DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 3, 2004
Hours after an privately chartered Egyptian airplane crashed in the Red Sea at 04.44 local time on Saturday, January 3, just after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh, French Justice Minister Dominique Perben asked prosecutors to open a preliminary inquiry for manslaughter. The justice ministry in Paris said tactfully that the manslaughter inquiry "does not prejudge in any way the causes of the catastrophe," but provides a legal framework for a joint French-Egyptian investigation. There were no survivors of the 148 people aboard the plane. The Egyptians claimed that the crash of a Boeing 737, operated by the Egyptian company Flash Airlines, was "absolutely not the result of a terrorist act but is linked to a technical failure of the plane. debkafile's aviation experts say the investigators will be called upon to consider a host of anomalies and enigmas before they reach any such definite conclusion.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 29, 2003
Last weekend, Ahmed Qureia aka Abu Ala became the second Palestinian prime minister to warn Yasser Arafat he was about to resign. He determined to throw in the sponge after discovering that the Palestinian Authority's coffers were bare. There was nothing left to meet the January 1 payroll for 80,000 public workers and security personnel. In fact the PA has no operating funds at all. Arafat, according to debkafile's Palestinian sources, greeted the threat in stony silence. If Abu Ala quits now, he will have lasted a month and-a-half, compared with the four months his processor survived on the job before being driven out.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 9, 2003
The next Hamas suicide bomber can kill without strapping a bomb belt to his body. debkafile's counter-terror sources reveal the new type of explosive going into use after the collapse of the Cairo ceasefire talks as being much smaller and lighter while packing a much larger bang. It is compressed enough to be carried in a small bag or hidden in the killer's clothes. A vest can be soaked in its liquefied form. Improved detonators and timers enable the bomber to start the countdown before he reaches target. By the time he is searched at the entrance to a mall or bus station, the bomb is on timer.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 5, 2003
Despite his staunch loyalty to Yasser Arafat, Ahmed Qureia looks like suffering the same fate as his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas - being ground to dust by his boss, according to debkafile's Palestinian sources. To generate a semblance of order, Arafat placed Qureia at the head of a "caretaker government" at midnight of November 4, when the provisional emergency government's 30-day term expired. However, it is hard to gloss over his world record for changing prime ministers, one every three months. Qureia, better known as Abu Ala, was caught napping. A longtime ally, he never expected to be at the receiving end of the treatment meted out to the "American puppet," Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen. Nevertheless, he found himself left high and dry as nominal head of a transitional cabinet that has no standing in the Palestinian constitution.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 26, 2003
The guerrilla rockets that pierced the fortifications surrounding Baghdad's landmark al Rashid hotel early Sunday, October 26, missed their presumed target, US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Nonetheless, the attack makes the thought-provoking memo penned by his boss Donald Rumsfeld ten days earlier look like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The rockets slammed into this major US personnel center, hours after the decision to lift the curfew over Baghdad in view of "the improved security situation." The day before, a US Black Hawk helicopter was shot down near Tikrit shortly after Wolfowitz left Saddam's home town. Both times, Iraqi guerrillas knew where to find the deputy defense secretary and he had a lucky escape. The memo - described as "leaked" - was addressed to Wolfowitz and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff. Its two pages contained questions loaded enough to be rhetorical. The points Rumsfeld made include these: The US has no way to measure whether it is winning or losing the global war on terror; we have not made truly "bold moves" to fight terrorists and we are in for "a long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 13, 2003
Yasser Arafat has been basking in the attention showered on him from far and wide following the Israeli cabinet's declaration Thursday, September 11, that he should be removed. Since then, he stands at the window of his battered Ramallah office, beaming and waving the victory sign. Saturday, September 13, he summoned foreign consuls and Israeli peace activists to pay their respects on the 10th anniversary of the failed Oslo Peace Accords (for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize). He told them that the UN Security Council members' warning to Israel not to expel him was an international guarantee for his safety. This has encouraged him to go for a starring solo role on the Palestinian stage and go for a mega-strike that beats everything the Palestinians have thus far inflicted on Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2003
