A Digest of debkafile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending Oct. 29, 2009

Surging terror violence nears Pakistan's main nuclear missile store

23 Oct. At least 7 people were killed, 13 injured when a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up Friday, Oct. 23, outside the big Kamra aeronautical complex 60 km west of Islamabad. debkafile's military sources report this is where Pakistan houses most of its nuclear bombs and air-air and air-ground missiles.

A Pakistani military spokesman said the bomber was stopped at a checkpointbefore he could enter the Kamra complex.

Taliban fighters began to battle their way towards Pakistan's nuclear arsenal on Saturday, Oct. 10, attacking the roads connecting the capital and high command with the nuclear ordnance centers in northern Pakistan near the town of Kohat, at Wah and in Kamra in order to cut them off.

Terrorist pressure to reach Pakistan's nuclear arsenal at these sites was first reported by DEBKA-Net-Weekly on May 15. Friday morning.

The Qom enrichment facility is not Iran's only hidden nuclear plant

24 Oct. Four International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors were due in Tehran Sunday, Oct. 25 for their prearranged visit to the newly-discovered Fordo uranium enrichment facility near Qom. Aside from that inspection, not much else is left of the Obama administration's pursuit of engagement on Iran's nuclear program. debkafile's military sources point out that even the UN watchdog visits may lead nowhere, depending on how much access they are allowed to the tunneled plant and how much incriminating evidence was removed in the three weeks since Tehran approved the visit.

Some sources in Washington take their existence as evidence of several more secret facilities running – and not just for enrichment but possibly even for covertly constructing nuclear bombs and warheads.

If the IAEA inspectors' are allowed to do their job, they may establish five key facts:

1. Iran's nuclear program is military – not just peaceful as Teheran insists;

2. The hidden plant, built to house 3,000 fast centrifuges of the new IR-4 mark, is designed to produce 90 pc (weapons-grade) enriched uranium in an amount sufficient for two to three bombs a year.

3. The 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate claiming Iran had discontinued nuclear weapon development in 2003 was made of whole cloth.

4. The secret place where uranium hexafluoride (UF6) destined for further enrichment at Qom is produced.

5. Diplomatic engagement with Tehran has not even begun to plumb the depths of Iran's deceptions.

October 25 Briefs

·        Palestinian woman stabs Israeli guard at Kalandia crossing north of Jerusalem. He was seriously wounded.

·        Government unanimously approves Yuval Diskin as Shin Bet director for another year.

·        Reinforcements using stun grenades broke up Muslim rampage on Temple Mount, left worshippers barricaded in mosque.

·        Fatah, Israeli Arab Islamic officials among 18 arrested for disorderly conduct.

·        Trouble stirred up by Muslim leaders' call for new anti-Israeli demos at shrine.

·        The Pakistani Taliban chief vows country will be another Afghanistan or Iraq unless the military stops South Waziristan offensive.

Iran buys North Korean WMD for Syria, midget submarines for both

25 Oct. The US Congressional Research Service reveals that Iran has helped Syria obtain “various forms of weapons of mass destruction” and missiles, as well as midget submarines – all from North Korea.

debkafile's military sources report that the North Korean miniature subs are known to be capable of dropping small teams of commando forces on enemy shores, damaging large warships and mining the approaches of naval bases and harbors. They can sow EM-52 “rising mines” originally developed by China, which lurk on deep sea beds until triggered by a passing ship to release a missile which shoots up to strike its hull.

To keep one of its few allies close, Tehran uses Syria as a “transit point for Iranian weapons shipments to Hizballah which both see as leverage against Israel to achieve their regional and territorial aims.”

October 26 Briefs

·        Fourteen US soldiers killed in mid-air collision of 2 helicopters in S. Afghanistan.

·        Third chopper crashes in battle in the western region that kills 12 terrorists.

·        Turkish PM says Western charges that Iran wants a nuke are “gossip.”

UN team not welcome in Tehran, Mottaki whittles down enrichment plan

26 Oct. Senior Iranian MP Alaeddin Boroujerd said Monday afternoon, Oct. 26 that the UN inspectors had carried out their mission to visit a newly-disclosed uranium enrichment plant and may leave Iran later that day. debkafile's Iranian sources report that the inspectors were supposed to have paid a second visit to the Fordo plant near Qom in the next two days after their first trip Sunday. So either the Iranians cut the inspectors' mission short or they were denied access to the suspected facility and aborted.

