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. Kagiso, Max Dubai
By TOBIN HARSHAW
Mission: Impossible — Dubai
The Thread is an in-depth look at how major news and controversies are being debated across the online spectrum.
Wanna see the best spy thriller of the year? Here’s the trailer:
And, if you have half an hour, the feature (it’s worth the time investment, trust me):
This astonishing, and disturbingly bloodless, look at international espionage comes courtesy of
Will a cloak-and-dagger operation against a Hamas leader get
Before we search for answers, let’s find out a bit more about the late Mr. Mabhouh and how the Mossad goes about its deadly work. “In the past year, al-Mabhouh had moved to the top of Mossad’s list of targets, each of which must be legally approved under guidelines laid down over half a century ago by Meir Amit, the most innovative and ruthless director-general of the service,” reports Gordon Thomas of The Telegraph. “Mossad is one of the world’s smallest intelligence services. But it has a back-up system no other outfit can match. The system is known as sayanim, a derivative of the Hebrew word lesayeah, meaning to help … Any of these helpers could have been involved in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Mossad has recently expanded its network of sayanim into Arab countries.”
A Haaretz report adds more details, and more mystery: “A Hamas source yesterday told Haaretz that Mabhouh had been imprisoned in Egypt for almost a year in 2003, and that he was wanted not only by the Israelis, but also by the Jordanians and the Egyptians and did not lack enemies … After Mabhouh’s body was discovered the next morning, January 20, it was taken for examination. Burns from a stun gun were found under his ear, in his groin and on his chest. Pathologists discovered his nose bled before death; blood was found on a pillow they believe was placed over his nose and mouth to suffocate him.”
The editorial writers at The National, the English-language daily out of
It is past time that
“The drama is both hypocritical and unusual,” adds Larisa Alexandrovna of at-Largely. “All spy agencies have these types of operations – not this elaborate necessarily … The reason this drama is so unusual, however, is that the hit team got fingered by an unfriendly (to them) and very publicly so. They also committed crimes against citizens of an allied nation by stealing their identities to accomplish the mission. The latter has left the
Robert Fisk of The Independent, with characteristic humility, thinks
Intelligence agencies — who in the view of this correspondent are often very unintelligent — have long used false passports. … But the Emirates’ new information may make some European governments draw in their breath — and they had better have good replies to the questions. Intelligence services — Arab, Israeli, European or American — often adopt an arrogant attitude towards those from whom they wish to hide. How could the Arabs pick up on a Mossad killing, if that is what it was? Well, we shall see.
Collusion is a word the Arabs understand. It speaks of the 1956 Suez War, when
Steve Clemons of the Washington Note thinks the killing is a tragedy for the peace process, but that Hamas will finally get the respect it deserves:
Hamas has been trying to diversify its relationships and adjust its posture to potentially join a unity government in
Ironically, the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh — whose picture will no doubt be added now to a wall of pictured martyrs from the Hamas movement in the headquarters of Khaled Mashal (in fact the wall of martyrs is to my left in the video interview I did above with Khaled Mashal) — may create such international frustration with Israel for disrupting efforts at regional stabilization and negotiations that there may be a real push to now end the international isolation of Hamas.
“The very public response to the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh killing, as well as certain details like the involvement of the Palestinian Authority, is sure to bring some interesting scrutiny on our own practices,” writes the liberal blogger Emptywheel, who also thinks the security camera footage was unanticipated. “Did the clowns who botched the Abu Omar rendition in
The Jerusalem Post, however, thinks things went off without a hitch:
Irrespective of who carried out the January 19 assassination of senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in
Unlike the failed 1997 Mossad assassination attempt on Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in
What about this reaction from
Nothing to lose sleep over, says Jonathan Spyer of The Jerusalem Post. “The warnings of major diplomatic fallout are probably overblown. While the British government (and the governments of
And, if the most recent scoop from The Daily Mail can be believed, the waters were crystal clear the whole time:
MI6 was tipped off that Israeli agents were going to carry out an ‘overseas operation’ using fake British passports, it was claimed last night. A member of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, said the Foreign Office was also told hours before a Hamas terrorist chief was assassinated in
Commentary’s Noah Pollak takes aim at those who feel the operation was compromised. “The people calling the operation ’sloppy’ and a ‘debacle’ seem to actually believe that the Mossad is unaware that there are video cameras in airports and hotels today, or that the passport photos of the agents would not be revealed to the public,” he writes. “More important, the fact of the matter is that the team got into
He also has thoughts on the morality of the act: “And as for the people who are whining about ‘passport fraud’ misdemeanors while ignoring the felony staring them in the face: what do you say about the fact that the terrorist in charge of illegally smuggling missiles from Iran to Hamas apparently had an open invite to hang out in Dubai? This isn’t a problem?”
Because today’s thrillers can never have enough plot twists, we almost should have been expecting Friday’s odd bit of news. “The arrest of two Palestinians suspected of being involved in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai, as well as the publication of video clips depicting the assassins, has reignited the finger pointing between Hamas and Fatah,” reports Ali Waked of YNet. “Hamas claimed Tuesday that the two arrested men, who served in the Palestinian security forces, are proof that the Palestinian Authority played a role in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on January 20. The PA denied the allegations. ‘If they want, Hamas can reveal the identity of the suspects.’ challenged the PA.”
“The loose end at which people will be most tempted to pull will be the cloning of the passports of actual British residents in
We now enter the realms of reverse 9/11 Troof. Just as it is commonly believed in the Arab world that “Arabs are not sophisticated enough to fly planes into towers”, one might advance the argument that just about the stupidest thing that Mossad could do would be to clone the passports of actual identifiable citizens, living in Israel, of one – and only one – of its allies. Including one chap with a rare name and (until a couple of days ago) an open Twitter feed! Could Mossad really be that stupid?
Yes, of course it could be. That conclusion will sit uncomfortably with the widely held conception that Mossad is fiendishly clever, however. In which case, no doubt, it will be argued that the spectacular incompetence of the choice of cloned passport-holders its itself evidence that forces unknown are either trying to frame Mossad or force Israel to break its “no comment” policy.
O.K., so some unidentified party both eliminates one of
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs