A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending August 12, 2010
August 6, 2010 Briefs
• Pakistan's Zardari faces angry ex-pat demos in Birmingham, UK, for traveling amid disastrous floods affecting 15 million.
• Charity group reports 10 doctors – 6 American, three German and one British murdered in remote north Afghan province.
• Lebanese President Suleiman tours site of Lebanese-Israel border clash Saturday.
• He was preceded by group of Iranian intelligence officers and commandos.
• Turkish court annuls arrest warrants against 102 military officers.
• They were charged over an alleged coup plot in 2003 against Islam-leaning government.
FBI again hunts al Qaeda's "dirty bomb" expert after seven years
7 Aug. US federal agencies Saturday, Aug. 7, announced the hunt was on again for Adnan Al Shukrijumah, 35, who lived in the US for 15 years and may now be Al Qaeda's new global operations chief.
debkafile's counter terror sources confirm the wanted man is indeed dangerous – but not because of his climb up the al Qaeda ladder but owing to his unique seven-year old mission, first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 132 of Nov. 2003 as being a radiological bombing attack in America.
Already then, in October of that year, Shukriumah was the quarry of a secret manhunt in the US and Canada. He was employed at the time as a nuclear engineering student at MacMaster University's nuclear 5-megawatt research reactor in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada before suddenly disappearing.
His absence was noted when a large quantity of radioactive material was missed from the university's reactor. It was suspected then that Osama bin Laden had entrusted the "student" with preparing a "dirty bomb" attack in a North American city.
Shukrijumah has never been traced since.
Our experts would not be surprised to hear that Shukrijumah may be in the process of adjusting his operation for a dirty bomb or other unconventional strike in America according to the circumstances prevailing today.
Iranian intelligence officers tour Lebanese border, study IDF lines
7 Aug. Saturday morning, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman visited the site of the Lebanese-Israeli border clash of Tuesday, Aug. 3. debkafile reveals that Iranian intelligence and commando officers toured the border area 24 hours before him, part a high-ranking Iranian delegation led by Ali Akbar Velayati which rushed to Beirut after the clash. Their Lebanese army escort included heads of the same 9th battalion which started the clash by shooting across the border and killing Lt. Col. Dov Harari. This showed the Lebanese army's second face which is not shown to the West and the UN.
The Iranian officers in civvies toured the border area openly in full view of Israeli spotters and walked through sections of the south Lebanese road which run south of the UN Blue Line border drawn in 2000 by mutual consent.
This was the first time Iranian officers had stepped into sovereign Israeli territory. The IDF made no response.
August 8-9 2010 Briefs
• US Ambassador Michele Sison leaves Beirut at end of stint. She shaped US Lebanese policy. Sison first warned President Suleiman congress cannot be prevented from halting military aid to Lebanon.
• UN watchdog: Iran uses second cascade to enrich uranium up to 20pc purity.
• Khamenei aide Velayati: US must be dreaming if they think Iran can be intimidated into giving up its nuclear program.
• Germany shuts down Hamburg mosque frequented by 9/11 attackers – again a jihadists' scene.
• Iranian NSA Saeed Jalili flies to Beirut by special plane ahead of Nasrallah speech Monday.
• Libya releases Israeli-Tunisian citizen Rafael Haddad from five months jail. He was arrested photographing a synagogue.
• Letitia Long appointed director of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) – first women ever to head a US intelligence service.
Big Israeli military drill as Nasrallah hurls charges
9 Aug. Hizballah's Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of plotting to murder all of Lebanon's political and military leaders Monday night, Aug. 9. This topped his anticipated bid to pin the 2005 Hariri murder on the Jewish state. Although his charges were unsupported, they added fuel to the current border tensions, further aggravated by the high-ranking Iranian officials descending on Beirut and Damascus.
DEBKA reports: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was due in Damascus Tuesday as Israel launched a big military exercise to practice moving a division-strength tank, armored infantry, artillery force from the center of the country to the Lebanese and Syrian borders.
It was a warning to Tehran, Damascus and Beirut not to let their crises spill over to Israel's borders or generate a repeat of the Aug. 3 military clash in which Lt. Col. Dov Harari was killed by a Lebanese sniper.
Nasrallah's effort to drum up a case for a common Syrian-Lebanese war against Israel was entirely transparent and predicted. All the same, it added a new level to the current military strains.
Four armies on alert for Nasrallah speech
9 Aug. Tehran threw all its weight behind Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah ahead of his contentious speech Monday, Aug. 9, by declaring "Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan are Iran's security belt," and sending National Security Council Director Saeed Jalili, who is also lead nuclear negotiator, to Beirut Sunday to strengthen his hand.
