June 11, 2010 Briefs
• Palestinian motorist shot dead after running his Toyota van over two Israeli border policemen in East Jerusalem Saturday. The two officers were injured.
• Bomb attacks kill at least 18 people, including two US soldiers, in Iraq in last 48 hours.
• Afghanistan commander Gen. McChrystal says June Kandahar offensive postponed indefinitely. Operation was keystone of Obama war strategy and 40,000-troop surge.
• Lavrov: Moscow in talks with Iran for new atomic reactors. He confirmed UN sanctions no bar to Russia sending Iran S-300 anti-missiles.
June 12, 2010 Briefs
• Germany asks Poland to extradite suspected Mossad agent in connection with slaying of Hamas agent Mabhouh in Dubai last January. Man called Uri Brodsky arrested in Warsaw at Berlin's request. He is suspected of helping alleged hit squad member obtain fake German passport. Israel: He is receiving the usual consular attention.
• Al Qaeda-associated tribesmen blow up oil pipeline linking Maarib fields to Red Sea Terminal Saturday. Pumping stopped. Yemeni forces bomb tribesmen hiding al Qaeda operatives in same area.
• Al Jazeera accuses Egyptian satellite of jamming its World Cup opening broadcast.
Saudis' open air corridor finds US, Israel immobile on Iran
12 June: Riyadh re-ran its offer of an air corridor for an Israel strike on Iran's nuclear facilities (London Times), to egg the US and Israel on to using it. Arab capitals are badly rattled by the thrusting partnership of the non-Arab Iran and Turkey and want to shock Washington and Jerusalem into action and out of their preoccupation with probing the flotilla incident.
Sources in Saudi Arabia say, "It is common knowledge within defense circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions."
In the Middle East, the rise of the Turkish-Iranian alliance has not only thrust America and Israel out to the wings of the Middle East stage, but is deeply alarming Cairo, Riyadh, the Gulf emirates and even Syria.
The Saudi air corridor is open but still unused. No one in Washington or Jerusalem is willing or able to order the bombers to take off.
June 13, 2010 Briefs
• A Palestinian Authority TV quiz show defines Haifa as "a Palestinian coastal city". The program's start-up was sponsored by the European Union.
• Al Qaeda suicide bombers and gunmen in military uniforms kill 15 people, take hostages in raid and siege of Iraq Central Bank in Baghdad.
• Moscow sends paras to Kyrgyzstan to defend Russian bases amid mounting ethnic violence in the south. Hundreds killed in clashes between Kyrgyzs and Uzbeks.
Pakistan SIS helps Taliban beat US and NATO in Afghanistan
13 June: US-led NATO forces may soon find their campaign in Afghanistan no longer winnable – with a draw at best, or a Taliban-al Qaeda victory, at worst, terminating the conflict. debkafile outlines four factors which have brought this situation to pass: the Kandahar offensive's postponement, Taliban's acquisition of anti-air missiles and ability to strike anywhere in Kabul, and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Agency's extensive support for the Taliban.
The longer the Obama administration clings to the assumption that cooperation with Pakistan and its intelligence agency is the only course for beating the Taliban and al Qaeda, the more elusive an Afghanistan triumph will be for the US and its allies.
June 14, 2010 Briefs
• US State Dept spokesman endorses Israel's capability to conduct a credible, impartial, transparent investigation. Turkey too has this right, says spokesman "but I'm not aware Turkey has reached this judgment.
• Israeli police Master Sgt. Yehoshuah Sofer, 39, from Beersheba, dies of the wounds sustained when he and his two partners were ambushed by Palestinian gunmen early Monday on Bet Haggai-Hebron road. The other two members of the vehicular patrol were badly hurt in the shooting.
• Erdogan invites Hizballah leader Nasrallah to visit Turkey on Hamas recommendation. He will travel under Iranian Guards protection.
• Israeli fire on Palestinians creeping up to Gaza-Israel border. There was a loud explosion – apparently from device they carried.
• Iran is not worried by new sanctions and will not stop its nuclear program, said Guards chief, Gen. Hossein Salami. EU foreign policy chief Ashton invites Iran's Saeed Jalili for talks on its nuclear program.
• Vast mineral wealth discovered in Afghanistan by US geologists.
• The family of Hamas' captive Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit plans to march on Jerusalem and squat outside the prime minister's office until he is freed after four years without any contact with the outside world.
Iranian Speaker Larijani plans to reach Gaza-Israel border Saturday
June 14: Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and foreign affairs and security committee chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi are preparing an epic descent on the Gaza Strip next Saturday, June 19 and a tour of the Israeli border debkafile's Iranian sources reveal. Tehran has applied to Cairo for visas for 200 Iranian lawmakers, leaning hard on Cairo for its assent. Larijani is planning to stand up at some point on the Gaza-Israel border fence, flanked by the enclave's Hamas rulers, and deliver a message of hate for Israel and support for the Palestinian Hamas extremists in a provocative challenge to Israeli military patrols on the other side.
Netanyahu yields on Gaza blockade as well as flotilla probe
June 14: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, after responding to US pressure for establishing an independent public probe of the May 31 flotilla incident, is also quietly falling back under the international clamor to ease the sea and land siege of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip by installing international supervisory mechanisms in place of the Israeli military and navy.
debkafile's political sources note for the first time, Israel has exposed its military activities to a public probe in which international figures take part.
The public commission is headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, International Law Prof. Shabtay Rosen and ex-Technion President Ret. Maj. Gen. Amos Horev. The two foreign observers are former First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, currently a UK Conservative Party life peer, and former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces Ken Watkin.
