DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly January 3, 2012
Armed US-Iranian hostilities are dangerously close – more so even than the six-to-eight months widely predicted. By posting a Keep Out sign over the Persian Gulf for the USS Stennis, Tehran is goading the Obama administration into action sooner rather than later. DEBKA-Net-Weekly out Friday assesses the nail-biting face-off generated by US pressure on Iran and Tehran's tactics for throwing it back in America's face. Israel must weigh how far to join US action against the cost of Iranian retaliation.
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DEBKAfile Special Report January 3, 2012
In another heated escalation over the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Iran Tuesday, Jan. 3, threatened to take action if the US aircraft carrier USS Stennis, which "moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill returns to the Persian Gulf." Army chief Lt. Gen. Ataolla Salehi said:" Iran will not repeat this warning." It is hard to see Washington caving in over Tehran's ultimate challenge to the freedom of this vital international waterway and accepting Iran's assumed right to control passage.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 31, 2011
By a media trick, Tehran proved its claim that closing the Strait of Hormuz is as "easy as drinking water," debkafile reports. First thing Saturday morning, Saturday, Dec. 31, Iran's state agencies "reported" long-range and other missiles had been test-fired as part of its ongoing naval drill around the Strait of Hormuz. At 0900, Tehran announced the test was delayed. But meanwhile, for five hours Saturday, not a single warship, merchant vessel or oil tanker ventured into the strategic strait, although not a shot was fired.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 28, 2010
Washington has posted a third carrier opposite Iran's shores, debkafile's military sources report. It is supported by amphibious assault ships and up to 4,000 marines and sailors, bringing the total US strength in these waters to three carriers and 10,000 combat personnel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 29, 2010
The US Fifth fleet and USS Eisenhower refrained from shooting an Iranian spy plane collecting intelligence from the American carrier on April 21 because they are under orders not to respond to hostile Iranian acts without permission direct from Washington. Gulf governments fear US military passivity will encourage
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 5, 2010
In a sharp policy reversal, Barack Obama has picked up the old
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 9, 2009
DEBKA-Net-Weekly finds enormous political and military potential in the collapse of the Persian Gulf's dreamboat economy for turning around at least one major international crisis and bringing tectonic change to the oil-rich Gulf region.
These startling after-effects were revealed in our latest issue, out last Friday.
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DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 24, 2007
Deputy Saleh Ashour reported Tuesday that the Kuwait cabinet had formed a team to draw up plans to keep the country running during a war. Parliament will be briefed.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 30, 2006
Hundreds of US and allied war ships foregathered in the strategic seas of the Middle East and India in the last days of October 2006 for two primary missions: To prepare for a US-led military strike against Iran which has stepped up its uranium enrichment program with a second centrifuge project - undeterred by the prospect of UN sanctions; and measures to fend off palpable al Qaeda threats to oil targets.
American, Italy, France, Britain, Australia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are taking part in an exercise practicing the interception of ships carrying nuclear materials or components for use in advanced weapons.
Saudi Arabia did not join the multinational Bahrain exercise, but instead mustered its entire navy and all its special forces for deployment in dense defensive array around the biggest oil terminal in the world, at Ras Tanura. Riyadh acted in response to tangible intelligence that al Qaeda is preparing to attack its oil installations.
That the Saudis have by and large switched their defenses against al Qaeda to coastal targets indicates the receipt of intelligence input of a new local sea base established by al Qaeda, which enables the jihadist group to stretch its capabilities for assaulting oil and Western shore targets from the sea.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 1, 2005
In a belated iron clampdown, Kuwait's security forces have waged four bloody gun battles with al Qaeda gangs in less than a month. Oman has rounded up several hundred "Islamists" in the same period. Over the weekend, Jordan and Saudi Arabia went on terror alert to hunt down a group calling itself "Returnees from Fallujah" which was lurking in the Jordanian-Saudi border area ready to strike. From back stage of al Qaeda's Iraq and Saudi theaters, the Gulf emirates have been promoted to al Qaeda's prime target for Islamist terror on a par with Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Recent al Qaeda publications appearing in Saudi Arabia register dissatisfaction with the organization's over-involvement in Iraq and urge the relocation of resources for a more even spread of armed violence across the Middle East.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 20, 2004
Little credence is given in Tehran to the official claim that the colossal train explosion which killed at least 300 people and struck five villages in the northeast Khorassan province Wednesday, February 18, was caused by colliding wagons carrying industrial chemicals, fertilizers, diesel fuel and cotton. Such flammable freights are usually shipped separately in Iran. debkafile's sources in Tehran have heard unconfirmed reports that the disaster was no accident, but possibly sabotage carried out by anti-government forces in Khorassan province, which borders on Afghanistan. This report ties in without another that claims the train was not carrying innocent industrial cargoes but hundreds of tons of explosive materials Iran was smuggling into Afghanistan via the Shiite city of Herat to be used by Iranian saboteurs and agents for guerrilla attacks on US troops and the forces of President Hamid Karzai, as well for supplying the Taleban in their Kandahar stronghold.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 6, 2004
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary regime last month marked the 25th anniversary of its victory over the Shah by launching a sophisticated missile dubbed Raad and its accompanying advanced radar system designated DM-3b. Minister of defense Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani led the ceremony in full naval dress uniform.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click HERE. The official handout described the radar system as navigating and guiding the combatant missile in its final stage. The medium-range Raad missile is equipped with a self-guidance device. Shamkhani enthused: the two systems manufactured in Iran's state aviation industry further enhance the capabilities of Iranian armed forces.
