Was Yassir Arafat poisoned? By polonium?

Indian Summer

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That seems to be the case if the findings of a Swiss laboratory are correct:
Tests performed by a laboratory in Switzerland found significant traces of Polonium-210 on the late Palestinian leader's clothes, adding a new twist to a case that has obsessed the Arab world for years.

Polonium-210 is the same substance used to poison the Russian dissident Alexader Litvinenko in London.
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...010/Yasser-Arafat-poisoned-with-Polonium.html

New Scientist also reports on the story:
Arafat's toothbrush showed levels of 54 mBq, while a urine stain on his underwear measured 180 mBq – another pair of underwear used as a control was just 6.7 mBq. "If it is more than 10 times the background level, you can assume it is significant," says Roger Jewsbury, a chemist at the University of Huddersfield, UK. "It is quite possible that he was poisoned."
[...]
The half-life of polonium-210 is 138 days, meaning the radioactivity of a sample drops by half during that period. Arafat died seven and a half years ago in November 2004. "That's something like 20 half-lives ago," says Regan. "Only one atom in a million of the original source would be left." But if his clothes have been contaminated by a natural source, it could have been continually replenished since then.
"They have to establish that the polonium is not associated with a natural occurring radioactive source," says Regan – perhaps by looking for other accompanying natural sources, such as lead-210, lead-214 or bismuth-214. Suha Arafat has now called for her late husband's body to be exhumed for further tests, a move which the Palestinian Authority has agreed to in principle, report Reuters.
Source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22019-was-yasser-arafat-killed-by-radioactive-polonium210.html
 

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Read today that France has launched a formal investigation into the suspected poisoning.
 

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Update: The results from two of the three teams of scientists investigating the death, the Swiss and the Russian teams, have now become public. Both found unnaturally high levels of polonium-210. The Swiss team also found high levels of lead.

The Swiss team presented its findings on Thursday, saying it found abnormal levels of polonium-210 and lead in Arafat's remains that could not have occurred naturally and that the results "reasonably" support the theory that Arafat was poisoned by polonium. They said the timeframe of Arafat's illness and death was consistent with poisoning from ingesting polonium.
Full article: Israel killed Yasser Arafat, claims Palestinian official (The Guardian, Friday 8 November 2013 13.03 GMT)

It is being speculated that Israel (or whoever was responsible) must have had a helper on the inside of Arafat's bunker compound.

If Israel is responsible, it would not be the first time they assassinate a Palestinian leaded they didn't like, nor the first time they used poison.
 

ledboots

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Update: The results from two of the three teams of scientists investigating the death, the Swiss and the Russian teams, have now become public. Both found unnaturally high levels of polonium-210. The Swiss team also found high levels of lead.


Full article: Israel killed Yasser Arafat, claims Palestinian official (The Guardian, Friday 8 November 2013 13.03 GMT)

It is being speculated that Israel (or whoever was responsible) must have had a helper on the inside of Arafat's bunker compound.

If Israel is responsible, it would not be the first time they assassinate a Palestinian leaded they didn't like, nor the first time they used poison.
Why would they assume it was Israel? As far as I know, Russia is the country most closely associated with a Polonium 210 assassination. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/13/alexander-litvinenko-murder-british-evidence-russia
 

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ledboots

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It's true that Russia is the one country that has very likely used polonium to eliminate someone in the past. That doesn't mean they are the only country using it. What would be their motive in this case?
Russia has a great deal of economic and political interest in the region and has for many years. I think that Arafat, with his terrorist background, could have been a threat, thus a target, for many different nations and individuals. Causing further instability in the Middle East benefits many around the world; summarily blaming Israel for the assassination is jumping to conclusions.

From 2009:
" As for the Middle East peace process in general she summarized five objectives:
1. There should be a two state solution leading to creation of an independent and secure Palestinian state
2. Full compliance of the Israelis and the Palestinians should be ensured with an agreement to halt violence and maintain the resulting political structure
3. There must be reinforcement of Palestinian national institutions
4. Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip must commence (and they would like help from Egypt and Europe in this department)
5. There must be Palestinian dialogue with the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and Israel in order to create and sustain a Palestinian nation.

Overall, Zybova stresses that Russia wants to be an equal partner in the conflict resolution process.

Galia Golan, who amongst other things is an activist and professor in the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy in Herzliya, Israel, responded by discussing Russia's major interests in the region:
1. One motivation is political: Russia wants to elevate their status in the international community and redeem themselves as the large influential entity they once were.
2. Russia's primary interest, however, is economic and this takes priority over political motivations. Russia wants to make money; especially with regard to oil and specifically with regards to Iran. Additionally, they already deal in large importations of natural gas between themselves and Iran and are seeking a similar agreement to OPEC (but with respect to natural gas). Furthermore, there is a mutual interest/cooperation with the Caspian Sea between Russia and Iran.

There is also the Islamic issue; that Russia (who has a significant Muslim population itself) has sought legitimacy from the Muslim state of Iran. This touches into the matter of the extension of Islam and fundamentalism.

Russia's relationship with Iran is a symbol of Russian independence and an independent foreign policy in opposition to the US. When Golan says "opposing the US," she doesn't necessarily mean to be against the US, but to show independence from them.There is also the issue of Iran developing a nuclear weapons program. Such a program is economically beneficial and strengthens independence for Iran. The program, she doesn't think, is directed at Israel, and there may not be an existential threat, but there are benefits for Iran in having the program nonetheless. While Russia does not want to see a nuclear weapons program in Iran it is important for Russia, in general, to maintain a positive presence in Iran, so Russia will not do anything to tamper with their good relations (including discouraging a nuclear weapons program). If restrictions were somehow agreed upon within the Iranian nuclear program, she thinks Russia would accept it."
http://palestineandfurther.blogspot.com/2009/07/ipcri-russian-involvement-in-israeli_18.html?m=1