His whole life is a cemetery. Of people killed or had killed, of orchestrated revolutions, of ferocious repressions, of intrigues in which he played different parts at the same time. He is one of the most powerful men in the Arab world, and also one of the most feared and hated. He has support everywhere, from Washington to Tel Aviv, from Tripoli to Belgrade, and despite the fact that several governments are after him, he moves like a shadow across the Middle East and North Africa, and continues to serve his King – Mohammed Ben Salman, monarch of Saudi Arabia, of whom the former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi claims to be a great friend, and who in Dahlan has found a hitman for the dirtiest jobs – such as the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other opponents, especially in Yemen, plus a series of rapes and tortures designed to weaken the resistance of opponents of Bin Salman and his main ally, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.
Mohammed Yusuf Shakir Dahlan (Arabic: محمد دحلان) was born on 29 September 1961 in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, the sixth son of a family of refugees from Hamama (a Palestinian city depopulated in 1948 and now an Israeli city known as Nitzanim). He is also known by the nickname Kunya Abu Fadi, and is a Palestinian politician who has worked for years on an agreement between Israel and the Arab countries. His father was an immigrant in Saudi Arabia, and his family, who remained at home, were neighbours of the Rantisi family of Abdul Aziz Rantisi (former leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip), whose mother took care of Dahlan as a child.
The two families remained very close even after the Palestinian Authority began a campaign of repression against Hamas in 1996, the moment Mohammed made a name for himself in Hamas. He had actually been active for a long time: as a young boy he led a group of peers in Khan Yunis who swept the streets and helped the elderly. As a student leader at the Islamic University of Gaza, he turned this gang of kids into a network of charitable organisations, run by children and teenagers, whose members deliver food and medicine door to door, preach Palestinian nationalism and work for military resistance.
In 1981, the group took the name Shabiba, or the Al-Fatah Youth Movement, and fought in the first intifada, between 1987 and 1994. One of the militants, Ibrahim Abu Sheikh, says: “We were not afraid of jail. No law in the world could have kept us in prison because of an idea (…). That is why I advise the Israelis to understand how Mohammed Dahlan grew up, the way life shaped his future: he will always put the cause first, even at the cost of his life’… In fact, during those years Mohammed was arrested by the Israelis a dozen times, deported to Jordan, and spent enough time in jail to learn to speak fluent Hebrew and English.
In 1988, he fled to Tunis, where the PLO leadership was then based, and having gained the trust of Yassir Arafat, he helped organize the unrest in the West Bank and Gaza, so much so that when the PLO returned to Palestine in July 1994, Arafat appointed him to head Al-Fatah and the Preventive Security Service for the Gaza Strip. His wife and children have lived away from Palestine, and since 2013 have Serbian citizenship, while Mohammad has held a passport from Montenegro since 2012.
Suspicions over Arafat’s death
February 1994: Arafat and Dahlan during morning prayers
Currently, Dahlan lives in Abu Dhabi, where he has become the trusted man for the ‘dirty jobs’ of the Al Nahyan family. An exile made necessary because the new head of Al-Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, accuses him of being the assassin of Arafat. The Palestinian leader died in Paris on the 8th of September, 2004, at the age of 75, and the rumours on the possibility that he was poisoned have never subsided.
The accusations leave their mark: in 2011, Dahlan’s house in Ramallah was ransacked by the Palestinian police, and Mohammad, at this point, was also accused of corruption due to the fact that, with the intifada, he had become rich. It is certain that his attitude in favour of dialogue with Israel has cost him several friends in his homeland, but it has brought him the friendship of Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the strong man of the Emirates regime, who for years has supported the alliance with Tel Aviv and the fight without quarter against Hamas.
This friendship has made Dahlan an influential but invisible hand in the negotiation of the Abrahamic Accords, the pact signed by Israel on 15 September 2020 with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Tensions between Abu Dhabi and Gaza are still extreme: in the last year, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has refused aid from Persian Gulf countries against the pandemic, because it had left from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. This decision was motivated by statements by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, who wanted to proceed with the military annexation of large portions of the Palestinian West Bank on the basis of a plan coordinated in January 2020 with the then President Donald Trump.
