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Drugged and Choked, Truth and Consequences

Today in the Dubai Murder Mystery

Marc Tracy
March 01, 2010
The Dubai police chief, earlier today.(Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)
The Dubai police chief, earlier today.(Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)

If you have not been following this exciting story, I wrote a catch-up today for the magazine: do check out. I’ll also be updating it as news that fits it breaks.

As for what’s happened since then …

The big news today was that we finally learned how exactly Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh died: he was injected with a powerful muscle relaxant—one that is used in both death-penalty cocktails and hospitals—and then was suffocated.

The secondary news was that two of the 26 suspects (thought to be in or affiliated with the Mossad) entered the United States after the assassination took place.

Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim, who has previously said he is “99 percent” certain that Mossad was behind al-Mabhouh’s death, called on Mossad chief Meir Dagan either to confirm or deny the Israeli intelligence agency’s involvement. So, in its way, did Haaretz, in an editorial. A bit of friendly advice for Mr. Tamim and the Haaretz editorial board: don’t hold your breaths.

Besides whether Mossad definitely did it, the other outstanding questions concern whether the incident will have adverse diplomatic consequences for Israel. The general consensus is that Israel can expect a slap on the wrist, but little more: al-Mabhouh, after all, was a bad guy, and anyway Mossad’s usefulness to Western countries far outweighs whatever bad publicity this may have caused. Still, the following are facts: Israelis are no longer allowed in Dubai; Australia abstained on a U.N. resolution related to the Goldstone Report specifically due to concerns over the fake Australian passports in the killing; and British police are interviewing dual British-Israeli citizens whose (fake) passports were used, in Tel Aviv. None of which is probably the best press in the world.

On the other hand, there is the take of high-ranking Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, of the Labor Party: “The assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was not a failure. I don’t know who did it but what’s important is the end result.”

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.