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Dubai, or Not Dubai?

Comment: The recent media flap about the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai has obscured much about the political and economic reality of that small kingdom. Recently a threat to default and collapse the global financial system (until its rescue by a fellow Emirate), that country was one of the conduits for money to the 9/11 hijackers and is an epicenter of interntional intrigue.

A recent “Sydney Morning Herald” story underscored the darker side of “Dubai World.”

The supposed “Mossad” assassination of a Hamas official is a clown show. To anyone knowledgable about intelligence matters, it is not as advertised. The technology of assassination is so sophisticated as to appear like science fiction to the unitiated. It sure as hell isn’t done like this was, with the use of phony passports from Australia, the U.S., Ireland, England and Germany.

Two of the suspects were Palestinians and two others escaped by sea to Iran. Doesn’t sound like Mossad.

Most observers have failed to ask why, if the Dubai police establishment had so much raw intelligence about the “assassins,” they failed to act!

The killing was, in all probability, one of two things: either an attempt by one or more rival intelligence services to discredit Israel/Mossad or a deliberately fumbled operation by Mossad to create a political/diplomatic embarrassment for the Netanyahu regime–sort of an Israeli Watergate affair.

In the latter context, it should be noted that another fumbled hit against a Hamas leader took place when Netanyahu was last in power. Tzipi Livni, the Labor Party candidate who won a plurality in the last election (but did not have enough votes to form a coalition in the Israli parliamentary system), has a Mossad background.

Note, also, that–as the author points out–Dubai has not released critical information about the killing.

“Dirty or Clean, Cash Keeps Rolling in to Dubai” by Andrew Stevenson; Sydney Morning Herald; 3/20/2010.

From the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum should be master of all he surveys.

But there are a few problems for the ruler of Dubai: the murk of dust and exhaust that lays heavy on the desert metropolis makes it very hard to see to the bottom, while the lifts of the newly opened building are not working, making it impossible to get to the top. . .

. . . .  in the space of a year, two visiting political figures have been murdered; another colourful character was held prisoner in her apartment before being rendered to Egypt.

The second murder, of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, attributed to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in January, was too much for even Dubai to turn a blind eye to.

The brazen abuse of the passports of dual-nationality Israelis – including those of four Australians – to enable a 27-strong team to repeatedly enter Dubai before murdering Mabhouh on January 20 could not be ignored.

The Dubai police chief, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, has been sharply critical of Israel in general and Mossad in particular, releasing many minutes of security camera footage to support his case. Australia and other western nations, including Ireland and Britain, followed suit.

But General Dahi has chosen to leave hidden at least as much as he has revealed. The autopsy report has not been made public, and neither has the crucial footage from the corridor that shows how the killers entered Mr Mabhouh’s room.

Nor has any indication been given of what the Hamas leader charged with organising the flow of weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip was doing in Dubai – also on a fake passport and with no security – and where he went between 4pm on January 19, after checking in to his hotel, and 8.24pm, when he returned.

Who had he come to meet? Why would he meet Iranians here and not in Iran, or in Syria where he lived? Mabhouh’s is not the only startling death. [Italics are mine–D.E.] Sulim Yamadayev, an opponent of the Chechen President, Ramzan Kadyrov, was shot dead in the car park of an expensive hotel complex in Dubai last April. Dubai police accused Mr Kadyrov’s first cousin Adam Delimkhanov of organising the assassination.

And then there is the strange tale of Malika Karoum, a Dutch-Moroccan woman and former secret service agent, who had moved into money laundering. Karoum was captured in her Dubai apartment by former colleagues from the Dutch security forces and convicted.

Dr Theodore Karasik, an analyst with the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, suggests what matters in Dubai is not who you are but how you behave.

”All kinds of politicos come here, either for R and R, or to avoid prosecution in their home countries,” he said. ”They’re accepted if they keep their noses clean; if they make trouble … they will be gone very quickly.”

But trouble is not the only thing that finds its way to Dubai. Airport regulations allow any quantity of cash in any currency to be carried into the country. It is now coming in planeloads from Afghanistan, where, according to airport declarations sighted by The Washington Post, up to $US1 billion

($1.08 billion) a year, more than the government’s annual tax revenue, is being flown in.

Several figures closely connected to the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, own villas in Dubai, and the Post has tied the son of Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, to a $US44 million real estate spree on Dubai’s waterfront – a feat made more impressive by the fact he was only 11 years old. Dr Karasik said: ”There’s a lot of suitcases of money running around from a lot of different sources, so it’s kin

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