DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 22, 2002
The devout Muslim Yasser Arafat, who ignited the "al Aqsa Intifada" conflagration in September 2000, has developed a strong urge to attend Christmas Mass in Bethlehem. But he is in a cleft stick. To escape the Israeli siege holding him down in Ramallah, he must ask Israel for permission to cross over to a second blockaded Palestinian West Bank town, Bethlehem. The closure against Bethlehem will certainly be lifted for Christmas. Arafat's fate is less certain.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 21, 2002
Since the Israeli army's massive takeover of the Palestinian town of Tulkarm on the West Bank before dawn Monday, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has, according to debkafile's military sources, advanced the timetable for his planned Waterloo, the battle he sees as his last heroic stand. Confined to Ramallah since December 3, Arafat said to his intimates a few days ago words to the effect that: We are all in rapid motion towards laying down our lives in the sacred cause.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 19, 2002
debkafile's exclusive military sources reveal the hitherto unknown fact that an Israeli submarine took part in the capture of the Palestinian arms smuggling boat, Karine-A, on January 3. Its part in the operation was to bring naval commandos belonging to the crack Israel naval Shayet 13 unit up to the target vessel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 18, 2002
The US State Department still lists Syria as a sponsor of terror for the support and hospitality it extends to radical Palestinian groups, including Islamic Jhad and Hamas, and for backing the Lebanese Hizballah. Damascus has refused outright to take measures against those organizations. Yet senior Americans frequenting Damascus this month are full of praise for Syria's cooperation in the war against terror.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 15, 2002
Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, Romanian intelligence chief under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and the highest ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Soviet bloc,wrote an article entitled "The Arafat I Know" in the Wall Street Journal of January 10. The occasion he marked was Israel's capture of the Karin-A arms ship. Pacepa describes his involvement with Arafat in the late 1960s "in the days when he was being financed and manipulated by the KGB," and comments: "I am not surprised to see that Yasser Arafat remains the same bloody terrorist I knew so well."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 12, 2002
The conviction is gaining ground in some Western intelligence agencies that Osama bin Laden, his family, Ayman Zuheiri and thousands of al Qaeda fighters made good their escape from Afghanistan through the illicit sea route created by Lebanese-Iranian super terrorist Imad Mughniyeh for smuggling operations in the service of terrorist organizations. They are believed to have made their getaway from Afghanistan in the first week of December, crossing secretly into Iran and heading out through the Persian Gulf - only to disappear again.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 11, 2002
No obvious linkage appeared between President George W. Bush's words in the Oval Office Thursday, January 10, and Yasser Arafat's pronouncements in Ramallah. After sending visiting foreign statesmen off with earnest assurances that he was making every effort to halt Palestinian terrorism, Arafat turned to his staff and said in Arabic: "One shahid (martyr) for Jerusalem is worth 70 martyrs anywhere else. Who said that?" Smiling broadly, he answered himself: "The Prophet".
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 8, 2002
Egyptian foreign minister Ali Maher said Monday night, January 7, that the "conflicting reports coming from Israel" on the Karine-A seizure arouse increasing doubts. In particular, he questioned Israel's assertion that the ship's course was set for the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip via the Suez Canal. Maher repeated debkafile's earlier argument that this made no sense, considering that Egyptian security would have detected any arms cargo sailing up the Canal. Earlier, he condemned the whole episode as an Israeli fabrication.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 6, 2002
Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon responded with alacrity to the call voiced Sunday, January 6, by chief of staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz for a re-examination of the strategy governing Israel's relations with the Palestinian Authority and its head. Mofaz urged an immediate government review in the light of the alarming quantity of illicit Iranian arms bound for the Palestinian Authority aboard the freighter Israel captured Thursday, evidence that Yasser Arafat and his regime had joined the international terrorist conspiracy led by Hizballah and Iran.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 5, 2002
It took the New York Times only a few hours to obtain corroboration from "senior administration officials in Washington" for debkafile's January 4disclosure that the US was involved in tracking the Palestinian arms ship seized in a combined Israeli naval-air force operations on the Red Sea Thursday. The officials stressed that the US did not participate in the actual seizure. Neither did it have evidence that the weapons were destined for the Palestinian Authority, as Israel claims, rather than the Lebanese Hizballah.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2002
The day US Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni returned to the region, debkafile's Palestinian sources quoted Yasser Arafat as confiding to his intimates that he was drafting his most important speech in two decades: a declaration of the Palestinian War of Liberation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2002
Friday afternoon, January 4, Israeli chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, flanked by Navy commander, Maj.-Gen Yedidya Yaari and Air Force commander Maj.-Gen Dan Halutz, called an unusual press briefing to announce the seizure of the 4,000-ton Palestinian arms freighter, Karine-A freighter Thursday night. As they spoke, Israeli frogmen were sailing the ship north.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 1, 2002
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has not been idle since Israel confined him to Ramallah in the wake of the last deadly round of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians a month ago. That torrent of violence also cut the mission of US envoy Anthony Zinni short on December 15. The envoy's return to the region Thursday, January 3, announced today, is not connected by any of debkafile's sources with an apparent lull in Palestinian terror activity or a fresh American attempt to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks, but rather with the next stage of President George W. Bush war on global terror.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2001
The earlier debkafile report of peaking terror alerts in the US, Europe and Israel, was underscored Tuesday, December 18 by the US defense secretary in Brussels and Israel's military intelligence chief at the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2001
In a key speech delivered Sunday, December 16, Day One of Eid el Fitr, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat vowed the Palestinians would continue their struggle against Israel until a Palestinian state is attained, with Jerusalem its capital. At the same time, he instructed his people to obey Palestinian Authority resolutions and halt armed operations completely and immediately. Israel, he declared, must cease its attacks on Palestinians; but suicide operations must stop too, "as they give Sharon the initiative".
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2001
With the approaching end of Ramadan - marked Sunday, Monday and Tuesday by the Eid el Fitr celebrations - and the Christmas-New Year break, counter-terror authorities in the US, Britain, Canada, Germany and Israel have raised the alert level for major terrorist hits.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2001
Israel's roundup of terrorists in Palestinian areas has gone into top military gear since Palestinian terrorists killed 10 Israeli bus passengers going into the West Bank settlement of Immanuel on December 12. That attack prompted a Sharon government turnabout in its attitude towards Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, from acceptance - albeit diminishing - of a potential negotiating partner, to the boycott of a source of spiraling terrorism.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 13, 2001
With another 10 Israelis dead and 22 still in hospital from the latest Palestinian terror outrage Wednesday, the Israeli defense cabinet's ruling in a special session that the Palestinian Authority is "no longer relevant to the State of Israel" sounds feeble, bureaucratic and evasive. The very phrasing will intensify popular pressure on the Sharon government to go all the way against Yasser Arafat and his regime.