"With A Knife Between Its Teeth"

Ronen Bergman retraces the steps of Israel's botched Hamas hit job one year ago in order to understand the state of Israel's spy agency, Mossad, today:

Why did the Mossad permit things to go so wrong in Dubai? In a word, the answer is leadership. Because [Mossad chief Meir ] Dagan refashioned the Mossad in his own image, and because he drove out anyone who was willing to question his decisions, there was no one in the agency to tell him that the Dubai operation was badly conceived and badly planned. They simply did not believe that a minnow in the world of intelligence services such as Dubai would be any match for Israel's Caesarea fighters. As one very senior German intelligence expert told me: "The Israelis' problem has always been that they underestimate everyonethe Arabs, the Iranians, Hamas. They are always the smartest and think they can hoodwink everyone all the time. A little more respect for the other sideeven if you think he is a dumb Arab or a German without imaginationand a little more modesty would have saved us all from this embarrassing entanglement."