An independent blogger in the United Arab Emirates writes (Hebrew and English) that the CIA provided critical intelligence about Mahmoud al-Mabouh enabling the Mossad to assassinate him in Dubai in 2010. It did so since the victim was Hamas’ chief arms intermediary with Iran. The inside information came from the territory’s police chief, Dhahi Khalfan, who passed it to the CIA without knowing it would be given to the Mossad. As Iran is an enemy of the Gulf States, including UAE, Khalfan thought he was doing a favor to the American ally, who shared his country’s disdain for Iran.
Khalfan had not intended for the information to pass outside the realm of the CIA, but the agency double-crossed him. Here is a translation from Arabic of the information concerning this incident:
“Dhahi became famous after the assassination of Hamas’ martyr, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, by elements of the Zionist Mossad in 2010…[He] personally provided the cover for the assassination, as he was commissioned by the CIA, five weeks before to investigate…Mabhouh. Within three weeks he gave the CIA a complete file including account numbers used by Mabhouh, the details of his movements and activities in Dubai, and his places of residence. … Due to Dhahi’s extreme stupidity, he did not know he assisted in the assassination of Mabhouh, so he was surprised by [it].”
Without this critical CIA involvement, al-Mabouh could not have been murdered and the Mossad’s most embarrassing scandal in decades might’ve been averted. Unfortunately, until now the CIA has not had to pay the piper for facilitating murder. Nor has Barack Obama, president at the time of the murder.
Just after the assassination, there were media reports that two of the Mossad agents involved fled Dubai for America and that they’d used U.S. based Payoneer payment cards as part of the operation. The CEO of Payoneer is a former senior officer in IDF special forces and presumably associated with Israeli intelligence operations. At the time, I wonder why the Mossad would be so brazen as to implicate the U.S. in the killing in such a way. But given how the killing was organized, this now makes perfect sense. It appears it might’ve almost been a joint U.S.-Israeli operation.
It appears al-Mabouh became a victim of the covert war between Israel and the U.S. and Iran, which was raging at the time. This was also the period in which the NSA was developing Stuxnet and Flame viruses to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program. As a major Hamas arms merchant dealing with Iran, the CIA and Mossad wanted to do everything possible to tweak Iran (and Hamas). That made al-Mabouh an inviting target. But the Mossad’s hubris and Khalfan’s hurt pride at being duped by the CIA, turned the tables on the assassins and led to their exposure. Perhaps now the CIA has learned a lesson and will honor commitments it makes to Arab security officials like Khalfan.
We should not be surprised by the CIA’s actions. In the early 1960s, obsessed by the mania of ‘Communist subversion’ in the Third World, the CIA recruited a double agent within the ranks of the African National Congress. On the day he was arrested by the South African police, they knew where Nelson Mandela was, when he would arrive there, what he was wearing, practically what he ate for breakfast. The South Africans could not have done it without the help of our trusty CIA, ever on the watch for Communist subversion. The U.S., though it allowed Mandela to enter the U.S. in the 1990s, did not finally remove him from the terror watch list until 2008.
The problem with intelligence agencies is that they’re responding to the crisis of yesterday without realizing the crisis of tomorrow is staring them in the face. Instead of Communist subversion, the U.S. should’ve been trying to come to terms with liberation movements like the ANC sweeping the Third World. Instead of murdering Hamas agents, the U.S. should be coming to terms with Palestinian nationalism (including Hamas) and its legitimate claims.
Though the Mossad does a fine job of creating mayhem wherever it operates, the CIA deserves credit where it’s due for facilitating it, as in this wretched case.