חשיפה: קשרים הדוקים בין שירותי הביטחון של ישראל ועיראק
حصري: علاقات وطيدة بين اجهزة الامن الاسرائيلية والعراقية
You will read in today’s news that the Philippines arrested and deported to an Iraqi national suspected of working as a bombmaker or “rocket engineer” for Hamas. But you didn’t read and won’t read anywhere that contrary to Israeli law, its intelligence services tracked Taha Muhammad Al-Jabouri to the Philippines after he left Iraq, and asked Iraqi security services to demand his repatriation to Iraq. This information was conveyed to me by a knowledgeable Israeli security source.
The three countries are involved in an elaborate pretence. Israeli intelligence wants Jabori in Iraq rather than in Asia, because it has an arrangement with the Iraqis to monitor his whereabouts and activities. In return, Israel has promised it will not assassinate him, in similar fashion to last week’s failed bombing of another Hamas weapons dealer in Lebanon.
It seems unusual for Hamas to employ non-Palestinians as weapons makers as in this case. But there is precedent for Israeli intelligence targeting those developing weapons for the Islamist group in foreign countries. It assassinated a Tunisian developing drones for the movement last year.
As the Philippines is fighting an intractable Islamist insurgency, it was only too happy to deport Jabori. But what’s truly interesting here is that despite Iraq being considered a hostile state under Israeli law, to which no Israeli citizen may travel, Israeli intelligence services easily flout such protocols.
Iraq too is a country with a Shia majority and holds hostile views of Israel. So what is in this for the Iraqi intelligence services? That’s an open question I can’t answer. But when there is no obvious interest, Israel finds ways to create them. When it wants Rwanda and Uganda to accept expelled refugees it offers agricultural aid and weapons. When it wants to kidnap Gazans in the Ukraine it offers generous trade and tourism deals. When it wants a UN vote from Bulgaria it simply bribes political leaders there.
Despite Iraq being a hostile nation, Israel permits trade between the two countries (Israel has also purchased oil from Iran and sold military plane parts to Iran in the recent past, all in contravention of international sanctions). So perhaps the quid pro quo comes in the form of covert weapons sales or trade arrangements? Maybe they can ship a few Mercedes limos off to Iraq for security chiefs in return for a few favors?