The big news today is the Dubai police’s disclosure of 15 additional suspects in the assassination (likely carried out by Mossad) of Hamas weapons man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, bringing the total to 26. These suspects’ passports—which, according to host countries, were “issued in an illegal and fraudulent manner”—were from Britain, France, Ireland, and (this is a new one) Australia. One of the Australian passports was that of Marcus Korman, who lives in Tel Aviv … and has never been to Dubai. “It’s identity theft—simply unbelievable,” Korman told a reporter.
Yet even as Korman and the others whose passports were forged supply a compelling anti-assassination human interest story, the Jerusalem Post reports that diplomatic tensions related to the incident are falling; Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the whole thing didn’t come up during a lengthy meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels (instead, they discussed Iran and the Palestinians). Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman theorize that European political leaders will be talked out of their anger by European intelligence leaders, who know that Mossad does far more good than harm: “Israeli intelligence can get its contacts in London’s MI6 and Berlin’s BND to put in a good word, pointing to favors Israel regularly does for European security agencies. The Mossad might even unveil dossiers showing how dangerous Hamas is to everyone.”
Raviv and Melman also see no reason to believe this will be Mossad’s final assassination:
Mossad, on the other hand, might well do again what it apparently did in Dubai. The agency would prefer not to—and certainly they would rather choose cities and streets not covered by CCTV systems and competent police forces. But Israel’s spymasters don’t mind being perceived by their enemies as still running “Murder, Inc.” from Warsaw to Bangkok, and from Paris to Dubai. And while they don’t relish risky assassinations, when the target is important enough, Mossad’s chiefs have been known to say, “Nothing is impossible.”
Meanwhile: where previously a couple of Fatah or ex-Fatah folks have been implicated in the plot, now a Hamas man—an associate of al-Mabhouh’s in Syria, in fact—was reportedly arrested by the Syrians on Dubai’s behalf. The man, Mahmoud Nasser, was apparently aware of al-Mabhouh’s plans, and arrived in Dubai shortly before he did. Hamas, on the other hand, denies he was arrested. Well, somebody’s not telling the truth.
Dubai Now Seeking 26 Suspects in Hamas Killing [Reuters/NYT]
Assassin from Tel Aviv: ‘I’m Shocked’ [Ynet]
Diplomatic Fallout Surrounding Mabhouh Hit Receding [JPost]
Israel’s Hit Squads [Atlantic.com]