WHO DUNNIT in DUBAI? – Does it really matter?
Viewed within the many actions against the “war on global terror”, there is now one less arch-terrorist among the living. No one in his right mind should cry over the demise of this mastermind in murderous terrorism. Of course Mossad was immediately “credited” with the hit, same as it was blamed by Hezbollah in assassinating the notorious “most wanted” terrorist, Imad Mughniyah in central Damascus a few years ago.
Both operations were carried out by professionals, and whether Israeli Mossad, or others, is of little importance. The fact is that none of the suspects remained on the scene in Dubai, while the target Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, was eliminated quietly, without fuss in a luxury Dubai hotel room, a mere five hours after arriving in the Arab Gulf State.
Israeli officials say that Mabhouh, a veteran Hamas operative well versed in operating clandestinely, was in charge of procuring weapons and explosives for Hamas, which receives arms and funding from Iran.
In spite of his melodramatic TV appearances, Dubai’s Police Chief, General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, has sofar nothing definite to show, apart from the display of surveillance camera photos of “suspects” seen present on the spot. In fact, nor has General Tamim resolved how Mabhough actually died – thus unable incriminating Mossad, or any other organization of the assassination. The continuous presentation of faked passports and names can prove nothing, but speculation, on this still mysterious ‘who-dun-it’ soap opera, which the Arab general is offering daily on TV.
No doubt, that Mabhough’s death sparked bitter recriminations among the rival Palestinian factions. Astonishing is that Hamas and Fatah are actually blaming each other for security breaches, which led to the killing in Dubai. This fear and confusion should stem from the possibility that someone in the upper ranks and close to the victim may have leaked valuable information on Mabhough, either willingly or by negligence.
So ‘who-dun-it? Well, from the right perspective, no one should really care. The fact is that a bad person, with lots of innocent blood on his hands is not with us anymore. Of course there are others, no less dangerous than the late Mabhough, but his death should ring an alarm bell among the terrorists – that they are not immune to a similar fate.
Of course the assassination of such a senior Hamas leader, the co-founder of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the notorious paramilitary wing of the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas was blamed on Israel’s Mossad intelligence service may well trigger a surge of eye-for-an-eye bloodshed – and not only in the Middle East. The fundamentalist Hamas, the Palestinian group controlling the Gaza Strip, has vowed to retaliate against Israel for the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah is also still bent on avenging the 2008 killing in Damascus of its leader, Imad Mughniyeh. The Mossad was blamed for that, too. Israeli sources claim that Hezbollah has already made 10 attempts to attack Israeli targets inside and outside the Jewish state since Mughniyeh was blown up by a booby-trap inside the high-security zone in central Damascus. Israeli security authorities expect Hezbollah to try again marking the second anniversary of the death of Mughniyeh, who until Osama bin Laden came along was the most wanted terrorist fugitive on the planet.
It is a common “secret” that Israeli and many foreign intelligence services are thought to cooperate closely in a variety of areas of common interest – including on the Iranian nuclear program, and in the fight against Sunni ‘Global Jihad’ organizations. So the warnings of major diplomatic fallout may probably be blown out of proportion.
Retired general Jacob Amidror, a veteran intelligence officer has given a rare insight into the general decisions taken to mount such an operation.
According to Amidror, the first starting point is to have sufficient reliable intelligence of the target, which remains effective for the time, required for in-depth preparation of the mission. The “hit team” should arrive on the scene, without being detected and without danger to the participants – at best, leave the scene undetected, before the victim has actually been identified. Collateral damage avoidance – or casualties among innocents – are paramount in making a decision to mount such a highly sensitive and dangerous operation. Finally, keeping the mission under a dense cloak of secrecy, before, during and after, is of utmost importance. Most important: the decision-makers, if in doubt that these criteria cannot be met in full, should not attempt ordering such an operation at all.
General Amidror stresses that in the War on Global Terrorism, eliminating high-ranking terrorist leaders or top professionals preemptively becomes imperative, if innocent lives be saved, before the terrorists can carry out their plans. Terror and counter terror are fought under remorseless conditions, leaving little over for niceties by either side in this dangerous game.
Whether Mossad was involved, or not, may never be known. Like so many of the mysterious deaths that occur in this never-ending war against global terrorism, the executioners of Mabhouh and Mughniyeh may never be known. But it should be noted that Mossad’s old motto: “By way of deception thou shalt make war” is still striking fear among the “bad guys” around the Arab world.