A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending Dec. 3, 2009

Iran threatens to end cooperation with the IAEA, quit NPT


27 Nov. Tehran may well break off cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency-IAEA and withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty after the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors Friday, Nov. 27 censured Iran and called on Tehran to halt the construction of its second enrichment site at Fordo near Qom.

All five UN Security Council permanent members supported the censure, including Russia and China.

Tehran will most likely make its response typically ambivalent. But by quitting the NPT, Iran would free itself of international obligations with regard to its nuclear activities. Our sources note that this will not change much. Anyway, while holding talks on its program with six world powers and throwing an occasional bone to IAEA inspectors, Tehran does as it pleases and conceals most of its nuclear activities heedless of world censure.

Nonetheless, the United States and most other world powers connived with Dr. ElBaradei to blind the world to the true state of Iran's rogue program.


Israel Air Force chief's "hard decisions" means no total security against multi-directional missiles


28 Nov. Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan told a Tel Aviv University audience Friday, Nov. 27: "The time for hard decisions is fast approaching," adding "The scope of security threats to Israel is very complex and we must prepare for all exigencies." He was addressing a ceremony marking 30 years of the IDF's Talpiot program which offers hi-tech, math and physics training and degrees for high IQ conscripts to join special projects.

debkafile's military experts translate the "hard decisions," he referred to as the tough choice of priorities facing government and military decision-makers in a potential war. They would have to choose between striking Iran's ballistic missile bases or the missiles pointing at Israel from Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, as well dealing with hostile ships facing Israel from a fifth direction, the Mediterranean.

The joint US-Israel Juniper Cobra 10 missile interception exercise at the beginning of November and exposed a major vulnerability: In the event of a coordinated missile offensive from several directions: Israel would be unable to extend total security both to its missile bases, airfields and strategic sites and also to its civilian population. The Israeli Air force is not capable of knocking out all out once all five potential sources of missile attacks.

This means that if the Israel air force first targeted Iran, Syria and Hizballah would be free to provide Iran with active support by sending their missiles and rockets flying into Israel from its northern borders before their bases can be seriously impaired by an Israeli counter-attack.


Second bomb explodes at Russian train crash site after 39 killed by first


28 Nov. The second bomb which exploded Saturday, Nov. 28, at the site of the Nevsky Express which was derailed Friday between Moscow and St. Petersburg crash site injured no one. It was less powerful than the first, which left 26 dead and 90 injured Friday. The Russian authorities confirmed a bomb of app. 7 kilos of TNT threw the train off the tracks when it was travelling at 200 mph. Elements of an explosive device were found at the scene where rescue teams are still digging for missing passengers.

The 661-seat luxury Nevsky Express is used by high officials, tycoons and tourists to commute between Moscow and St. Petersburg. North Caucasian Islamist terrorists are suspected of responsibility."


November 29 Briefs


·        PM Netanyahu diagnosed with light viral infection and temperature Sunday night. He calls off scheduled trip to Germany Monday with six ministers.

·        White House calls Iran's intention to build 10 more uranium enrichment plants "another serious violation. It is another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself."

·        Russian energy minister Sergei Shamtko on two day visit to Tehran, will tour Bushehr nuclear reactor.

·        Ailing Africa-Israel folds after notifying stock exchange it cannot meet obligations to shareholders.

·        More than 57pc of Swiss voters approve ban on minarets.

·        Ministers of PM Netanyahu's Likud criticize ten-month settlement apartment freeze on West Bank. They argue concession was not accepted by Palestinians who want more.


Iran hits back for IAEA censure by earmarking $20m for proxy military action against US, UK


29 Nov. Reduced Iranian cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency is the least of the troubles Tehran has in store for the West. The Iranians are incandescent over the nuclear watchdog's rebuke Friday, Nov. 27 for its cover-up of the uranium enrichment plant at Fordo and demand to halt its construction.

Its latest gesture of defiance was the approval late Sunday, Nov. 29 of 10 new uranium enrichment installations, with construction on five starting immediately.

debkafile's counter-terror sources report that earlier Sunday, Nov. 29, Tehran moved toward a military confrontation with the United and Britain when its parliament earmarked $20 million to support "progressive currents which resist US and UK illegal activities." The motion also ordered an investigation of alleged "US and British plots against the Islamic Republic."

Our Iranian and counter-terror sources report that Tehran is acting to broaden its support of terrorist movements by bringing additional armed Islamist and insurgent groups into its support cycle as a means of forcing Washington and London to ease the pressure on its uranium enrichment projects and nuclear bomb program. Tehran classifies the groups combating the West in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia as "progressive." The West may therefore be faced with newly-empowered armed groups in those places including possibly Taliban and al Qaeda allies.


November 30 Briefs


·        Nasrallah: US terror is the root of all terror in the world. Hizballah leader sees the US role in retreat and the Hebrew State's demise.

·        Officials hand freeze orders around building sites at 25 Jewish West Bank locations.

·        Somali pirates seize Saudi supertanker bound for US.

·        Mumbai court sacks lawyer of Pakistani Abbas Kazmi who faces 86 charges in Nov. 2008 terror attack. Prosecutor said he was not cooperating.

·        German trial opens Monday of John Demjanuk charged with aiding in murder of 27,900 Jews in Nazi Sobibor death camp.

