The UAE Crown Prince’s pit bull

He’s the man of a thousand lives. He’s the man with a thousand
faces. "He is also the man of a thousand crimes" persifles his
enemies. Mohammed Dahlan’s name slams like a bullet from AK-47,
a weapon he wields with mastery. If his name is on everyone’s
lips in the Middle East, few venture to pronounce it aloud.

Former head of security of Yasser Arafat, former strong man of
Fatah, possible successor of Mahmoud Abbas at the head of the
Palestinian Authority, Dahlan’s shadow hangs over all the
intrigues stirring the Near and Middle East. The Palestinian
uses his networks and money in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya with
incomparable dexterity to establish the influence of the United
Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Recently, it was his role in the murder of Saudi journalist
Jamal Khashoggi that was revealed. Last November, the Turkish
daily "Yeni Safak" reported that the second team sent to the
Saudi Arabian consulate to clean up after the Saudi journalist’s
murder was recruited by Mohammed Dahlan himself and that the men
present on the spot were the same as those involved in the
murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhif, an influential Hamas member, in

Mercenaries in Yemen

A must in the region, "Abu Fadi", its war name, even seems to
have a gift of ubiquity, as it seems to be in several places at
the same time. Recently, his involvement in the financing and
arming of mercenaries deployed in Yemen to fight Houthi rebels
has been the subject of much debate. Some intelligence services
also provide him with a number of targeted assassinations with
the help of a mercenary team led by the Israeli Abraham Golan.
His expertise has made him the most prominent security advisor
in Abu Dhabi. His mandate: to influence the re-composition of
the Middle East in the direction most favourable to MBZ and to
sabotage Qatari interests by the most vile means. The Emirati
monarchy is also counting on him to crush all internal disputes
mercilessly. Observers see him as the most ferocious watchdog of
the Emiratis. "It’s the MBZ pit bull who always keeps him on a
leash" risks one of them.

MBZ and Dahlan: a long friendship

Dahlan first met Mohammed Ben Zayed, born like him in 1961, in
1993, during a trip by Yasser Arafat to Abu Dhabi. The first, a
young adviser to the Palestinian raïs, is preparing to take over
the leadership of Preventive Security, one of the police units
in the Gaza Strip, which has just been evacuated by the Israeli
army, in accordance with the Oslo agreements. A function that he
will transform into a financial pump, by taking a tithe from
freight trucks entering the territory. The position will also
allow him to establish useful contacts with many foreign
intelligence services, including the Israeli Shin Beth.

The second, not yet known as "MBZ", was at that time a fighter
pilot, who was positioned to become the heir to his half-brother
Khalifa, to whom the succession of Zayed, the founder of the
UAE, was already promised. Like Dahlan, the young prince turned
a state institution, the Offsets Bureau - which manages the
funds that foreign arms companies must reinvest locally after
obtaining a contract - into the matrix of his political rise.

The two thirty-somethings, driven by the same thirst for power,
met several times and became sympathetic.

Thus, when in the summer of 2011, Mahmoud Abbas had him expelled
from Fatah and sued him for embezzlement, it was quite naturally
in the Emirates that he took refuge.

In Abu Dhabi, Dahlan is working harder than ever. To counter the
rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, winners of the elections held in
Egypt and Tunisia after the uprisings of 2011, his Emirate
master inaugurated a secret and strong diplomacy. As a good
barker, Dahlan will be one of the giants of this counterrevolutionary

In Egypt, "MBZ" and "Abu Fadi" support the destabilization of
Mohamed Mursi, the winner of the 2012 presidential election,
from the Muslim Brotherhood. In particular, they finance the
gigantic demonstrations in June 2013 that led to Power
General Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi.

