The invaluable Paul Woodward of War in Context has been closely following the assassination of Mahmoud al Mahbouh in Dubai. The story’s been unraveling like a brilliant spy novel (or not-so-brilliant spy) right on Paul’s blog, where he’s been highlighting news clips and giving his usual incisive commentary.
Though Israel has staunchly denied any involvement, all signs seem to point to Israel’s Mossad as the culprits of the hotel room murder. And it looks like they tread about as lightly as a Merkava.
The company Payoneer Inc., based in New York, has been named in the case – a company that helps facilitate Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Payoneer provides financial services for trip participants and as the Wall Street Journal reports, the company’s chief executive, Yuval Tal, is a former Israeli special-forces soldier.
Tal appeared on Fox News during the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon, notes the Journal.
The paper also mentions that the incident has started to diplomatically affect the U.S.:
United Arab Emirates officials have contacted U.S. authorities for assistance in the probe, according to a person familiar with the situation. (Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the U.A.E.) A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment.
No comment, as yet. I wonder if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will look into the incident and request that Israel cooperate in an investigation as British and Irish foreign ministers did with regards to forged passports from their countries. (Australia, Germany, and France, whose passports were also used, have yet to make such a request.) Israeli F.M. Avigdor Lieberman rejected the pleas, denying involvement in the incident and blaming it on Arabs, natch.
Somehow, I doubt Clinton will come knocking. Which makes me wonder:
With Israel’s right wing leadership repeatedly making a mockery of the U.S. administration, why didn’t Israel just sic one of its new ‘super-drones’ on al Mahbouh. After all, that’s the U.S.’s chosen method for covert extraterritorial assassinations, and you wouldn’t have to bother with all those Europeans.