Mr. Ross, who is also the author of “The Volunteer,” a memoir of his time in the Mossad, said, “The liaison and special political operations division of Mossad has a relationship with senior figures in the emirates’ government,” and the secret relationship was likely strained by the assassination.
“Dubai authorities for some reason have a bee in their bonnet, and this tension will not go away. This was the underestimation of the Mossad.”
Dubai, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, allows Iran’s Revolutionary Guard corps, as well as European and Saudi interests, to bank there. It is also one of the top targets for intelligence services throughout the world.
Mr. Ross said that, in the end, he did not expect much blowback for Israel’s counterterrorism relationships from the al-Mabhouh killing.
Even when there was pressure from political leaders to downgrade the intelligence relationship with Mossad, it was temporary and largely symbolic, he said.
“For example,” Mr. Ross said, “when Mossad nearly killed [Hamas leader] Khaled Mashaal in Jordan in 1997, Canada downgraded its relationship with Mossad for a very brief period. And in this period, we were still meeting, but we did not initiate new joint projects.”