Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Will We Ever Find Out Who Killed Ashraf Marwan? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

Since Ashraf Marwan fell to his death from the fifth floor balcony of his flat in London’s Carlton House Terrace in 2007, the British investigation into his death reached a dead end, with the British inquest concluding with an open verdict saying that it would be impossible to ascertain whether he was pushed or committed suicide.

However there is information that which if put together correctly can help us see the bigger picture and possibly answer the most important question: who killed Ashraf Marwan?

Firstly we must recall the statement made by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak following Marwan’s death. Mubarak said “Marwan carried out patriotic acts which it is not yet time to reveal.” President Mubarak also arranged a state funeral for Ashraf Marwan, which was attended by senior security and government officials. The Israelis had previously claimed that Marwan was their “man” in Egypt since 1969, and that he warned Mossad Director Zvi Zamir that Egypt was preparing a military attack against Israel. However the timing of this warning turned out to be incorrect, and Director of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate [Aman] General Eli Zeira was forced to resign following Egypt’s 1973 attack after discounting a second warning by Marwan. Following his resignation, Zeira issued a statement saying that Mossad’s man in Egypt was in fact an Egyptian double agent providing Israel misinformation.

Until that time, Marwan’s identity [as either a Mossad spy or Egyptian double agent] was a secret, with only a few top officials within Israel’s intelligence agency being aware of this. However Marwan’s identity was revealed in 2003 when Zeira told Israeli writer Aharon Bergman that Mossad’s man in Egypt was related to President Gamal Abdul-Nasser, and that his Mossad codename was “the in-law.” This was information that greatly angered Mossad director Zvi Zamir, who brought a lawsuit against Zeira. In 2007, an Israeli court ruled that Zeira had intentionally revealed Marwan’s identity as a Mossad spy. Zamir believes that Marwan’s death in London was a “direct result” of Zeira revealing his identity, for he was in a position to reveal many Israeli intelligence secrets that would have harmed Israel’s intelligence-gathering capabilities. One significant addition made by Israeli writer Yossi Melman – who is an authority on the Israeli intelligence agencies – is that the most important thing achieved by Ashraf Marwan was that he sold “the Concept” to Israel, which was the belief that Egypt and the Arabs were unable and unprepared to launch a war against Israel, and that everything that was being said about this was nothing more than rhetoric for the local media. The most prominent official to be convinced of “the Concept” was Zeira himself, who prior to the 1973-war said that the possibility of Egypt attacking Israel was “lower than low.” “The Concept” was the reason why Israel’s military was so unprepared [for the 1973 war], and why the Arab’s first strike was so effective. Prior to the 1973-war, Zeira had failed to take the warnings of an Arab attack seriously, as Israel was still in a state of euphoria following the 1967 Six Day War. However an investigation committee chaired by Israeli Chief Justice Simon Agranat later placed Israel’s intelligence failures on Zeira, which resulted in Melman writing an article in 2007 for the Israeli Haaretz newspaper investigating the idea that Ashraf Marwan was a double agent.

Zeira was trying to convince the people that he was not responsible for Israel’s lack of preparedness for the 1973 war, and that Mossad should be held responsible for this, claims that intelligence experts have categorically rejected. In order to relieve its embarrassment, Israel formed a committee made up of security and intelligence experts following Marwan’s death who officially concluded that he was not an Egyptian double agent. However there are still numerous questions over Ashraf Marwan’s death, and indeed his life. What about the disappearance of his memoirs, which he was reportedly writing at the time of his death? What about the eye-witness reports of the presence of a man “with Mediterranean features” spotted on his balcony immediately after his death? Does all of this indicate that the internal struggle between the leadership of Israel’s intelligence agencies (Mossad and Aman) resulted in them being forced to take steps to silence Marwan and prevent him from revealing their failures and incompetence?