The Palestinians have long looked on with dismay at the attitude of the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf who, with Saudi Arabia in the lead, are tightening contacts with Israel. Riyadh prefers to conduct these contacts in secret, while the Al-Nahyan family prefers to come out in the open, as evidenced by the military contracts signed between the two countries. This has brought Dahlan unexpected new friends, since US President George W. Bush called him ‘our boy’ and, for this reason, in 2007 financed a failed coup attempt against Hamas, while Trump considered him a possible contender for the Palestinian presidency.
Once he was firmly in the service of Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, Dahlan started to make things big, for example by organising, both militarily and in terms of intelligence, the coup d’état that led to the deposition of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, the systematic persecution of members of the Islamic Brotherhood and the establishment of the regime of Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo.
The Turkish government accused him of participating in the failed coup of 15 July 2016 and put him on the list of most wanted terrorists with a bounty of 700,000 on his head, dead or alive. This has not stopped Donald Trump from continuing to use him as an adviser, so much so that in the investigations of the US federal prosecutor’s office there are traces of meetings in Manama, Bahrain, in 2019, between the Saudi regime’s boogeyman and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law.
The failed coup in the West Bank
12 February 2015: Dahlan meets with Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman
In particular, document number 1279 of the so-called “Perspective papers”, dated 5 September 2019, drafted by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and contained in the folders of the investigation, Dahlan is described as “a character who has lurked for several years in the shadow of Palestinian politics” who, thanks to the cooperation between Trump and the Saudi monarchy, was among the directors of the Abrahamic Agreements between the Saudis and Israelis. An agreement that removes the Palestinian issue from the agenda of those Arab countries that should consider them brothers.
The confirmation of this reading came from the Saudi and UAE hereditary princes, Muhammad bin Salman and Muhammad bin Zayed, who supported the Israeli-American policy on Palestine and in the words of Jared Kushner, who proposed to deviate from the 2002 Arab peace plan and not to ask for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In those negotiations, Dahlan is the main mediator between Prince Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and former Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a bitter enemy of Hamas.
To those in Gaza and Ramallah who consider him a traitor, Dahlan responds with an attempt to create an opposition party, with the support of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which would include the “Democratic Reform” current of Al-Fatah, and which would try to conquer power in Palestine thanks to American and Qatari aid for health and educational services in Gaza, as well as for the reconstruction of the houses destroyed by the Israeli army. Qatar is being invited to take part in this operation in order to obtain compliance with the Al-Ula peace accords, showing that it is not dependent on Iran.
Various sources consider Dahlan a mediator, on behalf of the Gulf monarchies, with the Israeli security service Shin Bet and the CIA. In Serbian intelligence documents, Dahlan is considered a close friend of former CIA director George Tenet, Jewish army officer Amnon Shahak and influential Mossad director Yaakov Perry, with whom he is said to have organised and participated in joint missions in Eastern European countries, directed in the field by former PLO official Adnan Yasin, arrested in 1993 in Tunisia by French intelligence, which considers him “extremely dangerous”.
Dahlan’s denials count for little in the face of the publication by Wikileaks of various documents describing him as an ’emotionally volatile and intimidating’ Mossad agent. A high-ranking Israeli defence official visited him in hospital in 2005 and said: “He is back to being evil, which means he has recovered”. Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet, says: “If he sees a personal advantage in helping President Abbas, he will do it, because he knows how to pull the strings in Gaza”. Diskin himself later comments: Dahlan and his friends “come close to being worth zero, yet they ask us to attack Hamas. They are desperate. This is a new development. We have never seen this before (…) Fatah is in a very bad shape in Gaza. We have received requests to train their forces in Egypt and Yemen (…), but they have no one to lead them”.
In a similar situation, both Washington and Tel Aviv believe that it is possible to use this minority current of Al-Fatah to organise a coup d’état in the West Bank – a plan which, in February 2008, will be revealed by the magazine “Vanity Fair”: the idea of the Bush administration was that Muhammad Dahlan, as Abbas’ National Security Advisor and Fatah strongman, would defeat Hamas with American soldiers. A plan that will never be realised.
