If you have not been following this exciting story, I wrote a catch-up Monday for the magazine: do check out.
Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl has a provocative post arguing that the international press (though not the kooky but ultimately even-handed Dubai police chief) have evinced a double standard in their coverage of the assassination (likely by the Mossad) of Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January as compared with, say, the recent gunning-down in Dubai of a Chechen separatist by a gangster allied with Russian leader Vladimir Putin:
the audience for a story about a Russian-sponsored assassination in Dubai is nothing like that for an Israeli hit. Relatively few stories were written about the Yamadayev case; there were no angry editorials in the Financial Times. Perhaps it’s needless to say that Delimkhanov and the other suspects identified by Dubai have not been arrested or extradited. As Shmuel Rosner summed it up in a dispatch for Slate: “The consequences for the assassins? None at all. For the Chechen government? None. For the deputy prime minister? None. For Dubai-Russian relations? None.”
It’s a valid point, though, as someone who has followed this story, I think the especially sensationalistic aspects of it deserve at least as much credit (or blame) for the hyped-up, excited coverage it has received.
The Wall Street Journal reports on something that’s been obscured amid all the talk of who killed al-Mabhouh: namely, that al-Mabhouh, and other shady characters, were routinely passing through Dubai in order to ply their trades. Iran particularly benefits from Dubai’s laxness, according to the article.
Meanwhile, it looks like other countries are pissed enough at Israel over this for there to be semi-real diplomatic consequences. A whole bunch of European Union countries that had either abstained or voted on Israel’s side in a previous U.N. vote over the Goldstone Report instead went against Israel in a General Assembly vote last week, specifically out of anger at the assassination and the forged passports. On the other hand, call us when this is affecting much more consequential Security Council votes.
Finally, a lighter (in some senses) story. Like their British counterpart, Australia’s police have sent three investigators to Israel, to interview those Australian-Israeli dual nationals whose passports were forged. Except these officers made a bigger splash than they probably desired: they were involved in a hit-and-run. Specifically, they hit a woman on a bicycle and then kept going. The woman was unhurt—and prosecutors are not pressing charges—but she wants an apology and a new bike wheel. I’m pretty sure I’m not capable of making this up.