Egyptians rarely have a good word for Israel, but the semi-official Al Ahram, glowingly profiled the director of the Mossad external intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, in epic terms as a hero who singlehandedly delayed Iran’s advance on a nuclear weapon by “several years,” scaled down “Syria’s military capabilities.”
The Egyptian al-Ahram explains that Dagan earned the epithet “Superman of the Jewish state” by shunning media exposure and by virtue of the painful blows his covert operations inflicted on Iran. He is credited with putting its Iran’s nuclear program well behind schedule by several years.
DEBKA File‘s Middle East sources report: This commentary, which would necessarily have been approved at the top level of Egyptian government, by President Hosni Mubarak or intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman, appeared the day after Mubarak deliberately absented himself from a summit meeting with Syrian president Bashar Assad in Riyadh called by King Abdullah.
By failing to turn up for the meeting of Friday, Jan. 15, and running al Ahram’s Dagan commentary the next day, the Egyptian ruler signaled his refusal to be a part of the Saudi monarch’s policy of surrendering to Iran’s hegemonic role in regional affairs, and his belief that Israel and its Mossad were still capable of putting a spoke in Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
By his actions, Mubarak also distanced himself from Abdullah’s plan to apply the Lebanese national unity formula to a joint Arab initiative for mending the Palestinian Hamas-Fatah feud. Assad’s endorsement was seen by the Saudi monarch as attaching the Syrian-Iranian stamp of approval to a Palestinian power-sharing accord still to be negotiated.
The paper assigns him a possible role in stirring up opposition unrest in Tehran in the six months since Iran’s dubious presidential election, as well in the Iranian nuclear scientist’s assassination on Jan. 11. Dagan is also described as aiding the international campaign against Tehran by damaging leaks to world media for blackening the Islamic regime, its leaders and its methods.
In Syria, says al-Ahram, Dagan succeeded in scaling down Syria’s military capabilities, notably by masterminding the destruction in Sept. 2007 of the North Korean plutonium plant under construction at Deir ez-Zor in northern Syria.
In other words, were it not for Dagan and his audacious exploits, the Middle East might be a different place today with Iran and Syria the unchallenged regional superpowers, says the Egyptian newspaper. DEBKA