The recent assassination of Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, has all the hallmarks of a Jason Bourne movie – except it was real. Last month, the Hamas arms-dealer was found dead in his Dubai hotel. The alleged story depicts eleven assassins slipping into the country using fake passports, trailing the target in an assortment of costumes, and finally killing the man via electrocution and suffocation. All of this has supposedly been documented by video clips from an assortment of closed-circuit televisions. In a stunning display of police legwork, the authorities in Dubai have also released the names and pictures of all eleven alleged assassins.
Hamas has been quick to blame the elite Israeli spy agency, Mossad, for the assassination. The Israelis, who take no responsibility, certainly do have motive. Al-Mabhouh was a well known terrorist who helped channel Iranian arms to Hamas and Hezbollah fighters. He already spent time in Israeli jails for a variety of transgressions. However, as the story unfolds, questions about Mossad’s involvement are becoming significant.
Mossad, which has successfully executed assassination plots before, is world renowned for its skill. The fact that it could be behind such a bungled operation, although possible, is dubious. Some Israelis, such as Rafi Eitan, a former Mossad official and government minister, completely deny that Israel could have had a role in such a sloppy plot.
First, the numerous gaffes made do not appear to be the work of an elite assassin team. Current reports indicate that the passports used were forgeries. The six British nationals, as of now, seem to be victims of identity theft. However, it is ironic that all six Brits have immigrated to Israel in the past few years. Why would the Israeli government, in an attempt to disguise its operatives, use the identities of individuals living within Israel? Likewise, the alleged assassin allowed themselves to be readily filmed by security cameras, something that helps move a movie plot along, but seems unlikely to be allowed by an elite team. Additionally, it is astounding to think that Dubai’s authorities could put together the entire web of the plot in such a short amount of time. Such incredible police-work could only be the product of a extremely sloppy execution, uncharacteristic of Mossad.
Second, while Israel certainly had motive there were indubitably other parties who would desire to see al-Mabhouh dead. As an arms dealer he undoubtedly had unsavory friends, any of which who could have been responsible. Alternatively, insiders within Hamas or other anti-Israeli groups or governments have motive to frame Israel. While ANR has not seen any evidence to point to any group, it is prudent to be aware of other possibilities before Israel gets blamed.
Unfortunately, that seems to be what is already happening. Hamas has vowed revenge. While Hamas’s power to bring severe harm to Israel is limited, this nevertheless could end the current truce and slide the region backwards into fighting. This may, regrettably, be the intentions of some.
It may be a long time before the truth is revealed, if ever. The story seems too staged, too made-for-TV, for it not to be deeper than what meets the eye. Governments throughout the world should be careful to avoid hastily pointing fingers and sparking renewed conflict in the Middle East.