WikiLeaks: UAE asked US for help in Mabhouh probe

Cables give account of UAE officials requesting details on credit cards issued by US bank to suspects in Dubai assassination of Hamas leader.

December 28, 2010 09:46
2 minute read.
A banner poster ofMahmoud al-Mabhouh

Mabhouh 311 AP. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Two US diplomatic cables released by whistleblower WikiLeaks give insight into how US officials followed the investigation into the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January of this year.

A cable from the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi from February 24, 2010 describes UAE officials requesting US help in the investigation of the assassination.

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"MFA Minister of State Gargash made a formal request to the Ambassador for assistance in providing cardholder details and related information for credit cards reportedly issued by a US bank to several suspects in last month's killing of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai."

The credit card numbers are included in the cable along with a request to quickly provide the information for the UAE government who "urgently" wish to obtain details on the cards.

An additional cable sent to Washington on January 31, 2010 from the US embassy in Abu Dhabi and signed by Ambassador Richard Olson summarized local and international news coverage of the incident and described a chance meeting between the US envoy and Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed's media adviser at a social event that occurred while the story was breaking.

Olson drew the media adviser's attention to the assassination after which the latter made a few calls and "reported back that the UAE's public posture was being discussed between Dubai Ruler Mohammed bin Rashid and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. The two options discussed were to say nothing at all, or to reveal more or less the full extent of the UAE's investigations."

The embassy officials commented in the cable on the UAE's thought process behind drafting a statement on the incident.

"Saying nothing would have been perceived as protecting the Israelis and in the end, the UAE chose to tell all. The statement was carefully drafted not to point any fingers, but the reference in the document (see below) to a gang with western passports will be read locally as referring to the Mossad."

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