Unlike some previous Mossad SNAFUs, this time the assassins did get the correct guy, and they did kill him. They even managed to leave the country without being arrested. What these pseudo-pros did not realize is that a) their faces would be identified b) their passports would be identified and c) their retinal scans would be identified. So much for their professionalism (click on the picture for a high-res picture of their mugshots). Furthermore, all their actions were caught on numerous CCTV and have been made public by the Dubai police (see video here). Lastly , since these idiots decided to take the real identities of wholly unsuspecting Israeli citizens from Europe, they have now alienated not only the rest of the planet, but even their own public opinion (read Gilad's excellent commentary about this). Today, it was announced that they were now all blacklisted (well, redlisted, technically) by Interpol. Enraged Dubai cops are now demanding that the head of the Mossad be placed on the Interpol "red list" too.
And all this for what purpose exactly?
Here is what Ha'aretz' Gideon Levy had to say about this:
Let's suppose the Dubai assassination project had worked out well. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh would have received his kiss of death, the assassins would have returned safe and sound to their bases, and no Israeli would have run into identity complications. And then? Mahmoud's place would have been taken by Mohammed, who also would have tried to kill Israeli soldiers and smuggle Iranian arms into Gaza. Perhaps the heir would even outperform his predecessor, as has happened in several previous liquidations. We eliminated Abbas al-Musawi? Well done, Israel Defense Forces. We got Hassan Nasrallah. We killed Ahmed Yassin? Well done, Shin Bet security service. We got a Hamas many times stronger. Abu Jihad was eliminated? Well done to the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit - of course, according to foreign news reports. We killed a potential partner, relatively moderate and charismatic. As a bonus, we got revenge attacks like those after "the Engineer" Yihyeh Ayash was slain. We also got the danger hovering over every Israeli and Jew in the world each anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, which was also blamed on Israel.He is quite correct, of course. In reality, the Israeli secret service is far from being as formidable as some think. It is technically very mediocre and strategically outright incompetent. The IDF and the Mossad (and by "Mossad" I am really referring to the whole bunch of them, Mossad, Aman, etc.) are little more than yet another example of the boundless Israeli arrogance, hubris and outright stupidity. Sure, they are skilled at organizing massacres (like the one in Gaza) and at executing Palestinian leaders, but it is a constant feature of the Israeli security establishment that each of its supposed tactical "successes" results in a strategic disaster.
I am under no illusions about the long term consequences of this latest Mossad debacle. The iron grip of the Israel Lobby on the western corporate press and political elites is such that after a little huffing and puffing it will be all forgotten, swept under the carpet. If needed, some big revelation about the "new Antisemitism" will be announced or a Holocaust event organized (like this one). All in all, this is really a "no big deal" case, at least as seen by the Israeli side. But the real consequence of this will be to further erode the perception of the Israeli power in the eyes of the world and, in particular, in the Middle-East.
Speaking about Israeli assassinations, there was one which was clearly a "success", at least in tactical terms: the murder of Imad Mughniyah in Damascus in 2008 (though in this case, the Israelis did not act alone, but with Syrian complicity). here is what Hassan Nasrallah had to say about Hezbollah's upcoming retaliation for his death:
So they thought Hezbollah would search for a modest aim and strike it and consider that a revenge for Hajj Imad Moghniyeh and the story would end there. That’s not how we act. I would like to stress for you that in the past two years we had within our reach many modest aims but we did not make use of them because it is Hajj Imad Moghniyeh whose revenge we are seeking. This is in frank words. We know the goals and consequently the timing and the place. We know which operation might achieve this goal and then we might tell the Israelis this is Hezbollah’s response to your assassination of its jihadi leader. Our choices are open. We may take our time. No one is pressing on us. Let no one begrudge us. Our enemy is alarmed. Let them remain worried every day and in every place and field and concerning all goals. But it is we who will choose the time and the place and the goal. Today on the anniversary of Hajj Imad Moghniyeh I tell you and all his family, friends and dear ones: We want a revenge as great as Imad Moghniyeh. That’s what we are searching for. We do not want revenge for the sake of revenge, but in order to defend all of our leaders, cadres and the cause which Imad Moghniyeh represents.Unlike the Israeli leaders, it is well-known that Hassan Nasrallah never makes empty threats. In this case, Hassan Nasrallah is announcing that Hezbollah will kill an Israeli official of the Cabinet or IDF command level (whether active or retired). What Hezbollah is seeking is not just a way to "get even" but to achieve a tacit agreement with the Israelis that they will not start killing off each other's leaders (something along the lines of the understanding which, say, the CIA and KGB had during the Cold War years).
