(October 17, 2018 / Israel Hayom) Some stories are hard to believe. But it seems one such story—of a Jewish businessman and an American former commando-turned-mercenary who were hired by a former Palestinian security chief to establish a hit squad for the United Arab Emirates to assassinate political targets in Yemen—actually happened.
The story, published by BuzzFeed, begins with a meeting between former Palestinian Authority strongman Mohammed Dahlan and Abraham Golan at an Italian restaurant on a military base in the United Arab Emirates. There, the two agree to create a team of mercenaries to assassinate individuals in Yemen.
Golan, a Hungarian-born Jew who served in the French Foreign Legion and lived for a time in Israel, admits to helping form the hit squad, but he does not detail the operations in which he was involved.
One of the Yemen missions detailed by BuzzFeed was the attempted assassination in 2015 of Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The mission to kill Mayo came under heavy scrutiny because his Al-Islah party was uninvolved in the fighting in Yemen, and because it was motivated by the UAE’s all-out war on the Muslim Brotherhood.
“There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen,” Golan told BuzzFeed. “I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.”
Golan’s targeted killing operation included a series of assassinations of senior Al-Islah officials, which exacerbated the bloody civil war in Yemen and served as catalysts for the country’s plunge into total anarchy.
Many question whether an absolute monarchy such as the UAE should be able to hire American mercenary hit squads for its own political purposes.
However, Golan says he believes in the necessity of mercenaries and targeted killings in the global war on terror.
“I just want there to be a debate,” he said. “Maybe I’m a monster. Maybe I should be in jail. Maybe I’m a bad guy. But I’m right.”