A Digest of debkafile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending Nov. 12, 2009

US major of Palestinian origin shouted “Allahu Akbar” in Fort Hood shooting rampage


6 Nov. Speculation is rife in the US media about whether Army Major Malik Nadal Hasan's massacre of 13 servicemen at America's biggest army base, Fort Hood in Texas Thursday, Nov. 5 was motivated by terrorist ideology.

Faizul Khan, a former imam at a mosque he attended at Silver Spring Md. said the major was a lifelong Muslim who listed his nationality as Palestinian although he was born in Virginia.

Retired Army Col. Terry Lee, who had worked with the major, told reporters that Hasan had hoped President Barack Obama would pull the army out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Lee said he often got into arguments with soldiers who supported the wars and had tried hard to get his pending deployment cancelled.


Iran set to launch 200-kg spy satelite into orbit


7 Nov. Iran is ready to launch its second homemade spy satellite, with the Safir 2 rocket already in position on its pad, debkafile's military and intelligence sources report. The new satellite weighs 200 kgs, ten times more than Omid 1 (Hope), which was successfully tested only ten months ago, on Feb. 2.

If the second launch succeeds, it would mean that Iran can produce solid fuel-powered rockets with a range of 2,450-2,450 kilometers, which covers not only all of Israel but reaches as deep into Europe as the Polish capital of Warsaw. Heads of the Islamic regime in Tehran hope its second space launch will so astound the Americans and Israelis that they will think twice before going after Iran's nuclear installations.

Most of all, they want Israel to count the cost of military action.

On Nov. 4, US satellite photos showed Iran had raised output at its Gchine uranium mine near Bandar Abbas and was producing enough raw ore for processing into two warheads a year. Tehran bars the mine to UN inspections so the international agency cannot determine where the raw uranium is going.

On Nov. 5, US and UK media quoted IAEA sources in Vienna as asking Iran to explain evidence that its scientists have experimented with an advanced nuclear warhead design. They referred to the discovery of high-explosive components of a “two-point implosion” device that could enable Iran to eventually install small nuclear warheads on its ballistic missiles.

This process would short-cut and simplify Iran's path to fitting nuclear warheads on long-range ballistic missiles such as the Shehab-4 which is about ready to go operational.


Ahmadinejad empowered to cancel food, fuel subsidies, for transfer to nuclear projects


8 Nov. Iran's parliament (Majlis) Sunday, Nov. 8, granted president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unlimited control of an estimated $30-50 billion of national treasure under legislation empowering him to cancel government subsidies on food and fuel. He gained majority endorsement for these measures over the objections of the Speaker Ali Larijani, who demanded Majlis oversight of the recycled expenditure.

debkafile's Iranian sources report that the president demanded the transfer of subsidy funding to the nation's nuclear and missile programs, preparations for war and measures to offset international sanctions.

His success in ramming the new measures through parliament Sunday proved he was at the peak of his political strength and determined as never before to defy the world.


Al Qaeda may be fighting with Yemeni rebels against Saudi Arabia


8 Nov. Saudi Arabian and Iran-backed Yemeni rebels have been fighting for five days on both sides of the border and taken dead and wounded. Otherwise, debkafile's military sources report, the state of combat is hard to pin down in one of the most desolate, sparsely populated and vast desert regions in the world.

Sunday, Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, assistant Saudi minister for defense and aviation, stated on a tour of the high Jebel al-Dukhan that the three villages captured by the Yemeni Houthi rebels in a cross-border incursion last week had been retaken and calm restored. The prince stressed the kingdom “has not, and will not interfere inside Yemeni borders,” a claim instantly refuted by a video clip circulated by the rebels and showing Saudi commandoes inside Yemen.

debkafile reports that last Thursday, Nov. 5, a substantial Saudi force struck 5-10 kilometers into northern Yemen. They were part of a trap for destroying the Houthi invading force by catching them in a vise from the north and south on both sides of the border. But the topography of this region is such that both sides can claim the upper hand.

The situation is further complicated by the possibility of some Al Qaeda fighters having crossed the border to fight Saudi army alongside the Houthis. Riyadh is deeply concerned lest the pro-Iranian Yemeni revolt spill over and infect the Shiite tribes of the south. Al Qaeda could well ride into the kingdom on the Houthis' backs.


November 9 Briefs


·        Lebanese president approves new Hariri unity cabinet of 30 ministers.

·        Barak meets Gates, says US-Israeli strategic, intelligence cooperation cornerstone of Israeli security.

·        Iran charges three detained American hikers with espionage. Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, Josh Fattal, 27, strayed across Iranian border from N. Iraq.

·        Palestinians Qasam missile from Gaza explodes near Sderot.

·        Turkish PM on hosting Sudanese leader: A Muslim is incapable of genocide. Erdogan added: I would rather meet Bashir than Netanyahu.


