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Re: [CT] Spiegel on Dubai assassinatino

Released on 2012-03-20 10:00 GMT

Email-ID 1951845
Date 2011-01-17 22:48:38
I've asked the TrapWire folks (ex-CIA) if they know Haroun or his


From: [] On Behalf
Of Sean Noonan
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2011 3:39 PM
Subject: Re: [CT] Spiegel on Dubai assassinatino
Here's an old article about Haroun I don't remember seeing before:

Don't see much else.

They're all semites. But how did Moses disguise himself amongst black
On 1/17/11 3:29 PM, Fred Burton wrote:

** You may recall this was my initial theory. The cameras were fed
into a surveillance cp or mirrored to the Mossad contractor team.

*** What can we dig up on the Palestinian & his security company?

-Security Advice Services, headed by Mohammed Haroun, a Palestinian
businessman with a German passport, installed the camera's at al Bustan
rotana (where mabhouh was killed)
I also think he is saying that Moses was an Arab.

"The Jews resemble us much more closely, in terms of religion, language
and many other respects, than the Europeans or the Americans," he says.


From: Sean Noonan []
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2011 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: [CT] Spiegel on Dubai assassinatino
yeah the two parts I highlighted at the top. also see what i bolded
below. Nothing major, but interesting background.

We may not know actual cause of death--now saying there isn't much
evidence of strangling or Succinylcholine.

On 1/17/11 1:47 PM, wrote:

Anything new?

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


From: Sean Noonan
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 13:20:07 -0600
To: CT AOR; mesa
ReplyTo: CT AOR
Subject: [CT] Spiegel on Dubai assassinatino
Another very detailed article. One of the writers is ronen Bergman,
who wrote the GQ article. The main thing this adds is the details of
the investigation from the Dubai end. Also includes an interview
with the Sheriff of Dubai, who actually sounds pretty smart in this
piece. This article calls him 'supercop of Dubai.'
For example:
"Tamim would later explain that this was their most glaring mistake,
because, as he says, no real tennis player walks around with his
tennis racket out of its case."
-this is true for anyone who has money and plays tennis.

-Security Advice Services, headed by Mohammed Haroun, a Palestinian
businessman with a German passport, installed the camera's at al
Bustan rotana (where mabhouh was killed)
01/17/2011 05:54 PM
An Eye for an Eye
The Anatomy of Mossad's Dubai Operation,1518,druck-739908,00.html

In the spring of 1989, a Palestinian terrorist murdered an Israeli
soldier. Twenty years later in Dubai, the Israeli secret service
agency Mossad avenged the killing. The operation succeeded, but
nevertheless has become a fiasco. SPIEGEL has reconstructed the
attack. By SPIEGEL Staff

He knew that he was a dead man. From the moment he shot the Israeli
soldier sitting on the car seat behind him in the face, he knew that
they would get him sooner or later.

For Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, it would take 20 years for that day to come.
At about noon on Jan. 20, 2010, employees at the Al Bustan Rotana
airport hotel in Dubai opened the door of room 230 to find the body of
a man on the bed. According to the death certificate, the cause of
death was "brain hemorrhage."

At the time, no one knew who exactly the dead man was. Mabhouh was
considered to be the chief weapons negotiator for Hamas, the
Palestinian organization's main contact to Tehran and the logistician
behind rocket attacks on Israel coming from the Gaza Strip.

A man with a pedigree like that doesn't die of a brain hemorrhage. In
fact, al-Mabhouh became a marked man long ago.

MONDAY, JAN. 18, 2010

More than 100,000 passengers arrive at Dubai International Airport
every day. The emirate has become a popular vacation spot for those
seeking a respite from winter in the northern hemisphere. The
temperatures are summery, the hotels first-class and the shopping
malls legendary. But the 27 passengers who arrived in the space of
several hours on flights from various European cities had not come to
Dubai to go shopping or for a winter break. Instead, they had a
mission to fulfill.

Twelve of them had British passports, six had Irish passports, four
each had French and Australian passports, and one had a German
passport, issued to a Michael Bodenheimer by a registration office in

Most of these 27 people were members of an elite unit of the Mossad,
the Israeli intelligence agency, assigned to the riskiest missions,
and to do work involving sabotage, espionage and assassinations. This
elite unit is called "Caesarea," named after the ancient city in
Palestine where a few leaders of the second Jewish insurrection
against Rome were martyred.

