ABU DHABI: Details about UAE intelligence personnel, Mahmoud Ayesh Al Astal a Jordanian national imitated as a journalist to get information about Turkish domestic and foreign political matter. The sources reveal that after picking out the information, it was passed to handlers in the UAE. The information was revealed through official documents that stated that the spy was working on behalf of UAE in Turkey. The UAE intelligence personnel, Mahmoud Ayesh Al Astal is a 45-year-old Palestinian origin and Jordanian national. He has served the UAE intelligence for about 11 years, in which he received $400,000 in payments for his services, sources say.
In addition to this, it was divulged that he the primary tasks given to Astal by his supervisors were providing information about “Muslims living in Turkey” as well as “Emirati and Arab rebels who had fled their country”. He was also assigned to dig in and gather information regarding Turkey’s domestic and foreign politics. Astal also had the duty to provide information about other “journalists and rebels living in Turkey”, who may be willing to work with them.
Astal the Jordanian spy got bags of cash for this task as he received $2,700 a month, with additional payments of $11,000 in 2013 prior to moving to Turkey. The sources revealed that in 2015 he received around $50,000 to purchase of a flat in the Turkish city of Sakarya. The Jordanian spy has connected with four handlers in the UAE intelligence service. These handlers had covert names mentioned as, “Abu Rashed, Abu Faris, Abu Suheyl, Abu Ali.” The Jordanian spy has stayed connected with them for a long time. He also met them in past few years. He met Abu Ali, whose full name is Saud Abdul-Aziz Mohamed Bindarwish in 2016 in Istanbul. The Jordanian spy is being suspected for being first recruited by Abu Rashed in 2009. Abu Rashed has also been identified as Rashed Abdul khaliq Mohammed al Shara by Turkish intelligence services.
The sources reveal that, the intelligence officer was under the supervision of the officer, Abu Faris at the time of his capture in September. While tracking down the reason of his recruitment by Emirati intelligence, it was known that Astal was recruited by Emirati intelligence by using a mixture of financial pressure and threats to withdraw his right to work in their country.
It was also revealed that Astal was unwilling to work for intelligence agency. When he showed the unwillingness to work, as a threat his work visa application was denied as a result of which leaving him no choice. Astal is said to have relented under the pressure because of his fear of returning to Jordan, where he would have found it difficult to find employment. Astal feared of returning to Jordan, where he would be unemployed. And that was the reason he accepted the offer to works with Emirati intelligence agency, news agencies reported
While loking into the past life of Astal before he was sent to Turkey as a spy, he was working in UAE, spying on members of the Muslim Brotherhood and giving the information to his handlers through phone calls. His services led to him being granted a residency visa to stay in the UAE. The news agencies divulged that providing the intelligence with the floor plans for the Hewar center and delivering computers from the organization’s offices to the Emirati intelligence officer under the alleged reason of having them repaired were parts of his duties in past. According to the sources, in 2012, UAE launched a crackdown against the member of Muslim brotherhood, many members of the group fled to Turkey. In response, Astal was then ordered by UAE intelligence to move to Turkey and proved the information about them. His main targets were brotherhood members such as Saeed Naser Alteneiji
When he met the individuals of the brotherhood group, he made recordings of conversation and sent them to the Emiratis. Astal contacted his handlers on the phone, through encrypted mobile applications, and in face-to-face meetings in shopping malls.
While commenting on the emerged intelligence failure, Turkish authorities say that the UAE has been conducting clandestine surveillance operations in the country for very long, targeting both local authorities and rebels who have fled the Arab world. the Turkish authorities divulged that Ankara Police arrested two men in 2019, which are believed to be linked with the atrocious murder of the Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul in October 2018.