By: Latif Yahia
In recent days we have seen a huge diplomatic scandal explode; the use of European passports by alleged Mossad agents in the death squad sent to kill Hamas member Mahmoud al- Mabhouh on January 20, 2010 in his Dubai hotel room.
It is not the first time that Mossad has used this ploy and probably won’t be the last, other examples are the use of British passports in 1987, Canadian passports in 1997 and New Zealanders passports in 2004, but among the British and French passports used in the 20/01/2010 mission were Irish passports.
When the news broke it didn’t really surprise me, Mossad and Hamas have had a long and brutal relationship and both sides will go to any lengths to win, Britain and France are truly multi-cultural countries and have very established minority (although some would challenge the term minority) communities. So to attempt to portray oneself as British or French while not being as milky as ball of buffalo mozzarella is not difficult, the Irish however have managed to maintain their milky-ness as it is only in the last 15-20 years that they have truly experienced an upsurge in immigration.
When I arrived in Dublin in late 1997, I was easily spotted in the street, something that would work in reverse in London or Paris. In those days I was happy to stand out, it meant that there were not a lot of Arabs, but more importantly Iraqis in Ireland.
Having fled continental Europe from the long reach of Saddam, Uday and the regime that had been able to reach me as far away from Baghdad as London, Dublin seemed thankfully distant from it all. Life became relatively quiet for me and I was grateful.
So then, why am I writing this article? Well I did say life was “relatively” quiet for me in Ireland, I have never been one to see something wrong and shut my mouth, if I had then I probably would have died by Uday’s side or instead of him in the villa, a good little body-double to the end. So what really irks me about this whole passport situation is it is not the first time that the wrong people have gotten their hands on something that the Irish government tell me is valuable!
To give you a feel for my frustration I am giving you an excerpt from one (of many) letters that I have received from the dept of Justice regarding my own application for Naturalization
“ applications for naturalization must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that IT IS NOT UNDERVALUED AND IS ONLY GIVEN TO PEOPLE WHO GENUINELY SATISFY THE NECESSARY QUALIFYING CRITERIA.”
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, what has my citizenship application got to do with Mossad agents with Irish passports. Well, more than you might think, I am presently on my third application for citizenship and of course if they ever decide after the three years that I am waiting to give me an answer in the negative, I will indeed pack my bags and turn my back on the only country that has felt like home in my19 years outside Iraq. I could go on about having an Irish wife, kids etc but that’s another article.
My point here is that as far as I am concerned the Irish don’t value their passport because if they did then they wouldn’t give citizenship to people like Bahaa al-Araji a member of the Iraqi Parliament representing Al-Sadr party (for those of you unfamiliar with Iraqi politics, it is like Sinn Fein being the political wing of the IRA but I wouldn’t want to give the IRA a bad name) and the Head of Law in the present Iraqi government, someone who openly in the media said ‘fuck the Irish, I got what I wanted and so what if I used a fake name” if you were to ask him why he used a fake name I’m sure he would use the tried and tested ‘for my safety’ line, I have used this line, I will not deny it, but I meant it and have several scars to prove that I was under threat and barely escaped. Less about me, more about Bahaa al-Araji, he was unknown to the Iraqi opposition before 2003, he was a corrupt lawyer in Iraq but never actually went to court because he couldn’t get clients no matter how much he tried to undercut his contemporaries fees. He lived in Dublin on social welfare and drove his Nissan Micra, after the fall of Saddam he started to buy up properties in Dublin and it may be an exaggeration but only a small one, for me to say that he owns a quarter of the property in Dublin’s City centre. He now drives a bullet and bomb proof Mercedes around Dublin on his visits and also owns property in London and Dubai. Just for your own information his brother Hazim al-Araji a Shi’ite fundamentalist is a Canadian citizen and has openly declared that ‘all Sunnis should be killed’, he is the right hand man of Muqtada al-Sadr who is the commander of the al-Sadr militia, which is supported by Iran. But where are the Irish officials in the midst of all this, are they happy that they gave their valuable passport to Bahaa?