Mossad agent in the Balkans
April 2013: President Tomislav Nikolić awards Dahlan the Flag Medal
In April 2013, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić awarded Dahlan the Serbian flag medal for his services during the civil war: in those years Arabia and the Emirates sent the Palestinian agent to manage billions of dollars spent to fight against the Croats and to put an end to the repression of Muslims in Bosnia and Montenegro. Former Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic says Dahlan was the mediator of his great friendship with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
Two years later, in 2015, Dahlan and his family were awarded honorary citizenship of Serbia for helping the government to sell weapons and ammunition left over from the civil war to militias in several Arab countries, while also using Serbian channels to place used Israeli weapons with Arab extremists. At the end of 2015, again thanks to the intermediation of Mohammed Dahlan, the United Arab Emirates bought the old Yugoslav arms factories, Serbian airlines and provided loans at preferential rates to the government of Serbia and Montenegro.
Another contract, whereby EARTH (Emirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding) bought the patent for the ALAS anti-tank missiles, with the entire Yugoimport factory, paid only 200 million dollars, was a masterstroke – like that of taking over the Yugoslavian cyber-espionage plans and the major Serbian experts in the field. All justified by the need to stop Turkey’s expansionist aims.
According to the Serbian journalist Vladimir Pekic, who recalls the fact that, since the 1970’s, over 7000 Serbian families had moved to the Emirates, and that Yugoslavia already had privileged relations with Abu Dhabi at the time of Marshal Tito, the United States supports the expansionist aims of the Emirates in the Balkans, not only to stop Turkey, but to prevent the intrusion of the Russian Federation, encouraged by Belgrade’s refusal to belong to either the European Union or NATO, and to allow the modernisation of Serbian agriculture and industry with Arab money, so that Serbia too becomes an attractive market for Western products.
According to a Standard Bank manager, Timothy Ash, the Emirati aims were born when concern arose about the possibility that the Europeans, one day or another, might declare an embargo against Abu Dhabi. When Switzerland briefly suspended arms export licences to Abu Dhabi in 2012 because hand grenades sold by Bern to Abu Dhabi had been found in the hands of Syrian rebels, the monarchy was shocked – and among the various counter-measures taken was to instruct the American mercenary Erik Prince to set up a militia of excellence, composed of mercenaries, to suppress any internal revolts and act abroad as a means of controlling the monarchy’s areas of geopolitical interest.
At the same time, Dahlan is one of the mediators who brought about the independence of Montenegro – where he became rich thanks to his business enterprises (such as the business consultancy Levant International Inc. DOO Podgorica, which controls a supermarket in Lebanon, the real estate companies Manarah Holding DOO Podgorica, Queens Rich Development Company DOO Podgorica and Middle East Real Estate DOO Podgorica), all financed, according to the official indictment of the Palestinian judiciary, with money stolen from international funding for the unemployed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The total value of all this is estimated at $120 million. In fact, Dahlan’s Montenegrin partner, the Iraqi Kurd Mohammed Rachid, who was Yassir Arafat’s economic advisor 20 years earlier, was sentenced in 2012 to 15 years in prison for embezzling $33.5 million from a Palestinian investment fund, which was then laundered through economically incomprehensible financial transactions.
Terrorist in Libya and Yemen
Mohammed Dahlan (left) with his friend Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (right)
Dahlan also plotted to overthrow the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, as evidenced by recordings of conversations between the then head of the Egyptian army, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Major General Abbas Kamel. After the first minutes of the conversation, concerning Ahmad Gheddaf al-Dam, cousin of Colonel Muammar Gheddafi, and the then Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, the conversation shifts to Dahlan and his role in the Libyan civil war in defence of the geopolitical interests of the Emirates. Al-Sisi shows reservations about Dahlan, but General Kamel, who tells of a secret trip by a group of Dahlan’s allies to organise the rebels, replies that it is time to abandon Hamas and side with Al-Nahyan.
It was then as a representative of the United Arab Emirates that Dahlan promoted the counter-revolution in the Maghreb country, led by Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, until the Libyan-US coup general Khalifa Haftar entered the scene. According to rumours, the Egyptian coup plotters arranged a meeting between Dahlan and Al-Dam for the two to shake hands before planning the counter-revolution in Libya together.
At the same time, Dahlan was commissioned to kill members of Yemeni politics and culture – something that the Palestinian hitman is said to have carried out with coldness and precision, so much so that the Turkish lawyer, Gülden Sönmez of the Stoke & White law firm, was able to present a dossier to the Turkish, British and American judiciary on 11 February 2020 with a formal request to open criminal proceedings against Dahlan for war crimes. A dossier that contains a list of murders, but also of kidnappings and torture, such as that inflicted on the opposition politician Adel Salem Nasser Mofgah, tortured along with many others in a concentration camp in the United Arab Emirates and the only one of his own group to have escaped death.