Ret. Gen. Giora Eiland leads a separate probe ordered by the chief of staff.
debkafile's Washington sources report that the Obama administration is weighing various alternatives to Israel's military blockade such as using NATO's Operation Active Endeavour counter-terror forces, composed of US, Canadian and European vessels to which Turkish and Israeli warships would be co-opted. In Luxemburg, European Union foreign ministers declared Israel's siege of Gaza is unacceptable.
June 15, 2010 Briefs
• Obama: We will ultimately defeat al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates in Afghanistan. He was cheered at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, when he said "We end our Iraqi combat mission this summer".
• Petraeus briefly passed out during Senate Armed Forces committee hearing.
• Ireland expels Israel embassy security officer over forged passport in connection with Dubai killing of Hamas leader.
• UN Secy Ban notes Israel's public flotilla inquiry commission but stands by demand for an international panel.
• Qasam rocket fired from from Gaza Monday night explodes on open ground in Eshkol farm district.
• Two British soldiers killed in separate shooting attacks in Afghanistan.
Shin Bet chief warns against lifting Gaza siege. Hamas has 5,000 missiles
15 June: Shin Beit (Israel's internal security service) director Yuval Diskin sternly warned Tuesday, June 15, that the steps embarked on by prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak to ease the Gaza siege gravely imperiled Israel's security.
Transferring inspections of Gaza-bound vessels from the Israeli Navy to international monitors or foreign ports would leave Israel wide open to a "gigantic security breach." On land, he said, Hamas had piled up 5,000 missiles, a few of which could reach Tel Aviv. Most are homemade from raw materials smuggled through the tunnels. Hamas continues to promote suicide killings for war on Israel, although it relegates some attacks to smaller allies.
Heavily-armed couple stopped at gate of CENTCOM HQ in Florida
15 June: Two heavily-armed individuals, a man and a woman, stopped at the Bayshore Gate of MacDill Air Force Base outside Tampa, Florida early Tuesday, June 15, with fake IDs, were described later as Caucasians in their mid-20s. The man is an active duty military serviceman on AWOL; the woman has no military connection.
When searched by a robot, their sports utility vehicle was faund to contain three handguns, three "rifle-style" weapons, ammo and military-style uniforms – but no explosives. The incident was official described as not terror-related but no light was shed on the couple's motives for entering this important base heavily armed with fake IDs.
June 16, 2010 Briefs
• State inquiry panel gives government up to end of 2011 to resettle, rehabilitate 9,000 Israeli evacuees from Gaza. Five years after eviction, most still in temporary housing, jobless. One panelist called them victims of appalling human rights abuse.
• Ultra-religious community stage massive protests over Supreme Court ruling sending dozens of parents of Immanuel schoolchildren to jail for flouting its ruling. Court ordered desegregation of schools discriminatory on ethnic grounds, did not accept parents' claim they were ethnically mixed and separated only by diverse Hassidic ideologies.
Iranian threats keep USS Truman in Mediterranean
16 June: The USS Harry S. Truman carrier Strike Group of 60 warplanes and 6,000 seamen has turned course from the Persian Gulf and deployed in the Mediterranean within easy reach of potential flare-ups, after incoming intelligence attested to the Turkish premier Recep Erdogan's determination to give his screws on Israel another turn – or two.
Ankara's determination to break the Gaza siege by force was backed up Wednesday, June 16, by Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, who threatened to retaliate against Persian Gulf and Mediterranean shipping for any interference with Iranian Gaza-bound vessels.
In Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted that Israel would no longer respect these vessels as humanitarian projects because their hostile intent is openly avowed by outright enemies.
Washington is concerned about the high risk of a clash with Israel – especially if the Lebanese Hizballah terrorists decide to join the Iranian-Turkish convoy for Gaza.
Such a clash would involve a NATO member-state for the first time.
Terrorist attack from Sinai on S. Israel thwarted
16 June: An Israeli border patrol intercepted and fought off a band of armed terrorists carrying explosives as they crossed into southern Israel through the Egyptian border of Sinai opposite the Israeli desert town of Mitzpe Ramon and Israeli military facilities early Wednesday, June 16. One terrorist was killed in the ensuing firefight – the rest, at least seven, fled back across the border. Investigation will try and determine if they came from Gaza or the al Qaeda cells in Sinai.
June 17, 2010 Briefs
• Barak warns Beirut of consequences if Lebanese vessels are allowed to set out from port to defy Israel's blockade on Gaza.
• A majority of security cabinet members rejected Netanyahu-Barak plan to ease the Gaza blockade.
• Hizballah announces Nasrallah's departure for Ankara imminent after security measures in place.
• Egyptian sources: Cairo is coordinating with Tehran the arrival of Iranian ships to Gaza to avert Iranian-Israel naval clash.
Turkey closes airspace to Israeli Air Force. Israel puts IHH on terror watch list
17 June: Turkey will lead a campaign for a worldwide boycott of Israel, introducing sanctions leading to the severance of bilateral relations. Wednesday, Ankara cancelled 16 contracts covering military and intelligence cooperation, including permission for the Israeli Air Force to use Turkish air space.
Israel countered by declaring the IHH, a terrorist entity, exposing this bulwark of the Ankara government to covert Israeli operations. In Washington, Democratic and Republican members of Congress announced there would be price to pay if Ankara continued its hate campaign against Israel and tight ties with Tehran.
Democratic Rep Eliot Engel called Turkey's actions "disgraceful."
debkafile's sources in Washington note that the president's personal adviser on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, does not share the conviction that the Turkish aid society, the IHH, is in fact a terrorist organization.
Wednesday, its Istanbul HQ scheduled the launch of a big flotilla for Gaza in July. Its new listing empowers Israel's covert agencies and navy to go for its members and ships – at sea and in Turkish ports.