A Digest of debkafile Round-the-Clock Exclusives From August 7 to August 10, 2004

7 August: Many thousands of copies of a professionally produced CD-Rom are being circulated in Iraq and Kuwait on behalf of al Qaeda’s man in Iraq, the Jordanian terror master Abu Musab Zarqawi.

The 45-minute disk appears to be aimed at recruiting fighters. It shows footage of al Qaeda’s most striking terrorist attacks in Iraq, runs interviews with suicide bombers and airs war and religious hymns. Zarqawi is the narrator. He personally interviews his “star turn”, Abdel al Dusari, whose nom de guerre is “Abu Haras,” for a step-by-step demonstration of how a suicide terrorist goes about his mission, first stepping into a bomb truck, then connecting the detonator strapped to his body to the explosive charge, before driving off. When and how he pushes the button at the target location is explained.

Zarqawi speaks of “raids,” using Prophet Mohammed’s term for his offensives against the Meccans in 624 and 627.

Before setting out on a “raid,” the bomber performs religious rituals known as “ceremonies of yearning for the brown-eyed ones,” which are a kind of pre-nuptial rites to prepare the “martyr” for his union with the promised 72 virgins waiting for him in Paradise at the end of his mission. debkafile‘s Middle East sources note that most of the voices heard on the disk use the Syrian Arabic dialect. The targeting of new Iraqi security and police forces has equal priority to hitting Americans. Assassinating Allawi is top of the list. Zarqawi for the first time lists names of terrorists and their nationality, accompanied by photos and unpublished particulars of the attacks they carried out.

8 August: debkafile‘s Middle East sources reveal Jordan’s PM Faisal al Faeez was in Damascus secretly on August 4 to deliver a last warning, after three more al Qaeda explosives trucks were intercepted on the Jordanian border: Stop sending those vehicles into Jordan, he told Syrian officials, or Amman will publicly expose Syria’s deep involvement in global terror. He said Jordan would share the information obtained from the suicide terrorists and trucks previously intercepted – all from around Damascus – with TV stations around the world.

Most urgently, the Jordanian prime minister demanded the extradition to Jordan of Musab al Zarqawi’s man in Damascus, Suleiman Darweesh, the dispatcher of death trucks to both Iraq and Jordan.

This was the first time an Arab leader has named a Zarqawi operative and accused a fellow Arab government of allowing him to turn its national capital into a base for acts of terror.

According to our sources, the men aboard two of the three last trucks seized by Jordanian security admitted they were on their way to Saudi Arabia, while the third had been instructed to stage a large terrorist operation in Amman.

On July 27, Jordanian authorities also captured three of the al Qaeda operatives involved in the attempt last April to carry out a large-scale chemical attack in Amman by blowing up trucks also smuggled in from Syria. King Abdullah said at the time that thousands of lives would have been lost had that attack come off.

8 August: Saturday night, August 7, Iranian defense minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani announced Iran will soon test an improved Shehab-3 missile whose 1300-km range covers every part of Israel.

debkafile notes that the Shehab-3 missile’s first unveiling was accompanied by the pledge: “We will wipe Israel off the map,” a theme that recurs every Friday sermon in Iran’s mosques and its official pronouncements. In view of the Tehran hardline regime’s admitted strategic commitment to Israel’s destruction, Iran’s nuclear program combined with the development of its Shehab-3 is seen by policymakers in Jerusalem as the greatest threat to Israel’s existence since 1948.

Iran’s processing facilities for enriching the uranium necessary to building nuclear weapons are carefully dispersed in several subterranean sites. They are built in bunkers, often tens of meters deep, under densely populated urban centers, in the hope of deterring the Americans and the Israelis from attacking them.

Nonetheless, the Iranians do not feel safe, fearing Israel is developing a new type of depth bomb able to penetrate buried sites or wipe out electronics with electro-magnetic energy bursts and watching US military research and development in consequence of the Iraq war, which they regard as a potential dress rehearsal for a possible US military operation against Iran.

Iran is concerned by these new weapons and devices because they are armed with deep underground penetration capabilities, or geared to crippling electric and electronic systems in urban areas. Iran’s subterranean nuclear plants are therefore potentially vulnerable – even in their subterranean lairs under cities.

Although Tehran’s highly effective procrastination maneuvers have paid off so far in keeping diplomatic, military and economic hurdles at bay, defense minister Shamkhani finds it necessary to issue a warning threat to Israel. In the last ten days, these threats have intensified.

Some of the new Shehab-3 missiles have been deployed secretly in central Iran – both as a shield for the nuclear plants against air, ground or naval attack and as a retaliatory option against attackers. Knocking out this deployment would leave the industry susceptible to attack and nullify Iran’s deterrent.

The Shakhmanei threat and this report come together with the distribution in southern Israel Sunday, August 8, of Lugol radiation antidote capsules to people living in the triangle formed by Israel’s nuclear center at Dimona, Arad and Eilat on the Red Sea in case of an accidental leak from the Dimona reactor, or nuclear fallout from a possible strike by an Iranian Shehab-3 missile.

10 August: From Thursday, August 5 and up until early August 10, not a single Qassam missile landed from the Gaza Strip on the southern Israel town of Sderot. Their daily nightmare since last year was in abeyance for six days. Furthermore, while Israelis argued the rights and wrongs of allowing Palestinian police officers (many of whom moonlight as terrorists) to patrol West Bank streets bearing arms, those officers began were already out fully armed on the streets of Jenin and Qalqilya without waiting for Israeli permission.

debkafile‘s Palestinian sources hold up two keys to these mysteries: A. Arafat has finally vanquished the former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan and put down his attempted revolt. B. Since the United States, Britain, Egypt and Israel backed the loser, they must pay by bowing to his terms.

Arafat is offering a temporary lull in anti-Israel violence, in return for which the Americans and Israelis must end his three years of isolation, ostracism and siege and finally begin addressing him. He has instructed Palestinian policemen to be deployed in the northern Gaza Strip and to take charge of security in the Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun and Jebalya sectors from which the Qassam missiles plaguing southern Israel are fired. He also put armed Palestinian policemen on the streets of the West Bank terrorist strongholds of Qalqilya and Jenin.

Then came the demands: Israel must abolish standing orders for soldiers to shoot to kill every armed Palestinian on the street and pledge no more IDF incursions into Palestinian towns.

Arafat’s henchmen have meanwhile handed out sizeable gifts of thousands of shekels to local Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades chiefs to halt suicide bombings.

debkafiles Palestinian sources note that Nablus is the real testing stone of Arafat’s suddenly-discovered authority.

debkafile reveals that the al Aqsa Brigades gangs of the Nablus refugee camp of Balata are still working on an improvised super-mortar shell designed to fly over Israel’s defense barrier and strike Israeli targets on the other side. The new weapon, estimated by our military sources as 60-70mm with a range of 2-3 km, was secretly test-fired Saturday night by Abd Saleh Sanakra, Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades chief in the Balata camp.

The Damascus-based Hamas executive Khaled Mashal was in Cairo last week for long discussions with Egyptian intelligence minister General Omar Suleiman on guidelines for the Islamic terror group’s operation after Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip. All that has been agreed thus far is that the Hamas will not impede Egyptian efforts to keep the territory calm.

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