Suitcases full of cash

Dahlan also invests in Egyptian media on behalf of the Emirates.
He is participating in the launch of the Al-Ghad television
channel, directed by journalist Abdellatif Menawi, a nostalgic
for the Mubarak regime. In return, the Egyptian authorities
provide him with services. In April 2015, they let his wife,
Jalila, enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point,
while under pressure from Mahmoud Abbas, Israel had closed the
Erez gate on the north side. Once there, with suitcases full of
cash, Jalila Dahlan financed a collective wedding for 400
Gazans. The day after the wedding, huge posters bearing the
image of Khalifa Ben Zayed proclaimed "Thank you Emirates" on
the walls of Gaza.

The Emirates’ man also operated his famous contacts in Libya. In
this country, Abu Dhabi supports Marshal Khalifa Haftar, based
in Cyrenaica, against the pro-Qatar camp of Misrata, and against
the Prime Minister of national understanding, Faïez Sarraj, who
is favoured by the Western World. Dahlan knows several former
kadhafists present in Haftar’s entourage: Mohammed Ismaïl,
Hassan Tatanaki, a philanthropic billionaire connected to arms
dealers, and Kadhaf Al-Dam, a cousin of the Libyan Guide killed
by the Misrata rebels in October 2011.

Deliveries of Emirati weapons to Camp Haftar, Libya

Multiple sources claim that these men have helped "Abu Fadi" to
travel to Cyrenaica several times since 2012. One of the
SissiLeaks, these clandestine recordings of conversations
between the Egyptian president and his entourage that leaked
into the media in the winter of 2015, referred to a trip by
Dahlan, by private jet, from Cairo to Libya. To do what ? Many
observers are convinced that Dahlan is one of the actors in the
chain of Emirates arms deliveries to Camp Haftar, which was
highlighted by the UN panel of experts on Libya. In addition to
his security background, the vast network he has in the Balkans
qualifies him for this role as an intermediary.

In the 2000s, on the strength of the old friendship between
former Yugoslavia and the PLO, forged in the non-aligned
movement, the opportunist Dahlan infiltrated the business
circles of this region. He approached two senior executives:
Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro four times between
1991 and 2016, long suspected of mafia connections; and
Aleksandar Vucic, former Prime Minister and now President of
Serbia, whose transparency is not his best quality.

Through a cascade of Balkan companies, most of them shady ones
(Monte Mena, Levant International Corporation, Alfursan or
Queens Beach Development...), Dahlan was able to conclude some
lucrative business such as the production of Egyptian cigarettes
"Cleopatra" or as this acquisition of land along the Zagreb-
Belgrade highway, revealed by the Balkan Investing Reporting
(BIRN). But above all, he helped his boss, Mohammed Ben
Zayed, to penetrate this market. Between 2013 and 2015, Abu
Dhabi won several major contracts in Serbia under particularly
opaque conditions, including the Belgrade Waterfront, a project
estimated at $3.5 billion to renovate an old part of the

Huge stocks of weapons available in the Balkans

For his good offices, Dahlan received Serbian and Montenegrin
passports, as well as eleven from his relatives. And Mohammed
Ben Zayed’s interest in the Balkans is also due to the region’s
huge arms stocks, a legacy of the civil war of the 1990s. An
investigation by BIRN and the Organized Crime and Corruption
Reporting Project, published in 2016 in the Guardian, revealed
that in 2015, at least eight cargo planes loaded with weapons
took off from Serbia for Abu Dhabi. Random? In June of that same
year, General Haftar visited Belgrade.

Some of this equipment was reportedly re-exported to Libya under
the supervision of Mohammed Dahlan. In a telephone conversation
available on YouTube, recorded clandestinely, we also hear a
relative of Mahmoud Jibril, the Prime Minister of the rebellion
in 2011, offer a militia leader "Dahlan’s help". For many
experts in the region, there is no doubt: "Dahlan is the man of
the Emirates to bring troops to Haftar. He works with Haftar’s
son, Saddam. The two men are also business partners and are
reported to have invested in a mining site in Sudan. "The
appetite of MBZ’s Pittbull is insatiable...