A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending Dec. 2, 2010
November 26-27, 2010 Briefs
• Canada will not take part in UN racism conference, dubbing it a hatefest targeting Israel.
• Mumbai marks anniversary of terrorist attack which killed 166, six of them Israelis.
• Nigerian security accuses Iran of smuggling enough arms to "destroy a whole nation in three hours". n Iranian diplomat and 3 Nigerian businessmen stand trial in Abuja.
• Salehi says Iran has enriched 35 kilos of uranium to 20 percent.debkafile: This is a short step to weapons-grade fuel.
• At least 12 killed in suicide attack at police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.
• FBI: Somali-born citizen arrested after attempting to detonate a car bomb in Portland during Christmas tree ceremony.The bomb turned was a dud supplied by undercover agents as part of a sting.
• Lebanese PM Hariri travels to Tehran Saturday after blasting Israel.
Hariri walks into the Iranian web abandoned by US, Israel, Saudi Arabia
27 Nov. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri begins a suicidal trip to the Iranian capital Saturday, Nov. 27, to the accompaniment of falling Western holdings across the Middle East, debkafile's military analysts report. Finding the US, Israel and Arab moderates unwilling to rescue him from Syria and Iran he, like Samson in Philistine captivity, decided to let them collapse too when he is crushed by Hizballah.
Iran will therefore face the world powers at the nuclear talks starting Dec. 6 much empowered by the victual conquest of Lebanon.
Nothing Hariri can do now will stop Hizballah seizing control of Beirut and other strategic regions of the country including the Lebanese-Syrian border crossings in early December to prevent the Special Lebanese Tribunal issuing indictments against Hizballah high-ups for complicity in the Rafiq Hariri assassination five years ago.
November 28, 2010 Briefs
• Cabinet approves detention facility for illegal immigrants through Sinai in South. Large majority of infiltrators are not refugees but job-seekers. National security minister Aharonovitch voted against measure because authorities under-trained, under-budgeted.
• South Korea rejects China's call for emergency six-power consultation in Beijing early next month.
• USS carrier George Washington joins South Korea in 4-day naval war game off Korean border.
WikiLeaks documents Israeli arguments for striking Iran
28 Nov. The first batch of WikiLeaks released Sunday, Nov. 28, quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as estimating in 2009 that 18 months remained as a "window of opportunity" for destroying Iran's nuclear sites.
"The fate of the world rests on stopping Iran," he said.Barak asked rhetorically how a lack of firm response to North Korea would be interpreted by Iran's leadership, speculating the US government would be viewed as a 'paper tiger'," the diplomatic cable reads.
Israel is not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the US was on September 11, 2001," said Military Intelligence Chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin in May, 2009.
US Ambassador Dan Kurtzer told Washington that Israeli evaluations tended to exaggerate.
According to another disclosure, Russia was prepared to withhold the S-300 air defense missile from Iran in return for the supply of $1 billion worth of Israeli UAVs.
Few shockers in WikiLeaks' first batch of classified diplomatic files
28 Nov. According to the advance headlines from the first batch of quarter of a million WikiLeaks confidential US files, mostly diplomatic cables, US officials are quoted as referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is "Hitler," French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the emperor who has no clothes, the Afghanistan President Hamid Sarkozy as "motivated by paranoia" and UK Prime Minster David Cameron as "lightweight." The WikiLeaks site came under cyber attack ahead of publication.
Although these backhanded remarks are unflattering, they are hardly surprising. debkafile finds that Ahmadinejad has earned his epithet honestly by threatening to wipe Israel off the map.
The US President Barack Obama is described as overly attuned to the East while letting relations with Europe slide. He is not alone. His predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shared the view that Europe is a spent force and Asia is on the rise.
November 29, 2010 Briefs
• Ahmadinejad admits Stuxnet damaged some of Iran's computer systems. He dismisses leaked hostile US diplomatic files as "mischief-making".
• A gunman in Afghan police uniform shoots dead 6 NATO servicemen. They were on a joint training mission in the east.
• UAE: Iran's support for terror is far broader than Hizballah and Hamas.
• Iranian leaders and their Turkish allies shown in bad light in US diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks. Erdogan said to rely on radical Islamist sites rather than his own government for information. His foreign minister described as dangerous with delusions of global rule.
• Arab leaders despise Iran's Revolutionary rulers and like Israel seek their overthrow.
Iran nuclear scientist killed by blast was Iran's top Stuxnet expert
29 Nov. Prof. Majid Shahriari, who died when his car was attacked in North Tehran Monday, Nov. 29, headed the team Iran established for combating the Stuxnet virus rampaging through its nuclear and military networks. His wife was injured. The scientist's death deals a major blow to Iran's herculean efforts to purge its nuclear and military control systems of the destructive worm since it went on the offensive six months ago. Only this month, Stuxnet shut down nuclear enrichment at Natanz for six days from Nov. 16-22 and curtailed an important air defense exercise. Another Iranian nuclear scientist, Prof. Feredoun Abbassi-Davani, and his wife survived a second coordinated attack with serious injuries.
Iran's nuclear chief Ali Salehi warned that the perpetrator is playing with fire.
November 30, 2010 Briefs
• Israeli forces nab terrorist cell responsible for drive-by attack injuring an Israeli couple on Sept. 26. It belonged to the Damascus-based ex-Fatah Abu Mussa group. The three captives held large arms cache for more hits.
• Israeli border police impound 40 kilos of heroin in clash with two smugglers on Egyptian border.
• US cuts off military SUPRNET alleged source of WikiLeaks disclosures.