The 27 people were waiting for another man, someone they knew was a
dead man.

A few members of the Caesarea team had already been in Dubai earlier,
in February, March and June of 2009, to observe "Plasma Screen," their
code name for Mabhouh. They wanted to be sure that they were targeting
the right man. During their previous visits, they also familiarized
themselves with the door locks used in various hotels.

Key Storylines

In July 1973, a Mossad commando unit had murdered a Moroccan waiter in
the Norwegian city of Lillehammer, acting on the erroneous assumption
that he was a terrorist with the Palestinian Liberation Organization
(PLO). Several agents were sent to prison, and Israel paid
compensation to the man's surviving dependents. The agency's
reputation suffered as a result of the incident, and Mossad leaders
were determined not to allow anything like it to happen again.

Perhaps the choice of the code name for Mabhouh was likewise a
mistake. After all, images of the "Plasma Screen" operation were soon
flickering across thousands of flat-screen TVs around the world. At
first, many questions remained unanswered and many details unresolved.
One year later, after investigations in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE), Israel, the United States and Europe, and after interviews were
conducted with several participants, police officers and intelligence
agencies, SPIEGEL is now able to reconstruct the key storylines that
intersected in Dubai between Jan. 18 and 20, 2010.

One of these storylines is the German one. Michael Bodenheimer, who
landed in Dubai at 12:14 a.m. on Jan. 19, had planned his arrival long
before. The story of how he got his passport can be reconstructed with
great precision. It's an important story, because it demonstrates that
the Mossad was in fact behind what happened in the ensuing few hours.

On Sunday, March 29, 2009, two men arrived in Cologne on a Lufthansa
flight from Tel Aviv. The men sought to avoid all contact with each
other. They sat in different rows and waited in different lines at
passport control. The men, according to their papers, were Alexander
Varin and Michael Bodenheimer.

False Names, False Addresses

Varin and Bodenheimer had an appointment with a Cologne attorney the
next morning. Varin, who referred to himself as a "crisis consultant,"
already knew the attorney, who had petitioned for German citizenship
on behalf Michael's father, Hans Bodenheimer, allegedly a victim of
the Nazi regime. Under the German constitution, those persecuted by
the Nazis, as well as their children and grandchildren, can petition
for repatriation.

The Israelis told the German attorney that Bodenheimer was born on
July 14, 1967, in the Israeli village of Liman on the Lebanese border.
The information was apparently false. No one in Liman knows a man
named Bodenheimer. He also told the attorney that his last address
prior to his move to Germany was in the Israeli city of Herzliya, in a
four-story building at Yad Harutzim Street 7. There is an upscale
kitchen design store on the ground floor of the building.

But the address also proved to be false. The name "Michael
Budenheimer" appears among 19 names on a blue panel in the lobby. The
name "Top Office" appears at the top of the panel.

According to its website, Top Office provides "virtual offices," among
other services. "Have your company name displayed on the entrance
sign," the site promises. When a SPIEGEL representative called Top
Office, the woman answering the phone said her name was Iris, but she
was unwilling to provide a surname. When the name Bodenheimer was
mentioned, she ended the conversation. Two days later, the names
"Michael Budenheimer" and "Top Office" had been removed from the panel
in the lobby of the office building in Herzliya.

In Cologne, the German attorney filed the necessary documents in March
2009. When Bodenheimer and Varin returned three months later and
checked into a Cologne hotel, the next mistake was made: Alexander
Varin checked in under a different name, "Uri Brodsky." But he
continued to use his old name, Alexander Varin, with the attorney.
Confusing two different identities was an inexcusable mistake, and
investigators with the German federal criminal police agency, the BKA,
would quickly discover later that it was one and the same man using
both names.

On June 17, 2009, Bodenheimer, in an effort to bolster his German
identity, rented a small apartment at Eigelstein 85, in a rundown
neighborhood near the main train station in Cologne. He told the
landlord that he was a coach for a triathlon team, and he paid his
rent in cash.

On June 18, 2009, Bodenheimer picked up his new German passport. He
was now a citizen.

