremacy in the world with China, Israel wants to dominate Middle-East and faces a foe in the shape of Iran and India faces a belligerent China staking claim inside its territory.

The series of Israeli attacks have baffled Iran, as the way, Israeli maneuvered past into Iran without being detected is now an altogether new warfare. Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz satired , “Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us”  15 which is amply clear that Israel is not only well-into but in fact well ahead in this new mastery i.e. cyber warfare.   The latest to add to its arsenal is to master an attack by way of control of sound-waves on sensitive-sites of adversary nations, where internet is used or not.  The experience of Israel, by its use of cyber-warfare, to its advantage in Syrian war, by targeting Iranian installations, is a clear enough proof that Israel is leading the arena. 16  But, now with China entering into fray with investments in Iran is a signal that an attack on Iran would be construed an attack on China assets, which exactly happened when India started to air the weather-report of Gilgit-Baltistan on May 9, 2020 17 , which are a  part of CPEC and which led to finally take India off-guarded in Ladakh- paving way for a conflict to unfold.

Here, however, what also merits an attention is that Iran too had grounded a premier US Lockheed Martin drone, on December 9, 2011 18 and lately had shot down a US global surveillance monster worth 220 million USD  on  June 20, 2020 19 owing to its machinations in cyber warfare.  This is what is to be the sixth-generation war and the world is much into it.

The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner. He is also a lawyer based in Lucknow.
























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