There’s no more proof that the Mossad was indeed behind the January 19 assassination of Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. But there are nonetheless several interesting nuggets in this Los Angeles Times article about the Dubai police force’s “mixture of high-tech razzle-dazzle and old-fashioned investigative work.”
• Al-Mabhouh’s death was supposed to look like a heart attack—the door’s inner latch was set; the room was tidy; he was found splayed on the floor with no immediately visible marks—and was almost mistaken for one, until one doctor spied something fishy in his blood.
• The muscle relaxant the assassins used was probably supposed to do the job by itself—in high enough doses, it mimics cardiac arrest within 15 minutes. The fact that al-Mabhouh was also suffocated by a pillow suggests, says one investigator, that the assassins “were panicking for one reason or another.”
• The Dubai police employed sophisticated facial recognition software to the video of the assassins.
• The doors to almost all rooms at the hotel at which al-Mabhouh was staying are visible from the central atrium.
• Authorities believe one of the assassins knew al-Mabhouh—hence, there was no evidence of forced entry.
• Authorities are now taking a fresh look at the 2001 death of Palestinian activist Faisal Husseini in Kuwait in light of the al-Mabhouh revelations.
The article implicitly assumes that because al-Mabhouh’s death has definitively been established as murder, and almost as definitively established as Mossad-backed, then it failed. But one could also argue that the Mossad—which has not (and surely will not) either confirmed nor denied involvement—gains some benefit from having the world think it is able to do this. Anyway, if an operation that achieved its primary mission and resulted in zero apprehensions is a failure, then success must be very sweet indeed.