The Dubai Police chief on Tuesday confirmed the arrest in Canada of a suspect believed to be involved in the assassination of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, a Hamas commander, in the UAE last January.He went even further:
Speaking to reporters here, Lieutenant-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim said the Canadian authorities have arrested a suspect who is connected to the murder of Al Mabhouh.
The Hamas commander was killed in a Dubai hotel on January 19 by Mossad agents.
Lt-Gen Dahi told reporters that he has been informed of the arrest "verbally" by a representative from the Canadian embassy.
Canada actually informed Emirati officials of the arrest in June, but requested that they not announce it, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told Al Arabiya television.Only one, slight problem:
"I am astonished. Why this attempt to cover up on this issue? We must act transparent, reliably and quickly in such cases," said Khalfan.
Speaking to the Al-Ittihad daily, Khalfan did not say why Canada had called for secrecy, nor explain why he had not said anything until now, given his objections.
He said he went public after the news was reported in the Canadian media.
Dubai’s outspoken police chief insists a Canadian security official informed him of the secret arrest of a Mossad assassin, even though Canadian officials deny having ever told him that.So why is Dubai starting to say lies about Canada? This could be one reason:
His pronouncement has caused befuddlement in Canada’s national-security establishment, leaving some officials to speculate that Dubai is seeking to embarrass Canada amid an ongoing row over airport rights.
“Baseless,” was the word one well-placed Ottawa official used to describe the general’s claim.
Given the lack of specificity of Lt.-Gen. Tamim’s comments, the reaction in Ottawa is mostly one of confusion. “We have nothing to say at this point,” said Sergeant Greg Cox, a spokesman for the RCMP.
Two senior sources at the Canadian Embassy in the UAE told The Globe they did not inform the Dubai police chief about any arrest. “We are trying to verify this information with our colleagues in Ottawa,” one said, asking to remain anonymous. “Tamim said we gave this info to the Dubai police, and we didn’t.”
For years, Dubai has been lobbying for Canadian airports to open themselves up to more flights from the Gulf. Meanwhile, Canada has had unfettered access to the so-called “Camp Mirage” logistics base – a Dubai landing strip that’s existed for years to supply the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan with men and military hardware.
The UAE abruptly cut off Canada’s access this month, forcing Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s flight to redirect to Europe midair, after he ended a three-day tour of Afghanistan.