Newsweek has a fascinating article about the ongoing developments in the case of the Al-Mabouh assassination. Poland recently arrested an accused Mossad fixer when he attempted to enter the country. His arrest was requested by Germany because of the agent’s participation in a scheme to secure a passport for one of the Mossad agents who murdered Al-Mabouh.
Israel has protested the arrest and asked Poland to return him to Israel and Germany to quash its extradition request. It will be a test of international resolve to see whether Germany and Poland have the courage of their convictions and go forward with this process. If they wish to honor the concept of accountability and national sovereignty which was violated by the Israeli “hit,” then they must not accede to Israeli pressure. We’ll see if they do.
Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that the Mossad would allow agents implicated in the Dubai assassination to return to their normal hunting grounds. Wouldn’t you think they’d keep those individuals under wraps for a time until the dust settled? To me, this is yet another mark of the Israeli intelligence apparatus’ disconnect from reality–at least reality outside Israel.
The world doesn’t appreciate what the Mossad did in Dubai. England expelled the agency’s station chief. Ireland and Australia did as well. Yet Israel somehow thinks it got a wink and a nod and that the whole thing will blow over. I don’t think that’s the case.
I wonder whether the arrest of the agent in Poland may have something to do with Bibi Netanyahu’s decision, announced yesterday, that Meir Dagan, the Mossad’s director, will not be reappointed to his job. I was amused by the fact that one of the candidates being bruited about is none other than Yuval Diskin, the current Shin Bet director. It appears that beating up Israeli Palestinian citizens and criminalizing the legal political activity of Israeli Palestinian leaders stands one in good stead to become Israel’s top international spook.
The passage from this article that really pricked my ears was this:
Official and unofficial spy aficionados are still puzzled over why Israel would ruin its previously friendly relationship with authorities in a key Gulf emirate, and blow the identities of so many undercover operatives, just to eliminate an obscure Hamas operative. One theory gaining support among intelligence experts is that Mossad’s intent was to drug and kidnap Mabhouh, and then try to use him in a trade for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage in Gaza by Hamas. But the Israelis, according to this theory, may have overdosed their target on knockout drops.
While a theory gaining support among anonymous intelligence experts doesn’t carry much journalistic weight, it is a suggestive one. It does seem especially stupid for Israel to expose half its covert ops personnel and render them unusable in future in their former capacity. Not to mention the international opprobrium that has attached to Israel for the murder, the loss of all those stations chiefs, and harm done to its relations with all the countries whose passports and citizens were abused. Not to mention the exposure of how the agency handles financing of its international ops.
While Israel has a long and honored tradition of knocking off Hamas operatives, it also has a long tradition of kidnapping Palestinians and Lebanese to use as poker chips in negotiations for the release of Israeli prisoners. So it’s hard to say which motivation was more likely at play in Dubai.
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- Mossad boss heads for exit after Dubai murder fallout (independent.co.uk)
- Israel forced to defend ‘Mossad spy’ arrested in Poland (telegraph.co.uk)
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.