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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. [1]

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