Will the Israelis be smart enough to realize that the murder of Mughniyah was a major strategic blunder and that they better get a modus vivendi with Hezbollah? I don't think so. I therfore fully expect Hezbollah to deliver on their promised retaliation. Needlss to say, the Israelis will go crazy when this happens. They will probably try to kill Hassan Nasrallah or Naim Qassem, as they have so many other times in the past, and they will probably fail. But even if they succeed, this will bring them no advantage: Israeli leader fear death, Hezbollah leaders don't.
Still, Hezbollah can hardly be seen as triggering another orgy of violence like the war of 2006. And since Hezbollah is not in the business of conducting operations it cannot claim credit for (no, Hezbollah had nothing to do with the Buenos-Aires bombings), this places Hezbollah in a complicated situation: how to retaliate at a Cabinet/IDF command level without triggering a war? There are two possible solutions to this problem: a) to retaliate and wait for the next (inevitable) war to start to admit responsibility or b) to retaliate once a war is started. The former would be a departure from the usual Hezbollah practice, so I am leaning towards the latter.
Alas, we will know soon enough.
UPDATE1: for a good laugh on how the Zionist controlled corporate media spins this debacle, check out the hilarious report by Sky News about how the Mossad was framed by common criminals (I kid you not!). Great stuff really. Stay tuned for more attempts to "dis-ridicule" the Mossad dummies.
UPDATE2: Seumas Milne from The Guardian makes a very valid point: "Imagine for a moment what the reaction would be if Iranian intelligence was almost unversally believed to have assassinated a leader of one of the organisations fighting the Tehran government in a western-friendly state. Then consider how Britain, let alone the US, might respond if the killers had carried out the operation using forged or stolen passports of citizens of four European states, including Britain, with dual Iranian nationality". The guy must be an Antisemite. No doubt.
UPDATE3: who gives a f**k about the consequences of this debacle? Not Eitan Haber from Ynet, for sure. I am afraid that he is quite correct.
UPDATE4: According to Ha'aretz the Israeli Government believes that what Ha'aretz calls the "Dubai passport row" (sic) won't cause a major crisis. Why can a brazen act of international terrorism can be described as a "passport row"? Kuz its *Israel* dummy! They are the good guys, remember?
UPDATE5: The Gulf News website reports that the two Palestinian accomplices of the Mossad assassins who were arrested in Jordan and extradited to Dubai were former members of Palestinian Authority. Surprise, surprise, PA thugs acting like footsoliders for the Mossad. What else is new?
UPDATE6: AP reports that the total number of suspects is now 18. Eighteen operatives for the murder one Hamas official. Just how incompetent, not to mention cowardly, are these guys?!
UPDATE7: Israel is becoming an official "pariah state" says Gilad Atzmon. Bradley Burston agrees in Ha'aretz. This reminds me of the prophetic words of Norman Finkelstein: "At the same time, Israelis are hardened, and unless they are forced to pay a price, they are not likely to respond to moral or ethical appeals. I suppose it is like South Africa during Apartheid. When some were forced to pay the price – through sanctions, some of them turned around. You know, when you heard of South Africa in those times, your skin crawled. You might as well have been talking about Nazi Germany. People just did not want anything to do with South Africa. It just had such an ugly reputation. And, South Africans were not pleased with that". I agree with all of them. While the totally Zionised corporate media and ruling elites will continue to blindly Israel, the rest of mankind, in particular those with liberal or progressive views, is recoiling in horror and disgust at the behavior of this racist terrorist rogue colonial statelet.
UPDATE8: check out Robert Fisk's take on this story:
UPDATE9: check out Victor Ostrovsky (former Mossad) take on this story here.
UPDATE10: According to Gulf News, the hit team used a lamp to try to make the murder look like an electrocution. The paper adds that Mahmoud Al Mabhouh was not tortured since the killers only spent 22 minutes in the room. Instead, he was killed by suffocation. A total of 18 members were part of the hit team which attached a special tracking device to al Mabhouh's car to track him back to the hotel.