Is Israel’s new “Octopus Doctrine” responsible for IRGC disarray?
By Pesach Benson, United with Israel
A high-level general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp was secretly arrested and charged with spying for Israel, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
According to the Times, Brig.-Gen. Ali Nasiri was secretly arrested in early June. The report identified him as a senior commander in the IRGC Protection of Information Unit “tasked with oversight and supervision of the organization’s work.”
The IRGC is tasked with defending the clerical regime, preventing Iran’s army from seizing power and protecting the Islamic Republic from foreign meddling. It is believed to have more than 250,000 military personnel.
The IRGC also spearheads Iran’s relations with proxy militias abroad such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis and is deeply involved in Iran’s nuclear and aerospace programs.
The Times didn’t specify how Nasiri allegedly aided Israel, nor did it rule out the possibility that the general is being made a fall guy by Tehran.
But the report reinforces perceptions that the IRGC is in disarray over Israel’s new “Octopus doctrine” for confronting Iran.
Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett explained the “Octopus doctrine” in an interview with The Economist.
“We are implementing the Octopus Doctrine,” Bennett said. “We no longer play with the tentacles, with Iran’s proxies: we’ve created a new equation by going for the head.”
June was certainly a very bad month for the IRGC.
• IRGC intelligence chief Hossein Taeb was sacked. He was responsible for, among other things, exposing Israeli espionage within Iran.
• An Iranian terror cell plotting attacks on Israelis was busted by Turkish authorities.
• Five men aboard an Iranian plane were arrested in Argentina on suspicion of weapons smuggling.
• A cyberattack on a state-owned steel factory brought the production line to a halt.
• A ballistic missile site west of Tehran was attacked by a drone reportedly launched from within Iran.
• A massive tunnel project to protect Iran’s uranium enrichment was exposed.
And a number of IRGC officers and aerospace personnel were assassinated in May.
An Israeli official told the Times that Taeb’s dismissal is especially noteworthy as he was widely viewed as “untouchable.”
“Turkey was the tipping point for Taeb, it made Iran look incompetent and increased its vulnerability, and they had to finally get rid of him,” Omid Memarian, an Iran expert with the Washington-based advocacy group, Democracy for the Arab World Now told the Times.