October 22, 2010 Briefs
• Clinton announces $2bn military and security aid package for Pakistan.
• Israeli chess grandmaster Alik Gershon, 30, breaks Guinness World Record playing 527 concurrent games and winning 87%. He took record from Iranian chess player.
First joint Saudi-Egyptian maneuver geared to Iranian threat
22 Oct. Egypt and Saudi Arabia secretly carried out their first ever joint exercise this week with the participation of their special operations, marine, armored, missile, air and naval forces, debkafile's military sources reveal. Exercise Tabuk-2 under the command of Acting Saudi Defense and Aviation Minister, Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, son of Crown Prince Sultan, was programmed to repulse a potential Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia by taking the battle over to Islamic Republican territory. It took place from Oct. 17 -21 in Egypt's northern desert abutting the Mediterranean Sea where conditions resemble the eastern Saudi Arabian Persian Gulf coast. The two armies practiced responses to "enemy landings" in the kingdom's eastern regions, where its oil fields, facilities and ports are situated. The script provided for Egyptian forces to be rushed to the area under attack and join up with the Saudis to throw the invaders back while at the same time an Egyptian commando force standing by in the northwest would make for the western coast of Iran and launch a counter-attack on Revolutionary Guards bases.
October 23, 2010 Briefs
• Wikileaks: Iran devised new suicide vest for al-Qaeda to use in Iraq.
• Saudi Abdullah and Palestinian Abbas hold talks in Riyadh on next diplomatic steps against Israel. No statement issued.
• Two suicide bombers kill three civilians in UN compound in Afghanistan's western city of Herat early Saturday.
Classified Iraq war papers reveal US let Iran grow into regional power
23 Oct. The 400,000 classified US military documents WikiLeaks exposed Saturday, Oct. 23 on the 2004-2009 years of the Iraq War laid bare a catalogue of extreme abuse by Iraqi forces against fellow Iraqis and Iran's deep involvement in terrorist operations against Americans and Iraqis alike. The US is shown to have turned a blind eye to both. debkafile's analysts question the point of a war which replaces brutal Saddam Hussein with a Tehran-sponsored terrorist and provided a springboard for the spread of Iranian domination.
– Iranian-backed forces supplied insurgents attacking coalition troops and devised new forms of suicide vests for al-Qaeda, training in which was supplied by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Center in Tehran.
– The relationship between Iraq, Syria and Iran is one of the key variables of the jigsaw of the Iraqi insurgency.
Washington's inadequate response to Iranian aggression in Iraq continues up the present.
America's failure to stand up to Iranian-engineered terror in Iraq may also be seen as the backdrop for Israel's inertia in the face of the same adversary, Tehran, its constant threats of destruction and massive buildup of missile and rocket arsenals for arming Hizballah and Hamas.
Just as US inaction in Iraq substantially undermined America's standing and influence in the Middle East, so too the failure to reduce its enemies has strategically weakened Israel.
October 24, 2010 Briefs
• Palestinians fire three mortar rounds from Gaza Sunday night. One exploded on Israeli side of fence on open ground, 2 dropped on Palestinian side.
• PM Netanyahu: We are working closely with Washington to reactivate peace talks. They must go forward on a steady, not stop-go basis for a framework accord within a year. Palestinians must realize that direct talks are their only option, not applications to international bodies.
• Ashkenazi to flotilla commission: First shot on Turkish Marmara was fired by an activist. He refused to allow Israeli troops to testify.
Islamic Jihad Gaza has same camera-equipped suicide vests as in Iraq
24 Oct. debkafile's military and counter-terror sources confirm the WikiLeaks revelation that Iran developed camera-equipped suicide vests for al Qaeda's attacks on US troops under the instruction of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Center in Tehran. Our sources have discovered that the Islamic Jihad's "Jerusalem Brigades" in the Gaza Strip have been equipped with those same SVIED (Suicide Vest Improvised Explosive Devices) and have transferred some to al Qaeda cells at large in the territory.
They are fitted with miniature cameras which enable the bomber to monitor and relay images of an attack before he reaches his target, our military sources report. He can thus stay in close touch with, and receive instructions, from his handlers every step of the way, obtain images of the environment he is entering and the obstacles ahead.
