Roi Tov: AMAN – Iran, Turkey and Israel fight Egypt
"AMAN under the spotlight—the first decade of the IDF's Intelligence" is the name of a new book published by Ma'arachot ("military campaigns" and "systems" in Hebrew, publishers of military texts) and the Institute for the Investigation of Intelligence of AMAN. The latter is the Hebrew acronym for "Agaf Modi'in, literally the "Informants Section." In English-militarese, this is translated as the IDF Intelligence Directorate.
The book was presented and has an introduction by Major General Aviv Kochavi, the current Director of AMAN. It was written by two researchers—Simantov and Herschkovitz—who claim that the content is the uncensored result of their research. Considering what has been disclosed, their claim is credible.
Major General Aviv Kochavi—current AMAN Director
Mossad and AMAN
The three largest intelligence organizations of the State of Israel are the Shin Beth secret police, the Mossad which is roughly parallel to the British MI6 and the CIA, and the abovementioned AMAN. Due to their specific mandates, the Mossad and AMAN sometimes violently collide in their functions while in other occasions they work as if they were one organization.
Contributing to the competition, both organizations are centered in the immediate surroundings of the Glilot Junction, on Tel Aviv's northern edge. They can look each other's white of the eye (idiom for confrontation) while planning the next war between them.
Haim Herzog and Meir Amit
Between 1963 to 1968, Meir Amit was Director of Mossad, position that was added to his being AMAN Director since 1961. It was the first and only time that both organizations were run by the same person at the same time showing how close they are. Moreover, many Mossad officers reached the exclusive club following IDF careers; in contrast, crossing over from the IDF to the Shin Beth is difficult (young IDF officers who do that need to pass specific training almost from the beginning).
The most prosaic reason for this apparent duplicity is that both Mossad and AMAN are engaged in collecting intelligence from beyond the borders. Mossad is responsible for unofficial relations with countries that don't have official links with Israel, including North Korea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and others. Many of these are targets of AMAN.
Thus, this unusual book should be treated with care. It may contain disinformation, or be part of a slandering campaign. Yet, there is external validation to its central disclosure and a good hint why it has been published at this moment.
Mossad by Latuff
When Iran and Israel were best friends
In a sarcastic joke of history, the book was published roughly at the time when on August 19, 2013, Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan blamed Israel for the military putsch in Egypt. The book discloses a similar plan. In 1958, Israel, Iran, and Turkey were planning a putsch in Egypt to overthrow Gamal Abdel Nasser.
In those days, Prime Minister Ben Gurion was trying to create the "Peripheral Alliance" in the Middle East, with no-Arabic countries in it. The core of this alliance was the triangle Jerusalem-Ankara-Tehran. The efforts were coordinated through the Mossad, which was directed those days by Isser Harel. Documents regarding operative sides of this alliance reached the hands of the current regime in Iran after the fall of the American Embassy in Tehran, thus providing an external corroboration to the claims in the new book.
Four inner AMAN documents are quoted by the new book, adding fascinating details. The dry names of the documents are quite explicit: "Israeli-Turkish Meeting of June 1958," "Directives to Your Meetings with the Turks," "Report on the Heads of Services Meeting of Persia, Turkey and Israel September 30-October 5, 1958," and "Operational Cooperation with the Turkish Services"
Isser Harel headed the Israeli delegation which included representatives of the Mossad, AMAN, and the Shin Beth. Turkey sent the heads of their secret police and military intelligence, and Iran sent General Timor Bahtiar (Latin spell may vary), head of the Savak intelligence agency. Apparently the meetings took place in Turkey.
The meetings started with a mapping of the threats the three countries were facing. The main two were defined as "Soviet subversive activities" and "Nasser's expansionistic policies."
Following this, the three countries agreed to "develop cooperation in offensive and destructive intelligence," as well as "the creation of intelligence services or the strengthening of existing ones in Middle-Eastern and African countries that may be targets to Egyptian subversive activities."
Moreover, they decided "to activate their own intelligence services in subversive activities, financial war and psychological war by taking advantage of minorities in Arab countries."
The Iranian intelligence was defined as responsible for activities in the Persian Gulf Emirates, Morocco and Iraq, in cooperation with Turkey. Turkey was given Libya, Tunis, Syria and Lebanon, in cooperation with Israel. Israel took over "Ethiopia, Sudan, Black Africa and Yemen with the help of the Ethiopian Intelligence." The three countries—Israel, Turkey and Iran—took responsibility over Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Activities were to be run through a council, scheduled to meet every three months in Ankara or in other place.
The scheme apparently failed due to the 1967 War, unless the sudden death of Nasser in 1970 was an assassination.
Kochavi is not a Star*
The Iranian regime described in the book does not exist anymore. If anything, the current disclosure helps the current regime to discredit the former one.
Turkey won't be thrilled by the disclosure. However, so many years after the event, it is unlikely to lead to a revolution. The recent accusations of Turkey that Israel is behind the removal of Egypt's legitimate President Morsi cannot be the reason behind the book. Both events took place in parallel.
Thus, why now? In Israel, such a riddle is invariably related to inner wars.
Major General Kochavi is looking at the summit. His commanding posts were the Paratroopers anti-Tank Commando, Paratroopers Battalion 101, the Eastern Brigade of the IDF Lebanese-Connection Unit, Paratroopers Brigade Commander, Commander of the Fire Division (the special vertical bypass unit I described in The Cross of Bethlehem), the Gaza Division, the General Headquarters Operations Directorate and now AMAN.
I will skip the list of operations he commanded, except for two that tarnish his record. He commanded the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and Operation Summer Rains (Gishmei Kaitz), a failed attempt to rescue Gilad Shalit. In 2006, he was supposed to travel to study in London, but his trip was cancelled for fears of being detained due to war crimes he had committed in Gaza.
He has a good chance to become the next Chief of Staff of the IDF. "If it weren't for these two shameful events!" He probably thinks in the hot nights of the Middle Eastern summers. "There is no rain in the summer, the name was ominous," is probably the following thought.
The new book serves Kochavi in two ways. He is working hard to rebrand himself as "Mr Intelligence," successfully leading AMAN beyond the secrecy games favored by the Mossad and the Shin Beth. The book shows the fresh breezes he is bringing to the system by removing unnecessary secrecy. In the process, he emerges as a champion.
This may help to catapult him into the stardom of becoming the IDF single Lieutenant General. If failing to be elected, he has already positioned himself on the best position for conquering the post of Mossad Director, often reserved to IDF major generals.
"Iran, Turkey, Gaza, it doesn't matter. As in the good old days in Germany, the end justifies the means!" is probably his third thought in the nefastus series.
* "Kochavi" can be translated as "My Star" or "Stardom."
Source: Roi Tov