Was Mossad behind Dubai assassination? Israel foreign minister isn't saying
Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declined Wednesday to confirm or deny whether Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, was involved in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
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Amir Oren, an intelligence writer for Haaretz, said that Mossad chief Meir Dagan – whose tenure Netanyahu recently extended for an eighth year, should be forced to resign. "What is needed now is a swift decision to terminate Dagan's contract and appoint a new Mossad chief," Oren wrote Wednesday. Besides having to deal with the fallout of frustration from European countries, in whose name the fabricated passports were used, Oren suggested that Israel must be more accountable to its citizens' identities. In the 1997 incident, Canadian passports were used.Skip to next paragraph
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"But even if whoever carried out the assassination does reach some kind of arrangement with the infuriated Western nations, it still has an obligation to its own citizens," Oren wrote.
Yossi Melman, who also writes for Haaretz and is a veteran journalist specializing in covering the Mossad, argues that to the contrary, the Mabhouh assassination is nothing like the attempt on Mashal's life. First and foremost, he says, the target was killed and no Israelis were arrested. Moreover, Israel's relationship with Jordan is not comparable to its relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), of which Dubai is a member. Israel and the UAE have no diplomatic ties, but Israelis have occasionally been allowed in the Emirates; Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer is there competing now.
"In 1997, Israel operated on the territory of a friendly Arab country with which it had long-term strategic interests. Israel agents were arrested, the target was not killed, and King Hussein was very upset. He almost swore to cut off relations with Israel," Melman says.
"On the contrary, Dubai doesn't have friendly relations with Israel. It's a hub for Iran, and most of the weapons coming here are going via Dubai. In Dubai, there are hundreds of companies which are fronts for the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards," Melman charges.
Where will the evidence lead?
He predicts that Israel might emerge with "some stains" and some diplomatic damage to repair, but not more than that. "It depends also on the magnitude of new evidence that will be emerging, which might lead Israel directly to the operation, but it doesn’t seem so at the moment," says Melman, author of "Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community."
"It is more feared than it was a decade ago after the Mashaal affair," he says. "The storm is gathering, mostly regarding these passports. But, based on past precedents, Israel will sustain the shock waves."