Seven months later, on Jan. 19, 2010, Bodenheimer was standing at the
airport in Dubai. He and his fellow team members had been told a week
earlier that their victim would arrive in Dubai the next day. Although
they didn't know which hotel the man would check into, they did know
that he would not be checking out again.

Everything was in place. All they had to do now was wait for their

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Early Morning
Mabhouh was on his way to the international airport in Damascus. As a
VIP, he had his driver take him to a back entrance of the terminal,
and he was able to wait in the lounge while his luggage was being
checked and his passport stamped. Mabhouh was traveling alone.

The previous spring, he had given and interview to Al-Jazeera, the
Arab-language news network, about the murder of two Israeli soldiers
in 1989. The station had disguised Mabhouh's face, but the Mossad had
no trouble identifying his voice.

The Hamas agent described, in great detail, how he and an accomplice
had dressed as Orthodox Jews and how, in the spring of 1989, they had
kidnapped, killed and buried the two soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan
Saadon. They had trampled on the bodies and photographed themselves in
the process. When asked whether he regretted the killings, Mabhouh
said that he only regretted not having shot the second Israeli in the
face. But unfortunately, he added, he had been sitting at the wheel of
the car.

"Red Page" is the Mossad's code name for an order to kill someone.
Each of these orders is jointly authorized by the Israeli prime
minister and defense minister. "Red Pages" do not have to be executed
right away. In fact, they have no expiration date, and the orders
remain valid until they are expressly cancelled.

As reported in a recent article on the Dubai attack in the US
lifestyle magazine GQ, Mabhouh received his "Red Page" back in 1989.
The Israelis don't take kindly to the kidnapping or murder of one of
their soldiers in uniform.

Mabhouh Planned Murders

Mabhouh was born in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in
1960. His name means "the hoarse one." He joined the Muslim
Brotherhood as a young man, and he was there when the Islamist mob
began laying waste to the Palestinian coffeehouses that maintained
gambling operations.

In the late 1980s, the Israeli occupying forces caught him with a
Kalashnikov in his luggage and he was sentenced to a year in prison.
He said that he was tortured in prison.

After his release, Mabhouh joined the military wing of the recently
established Islamist movement Hamas. It was the period of the first
Intifada, when most Palestinians were fighting the Israeli occupiers
with slingshots and Molotov cocktails. Mabhouh planned murders.

In 1988, he was placed in command of Hamas's "Unit 101." The
kidnapping and murder of the two Israeli soldiers in the Negev Desert
was enough proof for Hamas that Mabhouh was the right man for the job.

Mabhouh hid in the Gaza Strip for the first few months after the
killings, and then he fled to Egypt. The government in Cairo initially
contemplated putting him on trial or extraditing him to Israel, but
fearing that this could trigger an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood,
it decided to deport the Hamas agent to Libya instead.

Escaping Death

Later on, Mabhouh went to Jordan, where he developed a Hamas base from
which he smuggled weapons into the Palestinian West Bank and planned
attacks against Israeli tourists. He was expelled from the country in
1995, just as the entire Hamas leadership would later be expelled.
Mabhouh moved to Damascus, where he established contact with the
Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

He obtained money and rockets in Iran, and he collected donations in
the Gulf States to fund terrorist attacks during the second Intifada.
Until then, Hamas had waged its war against Israel with unguided
short-range rockets, but under Mabhouh's leadership Hamas was able to
fire longer-range missiles into the Gaza Strip.

In February 2009, Mabhouh narrowly escaped death when an Israeli drone
attacked a convoy he was traveling with in Sudan. The trucks were
presumably loaded with Iranian Fajr rockets.

Hamas and Iran -- hardly anyone embodied Israel's two enemies to the
degree that Mahmoud al-Mabhouh did. It was time to turn the "Red

Mabhouh was constantly traveling between China, Iran, Syria, Sudan and
the UAE. The Mossad agents decided that Dubai was the best place for
an assassination. The city is open to tourists and businesspeople, and
gaining entry with a Western passport is unproblematic.
A first assassination attempt failed in November 2009. A Caesarea
commando unit had tried to kill Mabhouh, possibly with poison that had
been smeared onto light switches and fixtures in his hotel room. The
victim fell ill, but he survived. The agents vowed that the next time
they would not leave Dubai until they could verify Mabhouh's death
with their own eyes.

