Targeted Killing in Dubai: A Mossad Operation Gone Awry?

Part 4: On the Israeli's Hit List

It can take months, or even years, for a man like al-Mabhouh to be added to the Israelis' hit list. Former Mossad agent Aaron Klein describes the decision-making process in his book "Striking Back," about the killing of the masterminds of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics:

First of all, Mossad, acting as a kind of unofficial public prosecutor, gathers information about terrorists who are personally responsible for the deaths of Israeli Jews. If the head of the Mossad believes that there is sufficient evident to justify liquidation, he notifies the prime minister and an informal group, previously known as "Committee X" in intelligence jargon, meets. In addition to the prime minister and the Mossad chief, the group usually includes the defense and foreign ministers, occasionally the interior minister and the head of the domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, and often the prime minister's adviser on terrorism.

Photo Gallery

8  Photos
Photo Gallery: How the Dubai Hit Was Carried Out

Each case is handled individually and apparently not all cases are simply waved through. In fact, decisions have to be unanimous. Someone who once took part in the procedure likens it to a trial, with the Mossad chief in the role of prosecutor and the others acting, if not as defense attorneys, at least as skeptics.

After the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, legendary Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir announced a guideline to the Israel parliament, the Knesset, that would shape the country's future approach. Wherever an attack was being prepared, wherever people were planning the murders of Jews and Israelis, she said, "that is precisely where we must strike." In other words: worldwide, including in Europe. And it was in Europe -- in Rome, Paris and Cyprus -- where many of the Munich attackers were later killed.

Some prime ministers are said to have been very quick to issue death sentences. Others, like Yitzhak Rabin, took their time.

Spectacular Successes and Mistakes

The Mossad thrived on its legend, as long as it was achieving spectacular successes, such as in 1956, when it smuggled a famous secret speech by Soviet party leader Nikita Khrushchev, in which he criticized the crimes of Josef Stalin, out of Russia; in 1966, when it kidnapped a MiG 21 fighter jet out of Iraq; or in 1981, when it did the reconnaissance work for Israel's bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq.

But the Mossad has also made some spectacular mistakes. As far back as the early 1950s, the service disgraced itself with the so-called Lavon Affair, a series of fire-bombings of cinemas and post offices in Egypt. The attacks were intended to destabilize the Egyptian regime, but the operation backfired completely. On July 21, 1973, agents killed a Moroccan waiter in front of his pregnant wife in Lillehammer, Norway. They had believed, erroneously, that he was Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of the Palestinian organization Black September.

Despite such failures, the Mossad was long able to preserve its standing as the best intelligence agency in the Middle East. The recklessness with which it apparently proceeded in Dubai could thoroughly damage this reputation, however.

The Woman in the Dark Wig

The actual killers entered the hotel at 6:34 p.m. They came in two teams, each consisting of two agents. All four agents were broad-shouldered men wearing baseball caps and backpacks, and carrying shopping bags. The two reconnaissance teams already in the Bustan were pulled out, to avoid raising suspicion, and replaced with two other teams, one disguised as a tourist couple wearing sun hats.

Gail Folliard and Kevin Daveron were supposed to secure the hallway. Both had changed into their disguises earlier, in different hotels in the vicinity. Both were wearing wigs, and Daveron was wearing a fake moustache and the uniform worn by Bustan Hotel employees. At 8 p.m., shortly before the killing, he was approached by a guest who couldn't find his room. Daveron managed to stall the man and warn another team, which was in the process of breaking open the door to Mabhouh's room.

All door locks in the Bustan are secured by a sophisticated card system that records all attempted openings. At exactly 8 p.m., the system recorded an attempted opening by an unknown card that was inserted into the lock of room 230.

At 8:24 p.m., Mabhouh returned to the hotel, entering it through the revolving door in the lobby. He was carrying a plastic bag containing his new shoes, and he took the elevator to the third floor. He failed to notice the man with the moustache, wearing a hotel uniform, or the woman in the dark wig, who had been pacing back and forth across the patterned brown carpet for the last half hour.

