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Monday, February 22, 2010

Mossad trailed Mabhouh twice before?

Long-time readers know that I always warn you to take anything written by the Times of London's Uzi Mahnaimi with a grain of salt. This is because he tends to be sensationalist and because he has a clear political agenda. If Mahnaimi were correct, Israel would have attacked Iran's nuclear facilities three years ago, and Tzipi Livni was once a death defying Mossad agent.

With that in mind, Mahnaimi reports in Sunday's Times of London that the Mossad trailed Hamas murderer and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh to Dubai on two occasions prior to January's liquidation.
Yesterday Dhahi Khalfan, the Dubai police chief, said investigators had found that some of the passports had been used in Dubai before. About three months ago it appears Mossad agents using the stolen identities followed Mabhouh when he travelled to Dubai and then on to China. About two months ago they followed him on another visit to Dubai.
It goes without saying that Mahnaimi is from the school that claims that the sky is falling at Mossad headquarters over the fallout from Mabhouh's death.
One well-informed Israeli source said: “The operative teams were very much aware of the CCTV in Dubai, but they have been astonished at the ability of the Dubai police to reconstruct and assemble all the images into one account.”

For Israel, the fallout has been considerable and the reverberations continue. The real owners of the stolen or forged passports, several of them Britons living in Israel, have complained that they were innocent victims of a murder plot.

The Mossad agents who used their names have been put on Interpol’s wanted list, and the real individuals are worried that they will now always be associated with the murder of a Hamas official.

Dubai can no longer avoid being embroiled in the Arab- Israeli conflict. It is calling for an international arrest warrant to be issued against Dagan and says it will release more information confirming that this was a Mossad killing.

In Britain there were initial suspicions that the government had been tipped off about the operation, or had even quietly condoned it. William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, demanded to know when the Foreign Office had first found out that British passport holders were involved in the affair.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office insisted there was no mystery or cover-up. “Suggestions that the government had prior warning or was in some way complicit in this affair are baseless,” he said.
But Mahnaimi to the contrary, another source in his own newspaper does not believe there will be any adverse fallout to Israel from the incident.
Diplomatic outrage is one thing, but severing ties with Mossad to punish Israel’s secret service for using British passports for an assassination would be to Britain’s detriment.

The intelligence world is dirty and grey, and Britain, despite its attempts to be perceived as a moral force, has to play with the dirtiest to ensure that it can share information that is so crucial to maintaining a handle on enemies and potential enemies.

Co-operation with Mossad or with Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, or the Saudis or Algerians is as vital as it is to share in the intercepted signals and intelligence material acquired by the American National Security Agency.


If you work in the intelligence game, you have to be aware of the grey areas. Mossad may have no time for MI6’s more bureaucratic rules, but the Israeli organisation is a unique asset.

This applies not only to the security of its own country but also for the West’s because of its ability to operate secretly in the militant Islamic world. Sharing with Mossad, however, can be a dangerous business.

Similarly, talking to the ISI has the potential for embarrassment. But the arrest of Afghan Taleban commanders in Pakistan has underlined its importance, despite an ambivalent attitude towards the Taleban. Without ISI help, the war in Afghanistan will not be won.
You will recall that on Thursday I reported that Britain had threatened to cut off contacts with the Mossad. I wouldn't bet on that happening.


At 1:31 PM, Blogger Kumar said...

IF Britain wants to sever ties with Mossad, they can go ahead and do so at their peril. I am not sure whether they will actually do it. Britain itself is constantly facing threats from Islamic terrorists and is probably dependent on Israel for information on Middle East based terror groups. The MI-6 will certainly not be a willing party to this decision of HMG. The members of the hit team will never be caught. For that matter their true identities may not be known to the poor chief of Dubai police. Issuing arrest warrants and having them executed are two entirely different things.


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