Earlier, as world powers waited on tenterhooks for Tehran's reply to the IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei's overseas enrichment proposal, Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki came up with a new offer: “There are two options on the table… either to buy it or give part of our fuel for further processing abroad.”

debkafile's Iranian sources report: The idea Mottaki threw out was aimed at seeing how far the Islamic Republic could whittle down the original proposal by offering to ship less enriched uranium overseas and demanding permission to purchase replacements.

Baghdad bloodbath portends deadly anti-Maliki campaign

26 Oct. The Iraq war is by no means over – or even won.

The two car bombs, which exploded two minutes apart Sunday, Oct. 25, destroyed three buildings in the fortified Green Zone, the ministries of justice and public works and the governor's office. The smaller bomb blew up first outside the governate, sending pedestrians fleeing half a kilometer north towards the ministerial complex. There, the larger bomb went off with disastrous effect: The death toll rose by Monday to 155, with more than 540 people injured.

debkafile's counter-terror and Iraq sources point to main causes, internal and regional, behind the continuing bloodshed in Iraq:

1. The Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is acting out his ambition to be the strongman of Baghdad, almost another Saddam Hussein. His iron-rod style of rule is accepted by Washington but raises the hackles of all Iraq's religious and ethnic communities, Kurds, Sunni Arabs and even sections of his own Shiites.

2. Saudi Arabia sees Shiite al-Maliki singling out its fellow Sunnis for discrimination or even persecution.

3. Even Tehran is anxious to cut the ambitious Shiite making waves in Baghdad down to size.

4. Like Tehran, Syrian president Bashar Assad, is not keen to see a potent figure governing Iraq. He has therefore not lifted a finger to curb the passage of terrorists, arms and cash from Syria into Iraq, especially Saddam's old Baath party, now led as a terrorist organization by his former deputy Izzat Ibrahim Dura.

French FM: “Israel will not tolerate an Iranian bomb”

26 Oct. French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner warned that Iran's nuclear ambitions have started a “race to confrontation” with Israel and the world's leading powers must break the deadlock before the Jewish state “reacts.”

The French minister added: “There is the time that Israel will offer us before reacting because Israel will react as soon as they know clearly that there is a threat. They will not tolerate an Iranian an Iranian bomb,” he stressed.

October 27 Briefs

·        Two Chicago men arrested for alleged terror plots against overseas targets – US Justice Dept.

·        Eight American troops killed in several bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan. Latest deaths make October deadliest month for US forces since war began.

·        Barak: Galilee authorities must maintain readiness for renewed war emergency.

·        Six NATO ships practice rescue-evacuation drill in Eilat's Red Sea bay. Turkish ships take part.

·        Al-Qaida's Islamic State of Iraq branch claims Baghdad blasts which killed 155, injured 540 Sunday.

·        Authorities demolished two illegal Palestinian homes in Tzur Bahar and Anata.

·        Amnesty charges Israel with water discrimination against Palestinians. Israel water board: Palestinians received 70 cu.m p.a. well above Oslo allotment of 23 cu. m. They mismanage water resources, pollute their streams and wells. Israel water users pay fines for excess use due to shortage.

·        White House postpones Turkish PM's Washington visit with no new date.

·        Erdogan met Ahmadinejad in Tehran twice Tuesday.

·        Juniper Cobra dep. commander says joint exercise has unilateral boon in addition to honing ties with Israel. Exercise tries to integrate Aegis capability with X-band radar and THAAD and Patriot weapons systems. US Col. Anthony English: These systems are to be developed into a European missile shield.

Urgent new Israeli order for two stealth corvettes from Germany

27 Oct. debkafile's military sources report that the two corvettes are needed to meet the build-up of Iranian submarines and Syria warships in the Mediterranean Sea and defend coastal infrastructure facilities such as power stations and naval bases which Israel intelligence fears will be at risk in a regional war.

The order was placed during Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi's three-day visit to Berlin this week as guest of the German high command, in addition to two Dolphin submarines already commissioned.