Congressional probe to say if Ford Hood shooting was worst post-9/11 terror attack in US


09 Nov. As pressure builds on the Obama administration to break their silence on the Nov. 5 shootings at the Ford Hood base, Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent who heads the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, announced he was launching a congressional investigation to find out whether the attack which claimed 13 lives and injured 30 was preventable.

Army commanders will be asked to explain how for two years they missed warning signs that army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had turned to radical Islam. Witnesses described him as calmly shooting more than 100 rounds at his comrades, some already lying wounded on the floor.

Lieberman also called on the Pentagon to conduct an independent inquiry.

Hasan's classmates at military courses in 2007-2008 quoted the US-born major of Palestinian parents as quite openly justifying suicide bombing and telling classmates that Islamic law trumped the US Constitution. One said students had complained to their professors and sent a letter to the Pentagon, but no action was taken..

Witnesses of the shootings agreed he shouted Allahu Akbar while firing.

The army's commander, Gen. George Casey expressed concern that speculation could result in a “backlash” against Muslim soldiers. debkafile's Washington sources report growing impatience in the army and country over what is seen as official hedging.


November 10 Briefs


·        Ashkenazi warns IDF is preparing all options against threats. Israel's C-of-S estimated world would determine its course on Iran by year's end.

·        Hizballah has stocked thousands of missiles, including weapons that bring southern Beersheba, Mitzpe Ramon within 300-350 km range.

·        Obama receives 60 American-Jewish leaders at White House reception. He thanked them for the “countless hours of tzedakah [charity] performed every day of every week.”

·        Chancellor Merkel addresses fall of Berlin Wall ceremonies. She noted the 71st anniversary of the Crystal Night pogrom and burning of synagogues across Nazi Germany.


Erdogan offers Iran Turkish intelligence aid against Israel


10 Nov. In the secret part of their talks in Tehran on Oct. 28, debkafile's military sources reveal that Turkish prime minister Tayyep Recep Erdogan and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck military cooperation deals which offered Iran Turkish military intelligence and air force assistance against a possible Israeli attack on its nuclear sites.

Their understandings have bound Turkish intelligence to pass to Tehran on potential Israeli preparations for a strike and on US military movements in the Middle East for providing backup. Our sources report that the details were due to be sealed by presidents Abdullah Gul and Ahmadinejad Tuesday.

Erdogan persuaded his generals to accept his pact with Tehran by explaining that President Barack Obama's secret proposal for Iran to deposit 400 kilos of its enriched Iran in Turkey for safekeeping in charge of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, had elevated Turkey to an enhanced role as a broker between the US and Iran. It was made only because the Ankara government enjoyed the trust of Tehran.

debkafile's military sources report that word of the Turkish-Iranian military collaboration deal landed with a jarring thump in Washington and Jerusalem. They had not been forewarned by their intelligence services that Erdogan was willing to go as far as this to fraternize with the Islamic regime.


November 11 Briefs


·        Sarkozy receives Netanyahu in his private apartment to preserve secrecy. They talked alone for one hour 45 minutes, well beyond allotted time.

·        Assad says ahead of Paris visit Thursday: No conditions for peace but rights which we will not abandon. The essence of the new Middle East is “armed resistance.”

·        Nasrallah says in next war Hizballah will destroy Israel's entire army.

·        Lebanon condemns four accused Israeli spies to death, two had fled.


November 12 Briefs


·        US Maj. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder.

·        Palestinian election officials recommend cancelling January's presidential election. This would clear the way for Mahmoud Abbas to stay in office indefinitely.

·        Israeli PMO denies al Arabiya TV claim that Netanyahu informed Assad he accepts Golan handover in principle.

·        Yaacov Taitel indicted on charges of two murders, two attempted murders, possession of arms, incitation to violence.

·        9/11 memorial unveiled in Jerusalem Hills Thursday. It depicts World Trade Center and Pentagon in sculpture and waving American flag in bronze.


Iran was the only subject on the Obama-Netanyahu, Gates-Barack agendas

12 Nov. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama focused on a single subject when they met in Washington Monday, Nov. 9 – as did Netanyahu and French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 11. Iran was also central to the meeting between defense minster Ehud Barak and US defense secretary Robert Gates Monday. debkafile's Washington sources disclose that briefings to the media and joint communiques were disallowed for the sake of blacking out the content of the conversations Israeli leaders held in Washington and Paris.

Leaked reports that the Palestinian issue and Mahmoud Abbas' future were discussed in Washington and peace talks with Syria in Paris were window-dressing, as were the power games widely reported as leading up to the Netanyahu's reception at the White House.

The conversation in Sarkozy's private apartment at the Elysee was a continuation of Netanyahu's talks with Obama two days earlier and marked three-way coalescence around the next steps regarding Iran.

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