At 1:10 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2010, the last two Caesarea agents, Gail
Folliard and Kevin Daveron, landed in Dubai on a flight from Paris.
Together with Peter Elvinger, who had flown in from Zurich, they
formed the operations unit.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Late Morning
Unlike other intelligence agencies, the Mossad cannot provide its
agents with real passports corresponding to a false identity. The
primary countries in which it operates have no diplomatic relations
with Israel. Even the most harmless-seeming tourists would be detained
upon arrival if they were traveling on an Israeli passport. Instead,
the Mossad usually uses the passports of Israelis with dual
citizenship or forged passports from other countries.

Peter Elvinger and the members of his team checked into various
hotels. All of their passports, with the exception of the German
passport, were forged. They were operating like avatars, using stolen
identities. The real people whose names were being used would later
testify that they had been completely unaware of the operation.

The first part of the operation had succeeded. The Caesarea commando
unit had put itself into position, safely and unnoticed. Elvinger and
his team members paid their hotel expenses in cash or with prepaid
money cards issued by Payoneer, a US company. This would prove to be a
mistake in the "Plasma Screen" operation.

Because the Payoneer cards used by most of the 27 members of the
commando unit are relatively rare in Dubai, investigators later
managed to narrow down their list of suspects relatively quickly. The
CEO of Payoneer, Yuval Tal, is a former member of an elite unit in the
Israeli army.

The Same Contact Numbers

The commando unit made a second mistake when its members used
intermediaries in Austria to communicate with one another. Under the
system an agent would call a number in Vienna to be connected to
another agent's mobile phone.

Although this was done to conceal calls, the system had a drawback. As
soon as investigators had obtained the call list of one suspect, they
could easily determine who else was using the same contact numbers in

Both the use of the prepaid cards and the telephone server in Vienna
were not mistakes that would jeopardize the entire operation. But they
would make it more difficult for the team members to cover their
tracks. Furthermore, the UAE is not one of the so-called "base
countries," where Mossad agents in trouble can take refuge in an
Israeli embassy or get help from the intelligence agencies of Israel's

The Emirates are referred to as a "target country" in intelligence
jargon. If an agent's cover is blown there, he or she could face
torture or even the death penalty. Given the risk, why were the
Caesarea team members so careless?

Underestimating Dubai

They underestimated Dubai, and they underestimated a man whose office
is on the sixth floor of the headquarters of the Dubai Police, about
three kilometers (1.9 miles) from room 230 at the Al Bustan.

Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim is not a man who cares much for
diplomacy. He is a gruff cop with a biting sense of humor and
possessing the kind of self-confidence government officials have who
enjoy the full support of their superiors. Tamim has only one
superior: the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

At 19, Tamim graduated from the Royal Police Academy in Amman, Jordan,
the most respected police academy in the Arab world. Ten years later,
in 1980, he was appointed police chief of Dubai. Since then, the
emirate has boomed more than almost any other part of the world.
Lieutenant General Tamim's job has been to ensure that Dubai's boom
could move forward without significant crime problems.

Planes take off and land by the minute in front of the plate-glass
window in Tamim's office. Dubai is in a central location, roughly
equidistant from Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. There are more
Iranians and Pakistanis living there than natives of Dubai; the city
has attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants from some of the
world's most explosive regions. People are constantly coming and
going, large amounts of money are at stake, and the Islamic banking
system is a nightmare for any police detective. Tamim knows that Dubai
has everything it takes to become the region's crime hub -- and he has
made it his mission to prevent that from happening.

He has purchased the best available hardware and software in the
United States. Government funding for surveillance systems is
unlimited in the UAE, and to make things even easier for the police,
no one worries about data privacy.
Not Even a Proxy War

"We know," he says, "that many Israelis come here with non-Israeli
passports, and we treat them the way we treat anyone else. We protect
their lives just as we protect the lives of others, and we don't
concern ourselves with their religion. But we also don't want Dubai to
become a third-party country where Israelis kill Palestinians."

Tamim sees police work as a craft. Ideologues of all stripes -- Arabs,
Marxists, Islamists -- disgust him. "If I were a Palestinian," he
says, "I wouldn't support Fatah or Hamas."

