If it's Monday, it must be (more on) Dubai
Am I fascinated with this story or am I fascinated with this story?
As the MSM continues to report on the huffing and puffing of various Eurocrats about the use of stolen or semi-stolen (who really knows?) passports in the murder of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, you have to look around the edges for the real story. And one of those places today is the Chinese news agency Xinhua. The world's biggest news agency (by a fair amount) often publishes some fascinating material before its censors get their hands in to do their regulating and squashing. Here's today's tidbit - Hamas denies Dubai police accusation:
Hamas on Monday denied Dubai police chief's accusation that a Hamas traitor informed Mossad, Israel's security intelligence service, about its militant leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's visit to Dubai, which led to his assassination on Jan. 20.
Hamas office in Damascus told Xinhua on Monday that "we do not accept the accusation, we will continue our coordination with the Dubai police to complete the investigation."
Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said an internal "agent" of Hamas leaked the travel information of al-Mabhouh, which resulted in his assassination, calling on Hamas to launch an internal inquiry, the English newspaper of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Gulf News reported on Sunday.
No wonder Hamas was floating their contention over the weekend that Mahbouh got caught because he was making his travel reservations online. (Was it Expedia or Travelocity? ... I would recommend Kayak.) They also accused him of sloppy cellphone usage, which would have made him about the dumbest guy in the Middle East. But who knows? In any case, Hamas' greatest fear - and the fear no doubt of allies in Iran and elsewhere - is now that they have been compromised. That only would make this action a huge success and call to question the whole notion that agents involved were sloppy in being caught on camera. Maybe that was their intention all along - or if not an intention a known possible collateral result which they gave only a shrug.
Hamas is getting a bad press too from Dubai police chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, who the LAT is calling "an acerbic Columbo in an Arabic dishdasha" (good photo at the link), for not taking proper security precautions:
"Mabhouh did not take basic security precautions, and if he had at least one person with him, [the suspects] would not have been able to kill him," Tamim told the Gulf News, a Dubai-based English-language daily paper.
Well, maybe, maybe not. If Hamas was already compromised, I'm not sure a single security person would have been able to save Mahbhouh, who, after all, had at least eleven against him.
I should also mention Tom Gross's discussion of the case from last week, which notably contains photos of victims of missiles procured by Mahbouh. When you see the pictures, you don't really much care how this guy died, just as long as he did. Whereevr the "blame" is assigned, I suspect this all now poised to fade from the front pages and what we learn in the future will be from memoirs, most of which will be self-serving, naturally enough. To be continued. Sometime.