·        Three Spanish aid workers abducted in Mauritania, West Africa, Fourth escaped.


As Obama hands Afghanistan commanders new orders, Mullah Omar warns of US defeat


30 Nov. Monday, Nov. 30, as US president Barack Obama informed senior military chiefs in Afghanistan they would receive another 30,000 US troops, Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar warned the White House and NATO they faced defeat.

Indian intelligence sources report he is hiding in Karachi after Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence helped smuggle him out of his secret headquarters in Quetta, Baluchistan. From his new hideout, Omar Mullah warned: "Considering the present facts in Afghanistan, you and your allies are facing inevitable defeat which will remain whether by sending more troops or taking a series of illogical strategies." The Afghan Taliban leader went on to say: "And may you know that the logic of using force today has lost its effect, and you cannot control the Afghani people through monetary force or your satanic trickery." The last sentence referred to US plans to pay out large monthly stipends to tribal and commanders in order to lure thousands of Taliban fighters into switching sides, a gambit which worked in Iraq for drawing Sunni Arab tribal chieftains into declaring war on al Qaeda.


First sign of spiritual ruler Khamenei clipping Ahmadinejad's wings


02 Dec. In a sudden about-turn, Iran released five British yachtsmen Wednesday, Dec. 2, a week after their capture off the Persian Gulf island of Sirri. The move announced by Tehran's state media early Wednesday even took London by surprise.

debkafile's Iranian sources report that this was one of the few instances in which Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei overruled president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had clearly intended to put the five Britons on trial for espionage. The president's chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie announced ominously Tuesday: "The judiciary will decide about the five… but naturally Iran will take hard and serious measures if we find out they had evil intentions." Their yacht was seized by Revolutionary Guards on Nov. 25, during an Iranian military test of their nuclear sites air defenses.


Hamas anti-Israel suicide terror offensive is ready to follow a prisoner swap


02 Dec. Information reached debkafile's counter-terror sources Wednesday, Dec. 2, of the discovery by Egyptian intelligence and security units of a large cache of bomb vests and 15-kilo explosive devices – some with built-in detonators, others attached to timers – in the Gaza-Egyptian border town of Rafah. They were smuggled out of the Gaza Strip and stored in Rafah for Hamas operatives and their confederates to carry through Sinai and across the Egyptian border into Israel, to be picked up by suicide bombers belonging to Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Our sources disclose Hamas has planned a wave of large-scale suicide attacks in southern Israel and its central heartland, for which five to eight operatives based in the West Bank were instructed to infiltrate Israel. Hamas hoped this deadly terror offensive would dissipate the widespread Palestinian criticism it is facing for getting too little from Israel – nearly 1,000 jailed Palestinians – in return for releasing the Israeli soldier Sgt. Gilead Shalit.


Ahmadinejad taunts Israel, says Iran will enrich uranium to 20 percent


02 Dec. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday, Dec. 2: "The Iranian nation will by itself make the 20 percent (nuclear) fuel (enriched uranium) and whatever it needs." His latest show of defiance, focusing the US and Israel, follows Tehran's announcement of plans to build another 10 enrichment plants capable of producing 300 tons of enriched uranium a year.

The building of two new plants will begin in two months.

Deliberately taunting Israel, he said in a speech from Isfahan broadcast live by state television: "The Zionist regime is nothing. Even its masters cannot do a damn thing." For Tehran the nuclear issue is "over." The Islamic republic will "not back down from its rights."

debkafile adds: The centrifuge technology that increases the concentration of U-235 isotopes up to the 5 -20 percent level can also be used to increase it to nuclear-weapons grade. It is only a matter of intent.


December 3 Briefs


·        PM Netanyahu met furious West Bank town leaders Thursday. They will appeal to High Court against the construction freeze and the way it is enforced.

·        Three Somali ministers killed in hotel bombing in Mogadishu.

·        Italy to send another 1,000 troops to Afghanistan.Obama to welcome Lebanon's president Suleiman at White House Dec. 14.

·        New Beirut government decides Hizballah can keep its weapons to fight Israel. This is violation of two UN Security Council resolutions.

·        Turkish minister urges Muslims to empty their Swiss bank accounts.


A dozen dead, 100 injured in Iranian bus blast in central Damascus


03 Dec. Syria insists that the explosion that killed at least 12 people and injured 100 people on a bus full of Iranian pilgrims in the heart of Damascus Thursday, Dec. 3, was not an act of terror but a "serious accident" caused by a bursting tire that killed 3 people. The Iranian news agency, in contrast, described the incident as a terrorist attack which claimed 12 lives. Photos show the bus to be wrecked and burnt in a manner that could only have been caused by a large bomb – certainly not a burst tire. Witnesses reported dozens of bodies were smashed and flung across an area dozens of meters from the blast. The victims were Iranian pilgrims on a visit to the Shiite shrine dedicated to Sayeda Zenab in the heart of Damascus, not far from Syrian general intelligence headquarters.

Saeed Jalili, head of Iran's national security council, who arrived in the Syrian capital at the time of the disaster, cancelled a news conference he was to have held with foreign minister Walid Muallem. It is possible that some of the officials who came with him were on the doomed bus.

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