Tuesday, September 1, Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, head of the Kurdish Workers Party - PKK - announced his movement, meanwhile renamed itself KADEK, was reviving the Kurdish revolt. Ocalan has been held in total isolation on the Imrali island prison in the Sea of Marmara since 2002, when the death sentence passed against him after his capture in 1999 was commuted to life without parole. The island is guarded by Turkish warships and attack helicopters equipped with surveillance instruments. Only prison guards set foot on the island; no visitors allowed. Ocalan's only contact with the outside world through heavily censored letters.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 17, 2003
mg class="picture" src="/dynmedia/pictures/WOLFUS.jpg" align="right" border="0">The Israeli-Palestinian deal concluded by defense minister Shaul Mofaz and internal defense minister Mohammed Dahlan Friday, August 15 was the outcome of a pressing American intervention to curb the wave of Palestinian terror Yasser Arafat and Syrian President Bashar Assad kicked off last week. US president George W. Bush, while still on vacation, deployed his emissaries on two key fronts, the Palestinian and the Syrian. To deal with the second head of the terrorist hydra, debkafile's intelligence sources disclose that US undersecretary of state William Burns was ordered on Thursday, August 14, to turn his plane round and head with all speed to Damascus instead of Amman. He was told to deliver a last warning to the Syrian president - to butt out of Iraq and to stop stirring up terrorism against Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 13, 2003
For some years now the Israeli Islamic Movement has been known to serve the Palestinian Hamas terrorist group as financial conduit and money launderer. Its fund-raising efforts for the families of Palestinian suicide killers have not gone unnoticed either. Some members have even been caught aiding and abetting these killers, transporting them to and from target areas, providing hideouts and intelligence - in more than one case to the Lebanese Hizballah as well.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 5, 2003
The suicide terror attack at the Blues cafe Mike's Place near the US Embassy in Tel Aviv last Wednesday, April 30, was made possible by grave security lapses - British and Israeli. British security and intelligence services have paid in the past - and will continue to pay long and dear - for their government's policy of giving extremist Muslims free rein in the country, a policy dating back to the 1950s. The Palestinian Liberation Organization's activists were the first to be welcomed in the UK, followed by a stream of political dissidents, heads of paramilitary militias and religious extremists on the run from Arab or Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt; next came Egyptian Jihad Islami and al Qaeda adherents.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 6, 2003
Fifteen Israelis - mostly high school pupils and Haifa university students - were murdered in a powerful blast generated by a Palestinian homicidal suicide while riding on a Haifa bus on Wednesday, March 5. Only two had lived to see their 45th year. The killer, a Palestinian aged 20 from the West Bank town of Hebron, was identified as Mahmoud Hamdan Selim Kawasme, member of a big Hebron clan and kinsman of a former mayor. A note found on his body praised to heaven the al Qaeda perpetrators of the September 11 atrocities in New York, in which more than 3000 people died.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 6, 2003
Large American contingents, airborne and heavy mechanized divisions, Marine task forces, aircraft carriers, helicopter fleets and hospital ships are speeding to jumping-off positions around Baghdad. The US is expected to launch the coming war against Iraq with parachute drops on Baghdad, together with commando landings in the city from the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. A large-scale force will meanwhile encircle the Iraqi capital, while a mighty tank force dashes north from Kuwait and Qatar, bypassing the southern Iraqi Shiite cities of Najef and Karbala and circumventing the Iraqi army defending Baghdad. Those tanks will join the encircling force. The object of this colossal movement of military strength is to lay Baghdad to siege. This tactic and the consistency of the strength for its execution, debkafile's military sources report, have been taken from the Israeli doctrine of besieging Palestinian West Bank cities in order to lower the level of terror.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 2, 2002
Every few weeks, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak tells Israel it must resume negotiations with the Palestinians that will lead them to a state. But on Sunday, December 1, he went a lot further. Addressing a Muslim clerical group in Cairo at an occasion marking the final prayer of the Ramadan holy month, he declared that international terror is not religious; nor is it the fault of Muslims or Arabs, but their reaction to political injustices meted out by the "international community".
