We haven’t publicly talked about the death of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. There has been much discussion about it in the media, but so far more heat than light has been generated and crucial questions have yet to be answered. Such a strange situation, and so many odd occurrences.
I look forward to the book someone is no doubt writing about it. Nonetheless, this is a story certain to bring paranoia bounding out into the daylight, gnashing its teeth and looking for something to gnaw.
The blogger, Barry Shaw, whose post I am using to build my own comments ‘round, lives in Israel. He calls his blog simply The View from Israel. Israeli Advocacy in a Difficult World. In his profile Mr. Shaw explains his reason for blogging:
Usually public opinion is formed from newspapers or TV reporting. My opinion was formed from living in Israel, witnessing the horror of terror, reading the misinformation and downright lies perpetrated by the Western media, seen the incompetence of Israeli leaders to project the facts. This blog comes from a particularly personal perspective. The articles may be controversial and provocative. I hope so. They are intended to make you think. They are intended to revise your opinion of the driving forces not only in the Middle East but also where you live. For whatever strikes Israel today will surely visit you tomorrow…
This story is a particularly explosive topic. Anything about Israel or coming out of that country turns contentious very quickly. No doubt people have strong feelings one way or another about this incident. However, I would remind commenters that just because the subject is Israel doesn’t mean the usual rules don’t apply - i.e., courtesy, civility, and reasonable discourse. The comment thread is to be limited to the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and its aftermath, including this latest move by Britain.
Theories are fine, as long as they are civil, reasonable, adult conclusions, not global accusations we've all heard before. None of us knows enough about this situation to be able to declare with finality what “really” happened or why. However, that doesn’t keep us from making a best guess and you’re welcome to give us your opinion. Reasonably. Politely… You know the drill by now.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Britain Shoots Itself in The Foot
The recent public revelation from Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, that the British Government has expelled a leading Israeli diplomat over the copying of British passports is worrying on a number of levels.Normally, I’d correct an obvious typo in an essay, but this one is too delicious to fix. The image of lawyers stacked up like cordwood, ready to make money off the situation is beyond Freudian. But he’s right…there are indeed layers of uncertainty here. But also to be sure, the lawyers are slavering off stage.
It has not been proven that Israel is responsible for the execution of a Hamas terrorist in Dubai. There are lawyers [sic] of uncertainty over the death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
The most compelling fact was that the door to his hotel room was locked and bolted from the inside. Hardly a scenario of a planned hit job by any intelligence agency.The hotel door is a real puzzle.
No proof, video or forensic, points to any individual or organisation responsible for removing a Hamas killer from the international covert world of terror and espionage.
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If I remember correctly, it took a while for that piece of information to be revealed. And I agree with him that the videos are not proof. The videos supplied so far have a Keystone Kops amateur hour quality to them. A normal paranoid (say, me) wonders if the Israelis have a macabre sense of humor, what with the wigs and glasses and caps and quick changes in the bathrooms, or if they - or some other ‘entity’ - deliberately made this into an overkill situation. So to speak. At any rate, the videos are bizarre…when they’re not aimless. Definitely, layer upon lawyer of uncertainty.
There was supposed to be close coordination between Israel and Britain in security and intelligence information sharing. Britain has been the beneficiary of vital classified information provided by Israel that has led to the prevention of a number of terror attacks in Britain.We know how grateful and gracious Britain is to Israel. About the same level of courtesy that our American president shows to Britain. But it makes you wonder: why did they take so long to expel someone? And is there anything Israel could’ve done to prevent this action by Britain? I don’t think so.
Now, in a rare public display, Britain has expelled Israel’s leading intelligence official in the U.K. from the Israeli Embassy at the Court of St. James.It’s not only rare, it’s quite tardy. What is the reason for this timing? You know it’s not arbitrary. You know they weren’t asleep and suddenly awakened to say, “Harrumph. Bad play. Out you go.” Lots of whys and whats remain to be answered here, including timing.
This act of ‘political correctness’ is foolhardy and dangerous, not for Israel but for Britain. Anyone with any knowledge of the workings at the Israeli Embassy know that it is short-staffed and under-resourced. His removal will reduce the effectiveness of Israel’s cooperation with the British authorities over terror threats that include information sharing.I wonder if this is at all connected to the White House’s display of rudeness toward Netanyahu during his visit here? No photo ops, no diplomatic protocol. The American Congress greeted Netanyahu warmly and reiterated their support for Israel. That support is not shared by this administration as has been amply demonstrated by Obama, SecState Clinton, and Joe Biden.
At any rate, I wonder if Britain’s timing is connected to Netanyahu’s American visit?
[…]I disagree. Political maneuverings, intelligence and security are all intertwined. They always have been. The pols posture while the intelligence and security folks fight over territorial prerogatives. Sometimes it’s amazing that things don’t turn out worse than they do. In this case, there could well be a distinct disconnect between what British intelligence wants (and knows) and what the politicians are saying publicly. We won’t know until the main players write their memoirs.
Britain has been protected by the intelligence provided by Israel. Now, due to political considerations and their recent decision, Britain has slapped Israel in the face. More importantly, it has deprived itself of a significant link in the intelligence and security chain that keeps British citizens safe. It will pay the painful consequence of this action.
This was a political decision, not an intelligence or security one.
Millibrand is a shrewd politician. Clobbering Israel will win him valuable brownie points as he makes a run for the leadership of the Labour Party after Gordon Brown’s anticipated loss in the upcoming British General Election.Meanwhile, there has been nothing proved in the Dubai claim regarding Mossad. It is a situation in which no response can be made and none would be accepted. Or rather, what Dubai wants Israel to claim would be suicide for Israel.
He knows the colour of his constituents. His announcement in the House of Commons against Israel will play to the Left wing of his party and to the Muslim population who will now see him as yet another dhimmi Jew serving their cause.
As I’ve said before, Israel is the West’s canary in the coal mine. We would be best served if the canary is protected from the poison gas emanating from her enemies. Why? Because Israel is the only canary. We can't go to the small state store and buy another one. So if the only democracy in the Middle East were to fail, the rest of the actors in that region would immediately begin killing one another. They know that and they know that Israel knows that and they know we know they know, etc.
Unfortunately, there are sufficient numbers of crazies among the Arab states (and Iran) that enlightened self-interest may not be enough to stay the hands of all of them.
Meanwhile, the fuzzy beards and baseball caps and quick changes on those videos are some strange stuff. It’s as though someone in the Middle East was playing Mossad as they thought Mossad might carry out an assassination. That’s one idea I’ve seen floated, though I find it a leaky boat. Entertaining, though.
Mossad can’t be that stupid - or that wasteful of human intel to use eleven operatives to go after one man. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t even high on their hit list so why would they destroy eleven agents to go after an ostensibly low-value target?
Mr Shaw has some suggestions about this operation and the value of its target here. He talks about a computer disc in Britain that went missing last year. Never found. He asks if the Arabs had it and if Dubai used it…see what you think.
As I said, we won’t know the reality for a long time. All we can do is judge and guess.
Judge away, dear reader, but if you do it via the comment thread, stay reasonable.