What the handout did not reveal was that Raad is no ordinary coastal or shipboard projectile but a cruise missile, capable of halting Personal Gulf shipping by blockading the Hormuz Strait.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 16, 2003
mg class="picture" src="/dynmedia/pictures/Flightter.jpg" align="left" border="0">Al Qaeda had fixed on last week to launch its most devastating simultaneous mega-terror offensive since September 11, 2001, in several countries of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and East Africa. However, sweeping, timely counter-action blunted its impetus. Revealing this, debkafile's exclusive counter-terror sources name three countries known to have been targeted - Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Yemen, where attacks on a scale larger than the Riyadh bombings of May 12 were plotted. Additional countries in al Qaeda's sights have not been disclosed. Their authorities are still vigorously hunting cell members of the extremist network. The information reaching debkafile emanates from the interrogations of men taken in the latest crackdowns, especially in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 16, 2003
debkafile's Washington sources reveal that the Americans have turned up increasing indications that Iran is marching forward with its clandestine nuclear programs, which are the subject of the current International Atomic Energy Agency board meeting in Vienna on Monday and Tuesday, June 16 and 17. The board is examining evidence that the Iranians have secretly set up a massive uranium enrichment facility designed to house tens of thousands of centrifuges. This facility could support the production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click HERE.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 24, 2003
The largest contingent so far of soldiers from neighboring Gulf countries arrived in Kuwait on Sunday, February 23. Despite snide remarks that troops from the oil rich sheikhdoms would turn up driving their own Jaguars and Ferraris, several hundred ground troops, sailors and airmen from the United Arab Emirates arrived at a number of locations around Kuwait City throughout the day. The overall impression one group gave when de-planing at Kuwait Int`l Airport was of a smart, brisk, British-style `spit and polish` force. They are part of Operation Peninsula Shield, a mutual self defense effort in which all countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council participate.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 16, 2003
Blix-ElBaradei arms inspection reports to the UN Security Council on their Iraq mission get briefer, more non-committal and less related to reality on the ground. Not surprisingly, their latest "findings" as presented on Friday, February 14, failed to dent established views; the advocates and the opponents of military action against Iraq remained in exactly the same positions as before. The same fate will most likely befall the arms inspectors' next report, scheduled for February 28, after another two weeks' grace. Dragging the inspection process from one loudly heralded and widely televised appearance to the next will increasingly exacerbate the transatlantic rift, weaken the arguments for war as perceived by world opinion (Tony Blair may be the first political casualty of this trend), and play into Saddam Hussein's hands, the while further undercutting the United Nations' reputation for coming to grips with world crises.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 20, 2003
Two senior UN officials, chief arms inspector Hans Blix and nuclear controller Mohamed ElBaradei, handed Saddam Hussein an epic diplomatic victory Monday, January 20 - no doubt acting on a nod from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. They gained the Iraqi ruler yet a further stay of military action until March 27 before he risks facing war for failing to give up his weapons of mass destruction.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 23, 2002
The 39 Scud surface missiles that Iraq fired at Israel in 1991 carried conventional warheads. Today, a CIA document is reported that, in the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein contemplated a biological attack but gave it up when three Iraqi air force Mig warplanes sent to test the opposition's defensives were downed over the Persian Gulf. Then, as now, little attention has been paid to the pandemic factor inherent in biological warfare - and its potential for mass population shifts. The danger of biological warfare turning into a pandemic is of particular concern in the Middle East, given the medical, social and economic conditions prevailing in the region, according to the experts consulted by debkafile.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2002
UN Security Council resolution 1441 of November 8 gave the arms inspectors in Iraqi the right to interview in private any individual with information on the forbidden programs - if necessary by taking them and their families out of the country. However last week, Chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix declared flatly: "We are not going to abduct anybody, and we're not serving as a defection agency." Saturday, December 14, Blix belatedly asked Iraq in writing to name the scientists associated with its chemical, biological, nuclear and long-range missile programs so that UN experts can interview them inside or outside the country. He gave Baghdad until the end of December to answer.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 13, 2002
North Korea secretly transferred its nuclear manufacturing facilities to the Islamic Republic. Specifically, North Korean plant for the production of all the essential components of the North Korean bombs, including equipment for uranium enrichment, was shifted lock, stock and barrel to Iran, where production has been taking place at two secret sites, both supervised by the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization. This state body is controlled by the National Security Council that defers only to Iran's radical spiritual leader Ali Khamenei.