• More disclosures Tuesday:
o US diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear program would lead to material falling into terrorist hands.
o Assad told US senators who called Hamas is terrorists: If you want me to be effective and active I must have ties with all existing players.
o Assad: Iran won't use nuclear arms against Israel because the Palestinians would also be harmed.
o Netanyahu told US senator he supports land swaps with Palestinians. He doesn't want to rule West Bank only control attacks from there.
o US embassy cable from Baku: IRGC chief Gen. Jafari slapped Ahmadinejad during a heated debate. Also squabbling between Ahmadinejad and his friend Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
o WikiLeaks quotes Ahmadinejad as saying privately: We beat the Americans in Iraq, the last round will be on Iranian soil.
• New Mossad chief Tamir Pardo: I step into big shoes. There's a lot of work to be done. He takes over from Meir Dagan who retires after 8 years.
• Three homeland security exercises conducted in Jerusalem Tuesday. They practice war scenarios involving missile, multiple-casualty and chemical attacks.
Hariri opens door to Iranian-Hizballah takeover of Lebanon's armed forces
30 Nov. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri ended his two-day visit to Tehran Monday, Nov. 29, with consent for Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers to take part for the first time in coordinating sessions between Lebanese army and Hizballah commanders, debkafile's military and Iranian sources report. Supreme leader Ali Khamenei gave Hariri his new orders, indicating that the only way to save Lebanon from deathly internal strife was for him to consolidate relations with Hizballah "as part of the same front."
What this concession means is that henceforth the Lebanese chief of staff Gen. Jean Kahwaji, must coordinate all his operational decisions and actions with Hizballah's Iranian chief commander, Gen. Hossein Mahadavi of the Al Qods Brigades, as well as with Hizballah's new Israeli front line commander, Hashim Safi Al-Din, Hassan Nasrallah's cousin and a staunch pro-Iranian loyalist.
December 1, 2010 Briefs
• Chair of Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security committee goes to Shaul Mofaz.
• Iran's nuclear chief Saleh says nuclear scientist's death was Western warning ahead of talks. They are showing us the carrot and stick, he said at Prof. Shahriari's funeral.
• US condemns Palestinian claim of Western Wall Kotel as a Muslim site. State Dept. spokesman: Claim is factually untrue, insensitive and very provocative.
• OC Northern Command said new missile interceptors to guard military bases not civilians. Israel's offensive capabilities must be safeguarded, said Gen. Eisenkott.
• Angry protest form 26 civilian locations in missile range of Gaza.
Riyadh signals: Secret Saudi-Israeli meetings on Iran must go on
1 Dec. Riyadh has signaled its intention for the secret Saudi-Israeli meetings on Iran taking place for more than a year to continue after the changing of the guard at the Mossad, debkafile's intelligence sources reveal. This message Tamir Pardo found on his desk as he prepares to take over from Meir Dagan this week as head of Israel's external spy agency. It means that, regardless of WikiLeaks disclosures, the Saudis stand by their conviction that Iran's nuclear program must be destroyed.
The meetings between Saudi General Intelligence Director Prince Muqrin bin Abdaziz and Meir Dagan, most of which were held in the Jordanian capital Amman, dealt extensively with clandestine cooperation between the two agencies and plans for attacking Iran. Arab and Western sources reported they reached agreement in the course of the year for Israeli fighter-bombers to transit Saudi air space on their way to bombing Iran's nuclear facilities and use a specially-built landing strip in the Saudi desert for refueling.
December 2, 2010 Briefs
• Forty people die in huge brush fire disaster on Carmel Mountain south of Haifa. They were trapped in a bus evacuating residents and Damun prison inmates.
• Turkish PM Erdogan to sue US diplomats who uncovered his 8 secret Swiss accounts (WikiLeaks). "Those who slandered us will be crushed," he threatened.
• Two terrorists from Gaza killed in a clash with Israel troops on their way to raid Kfar Azza. They were intercepted early Thursday heavily armed with weapons and explosives.
• Nuclear watchdog board meeting in Vienna Thursday airs the Iranian and Syrian nuclear programs.
• Kuwait's Investment Authority in advanced talks with France to buy part of French nuclear giant Areva.
Sarkozy: North Korea to supply Iran with nuclear bomb components
2 Dec. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has quietly warned that North Korea is using its crisis with the South to cover up its planned transfer to Iran of nuclear weapons systems parts and extra-fast centrifuges for uranium enrichment that could help Tehran go into bomb production in the first half of 2011, debkafile's sources report. He has asked pro-Western Persian Gulf leaders to try and persuade President Barack Obama to take strong military action against North Korea – not just because of its aggression against the South, but to abort Pyongyang's nuclear aid to Tehran.
In Sarkozy's opinion, Iran only agreed to meet the Six-Power representatives on December 6 for talks as a gambit to play for time until the North Korean nuclear supplements are in hand. He told the Gulf rulers that he had been informed by highly credible sources that the items from North Korea would help Iran solve the technical problems plaguing the program and holding up its progress.
Israel asks for outside help to control raging Carmel fire as at least 40 die•
2 Dec. Israel has appealed urgently to Russia, Greece, Italy and Cyprus for urgent firefighting aid as the flames enveloping Mount Carmel blaze out of control after claiming 40 lives Thursday, Dec. 2. After nightfall, residents of Tirat Carmel and its army facility, Ein Hod, Nir Etzion and Ein Hood and the patients and staff of Tirat Hacarmel Hospital were told to escape to safety after Haifa University was evacuated.
The 40 victims, young trainees at a prison warders' course summoned to help evacuate the 500 inmates, were burnt alive as the flames changed direction and caught it swaying down a precipitous road away from the fire. The inmates had by then reached safety. Haifa police commander Ahuva Tomer was critically injured.
Firemen and police officers are missing and an unknown number of people have been injured.
The widely-spaced focal centers confirm the suspicion of arson.