After several weeks of confusion regarding the identity of the assassins of Mahmoud al-Mabouh, the Hamas weapons buyer who was assassinated recently in Dubai, all signs are beginning to point in the Mossad’s direction. The BBC reports that all of the passports used were fraudulent. The most telling piece of evidence uncovered is that
four five of the eleven killers used names of actual Israeli citizens (Update: Jerusalem Post claims seven of eleven were Israeli olim) who appear not to have been involved in the murder. One of them told the post “I went to sleep with pneumonia and woke up a murderer.” He is also quoted by the BBC:
Melvyn Adam Mildiner, a Briton living in Israel, told Reuters news agency: “I am obviously angry, upset and scared – any number of things. And I’m looking into what I can do to try to sort things out and clear my name.
Of two of the other Israelis, one is a handyman and the other an Orthodox yeshiva student. Though I’m not schooled in covert intelligence operations, it would seem to me that using the identities of citizens of your own country would be pretty stupid as it would point directly to the Mossad as the culprit. Not to mention the jeopardy in which it places these individuals. What is to prevent a Hamas loyalist from tracking the real Melvyn Mildiner and do him in as revenge for the al-Mabouh killing?
And alternatively, using fraudulent passports of foreign countries also risks creating diplomatic incidents with them. In fact, Israel has been mounting pressure on Britain to change a law that allows filing of arrest warrants against Israeli officials for war crimes. Given that Israel used multiple fraudulent British passports in this operation, why should that government go out of its way to do anything on Israel’s behalf? If Tzipi Livni wants to go to England to test the validity of her arrest warrant, why should Gordon Brown care a whit? Let her go to jail. Then Britain, Dubai and Israel can work out a prisoner swap involving her and the real killers, who belong in the dock for this assassination.
Dubai officials have previously said that if Israel is implicated they will issue an arrest warrant for Bibi himself.
The BBC story also points to other similarities with past Israeli assassinations–among them the use of foreign (Canadian) passports in Amman when the Mossad attempted unsuccessfully to kill Khaled Meshal. As I noted earlier, in that operation they also injected the victim with a poison meant to mimic a heart attack. The goal being to allow the killers time to exit the country before the real cause of death could be diagnosed. In that case, the Mossad agents were caught and arrested and Bibi Netanyahu, also prime minister then, was forced to provide the antidote. Meshal lived. In the al-Mabouh case, the killing method worked and they successfully escaped. But the aftermath of the crime will turn out much messier I reckon.
As the noose tightens around the Mossad as the culprit, this matter threatens to become an international incident both for the massive fraud involving use of foreign passports, the abuse of hospitality of an Arab country which doesn’t want to roll over and play dead, and a rising willingness to treat Israeli crimes as matters worthy of international tribunals:
“This is a highly sophisticated operation conducted by people who knew when Al Mabhouh would arrive in the country,” Dahi said.
The suspects used “highly sophisticated communication instruments” and during their conversations they used encrypted messages, Dahi said. “The communication tools they used are not available in the UAE.”
They came from several European countries and left to European destinations and one to Hong Kong. “We know where they are right now and even their residences,” Dahi said.
What I don’t understand about this is how political assassination serves any sort of long-term political purpose. So you kill someone. What damage ultimately do you do to your enemy? He replaces the victim with someone either as good or better than the one you eliminated. Does it get you anywhere? Does it achieve any sort of objective? I would argue that Israel is now beyond the point when it can use the conventional tools of war or assassination to harm its enemies. The world is beginning to indicate it will no longer allow Israel to get away with these crimes. I used to say that ultimately Israel will pay a price for these idiocies. Now, I don’t say ultimately, because the chickens are coming home to roost right now.
If you’d like to see a perfect example of the “old” thinking at work, read this garbage journalism which proposes that this entire episode is much ado about nothing:
…Many of the countries whose passports were allegedly used do not like Hamas; and the government of Dubai, despite its impressive investigation, does not really want to get to the bottom of this. Dubai would like to continue giving off the impression that it is a safe country, all of whose visitors are there for only business or tourism.
There are other Arab countries who do not consider Hamas a friend and who are in a secret war – no less bitter than Israel’s – against the Islamist organization. Jordan is one of them, as is Egypt.
As part of the investigation two Palestinians were arrested in Dubai, suspected of aiding the assassination team, and it is not impossible that the whole story is another example of the sort of psychological warfare against Hamas that would have the organization become even more suspicious of flawed security within its ranks.
Looking at the incident in perspective, a senior Hamas figure responsible for the deaths of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers and a key contact in the group’s arms smuggling is dead.
…Unless dramatic evidence is found to definitively prove an Israeli connection, it is likely that the State of Israel will emerge from this affair unblemished and the Mossad will continue enjoying a reputation of fearless determination and nearly unstoppable capabilities.
Where I come from there is supposed to be at least a semblance of distance between journalism and spookdom. Not apparently in Israel and not even in the pages of Haaretz.
I would like to see Dubai take out Interpol warrants for these Israeli murderers. Then I would like to see Dubai request that the ICC try them when they are caught. I would like Israeli progressives to watch out for these people and report them when they see them so they can be identified even if they choose to stay in Israel where they can’t be captured. No more impunity.
The BBC offers a history of Israeli political assassinations.
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- Assassins of Hamas Official Caught on Tape, Dubai Says (thelede.blogs.nytimes.com)
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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.