Dubai Police Chief: Dagan Ousted Because Israel Won't 'Accept Losers'

PMO silent on report Dagan's term as Mossad chief won't be extended; Intelligence sources say Dagan has yet to prepare a successor.

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Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim on Sunday commented on reports that the term of Mossad chief Meir Dagan would not be extended, saying Dagan should have resigned long ago and that Israel doesn't accept "losers."

Former Mossad chief Meir DaganCredit: Nir Keidar

"Dagan should have stepped down a long time ago as his intelligence service has been exposed by Dubai police," Tamim said in an interview with the Emirati newspaper Gulf News. "We suggested to him that he resign in order to save his honor, but he didn't do that."

Channel 2 news reported on Friday that Dagan has been denied another year in his post and will step down in three months' time.

Tamim also said he is not ruling out an international arrest warrant being issued for Dagan over the January killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai, which is widely believed to have been carried out by Mossad agents using forged European and Australian passports.

"I would like to seek his arrest," said Tamim, "but there is still time for everything."

The Prime Minister's Office has refused to comment on a report that Dagan will step down in a few months after eight years on the job. In addition to the report on Channel 2 News Friday night, Mossad sources and media analysts have said Dagan's term would not be extended.

The PMO probably wants the announcement to appear orderly and save everyone from embarrassment, including the prime minister.

The second issue on the PMO's priority list is to find the right candidate to replace Dagan. No decision has been reached on the matter, which depends on a number of developments.

A big problem is that Dagan, because of his alleged questionable management methods and personality, did not bother preparing a successor. During his eight years at the top of the Mossad, he forced three of his deputies, people he had appointed, to leave the organization.

First to step down was Hagai Hadas, who is now representing the prime minister in the negotiations for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Hadas left when he learned that Dagan did not intend to keep his promise to appoint him to the organization's number-two position.

Then T. stepped down after serving as chief of operations. He had been on a study sabbatical; upon his return Dagan refused to promise that he would recommend him to be the Mossad's next chief.

In his place, Dagan appointed N. as his deputy, but forced him out after accusing him of leaking information to a journalist.

N. was replaced by R., who was a field agent. R. has no experience in other divisions of the organization, so people familiar with the situation say he is not likely to be appointed Dagan's replacement because senior Mossad figures do not think he has the necessary skills.

As such, among the likely candidates is Hadas, who in the past year has served in a position very close to Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the stigma of having connections to a business suspected of fraud.

Another option is that the job will be offered to T., but there is also talk of appointing a general in the Israel Defense Forces to the post. That will only be finalized after appointments that will determine the next chief of staff.

A problem with the latter option is that Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi will only agree to the announcement of his replacement in November. Early assessments have three IDF generals as candidates for the job: Yoav Gallant, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot. However, the prime minister knows he cannot wait until November to appoint the Mossad's next head.

The head of Military Intelligence, Amos Yadlin, who is stepping down in November after five years on the job, has been mentioned as a likely candidate.

Another name being raised is current Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, whose tenure ends next year and who once served as Dagan's adviser on terrorism. But Diskin is not interested in the job.



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