There is no topic Tamim finds more interesting than Israel. The
country that dealt such a devastating blow to the Arabs in 1967. That
year, Tamim's 16th, is a benchmark for him. "The Jews resemble us much
more closely, in terms of religion, language and many other respects,
than the Europeans or the Americans," he says.

He says he even understands that the Jews must defend themselves, says
Tamim, pointing out that millions of them were murdered in Europe.
"(Former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel) Nasser said that he intended
to drive them into the sea," he says. "Okay, then they had a right to
fight back. But today? We don't want war."

Not even a proxy war, and certainly not one outside his office door.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Afternoon
Mabhouh arrived in Dubai on Emirates flight EK 912 from Damascus. He
handed the immigration control officer a Palestinian passport in the
name of Mahmoud Abd al-Rauf Mohammed Hassan, which stated his
profession as "merchant." At least that was correct.

A Mossad team had expected Mabhouh at the terminal and notified the
others, who then followed him to the hotel. The Al Bustan, part of a
group called "The Leading Hotels of the World," is especially popular
among transit passengers who need a place to stay after a late-night

Travelers are constantly pulling their trolley cases across the
polished marble floors in the lobby, where noise is drowned out by the
sound of water in the fountains or muted by thick carpeting. The rooms
on the second floor are off a narrow hallway with only one access
point, making the area easy to secure and the perfect place to commit
a crime.

Two agents carrying tennis rackets and with towels thrown over their
shoulders had been waiting in the lobby since 2:12 p.m.

Tamim would later explain that this was their most glaring mistake,
because, as he says, no real tennis player walks around with his
tennis racket out of its case.
He Knew He Was a Target

Mohammed Haroun, a Palestinian businessman with a German passport,
installed the security cameras at the Al Bustan Rotana. "It's funny
that the suspects believed that they could hide under a cap," says
Haroun, the head of Security Advice Services. "But I know where and at
what angle to install the cameras."
The security camera images show Mabhouh looking around as he checks in
at the front desk. He looked over his shoulder as he walked out of the
elevator onto the second floor. He knew that he was a target of one of
the world's most effective intelligence agencies. He didn't seem
overly concerned about the two tennis players sharing the elevator
with him.

When Mabhouh, an unobtrusive, rotund man with a moustache, stepped out
of the elevator, he had five hours left to live.

The two tennis players noted Mabhouh's room number, 230, a non-smoking
room, and sent it to Elvinger in a text message. They also sent him
the number of the room across the hall, 237, and Elvinger promptly
called the hotel to reserve the room. Then he booked his return
flight, to Zu:rich via Doha.

One of the cameras in front of the hotel recorded the mirror image of
a white delivery van with tinted windows. A few of the agents walked
to the vehicle but then turned around abruptly. They had apparently
mistaken it for a vehicle being driven by an accomplice.

A Borrowed Name

This would put the investigators on the trail of a 62-year-old British
citizen named Christopher Lockwood. According to the Wall Street
Journal, Lockwood had his name changed in 1994 from the name he was
using at the time, Yehuda Lustig. But that name, the Journal
discovered, also proved to be false, a name borrowed from a young
soldier killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

At 4:23 p.m., Mabhouh left the Al Bustan. Coincidentally, a Mossad
agent was going the same way.

Despite their subsequent eagerness to show off their achievements, the
Dubai police have had little to say about what Mabhouh was doing in
the four hours before returning to the hotel. "As far as I know,"
Tamim said at the time, "he had a ticket to China and then on to Sudan
-- or the other way around. He may have made a stopover here to

For a man like Mabhouh, unwinding might include discussing an arms
deal for the Gaza Strip, one of the world's most explosive pieces of
real estate. According to Israeli sources, Mabhouh met with a banker
who had already helped him with a number of international arms deals
in the past, as well as with his usual contact with the Iranian
Revolutionary Guards, who had flown to Dubai to coordinate two major
shipments of weapons for Hamas in the coming months. It is
understandable that the police chief in Dubai prefers not to discuss
the issue. Although the UAE has pledged to strictly comply with
international sanctions against Iran, implementation is another story.
Iran is nearby, and there is a powerful Iranian community in Dubai.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Evening
The actual kill-team entered the hotel at 6:34 p.m. There were two
pairs of agents, all four of them broad-shouldered men wearing
baseball caps and carrying backpacks and shopping bags. The two
reconnaissance teams already in the Al Bustan were withdrawn, to avoid
attracting attention, and replaced with two others. One of the teams
was disguised as British tourists wearing sun hats.

