Police in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai have advised all foreign spies to get out of town—and preferably out of the region—within a week. Although it is widely known in international spy circles, news of the expulsion threat has received little circulation beyond media in the Arab world. However, Gulf News, a newspaper based in Dubai, said the demand that foreign spies leave the area was confirmed to it by Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai's police chief and leader of the investigation into the murder.
"Those spies that are currently present in the Gulf must leave the region within one week. If not, then we will cross that bridge when we come to it," Tamim reportedly said. When asked whether the spies he was talking about were holders of European passports, Tamim said "Europeans and others," but offered no further details.
A Gulf newspaper, Al-Khaleej, quoted Tamim saying foreign spies had better depart the emirate "or they will face extreme measures," according to a report from the Alarabiya.net Web site. The report does not indicate whether the police official outlined any specific measures to be taken against spies who remained after the ban takes effect.
Some foreign intelligence officials believe the people most likely to be affected by the spy ban—assuming Dubai authorities are serious about it—are "undeclared" spies—intelligence officers and informants who are supposed to be operating in the Emirates using undercover identities, rather than spies whose identities have been officially declared to the Emirates government and who therefore likely have status as accredited diplomats. The CIA declined to comment.
Dubai investigators, led by Tamim, caused an international uproar when they released information, including passport details and surveillance pictures, of 26 Westerners who they alleged were members of the hit team that killed Mabhouh. The murder is widely believed to have been the work of Israel's legendary foreign intelligence service, Mossad. Israeli officials have resolutely declined to comment on the case. But according to a Western intelligence official, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive matters, they have spread the word to some of their foreign intelligence contacts that they consider the Mabhouh operation to have been "successful." Jonathan Peled, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said his government was not commenting on the matter.
As Declassified has previously reported, the team that Dubai authorities say killed Mabhouh used a mixture of forged and fraudulently obtained European and Australian passports, and went out of their way—unsuccessfully, it appears—to make the death look like the result of natural causes.