February 1, 2010 Implications of the Mabhouh Assasination

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

February 1, 2010 Implications of the Mabhouh Assasination

The Palestinians tried a new form of terrorism today, bomb filled barrels that rolled ashore on two Israeli beaches.  Both bombs were defused without injuries. It seems a little strange to try to float bombs onto beaches in the middle of the winter.  There is some question if this was an attempt to retaliate for the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas agent who was killed by unknown assailants in Dubai. Most observers believe that Mabhouh, who coordinated Hamas’ shipments from Iran was killed by the Mossad. Reports from Dubai indicate that Mabhouh was interrogated for hours before being killed. The attack on Mabhouh ties together two changing factor in the Middle East over the course of the last two years: First, the Mossad has clearly regained its mystic. Members of Hamas, and for that matter Hezbollah and the Iranian regime know they are not safe anywhere. Second, the attack on Mabhouh is largely believed to have happened with significant cooperation from Arab intelligence agencies. In the past year, and especially in the past few months, the Egyptians and other moderate Arab states have been less circumspect in their cooperation with Israel. It is clearly Egypt and the others Arab states, together with Israel against any type of Iranian influence. The announcement that Egypt had stopped a cell from attacking an Israeli tourist in Egypt the other day is part of that pattern.

The IDF and Defense Ministries opposition to an outside Israeli investigation on the actions of the IDF during last year’s operation in Gaza continues to perplex. On one hand, today it was leaked that two very high-ranking officers were court-martialed for allowing artillery fire in an area that resulted in the shelling of the UN facility in Gaza. That trial was kept secret for over a year. In the meantime, most Israeli observers, and many in the government, believe Israel has no choice but to appoint an independent investigative commission.  Both Barak and Ashkenazi have been immovably opposed, and do not seem willing to budge.

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