At 8 p.m., the six agents took up their positions in the hallway
outside Mabhouh's room. A specialist manipulated the electronic lock
to the door of room 230 so that the key card from the room across the
hall would also work.

Gail Folliard and Kevin Daveron were assigned to secure the hallway.
Both had already changed into new disguises at other hotels in the
area, and both were wearing wigs. Daveron was wearing a false
moustache and the uniform worn by Al Bustan employees. Just as the
agents were working with the door lock, a man walked into the hallway,
unable to find his room. Daveron, posing as a hotel employee, managed
to divert the man away from the hallway.

At 8:24 p.m., Mabhouh returned to the hotel through the revolving door
in the lobby. Carrying a plastic bag with new shoes, he took the
elevator to the second floor. He didn't 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 carpeting
for half an hour.

Under the Mattress

Mabhouh went into his room. It is unlikely that his encounter with the
four killers waiting behind the door lasted very long. The only signs
of a struggle were the few broken slats of the bed frame that were
later found under the mattress.

While preparing for the operation, the team had agreed that they
wanted Mabhouh's death to look as natural as possible. Anything else
would have resulted in a massive police effort. The airport would have
been closed, making it impossible for the commando unit to safely
leave the country.
The investigative report states that the victim was injected with
succinylcholine, a drug that causes muscle paralysis in less than a
minute. Mabhouh was then suffocated with a pillow, according to the

The truth is that it is still unclear how exactly the Hamas officer
was killed. Succinylcholine is easily detected in the body of a dead
person, and the injection site should also be visible. And as anyone
familiar with TV crime dramas knows, violent suffocation produces
clear marks in the face, including areas of compression, tiny burst
blood vessels in the pupils and cracked lips.

It is hard to imagine that a technically sophisticated intelligence
agency like the Mossad would resort to such simple methods -- and
certainly not in an operation on hostile territory.

By 8:46 p.m., the first two perpetrators were standing in front of the
elevator that would take them down to the lobby. In the videos taken
with the security cameras, it seems obvious that the men are pumped up
with adrenaline, as they shift their weight back and forth, from one
foot to the other, like boxers. One is still wearing a rubber glove,
unusual for a hotel guest.

On a Plane to Paris

The members of the team left the Al Bustan in groups of two and took
taxis to the airport. Folliard left the hotel holding the arm of
another agent and with a plastic bag in her left hand.

Daveron secured the elevator. He was the last to leave room 237,
talking on his mobile phone and pulling his trolley case behind him.

A short time later, Daveron and Folliard were sitting on a plane to
Paris, while two others were on a flight to South Africa. The body of
"Plasma Screen" had not yet been discovered and was still lying in
room 230.

Everything had gone according to plan, at least up to that point. It
would take almost a week before Tamim learned of the death of the
senior Hamas weapons negotiators, who was killed practically within
view of police headquarters.

JAN. 24 or 25, 2010

The Hamas leadership in Damascus noticed that something was wrong when
it didn't hear from Mabhouh. A man who had worked for Mabhouh was sent
to the morgue in Dubai. After that, Hamas officials put in a call to
Dubai police headquarters from Damascus. Yes, they admitted, they had
allowed one of their senior members to travel to Dubai under a false
passport, and they had neglected to notify Tamim, the super cop, in
advance, and now something had gone wrong, very wrong.

According to eyewitnesses, Tamim then flew into a rage and shouted
into the phone: "You can pack up yourselves and your bank accounts and
your weapons and your fake passports and get out of my country."

Tamim had a problem. Despite being equipped with the most
sophisticated surveillance system in the Arab world, he had no idea
that an Israeli commando operation had been executed successfully in
Dubai, under his very eyes. He had been blind.

This explains his fit of rage. And it also explains the massive
investigation he was now ordering his troops to undertake. He may have
been unable to prevent the killing, but now, at least, he would get
his revenge, in the form of the investigation. And he would ensure
that the investigation itself would become a personal triumph --
Lieutenant General Tamim, the supercop of Dubai.

