Friday, February 26, 2010

Duplicitous Dubai

From an article published February 25, 2010 by Zvi Bar'el:

It's no surprise Dubai was the site of a hit on Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh by a troupe of disguised assassins. After all, Dubai itself is a two-faced entity, disguising itself again and again while providing cover for spies.

...Dubai has several masks. It helps Iran, but behind its back it provides the United States with an opportunity to gather intelligence about that country. The U.S. Consulate in Dubai also operates as a station for gathering information and enlisting agents. A few years ago the U.S. State Department wanted to close the consulate, but the CIA succeeded in convincing it to leave it open and even to boost the number of employees so that it could handle the hundreds and perhaps thousands of Iranians who come to request visas.

It's not only the U.S. intelligence services that love Dubai: The tremendous scope of commerce and the large number of companies and foreign agencies there are an excellent cover and an appropriate disguise for any city of spies.

Dubai has now replaced 20th-century Istanbul, Nicosia, Casablanca and Berlin as a hotbed of spying activity. Russians exchange information with Pakistanis, Afghans and Chechens trade tactics, members of Hezbollah convert illegal money and diamonds in bank transactions "for widows and orphans," and all while enjoying car races and performances by international artists.

...Dubai is a city-state that is not only its own disguise, but also that of neighboring and distant Arab countries. Male and female Saudis, who at home observe religious strictures very strictly, travel on weekends to Dubai in order to enjoy the nightclubs and the alcohol. Iranians of both sexes sail along its coasts without headscarves and without the supervision of the morality police, and political exiles find a refuge there from governments that are seeking revenge.

Dubai is a wonderful place. It has no substitute. Ask the Mossad, the CIA or the British Secret Intelligence Service.

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