June 21, 2004 – According to unnamed officials, Israeli Mossad agents are carrying out covert operations on the ground in Iraq, and elite Israeli commandos are training Kurdish independence fighters. A New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh suggests this is all "widely known" among the US intelligence community.
Israel reportedly embarked on "Operation Plan B" after its previous warnings about the difficulty of managing the occupation and controlling the rise of Shiâ€™ite militias went unheeded in Washington. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak reportedly told US Vice President Dick Cheney that Israel has learned "thereâ€™s no way to win an occupation," and that the only issue was "choosing the size of your humiliation."
An Israeli intelligence official confirmed that since late last year Israel has been training Kurdish commando units to operate in the same manner and with the same effectiveness as Israelâ€™s most secretive commando units, the Mistaravim. They are operating in the Kurdish areas in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. A senior Turkish official acknowledged the Israeli operations and called them "dangerous" to both Turkey and Israel. The official suggested that independence for Iraqi Kurdistan would lead to turmoil throughout the region, and to prevent it Turkey would "burn a blanket to kill a flea."