I am not much interested in moralizing over this – there are many other “alternate bloggers” happy to do that anyway (though why be particularly outraged if you view Israel as this great fount of evil anyway? A rhetorical question, I know). At the end of the day, Mossad is quite ruthless in pursuing the Israeli national interests, Israel’s privileged position in US politics gives it leeway to engage in such stunts, and it views Iran as a hostile polity. It has never shied away from assassinating technologists offering their services to hostile states, and that has even included citizens of Western countries (see Gerald Bull). At worst, killing somebody like Fakhrizadeh would slow down the Iranian nuclear program (if not directly, then perhaps by demoralizing others involved involved in it). At best, Iran might even do something rash to give the flailing Trump administration a pretext to bomb it. Either way, it also sends a signal to the Iranians not to get too complacent when Biden assumes the Presidency.
In the initial account, it was claimed that Fakhrizadeh was assassinated by a kill team of gunmen. I don’t think it’s plausible that Israel can sneak in its own special operatives in such quantity, provision them with weapons (guns are registered in Iran), have them carry out a sophisticated hit, and to then successfully exfiltrate them. So probably they were Iranians, the MEK being the primary suspect. But that hostile internal elements can organize to such a degree and against an important “regime” figure under official protection at that is still quite a remarkable failure of the intelligence services. Patriotic and perfectly “anti-Zionist” Iranians may well legitimately note that their authorities seem to be quite proficient in sentencing a bodybuilder who asked why the gyms closed down for Corona while the mosques remained open to death, but cannot protect key scientists from Israeli assassins. The “blackpilled” interpretation is that Iran is simply an ideal environment for fostering fifth columnists amongst the elites, being in the contradictory position of pursuing anti-American policies while half its Cabinet hold degrees from US universities. This can be coupled with the observation that the IRGC really may be quite incompetent. The Russian intelligence services certainly are sloppy, is there any good reason to believe that the Iranian ones would be more proficient?
As it is, the narrative changed a couple of days ago, the claim from the IRGC now being that there was no gunmen at all and that it was an automated attack involving a machine-gun mounted on a Nissan pickup “equipped with an intelligent satellite system which zoomed in on martyr Fakhrizadeh” that was “using artificial intelligence.” Now the prospect of mounting machine guns onto drones and using them for terrorism (or assassinations) is something that I have speculated about since 2016 and view as close to inevitable in the long-term. However, the fact that this is a sharp departure from the initial story, and that it sounds like a bunch of buzzwords clobbered together, induces skepticism about this story. Especially since the IRGC has an obvious motive here – to explain away its apparent ineptitude by portraying themselves as helpless before Israel’s capabilities. (Of course, I would assume this would demoralize the people in the Iranian nuclear program even more than the first version).