I suppose I was shocked at the response of the Irish Minister for foreign affairs Mr. Micheal Martin when questioned on radio and television about the use of Irish passports by Mossad, he seemed speechless firstly (typical of the Irish politician, eh.. ummm.. well…), and then after calling upon the Israeli envoy to Ireland Zion Evrony, stated that he ‘had nothing useful to tell Ireland’, embarrassing? I would think so.
The case continues..
While I am on the subject of Iraqis seeking refuge can I just say that pre 2003 there were a lot of Shi’ite Muslims coming out of Iraq looking for sanctuary, Saddam was an equal opportunities Dictator, he terrorized all equally, you got in his way he ran over you Shi’ite, Sunni or Kurd. After the fall of Saddam all Iraqis got themselves new ID, one with a Sunni name, the other with a Shi’ite name so they could produce identification to whichever side they encountered. But it is still mainly the Shi’ite that arrive in Europe, many now claiming that they are Sunni, because they are more likely to achieve refugee status. This is a very dangerous situation for Europe, the Shi’ite are backed by Iran, since 2003 the population of Iraq has grown immensely, when you take into consideration how many people have been killed, are refugees in Iraq, outside Iraq or have disappeared for the population to go from 20 million in the 90’s with war and sanctions to 32 million now, you have to ask, where did they all come from? The answer is easy, Iran. I have mentioned sleeper cells before, I am not a scaremonger, they exist.
In the early to mid-nineties a doctor called Abu Hasan came to Ireland, he practiced as a doctor in one of the hospitals in Dublin until the day he realized that there was no Shi’ite mosque, realizing the potential in this he laid down his stethoscope, dressed himself in clerical robes and headed to Iran. There he received funding to open a shi’ite Mosque, he then bought land and built a block of apartments supposedly in the name of the mosque in one of the most expensive areas in Dublin and went about renting them out to refugees, He enlisted many of the patrons of his mosque and they have become his eyes and ears in Irish government departments. Most notably Basim, he is abu Hasan’s eyes and ears in the department of Justice, as an interpreter he meets nearly every Arab that seeks asylum in Ireland and knows every Immigration officer personally, each case is reported to abu Hasan and then to Iran. Those whom he has not been in the interview room with usually come to him freely later on, as he is advertised in the Arabic community as ‘the go to guy’ for citizenship applications and refugee status, whether he purports it or someone does it for him, for 500 euros he supposedly puts your application in front of someone that will ‘do the job’. Obviously I have never tried him, it is not my level, maybe I should have, I may have had more luck! Again, Abu Hasan and Basim are both Irish citizens, as are most of the Arabs that attend Abu Hasan’s Mosque. I’m sure that they don’t undervalue the Irish passport.
There have been many passport scandals in Ireland dating back to when Mr Haughey was in charge, Charles Haughey (ex Irish Prime Minister) was an open book, he made no secret of his ducking and diving. But even the Irish had enough when he sold passports to rich Arabs for 1,000,000 Irish pounds each. Since then passports have been sold to rich Russians, manufactured by entrepreneurial Nigerians and now ‘faked’ by assassins.
There seemed to be a difference between the passports used from Britain, France, Ireland, Germany and now Australia, but it seems that they were existing passports with the wrong photos everything else was perfect, as far as I can discern the passports were older technology, in the case of the Irish passports issued at the latest in 2004. In 2005 the holographic page with biometrics was introduced making it difficult to forge. How do I know this? Well as I said earlier, Irish wife and kids.
Having spent the best part of thirteen years in Ireland I used to (and still do) become frustrated at the people who attain Irish citizenship, I found it mind bending that these people who couldn’t speak English, didn’t work and claimed social welfare for the whole time they were in the country were being sent out letters saying “Congratulations, welcome, new Irish citizen” while I was being refused, without reason I may add. I used to think, ‘these people aren’t right for the country’ but now I know that it’s not them that is unsuitable for Ireland it is me, for I have seen enough now to admit that if it’s a million euros they want for it, or they are happy with forgers and frauds then I don’t want to be Irish. In a country that links itself to the famous and powerful like the woman that used to baby-sit the cousin of someone who’s famous, Mohammed Ali, Barack and Michelle Obama being the latest with Irish links, I think I’ll take my chances elsewhere.
Soon enough my movie The Devil’s Double will be in the cinemas and we’ll see who’s doing the running then.