Saturday, February 20, 2010

Eitan Haber/ No screw-up in Dubai - what matters is that al-Mabhouh is dead and his assassins are safe

(Eitan Haber-Ynet).Let’s assume for a moment that Mossad operatives indeed executed arch-terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Moreover, let’s assume for a moment that the Mossad members who took part in the operation were exposed by the cameras and the photos were published worldwide. So what?

This is not a great screw-up, and those who are happy at this seeming failure have no reason to be so gleeful. I am much happier that we are rid of a bitter and cruel enemy, Mr. Mabhouh, who we sought out for many years before his demise.

So how does the prime minister approve such operation, assuming that the Mossad indeed carried it out? The PM asks himself: In the worst-case scenario, if the operatives are nabbed heaven forbid and end up being hanged in Dubai for example, would the operation still be worthy? Was the objective so vital and important that it merited the death of our agents? If the answer is “yes,” despite a thousand doubts, the orders are given.

So now this is the question being asked: Was Mabhouh worth the effort and the anxious moments? There is an idiom we commonly use around here about “being able to replace anyone.” Yet this is not true in Mabhouh’s case.

The fact that the average Israeli did not hear his name until last week doesn’t mean we didn’t know about him. We certainly did, and for many years we were pursuing him – not only because his connection to the murder of IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Saadon but also because he was the driving force, a great bigwig in the terror world; a man involved in everything.

Now, let’s assume for a moment that indeed our Mossad terminated his life, after making great efforts, and that Mossad agents were photographed, and that their photos were seen all around the world. Firstly, we should note that Mossad cells were exposed in the past (in Norway, in Jordan, in New Zealand, in Switzerland, and in Cyprus) and nothing happened. The agents were transferred to office jobs and new ones replaced them.

Secondly, the men and woman in the photographs likely do not look like that in their everyday lives, and even if we can guess what they would look like without a moustache or a beard, or with long or short hair, it would still be difficult to identify them. The identification job would be easier should biometric means be used, yet we can count on the “Jewish mind” to find a solution for that too.

There are two questions we need to ask in this case: Was the objective – assassinating Mabhouh – achieved? The answer is yes. Were the assassins nabbed by the enemy? The answer is no.

As to the usage of passports belonging to Israeli nationals: We should note, in case some people forgot, that such cases happened in the past and also involved foreign citizens in other countries. These stories usually made headlines for only a few days before disappearing. I wonder why.

As to the unpleasant moments vis-à-vis other governments – Britain, Ireland, and France in this case – no need to worry. They said what they said yesterday, and will likely not say more. And they have a good reason for that.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mabhouh is no longer with us, and we shall be grateful to the mysterious people responsible for i