Tamim had his team compile a list of everyone who had entered the
country shortly before the killing and left soon afterwards. The names
were compared with those of people who had traveled to Dubai in
February, March, June and November 2009, the months in which Mabhouh
was also there.

Some Hollywood Film
The names on this list, in turn, were compared with the hotel guest
lists and the videos taken by well over 1,000 surveillance cameras.
Tamim had the surveillance systems of hotels, malls and the airport
analyzed. The process soon yielded an image corresponding to every
name on his passenger and hotel guest lists, so that he was now able
to compare the images with the Al Bustan security camera videos.

The other members of the commando unit were identified once Tamim's
agents had analyzed the Payoneer payments and the conspicuous calls to
the numbers in Austria.

All of this took much longer than the "24 hours" Tamim mentioned in
his first press conference. Nevertheless, it did enable him to portray
the Mossad operation like some Hollywood film.

Two Palestinians were also arrested in Jordan and extradited to Dubai.
Anwar Shaibar and Ahmed Hassanain, men believed to be associated with
the Palestinian Fatah movement, had allegedly helped the team book
hotel rooms and reserve rental cars. Investigators later changed their
assessment of the Palestinians, concluding that Hamas had fabricated
the story to implicate its political rivals in the case.

At first, Tamim had refused to believe that the Mossad had conducted
an operation on his doorstep. "We thought, until the very last minute,
that another Palestinian group had killed him," says Tamim. "We never
thought of the Mossad. Only after we had gathered together all the
faces and all the disguises on the surveillance images did we realize
that they weren't Palestinians -- that they couldn't be."

Friday, Jan. 29, 2010
Mahmoud Mabhouh was buried in Yarmuk, a Palestinian neighborhood in

Tamim had assembled most of the parts in his puzzle. He notified his
superior, the emir. And in an interview with Al Jazeera, he said that
he could not rule out the possibility of the Mossad being involved in
the murder. The Reuters news agency also reported Mabhouh's death as a
murder, but the news attracted little attention. Only a few people
recognized the story's potential.


At a reception, US Ambassador Richard Olson asked UAE Foreign Minister
Abdullah Bin Zayed about the murder at the Al Bustan. After making a
few phone calls, Zayed decided that the matter was important enough to
be brought to the attention of his superiors.

The two de facto rulers of the United Arab Emirates, Crown Prince
Mohammed Bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum, the prime minister and ruler of Dubai, debated on how to
proceed in the case. They concluded that they could do nothing or they
could "disclose more or less everything the investigations had

The two sheikhs chose the second option.

MONDAY, FEB. 15, 2010

It was time for Tamim to take his revenge. The police chief appeared
before the press, holding up a piece of paper with the photos and
names, against a red background, of 11 murder suspects. But that
wasn't all. A triumph has to be placed in context, and timing is

Tamim presented the international press with the video footage
documenting the crime.
He had already solved a spectacular jewelry heist at the Wafi Mall in
2007, secured the conviction of Egyptian real estate tycoon Hisham
Talaat Moustafa, a friend of President Hosni Mubarak, for the murder
of a Lebanese singer in 2008 and, in 2009, had solved the murder of
Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev. But his film about the Mossad
assassination of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh was the highpoint of his career.
Dahi Khalfan Tamim had made the Israelis look like fools.

In the ensuing days, Tamim paid close attention to the impact of his
appearances. He was ultimately praised and even celebrated, not only
in the Emirates, but also in Iraq, Iran and the West -- and, in the
end, in Israel. Tamim doesn't remember the name of the Israeli
journalist who interviewed him via email, but he does know that he
responded right away. "She was young," he says, "and very
professional. The entire Israeli press, they all treated me very
fairly." Tamim was pleased with the way things had turned out.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 24, 2010

The lieutenant general sent a document to the central bank and the
foreign ministry in Abu Dhabi, together with the request that the
minister of state forward it to the US Embassy. The document read:

"Excellency Sultan Al Suwiadi, UAE Central Bank Governor. Subject:
Credit Cards MC 5115-2600-1600-6190, MC 5115-2600-1600-5317, MC
5301-3800-3201-7106. General Management of the State Security offers
greetings, and asks your Excellency to direct the money laundry and
suspicious transactions unit at the Central Bank to urgently obtain
details of the above credit cards, in addition to details for
purchases, accounts, and payments on those cards, as the users of
those cards were involved in the murder of Mahmoud Mabhouh. Those
cards were issued by META BANK in the state of Iowa, USA. Thank you
for your kind cooperation."

