Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Mossad: in the dark. I sometimes recommend a bad book. One such book is Efraim Halevy's Man in the Shadows: Inside the Middle East Crisis with a Man who Led the Mossad. Former CIA director, Stansfield Turner is right. The Mossad is not an excellent intelligence agency but that it is excellent in PR. It has been able to mislead Arabs (and specifically Palestinians) to think that it knows everything and can do everything. In reality, the knowledge and abilities of the organization were much more limited. And whatever it was able to do was due to the absence of human rights constraints (so sure it can kill and torture, right and left), and to the cooperation that it has received from Arab regimes. You read this book and you are so unimpressed. I mean, the former head of the Mossad, who claims that he knows Arabic, only refers to Hamas as "Khammas." The first time I saw the word I assumed that he may be referring to some other word. There is a scene in the book in which this Mossad expert is talking to the CIA "legendary figure," Jim Angleton (who loved Israel) and both are wondering whether Arafat knew German, and Angleton offered that Arafat had studied engineering in Munich. They could have asked any Palestinian to tell them that their information was wrong, and Arafat knew not one word of German. (pp. 7-8) (Hani Al-Hasan had studied in Germany--but Mossad experts always confuse Palestinian leaders (they all have "Abu" in their names, and sometimes they confuse Palestinian leaders with innocent bystanders and waiters, so they simply try to kill all of them). But you read about a few things here and there: "Israel had made repeated efforts to bolster Jordanian-supported groups and individuals but to no apparent avail."(p. 15) And he casually mentions that Israel "was allied with the white regime of South Africa." (p. 17). I like the Mossad's reference to "the then extremist Libyan leader." (p. 18). Once you serve US interests, you lose your extremism. How magical. He also hints at an Israeli presence in Afghanistan (p. 21) on the side of those fanatical fundamentalist groups who later produced Al-Qa`idah. We have heard of that before: that Israel even (he does not say that) diverted some of the PLO's arms after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon into the various religious fanatics who were fighting the communist regime in Afghanistan. But the book is really a tribute to King Husayn (or King Khuuuuuusssaaayyyn, as Shimon Peres calls him) and his brother. I mean, the Hashemite monarch did not do a thing without consulting with the Mossad first. And Prince Hasan was also very close to them (after his ouster from power, Prince Hasan has been trying to pose as a militant Arab nationalist). It was fascinating to read about the origins of the sectarian plan for the regime: King Husayn was speaking about Sunni-versus-Shi`ite apparently as far back as 1990, and he justified his love affair with Saddam Husayn in those terms. Now we know why his son was the first to speak in such blatant sectarian terms after the American invasion of Iraq.(p. 24) You also read about Israeli relation with Qatar and Qatari pressures on Palestinian groups, including of course Khkhkhkhammmmmmmaaaas. The author has the narration skills of a phone book, but I can't wait to read the book by the current head of the Mossad who will tell us about the daring Israeli raid that captured Hasan Nasrallah, the grocer, during the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006. Don't you all want to read about that?