By Micah D. Halpern
Issue of February 26, 2010
Israel has no interest in claiming responsibility, in deflecting responsibility or in blaming anyone else for the assassination of Hamas terrorist leader Mahmoud Mabhouh. It really doesn’t matter to Israel and in really should not matter to us. In the end, the truth will never be made public. And if years from now, in a memoir or dramatic death bed confession someone should tell us “the truth,” we won’t believe it anyway.
Diplomatic uproar and international heat aside, Israel gains from Mabhouh’s death. A senior Hamas terrorist has been taken out of operation and Israel’s clandestine service, the Mossad, which has been suffering from a tarnished reputation after several botched and bungled missions, is now being spoken of in hushed and reverential tones. The long arm of Israel is once again able to reach out and destroy its enemies no matter where they may hide. For Israel, it works.
To think that only Israel wanted and benefits from Mabhouh’s death is not to understand the Arab world. Mahmoud Mabhouh was on the top of the Most Wanted List not only of the Palestinian Authority, but also, believe it or not, of Hamas.
The Palestinian Authority was ousted from Gaza by Mabhouh and his Hamas cronies. The two Palestinians arrested in Jordan for participating in the attack were former PA security officers stationed in Gaza, now employed by Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan. As the Palestinian Authority leader responsible for Gaza during the overthrow, Dahlan, who was absent from Gaza during the revolt, and who had not laid the groundwork necessary to properly control and protect the area, was destroyed politically by Hamas.
In the eyes of Hamas, Mabhouh was not a team player. He was a man who always traveled with a circle of high profile guards - and yet, he went to Dubai unescorted. The Dubai chief of police has clearly said that someone in Mabhouh’s inner circle broke security protocol and snitched that Mabhouh was going to be in Dubai, alone, meeting with the Iranians.
Hamas leadership was not pleased that Mabhouh was importing weapons into Gaza on his own. They knew that he was a rogue weapons trader, buying and selling from Iran. Mahmoud Mabhouh had expanded well beyond Hamas’ original mandate. He was becoming too big and too strong to control. As far as the heads of Hamas were concerned, Mabhouh had turned into a liability.
Dubai is trying to turn this assassination into an international crisis. In reality, it is normal and everyday in the world of cloaks and daggers. Every country and every international agency is familiar with passports used by agents to gain access and assume identities; they even have a name, they are called “cloned passports.” So procuring the names of Israelis and their foreign passport numbers was as easy as hiring a private team of assassins/operatives like the team whose video image has made its way from the security cameras of the Dubai airport and hotel to You Tube.
Of course, it still is possible that Israelis did carry out this operation. If so, the question that needs to be asked is: how could Israel be so clumsy and carry out an operation knowing that their faces would be caught on video surveillance cameras. Well, maybe Israel did that intentionally. Maybe Israel deliberately hired an outside team to do their deed and in the process, deflect attention from real Mossad operatives. In the world inhabited by international agencies like the Mossad, none of this is beyond the realm of possible.
Whoever did it wanted it to look as if Israel had done it. And that’s okay. The world is a far better place because Mahmoud Mabhouh, a major player in Hamas, a major terrorist, a bad guy of the highest order, is dead.
Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and a social and political commentator. Read his latest book THUGS. He maintains The Micah Report at www.micahhalpern.com.