Posts Tagged ‘Dubai’
February 27th, 2010 at 2:42 pm
Mossad Assassins Unmasked by Dubai CCTV

In case you missed it, Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations (Mossad) has been accused of carrying out an elaborate assassination of Hamas’ military leader in a Dubai hotel.  Though the hit was a success because the target was killed, ordinarily it is considered a failure if the perpetrators’ identities are discovered.  According to a former CIA agent writing in The Wall Street Journal, the operation was executed flawlessly save for one new wrinkle that the agents apparently didn’t anticipate: closed-circuit television (CCTV).

I can only speculate about where exactly the hit went wrong. But I would guess the assassins failed to account for the marked advance in technology. Not only were there closed-circuit TV cameras in the hotel where Mr. Mabhouh was assassinated and at the airport, but Dubai has at its fingertips the best security consultants in the world. The consultants merely had to run advanced software through all of Dubai’s digital data before, during and after the assassination to connect the assassins in time and place.

Nearly every public space in the developed world features “eyes in the sky” connected to CCTV feeds monitored by either private security personnel or government agents.  Though unpopular with citizens, governments love cameras because they increase Big Brother’s presence while reducing manpower.  Maybe that’s why Britain has more CCTV installations than China.  Usually, the primary justification for using CCTV is that it protects society from dangerous individuals.  How ironic it is that the best all this surveillance can do is identify a group after it kills an individual.  Now, with Dubai police releasing headshots of the hit squad, it looks like as many as 26 Israeli agents will need to find a new line of work.

However, Mossad shouldn’t have any problem finding replacements.  Media coverage of the assassination has touched off “Mossad mania” in Israel with the agency receiving record agent applications and stores selling out of its memorabilia.  Even when technology makes caps success at a one hit wonder, there will always be plenty of people offering themselves as the next James Bond.

December 16th, 2009 at 4:55 pm
If It Sounds Too Good to be True, It’s Probably a Sales Pitch from Dubai

It turns out money can buy neither happiness nor certainty.  As information continues to leak out about the desert kingdom’s financial mirage, the overleveraged city state of Dubai is proving to be an object lesson in the importance of free markets.  In about five years’ time the second largest member of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) went from off the map to the center of attention for the world’s glitterati.  In the face of opulence, many disregarded obvious contradictions.

Neo-conservatives were willing to overlook its dictatorial government on the grounds that it promoted an alternative to political Islam.”

Also overlooked were the inhumane conditions inflicted on the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, most from India and Pakistan, imported to construct the place to awe-inspiring effect. Nature was stage-managed at great expense, both financial and environmental: lush golf courses in the desert; a ski hill inside the world’s biggest shopping mall; sand rearranged on offshore islands that replicated a map of the world (with Israel notably absent). No expense was spared to bring celebrities to burnish the Dubai brand—among them Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and Clinton. Dubai proposed a new oxymoronic economic model: state-owned capitalism. It was a trade-off: personal freedom for the promise of the best “quality of life on the planet,” like George Orwell’s 1984 with Gucci, McDonald’s, and a happy ending.

Yet, the end to Dubai’s financial crisis is far from happy; especially if negotiations with other UAE members stall, and Dubai seeks a bailout – and closer ties with – Iran.  Like security, many people (and nations) will trade their freedom for “guaranteed” prosperity.  Let’s hope that in the wake of Iran’s latest missile test-firing Dubai doesn’t increase the Islamic Republic’s sphere of influence any further down the Arabian Peninsula.

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