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Political assassins are not all alike for Dubai police

Dubai’s police department made headlines after lashing out against the Mossad assassins who dispatched Mabhouh.

The story was completely different this time. Hardly any information was leaked on the murder of Ahmad Rezaei, an important critic of the Iranian regime. He was killed, undoubtedly by Iranian agents, in a hotel in Dubai.

Clearly, Dubai’s police chief is willing to build his reputation at the expense of nice Jews who are not going to retaliate for his disclosure, but not willing to confront Iran’s deeded Al Qods Brigades.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Shalit debacle: Israeli government hits new lows

If a Debka report is to be believed, Mabhouh was not assassinated, but died in the course of a kidnapping attempt. Netanyahu’s government wanted to trade the lynchpin of Hamas’ weapons-smuggling operations for Shalit.

Previously, the government had “only” agreed to trade a thousand terrorists for Shalit, but this means that they would have released for him a person actively involved in current attempts to murder Jews.

Netanyahu capitulates on national security…again

Faced with international criticism over the Mabhouh hit, Netanyahu does not plan to extend Meir Dagan’s term as the head of Mossad.

Dagan was the driving force behind Mossad’s operations against Iran. He managed to shake up the famed intelligence service, which since the 1980s had become heavily bureaucratized and lost its trademark emphasis on the human factor over signal intelligence.

Ousting Dagan is odd at a time when Netanyahu clearly plans to attack Iran, and apparently has gotten Obama’s tentative agreement.

Israel’s new fight: now with Germany

A Mossad agent was arrested in Poland on an extradition warrant issued by Germany. The agent had allegedly procured a German passport for the Mabhouh assassination team.

Now, a few things beg explanation.

Mossad was supposed to stop the practice of procuring real passports. The agency makes excellent forged passports, which obviates any practical need to obtain real ones, certainly not for operations in Asia.

Germany was not supposed to prosecute Israelis over the passport operations. On previous occasions, the Germany security service has stopped civil prosecutors from expressing interest in Mossad operations. Though we would normally expect the agent to be released soon, Germany had acted rather unfriendly in this case.

Mossad’s man was not supposed to travel in Europe under the same name the international warrant was issued for. The list of outstanding international arrest warrants is freely available to Israeli authorities, who would have needed to do nothing more than change the agent’s passport.

The Mabhouh echo

An Israeli diplomat has been declared persona non grata in Australia over Israel’s use of forged Australian passports in the Mabhouh assassination.

The Australian intelligence service uses forged passports, just like every other intelligence service in the world.

Israel irritated the Australians because Mossad violated an implicit agreement whereby the Jews won’t be forging Australian passports for controversial operations, which certainly include high-profile assassinations.

Interpol is hyperactive

At the request of the Dubai police, Interpol added another 16 members of the Mabhouh hit team to its red alert list. Interpol normally ignores the killing of criminals, let alone terrorists, by intelligence services. Issuing arrest warrants for all the accomplices is equally unusual.

But Interpol is playing a foul game: they cannot be arrested. No doubt, the passport photos were digitally altered a bit. Border guards wouldn’t have noticed the difference, but positive identification has become impossible.

The purpose of the Dubai/Interpol operation is to create a headache for Mossad. With close to 50 members of its Spear unit compromised, the intelligence service will have a hard time conducting similar operations for a year or two.

Dubai bars Jews over Mabhouh assassination

Unable to reach Mossad, Dubai police decided to bar from the country anyone who looks or speaks like an Israeli, regardless of his passport. They probably imagine Jews like Borat, so we’ll see how well this decision ends up being implemented.

The important thing is that neither the UN nor any country objected to Dubai’s decision to bar Israelis—and anyone who looks like an Israeli. May Israel proceed now to bar all Arabs, lest we have another Mabhouh here?

02 March 2010 Posted in UAE

Israel will have to ignore Interpol

Dubai police claim to have recovered the fingerprints of the Mabhouh assassins.

Since Israel has a biometric database and Interpol is already investigating the passports affair, it would be a logical step for Interpol to ask Israel to identify the fingerprints.

It does not trouble Interpol that for decades it did not move a finger to arrest Mabhouh, a wanted criminal.

Britain spits on Israeli sovereignty

British investigators descended on Israel to interview the holders of the British passports whose clones were used by Mabhouh assassination team.

Since neither the liquidation of Mabhouh nor the forgery of  passports is considered illegal in Israel, Britain has no right to conduct criminal investigation here even with the approval of subservient Israeli authorities.