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1. Israel Tv Show In Dubai-go Israel, Go!
jewboy 02/23/2010
Zitat von sysopThe assassination of Hamas functionary Mahmoud al-Mabhouh is widely believed to have been the work of the Mossad. But why would Israel's legendary intelligence service allow the identity of its agents to be compromised? The affair looks set to damage the Mossad's reputation -- and unleash more bloodshed. By SPIEGEL staff. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,679764,00.html
"The events in Dubai were not a failure, as some Germans claim, but rather, the first assassination in the reality TV era. After all, the thought that our finest guys were photographed in Dubai by mistake and were involuntarily exposed is insulting and mostly outdated. They clearly wanted to be exposed, and rightfully so! It is for good reason that the photos from the Dubai hotel seemed almost staged, just like celebrities who invite the paparazzi to “unexpectedly” photograph them this afternoon at some trendy Tel Aviv street. It was also no coincidence that the makeup and wigs used by the “assassins” at the Dubai photo shoot were reminiscent of comedy skits on Israel’s Comedy Channel. We may soon find out that they also have a profile on Facebook, and that we can chat with them through our cell phone this afternoon. There is also no reason to worry about the implications of the operation’s exposure on the future of the participants. After their identity had been compromised, the stars of the clip may no longer be able to continue working for Mossad, yet like any reality show refugee they would be able to leverage their fame and experience for much nobler goals: Leadings advertising campaigns, launching cosmetics products, and with the help of a good agent even hosting some lifestyle show on RTL. in light of the latest success story, Mossad Director Meir Dagan’s contract should be extended for another term."
2. ws
symewinston 02/24/2010
I saw the footage of the security video cameras, the superbly edited version of it that the Dubai authorities made public and it was so funny; it reminded me of the shambling antics of the Keystone cops. However, the Mossad agents are literally deadly, not only deadly funny. Isn't significant that the British authorities were up in arms not about the assassination itself but the use of British passports by the Mossad operatives? Israel is rogue state, founded on the dispossession of the land of the Palestinians. A state which began its existence with terrorist acts against the British authorities in Palestine and now engages in state terrorism. Chao, WS
3. Israel And The Dubai Murder
jewboy 02/24/2010
Zitat von symewinstonI saw the footage of the security video cameras, the superbly edited version of it that the Dubai authorities made public and it was so funny; it reminded me of the shambling antics of the Keystone cops. However, the Mossad agents are literally deadly, not only deadly funny. Isn't significant that the British authorities were up in arms not about the assassination itself but the use of British passports by the Mossad operatives? Israel is rogue state, founded on the dispossession of the land of the Palestinians. A state which began its existence with terrorist acts against the British authorities in Palestine and now engages in state terrorism. Chao, WS
Why is it that the Brits always shed tears for terrorists? Even when your country is a terrorist target and was attacked by Islamo-fascists! Muhammad al-Mabhouh admitted on Al Jazeera that he abducted and killed 2 israeli soldiers. Militant Islam is at war with the Western democracies and killing al-Mabhouh was a victory in that war. The left wing Europeans see this as a crime. What Dubai did was a crime-it allowed the Hamas terrorist to move freely in the Gucci Kingdom instead of arresting him. Do you really think the UAE would cooperate with Israel and extradite al-Mabhouh to face trial in Jerusalem? Or perhaps Mossad should notify the authorities in Dubai about a forthcoming move on the terrorist? Mossad clearly did not inform the Argentinian government when Nazi murderer Adolf Eichmann was captured and abducted to face trial in Israel. Did Israel have the right to kill al-Mabhouh? Yes! He was a combatant, planning and committing acts of terror against Israel. UK and USA routinely kill enemy combatants, most recently by using drones to assassinate islamist in Afghanistan and Pakistan and there has been no criticism in the West. Why Israel should be treated differently for using similar measures? According to the Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz if the Israeli Air Force had killed Mabhouh while he was in Gaza, there would be absolutely no doubt that their action would be lawful. But al-Mabhouh was in Dubai and Israel had 2 options: to let him continue his war against the Jewish State, or kill him. If Israel did it- kudos! It is a victory in the war against terrorism which Europe wants to turn into a crime.
4. Targeted Killing
Insulaner 02/24/2010
Zitat von symewinstonI saw the footage of the security video cameras, the superbly edited version of it that the Dubai authorities made public and it was so funny; it reminded me of the shambling antics of the Keystone cops. However, the Mossad agents are literally deadly, not only deadly funny. Isn't significant that the British authorities were up in arms not about the assassination itself but the use of British passports by the Mossad operatives? Israel is rogue state, founded on the dispossession of the land of the Palestinians. A state which began its existence with terrorist acts against the British authorities in Palestine and now engages in state terrorism. Chao, WS
Of course the only thing a NATO-member can complain about is the abuse of passports. I do not see much differences to the "targeted killings" in Afghanistan. Except that the Mossad (or whoever was responsible) did a better job with less collateral damage. So far it seems they only killed their target person and not surrounding civilians. Apart from the advantage mentioned above I find such assassinations inacceptable. I also found the German bombing in Afghanistan inacceptable, which of course had by far worse consequences, and delievers a good argument for the German officials to remain as silent as possible. (I guess the motivation of the British authorities to remain more or less silent is similar). Before a capital punishment can be executed an open and transparent legal procedure has to be run. I expect a country like Israel (or any other country) to accept this minimal requirements, because that would make the difference between terrorism and a modern constitutional state. And of course capital punishment is not acceptable. Regards Insulaner
5.
rafko 02/24/2010
Yes, I keep forgetting; targeted killing, when approved by Israeli Government, is a key ingredient of Democratic Society, called Israel. How the hell I cannot get this through my head. Washington does, Berlin does, or do they! The World does, or does it! Hmm. Is this generation going to live long enough to comprehend that the term DEMOCRACY deserves a much better usage then "democartic" government of (i)srael.
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