On the same day, State Minister Mohammed Anwar Gargash delivered the
letter from Dubai to the legal attache at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Ambassador Olson forwarded the letter to Washington and requested that
the matter be addressed promptly, noting that the issue had already
been raised in a meeting between the foreign minister and US Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton on the previous day. The Americans knew who
had used the credit cards in question.

All they had to do was ask the government in Tel Aviv.

On June 4, 2010, almost exactly a year after the Mossad agent had been
issued a German passport, Alexander Varin traveled to Warsaw. Coming
from Tel Aviv and on his way to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, he was
merely changing planes in Warsaw. He showed the Polish border control
agents his passport, which identified him as Uri Brodsky. An arrest
warrant had been issued for a person by that name, following a request
by the German federal prosecutor's office. Varin, aka Brodsky, was

Investigators with Germany's BKA had painstakingly reconstructed
Varin's flight routes. In the previous months, his travels had taken
him to Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Turkey and the Czech Republic, as
well as several other places. Varin, a tall, heavy-set man, pulled a
hood over his head when he was led into the Warsaw courtroom. He
appeared to be a logistics expert of sorts for the Mossad in Europe,
and he was outfitted with several identities. The Mossad had not known
that the name Brodsky had already been used since the hotel stay in
Cologne a year earlier. It was yet another mistake.

The matter of his extradition, which the German courts were
requesting, turned into a tough battle. The Israelis applied a great
deal of pressure to the Polish government in order to prevent
extradition. The Poles eventually found a Solomonic solution: Brodsky,
aka Varin, would be extradited to Germany, but once there he could
only be charged with a passport violation.

Mossad Under Pressure

When the Israeli was extradited on Aug. 12, 2010, the embassy hired
two of the best and most expensive German attorneys. They paid the
bail money of EUR100,000, and when Varin was released from detention
on Aug. 13, he left Germany for Tel Aviv the same day. At the end of
last year, a court in Cologne suspended the case in return for a
EUR60,000 fine. It was a solution that all sides could live with, that
is, if it weren't for the German arrest warrant against Varin, who was
suspected of engaging in espionage. If Varin tried to enter Germany
tomorrow, he would be taken into custody at the border.

The operation in Dubai has put the Mossad under great pressure (even
though the Israelis have yet to officially confirm that they had
anything to do with the matter). The head of the Caesarea special unit
offered his resignation, but it was not accepted. This was not the
case with Meir Dagan, the head of the Mossad. Even though he had hoped
for an extension of his term prior to the operation, Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu appointed a successor in the wake of the botched
operation. Dagan left his office on Jan. 6, 2011.

In a press conference, Tamim called for the resignation of Prime
Minister Netanyahu and promised to pursue the culprits "until the end
of time." That seems to be about the amount of time he will need.

Nevertheless, most Israelis see the attack on Mabhouh as a success.
"It is difficult to call the Dubai operation a failure," says Avi
Issacharoff, an expert on the Arab world with the Israeli daily
newspaper Ha'aretz. Although Israel's reputation has been harmed
internationally, says Issacharoff, "the operational goal was achieved.
Hamas has seen that it is vulnerable, and the attackers made it home
unharmed." The Israelis will simply have to be more careful.

Next time, that is.

By Ronen Bergman, Christoph Schult, Alexander Smoltczyk, Holger Stark
and Bernhard Zand

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan


Sean Noonan

Tactical Analyst

Office: +1 512-279-9479

Mobile: +1 512-758-5967

Strategic Forecasting, Inc.


Sean Noonan

Tactical Analyst

Office: +1 512-279-9479

Mobile: +1 512-758-5967

Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

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Sean Noonan

Tactical Analyst

Office: +1 512-279-9479

Mobile: +1 512-758-5967

Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

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Checked by AVG -
Version: 9.0.872 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/3386 - Release Date: 01/17/11