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On Spies and Introductions

03/06/2009

I‘m told that as this is my first blog post then I may want to use it to introduce myself, my interests, and my professional ‘obsessions’. Well, when people send me emails introducing themselves as such as such from here or there, the first thing I often do is Google them: all is public now, privacy has gone.

So go on, my reader – DIY. It would be appreciated, though, if you refrain from googling “Ahron Bregman Ashraf Marwan”, which I suspect you might well do anyway.

It is the 2nd anniversary of Ashraf Marwan’s death. Who was Ashraf Marwan? Well, he was many things – an Egyptian minister, a roving ambassador, a successful businessman, but above all his name is now linked to the spying world. He was the most important spy Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad ever had in the Arab world, one who played a prominent role in the lead up to the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

This, of course, was a top secret for many years. But in my 1999 book Israel’s Wars I hinted at Marwan’s identity, arguing that he was a double agent who had, in fact, misled his Israeli masters and was, as I put it, the jewel in the crown of the Egyptian plan to deceive Israel before the 1973 war.

However, my concealed references to him in Israel’s Wars and other publications, eventually led to a serious spat between us, where he dubbed my version of events “a silly detective story” and I, in response, unmasked him; revealing that he was Ashraf Marwan, son in law of Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

We later mended fences, met and kept working relations for five years – I was an advisor on a book he was writing. But then came his mysterious death on 27 June 2007 – the very day we were due to meet for a chat.

He either jumped to his death from the balcony of his flat in Mayfair, London – or was pushed. I pray that, in either eventuality, my unmasking him had nothing to do with his brutal death. Two years after the event the Metropolitan Police are still searching for clues as to what actually happened on that fateful day.

And why do I tell you this story? Simply because this is the sort of story people who introduce themselves tend not to mention. And it is only because I know that you – the enquiring reader out there – would do more than reading my own boring introduction of myself, that I am so open about this unfortunate event.

The bottom line? Drop the formal introductions and never unmask spies – at least as long as they’re still alive.

Ahron Bregman