Monday, February 22, 2010

Did Mossad Kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh?

[the House of Commons- not how they do it in Gaza?]
Let's hope so. According to Reuters, Al-Mabhouh was a founder of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, usually described as the "armed wing" of Hamas. One doesn't want to think how many Israelis and Palestinians have died at their hands.

It was the Izz el-Deen which recruited and armed the endless suicide bombers it sent into crowded Israeli marketplaces, pizzerias, and city buses before the security wall was built to keep them out. It was the Izz el-Deen which acquired, smuggled, and launched the 8,000 rockets which thundered down on civilian neighborhoods in southern Israel. It was Izz el-Deen which conducted the bloody civil war by which Hamas defeated the Fatah in Gaza. One doesn't want to even imagine what was done to the defeated Fatah fighters when Izz el-Deen captured them.

Even given that, it is not clear that either Mossad or Fatah were responsible for his death. I have read that al-Mabouh was the founder and "former" leader of Izz el-Deen. One is free to disagree with me here because I have no way of knowing this, but my guess is that struggles for leadership of organizations like Izz el-Deen are not conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order, but in some other fashion. Among people accustomed to using force both within and without their organizations, one is less likely to be eased out than rubbed out.

Nikita Kruschev, the former premier of the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, established a huge milestone in the transition from the outright gangsterism to which Stalin's Red Terror had degenerated by 1953. In 1956 Kruschev forced out Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin's longtime Foreign Minister, and seized power himself. Molotov became the first Soviet politician in thirty years to lose power without shortly thereafter being shot. Not only did Kruschev not have Molotov murdered, Molotov actually outlived him by 15 years. Under Stalin every one of the Old Bolsheviks (who, along with Lenin, had actually conducted the revolution) except Molotov was murdered either with show trials or with no trials.

Similarly Jimmy Hoffa's whereabout remain unknown.

My guess is that the internal processes at Izz el-Deen are more like those of the Soviet Union under Stalin and the Mafia in the time of Jimmy Hoffa, than those of Her Majesty's parliament in the time of Queen Victoria. Former leaders are probably dispatched rather more decisively than by elevating them to the House of Lords.

In any case, whoever did away with Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, he deserved it.

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