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 Mahmoud al-Mabhouh 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.
Gulf News says:
The ultimatum indicates that Dubai Police are aware of the identities of spies operating in the UAE and the Gulf region and appears to be a warning of exposure if they do not comply.
If Dubai is really serious about kicking out its resident spies, the consequences will be far reaching.
As Zvi Bar’el noted earlier this month:
Dubai has several masks. It helps Iran, but behind its back it provides the United States with an opportunity to gather intelligence about that country. The U.S. Consulate in Dubai also operates as a station for gathering information and enlisting agents. A few years ago the U.S. State Department wanted to close the consulate, but the CIA succeeded in convincing it to leave it open and even to boost the number of employees so that it could handle the hundreds and perhaps thousands of Iranians who come to request visas.
It’s not only the U.S. intelligence services that love Dubai: The tremendous scope of commerce and the large number of companies and foreign agencies there are an excellent cover and an appropriate disguise for any city of spies.
Dubai has now replaced 20th-century Istanbul, Nicosia, Casablanca and Berlin as a hotbed of spying activity. Russians exchange information with Pakistanis, Afghans and Chechens trade tactics, members of Hezbollah convert illegal money and diamonds in bank transactions “for widows and orphans,” and all while enjoying car races and performances by international artists.