The Egyptian leader thus became the first Arab leader to say out loud what every Arab and Muslim ruler believes - that Islamic terror, including suicide homicides, is a justified means of venting their sense of injustice towards the non-Muslim world.
Mubarak is not just talking. He is in the middle of political action, hauling out the Israeli-Palestinian issue and providing his auspices for a so-called attempt to draw Arafat's Fatah and the fundamentalist Hamas into an accord for ceasing their campaign of murder inside Israel, the pre-requisite for renewed Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Under cover of this internationally lauded initiative, Mubarak has a quite different - if not opposite - agenda, as revealed in the latestDEBKA-Net-Weekly.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 25, 2002
A senior source in Israel's northern command warned Sunday, November 24, that Syria is making a bad mistake by fostering the Hizballah and letting Iran strengthen its mastery over the extremist Shiite group. This assertion left a question mark over the Israeli side of the equation - and for good reason. Israel's passivity in contending with the Hizballah is part and parcel of its failure to come to grips with Yasser Arafat and his escalating campaign of terror. Last Thursday, November 21, the day a suicide killer from Bethlehem murdered 11 Israeli women and schoolchildren on a Jerusalem bus in Kiryat Menahem, Hizballah secretary general, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, delivered a Ramadan address in which he dodged adroitly around admitting his group's involvement in the latest outburst of Palestinian anti-Israel terror. But denying it would have invited awkward questions about his inaction. He therefore hinted at a Hizballah role in the suicide attacks this month at Hermesh, the Karkur Junction, Kibbutz Metzer, Hebron, Kiryat Menahem - and the failed El Al hijacking attempt - which together cost 29 Israeli lives and left hundreds seriously injured.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 9, 2002
The first serious inter-Palestinian clashes since Yasser Arafat proclaimed his confrontation with Israel two years have not lightened Israel's security cares and dilemmas. While fighting each other in the Gaza Strip, the two Palestinian factions - his loyalists and the Islamist Hamas - are also vying for primacy as wielder of terror against Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 28, 2002
How come that, notwithstanding Israel's military might and resources, the Palestinians, after two years of warfare, are still able to buffet the Jewish state with terror and suicide massacres? How do they get away with willfully butchering civilians in the middle of the US-led global assault of terrorism? And why is the score in the conflict even, the confrontation reaching neither a military nor a political resolution.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 21, 2002
Israel's military's Operation Absolute, which has flattened building after building in Yasser Arafat's government compound in Ramallah, is aimed at more than winkling out the 50 hardcore terrorist chiefs he harbors, or even retribution for the fresh wave of suicide terror he unleashed against Israel this week at the cost of nine Israeli lives. This operation was planned jointly in Washington and Jerusalem as a strategic step in the military and intelligence preparations that are bringing open war on Iraq very close.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2002
On August 14, after repeated delays, the Israeli security cabinet finally held a special meeting to review the country's preparedness for unconventional warfare. It decided to vaccinate 15,000 "first response" personnel against smallpox, as a first stage of a general vaccination campaign against a possible bio-weapons attack originating in Iraq or carried out by Saddam's Palestinian proxies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 21, 2002
Israel's security and police authorities are keeping their aces well covered even after publicizing their coup on Wednesday, August 21. Saturday night, August 16, they captured a six- man cell of Jerusalemite Arabs, all bearing Israeli identity cards, who admit to complicity in executing 8 of the most devastating terrorist attacks in the last three months, in which 35 Israelis died and dozens were gravely wounded in different parts of the country.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 20, 2002
Abu Nidal - once Yasser Arafat's best friend; later turned fierce foe - was shot dead early Friday, August 16 by gunmen who burst into his home in Baghdad. debkafile's intelligence and counter-terror experts have no doubt that the ailing 65-year old terrorist was murdered by Iraqi military intelligence.