Jalilee then took off for Damascus to give Syrian president Bashar Assad a piece of his mind and tell him Tehran would not tolerate his deal with Saudi King Abdullah for pulling away from Hizballah.
debkafile's Iranian sources also report Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has taken charge of the Lebanese crisis, as Israeli, Syrian, Lebanese and Hizballah forces go on a high state of preparedness.
Lebanon's foreign minister Ali Al-Shami flew to Tehran Sunday to appeal for help in toning down Nasrallah's ultimatum to the Hariri government to withdraw from the UN Hariri tribunal or face civil unrest and war with Israel. He failed in his mission. Iran stands foursquare behind the Hizballah leader's demand.
August 10, 2010 Briefs
• Egypt's top Muslim leader declares start of Ramadan Tuesday night.
• UN finds 31% rise in Afghani civilians killed or wounded in first half of 2010.
• Defense minister Barak said decision to raid Turkish Gaza-bound vessel taken jointly by PM, himself and inner cabinet of seven. This was his opening statement Tuesday to Turkel Turkish flotilla probe panel.
• Barak assumed responsibility for raid to stop Turkish flotilla reaching Gaza. But it was up to the military to determine how and if could be done.
• Netanyahu said Israel acted legally after all diplomatic efforts at highest levels failed. He accused Hamas of gross violations of international law and human rights.
Lebanese crisis strikes discord in Palestinian Gaza
10 Aug. the Palestinian Hamas rulers of Gaza and Jihad Islami have called up their military wings to fight it out over in a quarrel reflecting the strains in Lebanon between the pro-Syrian and pro-Iranian over the Saudi move to pull Damascus away from its support for the Lebanese Hizballah and Iran's counter-moves. debkafile's military sources report the situation in Gaza is close to flashpoint and hope the violence brewing there will not spill over into Israel.
Their two armed forces have called up reserves, corralled them inside towns across Gaza and are holding them ready to step into flare-ups as reinforcements. Both have broken open their weapons stores and are distributing arms around neighborhoods they regard as loyal bastions.
They threaten to use against each other the missiles they have stocked up for attacking Israel.
USS Truman posted opposite Hormuz as Iranian threats spiral
10 Aug: To meet increasingly defiant Iranian threats to US regional military forces, Washington has detached the USS Truman carrier from support duty for Afghanistan in the Arabian Sea and reassigned it to Dubai opposite the Gulf of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz with thousands of marines aboard.
IRGC Navy chief Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi announced Aug. 10 the introduction of twelve new torpedo and missile cruisers and speedboats equipped for striking air carriers. He said the USS Truman will quickly leave the region.
debkafile of April 22, 2010, first revealed that Iran was building a fleet of speedboats for striking American air carriers.
Another IRGC commander said mass graves had been dug for American troops. debkafile's military sources report that Tehran is also flexing its muscles against the United States in Lebanon. After the Lebanese army's Aug. 3 clash with Israel, the Iranian ambassador called on the Lebanese chief of staff and offered Tehran's support for Beirut. He also proposed Iranian military assistance to take the place of the American hardware which US Congress proposes to cut off after the Lebanese army instigated the clash.
August 11, 2010 Briefs
• Iranian Guards chief Jafari warns US it is not strong enough for a military strike on Iran. He said Iranian armed forces fully ready to counter an attack.
• Lebanon does not want US military aid if it is contingent on non-use against Israel.
• Assad and visiting Iranian FM Mottaki discuss "Israeli military threats" in Latakia.
• US Special Forces chief in Iraq Brig.-Gen Patrick Higgins: Al Qaeda remains "pretty much intact".
• Gunmen fired on the Israeli commandoes dropping on the decks of the Turkish Gaza-bound ship, army chief Gen. Ashkenazi told the panel investigating the May 29 incident. Nine Turkish activists died in the ensuing clash. The IDF erred in assigning too few troops to the mission, Ashkenazi said. When the Navy chief saw this, he correctly sent reinforcements. Ashkenazi stressed the operation was impossible to abort at that stage.
Russia posts S-300 air defense missiles in Abkhazia
12 Aug. US and Israeli military sources told DEBKA Thursday, Aug. 12, that Russia had posted its advanced S-300 interceptor batteries in Abkhazia and air defense weapons in South Ossetia on the northern shore of the Black Sea – not against Georgia, as Moscow officially maintained, but rather as a move in the rising military tension over Iran.
Georgia's armed forces do not run to the sophisticated warplanes, missiles or drones that would warrant the high-class defense offered by S-300 interceptors. Therefore, US military sources believe Moscow placed these batteries on the Black Sea shore to counter US Sixth Fleet ships and the two big American bases in Bulgaria and Romania. They noted that Israel's helicopter exercise last month in Romania had alerted Moscow to the possibility of US or Israeli warplanes taking off from those bases to strike Iran's nuclear facilities over the Black and Caspian Sea skies. Russian deployed its interceptors to block this route.