Fascinating news coming out of Dubai about the assassination of senior Hamas weapons buyer, Mahmoud al Mabhouh, who was assassinated in a well-orchestrated plot in that country two weeks ago. Al Mabouh was Hamas’ chief intermediary with the Iranians and allegedly specialized in securing that nation’s weaponry for the Palestinian group.
Haaretz writes today that “it is widely reported” that the Mossad is a leading suspect in the murder. A Dubai police commander said the killing method was one used by the Mossad and it reminded a journalist friend of mine of the attempted Mossad assassination of Khaled Meshal in Amman in which the killers injected him with a poison that would mimic a heart attack. After the killers were captured & King Hussein demanded the antidote from then prime mininster, Bibi Netanyahu (surprise!), the agents were released. And guess which Arab capital hasn’t seen another assassination since?
What is fascinating is that Dubai has released the photos of 11 suspects, all of whom carried European passports. Two Palestinian accomplices are in custody. I’m not an expert in such operations, but I wonder whether, if the Mossad carried this hit out, these were Israelis who were natives of these countries; or whether the Mossad contracted out the killing. I’m not even sure that Mossad does this sort of thing.
Interesting background to this story is provided by the Times of London’s Sheera Frenkel, who wrote an excellent story about an Israeli campaign of assassination directed at Hezbollah and Hamas senior operatives. This may be part of the same pattern. An Iranian nuclear scientist was also assassinated in Teheran recently; and though evidence points more in the direction of the Iranian intelligence service than the Mossad, Israel would certainly be motivated to kill leading Iranian nuclear researchers.
I’m beginning to wonder whether this incident could turn into something similar to the CIA rendition-kidnapping in Italy which, due to botched communications among the kidnappers, was easily exposed by the Italian government. Now, the Italians have the names of all the CIA personnel and have tried them in abstentia giving the CIA a big black eye. Could the same thing happen to Mossad? Now that we have pictures, someone’s going to know one of these killers. An Interpol warrant might scare up some new developments I hope. From there, could there be an ICC warrant in some Mossad agent’s future? And if Bibi signed off on it as he did Khaled Meshal’s attempt, could we have an Israeli PM receiving a warrant as well?
It is clear that Hezbollah and now probably Hamas are both desperate to assassinate Israelis in revenge for the Gaza and Lebanon wars and the killing of Imad Mugniyeh in Damascus. It appears the Mossad has a better killing average so far. Though my hope is that exposure will cause it enormous grief for this heinous betrayal of international law and moral values.
Not to mention that the next time Israel’s soldiers are captured/kidnapped by Hamas or Hezbollah, I certainly will have very little sympathy considering the depredations by Mossad against their leaders. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
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- Dubai murder increasingly looks like intel operation (warincontext.org)
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Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.