Friday, July 03, 2009

Kill Khalid

Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas (Hardcover)

by Paul McGeough

This book makes a very interesting reading if you are in anyway fascinated by middle eastern politics, terrorism, Israel-Palestine conflict etc.

You may have heard about 'Hamas'- Palestinian militant revolutionary organization. However, its leader Khalid Mishal (Mashal) is relatively unknown despite his popularity in the region.

In 1997, Mossad - the famed and much feared Israeli intelligence agency - launched an audacious bid on Mishal's life at Amman, the capital of neighboring country Jordan. Israel has been known for its past liquidations of Arab leaders especially Palestinian leaders which Israel found as threat to its security. If you want to know more about past state-sponsored killings of Israel, watch the movie 'Munich'.

Attempt on Khalid Mishal's life did not go as planned. The plan was to spray a secret poison into his ears and make it look like as a fumble between people walking on the road. A group of Mossad agents went to Amman posing as Canadian tourists, tracked Mishal and sprayed the poison when he was about to enter his office. But, the script did not go well. It did not look like an innocent incident like two people dashing to each other on the street. Mishal's body guard noticed something unusual, chased the assassins and caught some of them. Then Jordanian police caught some more. Overall operation was a disaster. For Mossad, it was big humiliation.

What happened after this incident is the main content of this book. It was an earth shattering incident in the middle eastern diplomatic circles. In order to understand the nature of the problem, you have to understand very delicate political details during 1997 between Israel and its neighbors. Jordan was the only country which was trying its best with utmost sincerity to improve its relationship with Israel. Late King Hussain of Jordan had gone out of his way and much against the wishes of the people of the region to renew peace efforts with Israel. While giving an impression of reciprocity from outside, Israel had taken the risk of sabotaging Jordan's goodwill, that too on Jordanian soil.

There was a flurry of diplomatic activities soon after the incident. Mishal had been sprayed with unknown poison which was going to kill him silently in 48 to 72 hours. Mossad agents had been captured. King Hussain was livid and making calls to all political leaders to put pressure on Israel. People like then president of USA Clinton and important people like many US secretaries, politicians, Canadian politicians etc. get involved and situation becomes really explosive and ugly.

King Hussain makes Israel to deliver antidote for the poison lest he walks out of peace process. He also negotiates the release of many important Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails as the condition to return captured Mossad agents and maintain relationship with Israel. USA is very disappointed with Israel for backstabbing the entire peace process which President Clinton personally oversaw. Canada is livid because Mossad agents used forged Canadian passports to arrive in Jordan as Canadian tourists. Israel is embarrassed beyond belief as people in Israel, after being used to eye popping successes of Mossad in previous operations, are baying for the blood of then prime minister Netanyahu, Mossad chief Yotom. King Hussain is in dilemma because he has to extract maximum mileage from this situation while carefully preserving his power base and maintain delicate equation with another Palestinian stalwart late Yasir Arafat and difficult neighbors such as Syria, Iraq and important Arab allies such Egypt, Iran etc.

Great read. The book written on real facts and incidents reads better than spy thriller.


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