Should this macabre picture not be enough, Ms Sönmez also collected evidence of Dahlan’s personal involvement in the 8 October 2016 Sana’a bombing, which cost the lives of 137 civilians, as well as several rapes, carried out in collaboration with an American mercenary company, Abraham Golan and Isaac Gilmore’s Spear Operations Group, paid for by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Among the evidence presented was a public statement by Golan to Buzzfeed magazine: “I ran the assassination programme in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates financed it”. But Dahlan has powerful friends, and that dossier was never turned into a criminal case by Interpol, probably also due to the fact that, among Dahlan’s accomplices, there were also elements of the CIA and Mossad.
Plans after the attempted coup in Turkey
Turkish police cameras capture Mohammed Dahlan and his thugs entering through the back door of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, where they killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Dahlan has always been blacklisted by the regime in Ankara because of his alleged good relations with Fetullah Gülen’s FETÖ, Erdogan’s former spiritual adviser who was later outlawed, together with whom Dahlan allegedly organised the attempted coup of 15 July 2016, which ended with 251 deaths. After that date, in 2019, Turkish police arrested two secret agents from the Emirates who, according to the judiciary, worked directly for Dahlan, and collected information on influential people in the regime who would later become targets of attacks.
According to the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT, Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı), which tracked and recorded their conversations for several months, this is part of an Israeli plan to destabilise first Turkey, then Iran and Qatar, partly through assassinations, partly with the support of the independent and anti-regime press, and finally with the support of the Kurds of the PKK. Given the credibility of the MIT, these accusations appear extremely exaggerated, and it is possible that the responsibilities of 2016 have become the excuse for a manhunt whereby any contact with Dahlan or Israel automatically becomes a death sentence in Turkey.
What is certain is that Dahlan has an efficient network in Turkey that allowed him and at least four members of his staff to travel to Istanbul without being arrested, to hide inside the Saudi consulate, and to have proceeded to arrest, torture, strangle and then dismember and partially dissolve in acid the Arab journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who on 2 October 2018 had presented himself at the counters to obtain the necessary documents for his marriage.
In the hours following the assassination, Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman admitted that he was the one who gave the order to kill Khashoggi. This evidently strengthened the view that the team that ambushed the Washington Post journalist was personally led by Mohammed Dahlan. A few days later, the Dahlan family’s travel agency, Uniglobe Dahlan Tours and Travel Ltd. Amman, was closed down and Dahlan was locked up for a long time and guarded by bodyguards in a Dubai hospital. His propaganda agency, Creative Shop Advertising KSA Jeddah, was also closed for several weeks. After several months in hospital, Dahlan moved to a villa he bought a few kilometres from Lausanne, in the French town of Divonne-les-Bains, known for its thermal baths.
It is hard to believe that this is the end of the career of the most famous assassin in the Arab world. It is probably an attempt to allow enough time to pass so that public opinion forgets Mohammed Dahlan’s responsibility for an interminable series of atrocities. Moreover, as we said at the beginning, one of the two men giving him orders and defending him, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is celebrated by Italian senator Matteo Renzi as the ‘great hope of a new renaissance for Saudi Arabia’…
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 SE ABU DHABI PENSA DI “PILOTARE” DONALD TRUMP | IBI World Italia ; INFERNO YEMEN: ARMI TEDESCHE PER L’ARABIA, PER AL-QAEDA E PER I MERCENARI AMERICANI | IBI World Italia ; DALLA FANTASCIENZA ALL’INCUBO: LO SPYWARE DI REGIME PER IL CONTROLLO TOTALE | IBI World Italia ; GOLFO PERSICO: LA GUERRA DOPO L’ARMISTIZIO | IBI World Italia ; THE NEW COLD WAR | IBI World Italia
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 Turkey: Khashoggi strangled immediately after entering consulate | Jamal Khashoggi News | Al Jazeera ; Audio transcripts of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder revealed | Jamal Khashoggi News | Al Jazeera ; Saudi prince bin Salman accepts responsibility but not blame for Khashoggi death – UPI.com
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 Mohammed Dahlan and Sons SAS Divonne-les-Bains