The German corvette is a 2,200-tonner, 91 meters long and 13.4 meters wide. It carries a crew of 94, a medium-sized helicopter on its deck and 24 weapons systems. Its great advantages are its formidable firepower and advanced radar-evading capabilities.

October 28 Briefs

·        Another 4 Katyusha rockets defused in South Lebanon day after rocket fired at N. Israel Tuesday.

·        Twelve killed, including 6 foreign UN staff, when Taliban stormed their guesthouse in Kabul early Wednesday. Rockets were also fired at a five-star hotel and the Afghan presidential palace.

Obama's NSA Jones on Iran: “Nothing is off the table”

28 Oct. The US president's national security adviser James Jones said early Wednesday, Oct. 28:

The United States will be ready to respond if Iran fails to take tangible steps soon to meet its commitments over its nuclear program. “Nothing is off the table,” he warned. Jones delivered the keynote address as the first conference of the new J Street Jewish lobby, which advocates US pressure on Israel for concessions in peace talks and diplomatic engagement with Iran and the extremist Hamas.

“We will see in a short amount of time if engagement is able to produce the concrete results that we need and will be prepared if it does not,” Jones said.

debkafile's military sources report that the proposal calls for Iran to send overseas 900 kg of its 1,200-kg stock of enriched uranium. The replacement of that amount at its Natanz plant would take 240 days of processing at the estimated pace of 3.75 kg per day. All the US administration can hope to gain therefore from the IAEA proposal is less than a year for negotiations with Iran before the situation is back where it started before engagement. For Iran, this is a pretty good deal.

US Congress initiates sanctions legislation for Iran

28 Oct. The House foreign affairs committee approved legislation Wednesday, Oct. 28 for imposing sanctions on Iran's main gasoline suppliers, including British, French, Swiss and Indian firms by barring them from doing business with the United States. debkafile adds: Tehran is thereby put on notice of unilateral US sanctions should it reject, quibble or procrastinate over the IAEA compromise proposal to send three-quarters of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for further processing as fuel for its research reactor.

Russia has turned cagey over endorsing tough sanctions against Iran over its banned nuclear activities, providing US lawmakers with an extra incentive to speed up the option for America to go it alone.

October 29 Briefs

·        Speaking in Lahore, Hillary Clinton said it is hard to believe no one in Pakistan's government knew where al Qaeda leaders were hiding.

·        Iraq arrests 60 security force members, including 11 high officers. They are suspected of collaborating in Sunday's twin bombing in Baghdad which left 155 dead.

·        Death toll from huge Peshawar explosion rises to 110 after 9 bodies pulled out of the rubble. Pakistan declares three days mourning for huge explosion that wrecked Peshawar's women's market Wednesday.

·        Four Israel-made Heron unmanned spy planes purchased for German forces in Afghanistan.

·        Leader of American radical Islamic group killed resisting arrest in Detroit.

·        National ceremonies Thursday mark 14th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.

·        Assad again signals wish for Turkey-mediated talks with Israel.

·        Barak: Israel is ready provided Syria and Hizballah act responsibly and stop destabilizing region.

·        Goldstone war crimes report comes before UN assembly next Wednesday.

·        Head of IAEA inspection team says they had a good trip but gave no details. The four inspectors visited Iran's previously hidden Fordo plant near Qom

A gunman shoots two people in the legs at a North Hollywood synagogue

29 Oct. The Lost Angeles police detained a man near the North Hollywood Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue. He is suspected of entering the building with a handgun and shooting two people. The victims were taken to hospital. Police are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

ElBaradei whitewashes Iran's negative response to his overseas enrichment proposal

29 Oct. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Thursday, Oct. 29, submitted Iran's reply to the IAEA proposal endorsed by world powers providing for Iran to send three-quarters of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for conversion into nuclear fuel. Its contents were not released by Tehran or the IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei. Five hours after he received Iran's reply, ElBaradei produced a formula for airbrushing its negative content: “More consultations were needed.”

IAEA director clearly handed Tehran a lifeline by withholding the contents of its response pending further “consultations” – a process Tehran is adept at spinning out forever. debkafile reports that Iran's reply amounts to one yes and two nos.

Yes to enriched uranium overseas; no to any quantity above 10 percent in batches and only if replaced with equal amounts.

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