Monday, March 15, 2010

Is the Mossad Really the Blame for the Assassination in Dubai?

More than six weeks have passed following the January 19 killing of Hamas operative and master terror architect, Mahmoud al-Mahhouh, in his hotel room in the UAE Sheikdom of Dubai. Of the more than 18 suspects alleged to be involved in this "hit", all carrying forged passports with "stolen" identities of people living as far away as Australia, the main perpetrators suspected of planning and carrying out are members of what many are calling the act the "handy work" of Israel's chief security organization, the Mossad.

The history of Israel's elite intelligence gathering and operations organization began virtually with the country's independence in May, 1948. Israel's early leaders, most particularly David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, saw a dire need to establish a special organization to replace earlier covert ones such as the Palmach, and Irgun, which had been involved in activities such as arms smuggling and manufacturing, smuggling of Jewish refugees into Palestine, and clandestine paramilitary operations that had been used against the British Mandatory Forces during the period of the British Mandate. From the Mossad's origin, on December 13, 1949, the main duties of those involved in this new branch of the Defense Ministry was to provide an external political information gathering service which included covert intelligence gathering beyond Israel's borders. Other activities of this new organization was to bring Jews to Israel from difficult locations abroad (especially Arab lands) and prevent terrorist acts against Israeli targets abroad. This activity in itself led to what has now become one of the Mossad's more well know activities: the planning and carrying out of special operations beyond Israel's borders.

Since the Mossad's formation, these "special operations" have included those such as the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, the tracking down and assassination of Arab terrorists who wee involved in the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich Germany; the assassination of Yehia El-Mashad, and Egyptian atomic scientist who was assisting Iraq to build it's first nuclear reactor (1980); the 1968 commandeering of the German ship Scheersberg A with a cargo of 200 tons of yellowcake uranium which was instrumental for developing Israel's own nuclear program; the assassination of numerous terrorists, including several prominent Palestinians such as Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) a Fatah military commander in Tunis in 1988; the near assassination of Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal in Amman Jordan (1997), the alleged killing of Hizbollah military leader Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February, 2008; and of course the recent Assassination of Hamas military leader Mahmoud al-Mahboubh, who Dubai police say was most likely injected with some kind of poison, as well as b being subjected to apparent torture while being interrogated by his killers.

Not every Mossad operation is successful; as was the case with Khaled Mashal (when two captured Mossad agents were traded back to Israel for the release of 80 high profile terrorists, including then Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Natanyahu went personally to Jordan to apologize to King Hussein); and in the case of two Israelis being apprehended in New Zealand with false passports, resulting in a diplomatic row between the two countries. Even though the "objective" of the Dubai operation was successful (if the Mossad was indeed involved), the operations involved have proved to be more costly than the benefit gained by al-Mahbouh's killing; especially the diplomatic fall-out that has resulted from the countries from which the passports and false identities were used. Australia's P.M. Kevin Rudd said that the using of 3 Australian passports in this operation "is of the deepest concern by my government".

But isn't the use of fake and stolen identities used in intelligence organizations all over the world, including the American CIA, British MI-5 and Russian KGB intelligence services? They surely are.

Despite the fallout from the Dubai affair, the Mossad will continue to engage in their very needed activities, as the survival of Israel vitally depends of these activities, including the "special operations" that the al-Mahbouh's assassination is definitely a part of.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Israeli Tennis Star Shahar Peer Claims Her Place in Dubai

Israeli tennis ace, Shahar Peer, earned her place in the Dubai Tennis Championship by reaching the tournament semi-final event by defeating the No.10 ranked player, Li Na, China's first Grand Slam tennis star. Peer, age 22, managed to defeat Na, who forfeited the second game against Peer due to suffering a back injury. Peer, who was refused a visa to play in Dubai last year, considered her playing there a moral victory; not only for herself but for Israel as well.

"It's not easy being Israeli in a place like Dubai; I'm the only player who has not played on center court (the court where the matches are televised and the top players are seen on)" she said. This was especially true, following the world-wide attention given the assassination of a top Hamas agent, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a few weeks before; and whose death is now being blamed on Israel's Mossad intelligence organization.

Shahar played against American tennis star Venus Williams in the semi-final event, losing against the No. 3 ranked player by 6-4, 6-1. But despite her loss to Williams (whom Peer has played against twice) the plucky Sabra athlete was still upbeat and considered her reaching the semi-finals well worth all the security problems she had to face during her stay in the Arab Emirate state. "From a tennis standpoint as well as a psychological standpoint, it was really an experience that I'll never forget. This was a dream week in which almost everything came together at the right time. If someone were to ask me if I would've been happy with this result a while ago, I would've gladly taken it", she said upon arriving back in Israel.

Due to security concerns, Peer could not mix with other tennis players and spent most of her stay in her hotel room – except when she was playing, of course. American tennis star Venus Williams said afterwards that she "really admired Shahar's courage and fortitude" and may have even helped Peer's attendance by saying that she would only go the tournament if Shahar Peer was allowed to play.

Currently ranked No. 22 in the world, Shahar's performance in Dubai may elevate her to be "within the top 20" in world ranking (she has previously been ranked as high as 17). Her reaching the "semis" in Dubai may also help her performance in other tournaments this year, including ones like the French Open and Wimbledon.

Incidentally, Shahar Peer was in the Israeli military and excelled in marksmanship; during her basic training. She spent her compulsory service as a secretary, while she also practiced playing tennis. - Headlines