The Sum of Things

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Chapter 8

London 12th July 2001
Fallon alighted a taxi at a small cul-de-sac opposite Kensington Palace Green. Danny Arnan greeted him. “Good Morning, James,” he said, shaking his hand. “It’s good to see you after all these years. You’re looking good.”

“Thanks, Danny. You’re looking good yourself.”

Arnan smiled.“Follow me, James.” he said and, with a pronounced limp, led Fallon down the cul-de-sac to the gates of the Embassy of Israel and on through the toughest security checkpoint in the world.

Inside, they rode an elevator down to a windowless room in the basement. Arnan removed his coat, rolled his shirt sleeves above his elbows. He hunched over a steel desk and commenced sorting the contents of a folder. Fallon took a chair. He knew Arnan well. They’d first met when he’d brought a team of Israeli Special Forces recruits to train with the SAS in the Welsh Brecon Beacon Mountains.

Physically small with a cherubic face, the Israeli’s docile appearance belied a formidable fighter. As Israel’s second most highly decorated soldier after Ehud Barak, he’d commanded Sayeret Matkal, the secret Israeli Special Forces Unit, for two years before being invalided out on account of wounds received leading Operation Sabra Core, a raid aimed at rescuing soldiers held hostage by Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Arnan was now with Israeli intelligence under the cover of an attaché in the London embassy.

The Israeli turned his chair around to face a wall mounted plasma screen and said. “James, allow me to introduce you to Abbas al Suleiman.” He operated a remote, eased back, hands clasped behind his neck as the screen lit up and a video began to play. A composite of still pictures and moving film narrated in English, it ran for thirty minutes and covered much of the life of Abbas al Suleiman and his development as a terrorist.

The film ended abruptly and Arnan closed the screen and faced Fallon and with a smile. “In our view, he is the world’s most dangerous man. As you have seen, he’s Lebanese, born in Tyre and a devout Shia Muslim. Along with Abbas al Musawi and Hassan Nasrallah he helped found the terrorist entity called Hezbollah.

“He’s a chameleon. He regularly changes his appearance, name and occupation. He has even undergone plastic surgery to disguise himself. He uses many passports some of which are diplomatic. He trusts no one. The people he uses are close family. He comes in one door and leaves by another. He changes vehicles daily and never uses a telephone. He is completely unpredictable; which explains how he managed to survive all assassination attempts. He’s highly intelligent and very clever. He’s cultivated, fluent in English and French. He’s also a killer responsible for many atrocities and the deaths of over five hundred people. By all measures; longevity, range and notoriety, Osama Bin Laden and the jihadists of al-Qaida do not begin to compare with him. The French are terrified of him. Only last summer he passed through General De Gaulle Airport untouched despite the Interpol red notice warrants for his apprehension. The French Secret Service reported his presence to their government and were strictly told to leave him be.”

“That must have annoyed the Americans.”

“Of course. They wish to put him on trial. The FBI offers five million dollars for him.”

“Dead or alive?” Fallon grinned.

“Well,” Arnan smiled. “I don’t believe they want his corpse. We, on the other hand have no interest in trials. We want him dead. I want him dead.”

“Do you know where he is?”

“We always know where he is.”

“Even given his skills at disappearing, you manage to locate him?”

“Always.”

Fallon wondered how, but said nothing.

“James, Israeli intelligence is top of the class," Arnan said. "Second to none." He sat back and stared intently at a ceiling light fixture and went into what appeared to Fallon to be a trance. Then his gaze returned to Fallon. “Al Suleiman has a bodyguard of twelve men, a Praetorian Guard similar to Arafat's Force 17 dedicated to protect him. One of those men is ours and from him we learn much. But the reason we always know where al Suleiman is, is because he carries a microchip which betrays its position whenever we address it.”

“He carries a chip? Like the one in my laptop? There’s also one in my car. A GPS micro chip.”

“Yes, like that.”

“He doesn’t know it of course?”

“Hardly.”

“You’re telling me that Israeli intelligence placed it in him?”

“It's top secret, but yes we did, many years ago. He was one of many. We did over fifty. Young men, teenagers who looked likely to make trouble in the future or get into full blown terrorism were micro chipped. It was easy with him as he was injured and hospitalized. Others we drugged.” He grinned. “Most of those young men, I have to say, have gone on to fall in love, marry and follow peaceful lives, blissfully unaware of things.”

Fallon chuckled. “Where is al Suleiman now?”

“That's an easy one. At this moment al Suleiman lies is in a Beirut hospital, recuperating from injuries received in the last attempt on his life a few months ago.”

“Was it an Israeli attempt?”

Arnan smiled and shrugged. “He has many enemies, James, and some of them are Arabs. Sunni Muslim groups have tried to kill him several times. But yes, it was. We almost had him, but once again luck was with him.”

"Tell me more of him. Tell me of his vulnerable side, his weaknesses."

Arnan grinned. "His main weakness is women. He likes them and they like him."

"He's married?"

"Yes. Like many Arabs, he married a first cousin, his father's sister's daughter. Much younger than him. He has two sons and a daughter with her."

"Girl friends?"

"Several. But his main love lives in France. She's a singer with a beautiful home on the Mediterranean coast."

"And he goes there?"

"He did. But he's not been for some time?"

"He has no problem going there."

"He travels on any number of passports and supporting identification. One of his favourites was a retired Egyptian archaeologist."

"Did it not occur to you to take him out there?"

"As he has no protection when he's there, yes it did. But France, like most of Europe, is off limits."

"He has no protection?"

"None. It would draw unwanted attention. Why would a retired Egyptian archaeologist need bodyguards? You should also know he's an avid gambler. He visits the French casinos as well as the occasional visit to Monte Carlo."

Fallon grinned. "Anything else?"

"He also drinks alcohol. But only in Europe, never at home. I suppose it becomes part of his image. He seems to like wine."

"He gets more interesting every minute."

“Nevertheless, we want him eutralized. The world will be a far better place without him.”

“And you want Global Solutions to do it.”

“Yes. With the help and cooperation of our intelligence services, of course. But there's no hurry. He'll be awhile in hospital. We have lots of time to plan, James.”

"Danny. I never saw myself as a hit man, a cold bloodied assassin I need time to think this over."

"Of course. As I say there's no hurry. We have lot's of time."

"If we did it would have to an anonymous hit. There is no way we could claim it. And so we could never claim the FBI reward of five million.

"We'll pay it."

"You'll pay the five million to Global Solutions?"

"Yes. We've spent far more pursuing him, so we'd consider it a bargain. So think it over, James." Arnan smiled. "Then call me and say you'll do it."

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