We would like to see the British reaction if Israeli police were to arrive in London to interview the many British citizens who happen to be active Hezbollah members.

Who was Mabhouh?

Dubai police now have 26 suspects in Mabhouh’s assassination, so we can safely assume the group numbered close to 50 people. By any standards, that’s a grandiose operation. Moreover, three agents reportedly fled through Iran with forged passports—an act of brazen courage, indeed.

From the publicly available information, Mabhouh appears to have been an expendable mid-level manager for Iranian arms trafficking to Gaza, not someone worthy of such a mammoth operation.

Arab MKs protest Mabhouh assassination

Tibi called Dubai’s police chief a hero, and a-Sanaa accused Israel of using mafia methods. Two loyal Arabs, mind you.

Mabhouh affair: the danger of going biometric

The British passports used by the Mabhouh assassination team were biometric.

Biometric passports were introduced as way to prevent forgery. In fact, biometric passports are easier to forge than traditional ones: once the algorithm is broken, forgers can easily produce biometric chips, and border officials do not pay much attention to the paper passport itself due to their erroneous certainty that the chip provides perfect security.

In our time, a cluster of common computers can break any type of smart-card chip through a simple brute force attack. Forgers can therefore replicate biometric passports without much effort. Biometric databases are not very secure, and if stolen they can wreak havoc in international affairs by flooding the market with forged biometric passports.

Interpol: Mossad agents are criminals

In a sign of moral relativism, Interpol has issued arrest warrants for eleven people who were involved in doing away with Mabhouh in Dubai. The move puts Mossad on the same level as common criminals. States are generally understood to have a right to conduct extrajudicial operations, but Interpol has set a precedent which could even lead to an arrest warrant for Obama, who has authorized Al Qaeda assassinations abroad, especially now that the US has openly confirmed its involvement.

Netanyahu has bad luck with assassinations: his previous term as prime minister was marred by the Mashaal scandal, which cost Israel working relations with Jordanian intelligence and the reciprocal release of Hamas chief Yassin. The Mabhouh affair will freeze rapprochement with Dubai, which went as far as allowing Israeli sportsmen and ministers into the country.

In another odd development, the forged passports used by the assassination team were traced to a number of trips to Asia. Foreign visas are routinely added to forged passports for credibility, but Interpol spotted the passports details on border computers, which means that the agents were actually traveling on those passports. The extent of their travel remains unannounced, and perhaps the Asian traces simply reflect the agents’ travel en route to Dubai.

Mabhouh affair: too much for a blunder

The six British passports used by the group that liquidated Mabhouh in Dubai belonged to British immigrants to Israel. Mossad is a natural suspect in the identity theft, but the institution does not normally operate so simplistically. Involving Israeli civilians in Mossad operations is a big no-no.

Either Mossad deliberately made its involvement transparent to scare the terrorists, or—less likely—it was framed, or we see a major operative blunder here.

Mabhouh assassination is not a Mossad affair?

Though nearly every Israeli minister had hinted by now that Mabhouh was assassinated by Mossad, Dubai police claim that six out of the assassination team’s eleven members had British passports. Mossad does not normally use British passports: though relations with MI6 are very strong, the British government insists on staying clear of the operations.

Jordan has extradited two Palestinian suspects to Dubai. Though both Israel and Fatah have strained relations with Jordan, the petty kingdom’s audacity is unusual.

If Mossad is behind the assassination, then it is very strange that the US administration did not push Dubai to quash the investigation and Jordan to refrain from extradition.

Dubai is very nervous about assassinations in its territory, and it would be rather odd for Mossad to conduct an operation there.

Israelis abroad are safe so far

As we had expected, Hamas threatened retaliatory attacks on Israeli targets abroad over the Dubai assassination. That won’t happen anytime soon because the assassinated terrorist had not been active in Gaza for many years and had only historical importance to Hamas. Unless, being based in Dubai, he was Hamas’ liaison with Iran.

Mossad’s involvement in strangling Mabhouh (or poisoning him through a pillow, by another account) is made somewhat doubtful by reports that he had noticed weeks before his assassination that he was being shadowed. Mossad would normally abandon a non-vital operation if the target had been alerted.

Netanyahu’s vendetta?

The government’s two commandos, Netanyahu and Barak, seem about to embark on a covert war. Another reported casualty is Hamas veteran Mahmoud Mabhouh, who was assassinated in Dubai.

Too much assassination activity upsets the status quo in which both Israel and the terrorists refrain from striking at each other’s soft targets abroad.