Day #63: Dubai

(Dubia, UAE – February 25th). In an unexpected about-face, Dubai’s Commander-in-Chief of Police, Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, refused to answer questions regarding the alleged assassination of Hamas arms procurement specialist Mahmoud al Mabhouh. The Major General instead used his press conference to profess an interest in more mundane police matters, such as ensuring that the Pepsi machines in the lobby of his Headquarters were adequately stocked.

A  number of theories have been advanced considering his about face. The first, and most prominent, is the possibility that the Mossad or other parties threatened him if he continued to talk. A second popular theory is that he too owns false passports and realized pursuing the topic could cause him significant personal damage.

Our own investigations, using informants who work within the Dubai Police Department suggest a different motivation. As the Dubai police expanded their probe, they realized that over 75 agents – all sent to dispose of a single individual – were staying in top-tier Dubai hotels and eating at top-tier Dubai restaurants. All flew Emirates Airlines with the majority purchasing tickets in first-class. Finally, according to accounts of those who encountered the massive assassination team, they were unfailingly polite and very generous tippers.

The official, who requested that he remain unnamed, explained: “Here in Dubai we were initially concerned that we would receive a reputation as a popular destination for assassinations. The al Mabhouh case was seen as a potential threat to all-important tourist dollars – as well as dollars spent by those in our blackmarket arms industry. The lost revenues from that case could have been substantial, had the killers hurt others beyond their targets. However, the assassination was remarkably clean. And, as 75 foreign agents came to stay in Dubai to carry out the effort, it was felt that the net positive gain from the assassination was substantial. In this global economy, with budgets falling, governments are seen as an excellent source of hotel and restaurant revenues.”

Further consultations with Dubai officials have indicated that a rash of reforms are making their way through the city-states government. First, suspected political or military assassins are to be freely admitted. Second, to reduce diplomatic tempests, assassins are advised to travel under their legal passports – even Israelis will be welcome. Third, in order to ensure a target-rich environment, Dubai will make every effort to expand the illegal arms business, the drug transiting business and the blind-eye-to-terrorists policies.

With these elements in place, Dubai expects that it will see international espionage related assassinations almost triple in one year.   In two year’s time, it is estimated that the new measures will be generating $200M/yr in new hotel revenues from assassins and their associates while costing only $10M/yr in non-scheduled hotel stay reductions. It is hoped that Dubai can be the world leader in targeted killings by late in 2010.

While the new unofficial policy is exciting for those in the targeted killing industry, the Dubai government has indicated that visitor’s activities will be restricted in two significant ways: First, any collateral damage will submit all parties involved to intense review and possible banishment. Second, any assassins using low-budget hotels will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

A passport officer at Dubai Airport explained the change succinctly, “We used to look at the passports. Now, we try not to.”

Note: Today is the Fast of Esther, which directly precedes (most years) the holiday of Purim. Often seen as an adjunct to Purim, this fast is actually quite important. It is the Fast Esther asked the Jewish people to take prior to taking her case for Jewish survival to the King. Where most fasts are concerned with the past (and perhaps how that past affects us today), this fast is solidly focused on the present. We fast on this day so that G-d will bless our attempts to thwart modern-day attempts to eliminate our people. As the Iran threat grows, and as we prepare to play whatever hand we have, it is critical that we understand that our efforts and our redemption will come from G-d. Here are, I feel, two revealing quotes:

“They have a whole backup system called asynum(?). These are the people who are local residents, Jewish people, who will help the Mossad. And there’s estimated to be in the world about half a million, some say a million, I tend to say about a half million from what I’ve learned from Mossad people.” — BBC interview, February 17th, 2010 (this would indicate up to 1 in 12 diaspora Jews works for Mossad)

“’There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king’s laws; therefore it profiteth not the king to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed;” Haman, Megillat Esther, a long time ago.