Roger L. Simon

What Happens in Dubai Stays in Dubai

Press bla-bla continues on the putative assassination of Hamas thug Mahmoud al-Mahbouh by the Mossad in Dubai last January. I don’t have much more to say on the subject, but couldn’t resist the title above. In fact, it may be more accurate than I intended because what the emirate seems to be embarked upon is a publicity campaign and, hey, their hotels aren’t as busy as they used to be (whose are? well, maybe Washington’s).

The latest jab from Dubai authorities seems to be an attempt to keep dual citizenship Israelis out of their country. (Normal Israelis weren’t welcome in the first place.) From the CSM: Dubai’s decision Monday to ban Israeli dual citizens in response to the assassination here last month of a senior Hamas figure is one part security, many parts politics. Gag me with a spoon, as Moon Unit Zappa would say.

But further down the piece we learn that even emirates don’t like being accused of racial profiling: “In announcing the sanction against Israeli citizens traveling to Dubai on second passports, Tamim raised hackles about racial stereotyping when he said that security personnel would be trained to identify Israelis by their accents and their faces.” But not to worry. High tech Dubai knows how to handle this: “Rather than relying on appearances and accents to identify Israeli citizens, says Dr. Karasik, Dubai authorities will likely improve their system for checking passports, including using biometric data.

Police can also identify dual nationals after they enter the country by tracking where they congregate and where their businesses have tended to be located, he adds.”

I didn’t know there were any delis in Dubai. (The Vegas analogy only goes so far.) Meanwhile, the Dubai police are calling for reinforcements in the form of the Federal Bureau of Investigation no less: Dubai police have called on the FBI to probe links between the suspects in the assassination of a Hamas commander and their U.S.-issued payment cards, the National reported on Tuesday, citing a source at the federal intelligence agency.

Hmmm…. interesting. Why this grandstanding? I’m not sure this is particularly good publicity for Dubai, though it is good publicity (sort of) for the police chief, etc. Nevertheless, the longer this story stays in the news the longer the biggest of all lingering questions stays there: What the Hell was Dubai doing being the transit for Hamas weapons for all these years that it would necessitate this Mossad action? It’s unlikely the Israelis want to send six, sixty or six hundred (whatever the number proves to be) agents into their country. Well, the answer is a four-letter word and it begins with I….