Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the man believed to be heading Iran’s top secret nuclear weapons mission, was ambushed and killed by a supposedly Israeli hit squad on Friday on the outskirts of Tehran. Some reports said the scientist was on his way to meet a lover.
Fakhrizadeh had been on Israel’s target for many years, and it is inevitable that his movements, habits and relations were being stalked for a very long time before the execution button was pressed.
Covert overseas assassinations by Israeli secret service Mossad – especially its elite, ruthless killing unit Kidon – are now legendary. Israel’s enemies and certain human rights groups have railed against it. But internationally, there is also widespread admiration for Israel’s pluck. A small nation, surrounded by much larger enemies ideologically committed to destroy it, is justified in employing such methods, many feel.
This admiration for Israel has spawned book after book, movies, and now a spate of web series like Fauda. The series Fauda has been so popular in India that it is set for an Indian remake.
But is India as a democracy ready to publicly embrace covert action by our intelligence forces abroad? Fed for seven decades Gandhian non-violence and Nehruvian accommodativeness, India has started celebrating surgical strikes and covert action only after Narendra Modi’s rise to power.
I once privately asked a former Intelligence Bureau chief whether India had overseas hit squads and if yes, shouldn’t the citizens be told about their ops later without compromising their identity?