Rudderless on Dubai

There is something peculiar about the apparent Australian government response to the killing of the Hamas terror operative in Dubai.

I say “apparent” because when the Sydney Morning Herald breathlessly and excitedly reveals (Saturday edition) that Prime Minister Rudd is “furious” about the supposed Mossad action, it’s hard to know how much is reality and how much is the Fairfax clan trying to ratchet up the emotion. 

However, the idea that “friends don’t forge friends passports” seems to have become an Australian government mantra, and if Jason Koustoukis (also in Saturdays paper) is correct in suggesting that this may result in Australia abstaining rather than voting against a US General Assembly resolution regarding Israel in Gaza, then it would seem that the Rudd / Smith line is being influenced.

Sure, it looks likely that Israel was responsible, but it isn’t proven by any means, despite what our good friends in Dubai are saying.

The paradox is striking.  On one day, Rudd / Smith bignote the “Islamist Jihadist” threat to Australia;  the very next day, the Rudd / Smith response to an act that clearly has eliminated an important Islamist perpertrator of violence is to focus solely on the passport process and ignore the positive aspect of eliminating the Hamas operative.  As a non-Jewish work colleague said to me,  “I’m delighted the Hamas guy was killed, whoever did it.  But in the paper, you don’t even read who the Hamas guy was or what he had done”. 

Surely every spy/cover group from the CIA to MI5 and our own ASIO uses different tactics to get the job done.  Even (believe it or not) using forged passports.   Yes, it’s a negative if Israel used Australian passports, and Australia needs to make it clear that this is not a sanctioned activity, but let’s get some perspective.

Two articles express this dissonance quite well.   First, read Caroline Glick’s article When rhetoric rules the roost …  and while you read it, wonder whether where you see the word “Europe” you can think “Rudd / Smith”

As Glick writes …….”more often than not, the concerted positions of the EU member nations have nothing to do with any of their national interests.

Take the EU’s initial response to the killing of Hamas terror-master Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 19. A senior terrorist engaging in the illegal purchase of illicit arms from Iran for Hamas-controlled Gaza is killed in his hotel room. The same Dubai authorities who had no problem with hosting a wanted international terrorist worked themselves into a frenzy condemning his killing. And of course, despite the fact that any number of governments, (Egypt and Jordan come to mind), and rival terrorist organizations, (Fatah, anyone?) had ample reason to wish to see Mabhouh dead, Dubai’s police chief Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim blamed Israel.

Not only did he blame Israel, to substantiate his claims, Tamim released what he said was video footage of alleged Mossad operatives who entered Dubai with European and Australian passports.

Relying only on Tamim’s allegations, EU leaders went into high dudgeon. Ignoring the nature of the operation, the basic lack of credibility of the source of information, and the interests of Europe in defeating jihadist terrorism in the Middle East and worldwide, the chanceries of Europe squawked indignantly and threatened to cut off intelligence cooperation with Israel.

In Britain for instance, Foreign Office sources told the Daily Telegraph, “If the Israelis were responsible for the assassination in Dubai, they are seriously jeopardizing the important intelligence-sharing arrangement that currently exists between Britain and Israel.”

It reportedly took the intervention of the highest echelons of Europe’s intelligence agencies to get their hysterical politicians and diplomats to stop blaming and threatening Israel. After being dressed down, on Monday, the chastened EU foreign ministers abstained from mentioning Israel by name in their joint condemnation of the alleged use of European passports by the alleged operatives who allegedly killed the terrorist Mabhouh.

And lucky they held their tongues. Because on Tuesday, Tamim claimed that after the hit, at least two of the alleged members of the alleged assassination team departed Dubai for Iran. It’s hard to imagine Mossad officers feeling safer in Iran than in Dubai at any time and certainly it is hard to see why they would flee to Iran after killing an Iranian-sponsored terrorist.

What the initial European reaction to Tamim’s allegations shows is that blaming Israel has become Europe’s default foreign policy. It apparently never occurred to the Europeans that Israel might not be responsible for the hit. And it certainly never occurred to them that cutting off intelligence ties with Israel will harm them more than Israel.

They didn’t think of the latter, of course, because Europe has no idea of what its interests are. All it knows is how to sound off authoritatively.”

The rest of the article is also very clear in its thoughts.

Then there is this excellent article by Andrew Landeryou Use my Passport: Hamas mass murderer got what he deserved, all else is trivia

He notes “Being a victim of a one-off identity theft is obviously not nice. And we can entirely understand the confusion and unhappiness about the individuals in that position. We’re sure not even the knuckle-headed authorities in the Dubai one-man dictatorship will hold them responsible for the death of the Hamas arms-buyer.  But after everyone has had a Bex and a good lie down, then surely the paramount issue is the need for Israel to protect itself from those who wish to terrorise it into madness, blast Jerusalem with nukes and drive six million Jews into the sea.”

Dubai is clearly milking this affair for as much as it can, drip feeding new information on a daily basis to a willing press.  But just what game is Dubai playing?  The Wall Street Journal provides insight here into the key role Dubai plays in trade with Iran,  acting as a go-between for important deals.   Another article describes Dubai as Iran’s back door and an absolute sieve for embargoed products to get to Iran.  As it says “Iran’s footprints are everywhere in Dubai. About 8,000 Iranian businesses, and at least 1,200 trading companies, operate in the emirate, according to the Iranian Business Council, a Dubai-based group that promotes economic ties.”   One can also well imagine that Iran is more than pleased that the Dubai affair is taking Iran off the front pages, even more so if Israel gets a hammering.  Just maybe, the Iranians might have helped their Dubai pals rig up a few close-circuit TVs and an elaborate sting. Now that would be worth a hundred million petrodollars or so. 

Even if it is eventually proven that the Mossad was responsible, there will be many Jews and non-Jews who will be comfortable that on balance it was a good thing.  And Purim is a reminder that Haman definitely comes off second best .. Hmm Haman, Hamas…  the ears have it.

With Purim and Mardi Gras being close together this year,  let’s check out New Orleans and what’s on this year... including some Klezmer New Orleans Mardi Gras Style

So we may be a bit Rudderless on Dubai, but it’ll all turn out well – just like in Sleepless in Seattle

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One thought on “Rudderless on Dubai

  1. Russell - Rose Bay March 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm -

    How about this for a scenario.
    The Mossad did bump off the guy with two or three operatives.
    Then, during the next 10 days before the killing was announced, the Iranians with Dubai collusion worked out a elaborate framing with amateurish doctoring of 30 odd passports and creation of videos to provoke the condemning of Israel.
    Farfetched maybe, but the factoid currently promoted that Mossad operatives would “escape” on Australian passports to Iran of all places sounds ridiculous.