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Embassy Row

- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2011

MOSSAD HIT?

A secret cable from the U.S. ambassador in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) underscored the perilous position of some pro-American Arab leaders dealing with terrorist infiltrators, rumors of Israeli hit squads and populations suspicious of Western motives.

Ambassador Richard Olson last year reported on the killing of a top Palestinian terrorist in Dubai, the largest city in the Gulf federation of seven emirates, and how UAE authorities carefully dealt with speculation that the Israeli secret service, Mossad, assassinated him.

In a January 2010 cable to the State Department, Mr. Olson noted that Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, debated whether to issue no comment on the killing in a posh Dubai hotel or release full details of the homicide investigation.

They struck a balance in a tactfully written statement, according to the cable released last month by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

"Saying nothing would have been perceived as protecting the Israelis, and, in the end, the UAE chose to tell all," the ambassador said.

"The statement was carefully drafted not to point any fingers, but the reference in the document to a gang with Western passports will be read locally as referring to the Mossad."

In their statement, UAE authorities said the body of Mahmoud Abdul Raouf Mohammad Hassan, a co-founder of the military wing of Hamas, was discovered in a hotel room Jan. 20, 2010. He had entered the emirates a day earlier.

The statement said the "murder was inflicted by an experienced criminal gang" carrying European passports. Reports said the killers had been tracking Mr. Hassan from Damascus, Syria, to Dubai.

Mr. Hassan also was wanted by Jordan's intelligence service. He served a year in an Egyptian prison in 2003 and was considered an enemy of rivals in the Palestine Liberation Organization.

HE HAS A DREAM

The U.S. ambassador in Zimbabwe is urging pro-democracy advocates to adopt the nonviolent tactics of Martin Luther King Jr. in their fight for political freedom in the repressive southern African nation.

"In this era of change, I urge you to never let your voices be silent but instead to let them rise to the rafters as Dr. King's did time and time again," Ambassador Charles Ray told a crowd this week at the Aruppe College of Jesuits near the capital, Harare.

"Nonviolence, peaceful protest is the way to go. ... Violence begets more violence. ... The benefit of nonviolent protest against injustice is that it exposes the weaknesses of the perpetrator."

Mr. Ray also urged religious leaders to follow the example of the American civil rights leader, according to news reports from Zimbabwe.

"You are leaders of flocks who want and deserve a just and peaceful society," he said.

"Your parishioners want to create progressive communities and better opportunities for their children, and you can guide them on the path to building this brighter future. Like Dr. King, may we not become silent about things that matter."

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing government with democratic opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009. However Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled the country since 1980, remains the more powerful partner in the coalition.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washington times.com.

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