An Israeli officer told debkafile that these mini-cameras "make it almost impossible for a suicide bomber to miss his aim. It makes him a human guided missile."
October 25, 2010 Briefs
• US, Israel end joint Juniper Falcon 11 exercise of several days Oct. 21. Ashkenazi stressed importance of cooperation at sea, ground and air and combating terror.
• Israeli FM sets up two contingency teams of experts. One, for diplomatic action the day after Iran attains nuclear arms. Two, in case the Palestinians seek UN Security Council approval of unilateral state.
• On second day of mortar fire from Gaza, Palestinians shoot five rounds Monday.
• Military court begins hearing case of two soldiers accused of making Palestinian boy open suspect bags in Cast Lead operation. Witnesses including their ex-battalion commander and Givati Brigade chief defended the two men. Hundreds of Givati reservists demonstrated outside court with Israeli flags and banners saying: "They protected our children".
• Vatican backs pro-Palestinian statement of Synod of Middle East bishops. The prelates called on Israel to end its "occupation" of Arab lands. Israel "must not" use Bible to justify the return of Jews to Israel and "injustices" against Palestinians. There is no longer a chosen people, according to the Catholic bishops. This statement contradicts Second Vatican Council which welcomed the Jews' return to their ancient homeland. It ignored Muslim persecution as the cause of Christian exodus from Middle East lands.
• Haifa inaugurates new Carmel Terminal for freighters carrying up to 8,500 containers and large cruise ships.
Saudis push Lebanese PM Hariri to quit, Lebanon near abyss
25 Oct. In a sudden about-face, the Saudis Monday, Oct. 25, urged Lebanon's pro-Western Prime Minister Saad Hariri to step down without delay and make way for an administration dominated by pro-Syrian ministers and Hizballah. King Abdullah, according to debkafile's Middle East and Beirut sources, sees no other way of saving Lebanon from tipping over into civil strife over Hizballah's demand to disband the international tribunal probing the 2005 murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
October 26, 2010 Briefs
• Nuclear watchdog chief calls on Iran for concrete steps to meet obligations.
• Shin Bet: Loss of Israeli citizenship could deter would-be terrorists.
• Iraqi court condemns Saddam's deputy and FM Tariq Aziz to death on charge of persecuting Shiites. Aziz was only Christian in former Iraqi government.
• Netanyahu visits Navy Shayetet 13, praises commandos for courage, professionalism and restraint in raid on Turkish flotilla. Operation for enforcing Gaza embargo was dangerous, difficult, essential and legal, he said.
• To this day, Hamas still illegally smuggle arms into Gaza.
• Israel parliament simulates attack by two Hamas Grad missiles halting session. Deliberatons moved to Van Leer Institute next door to President's Residence.
• Iran starts loading fuel in its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr Tuesday.
• Qatari emir says he will not let the US strike Iran from his country.
• Senior Obama aide Dennis Ross warns Iran that sanctions pressure will continue to grow.
• US remains determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
• Ross said Obama's security backing for Israel is unprecedented.
• State Comptroller to probe alleged "Harpaz document" plot to influence appointment of Israeli chief of staff.
Iran accuses 7 spies – two for links with Israeli intelligence
26 Oct. The Tehran Prosecutor General announced Tuesday, Oct. 26 that two people would go on trial for collaborating with Israeli intelligence – in addition to the five arrested earlier on charges of contacts with foreign intelligence services. He did not identify any of the seven accused, stressing only that they had all received large sums of money.
debkafile's Iranian sources note that Tehran had been widely expected to produce "Israeli spies" at some point soon. There was no reference to Israel when the first five arrests were announced. It was only on Tuesday that the Tehran prosecutor added another two charged with spying for "Zionist regime intelligence" on the day that the first of 160 fuel rods were loaded into the Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr.
This process had been postponed from August by the attack on its systems by the Stuxnet computer virus. Tehran has not been able to get to the bottom of this attack and, fearing its source was still lurking somewhere in the country for more mischief, decided to use scare tactics against possible culprits by arresting spies on charges that carry the death sentence.
October 27, 2010 Briefs
• Virginia man arrested on suspicion of plotting attacks on Washington D.C. metro stations. Farouque Ahmed appeared before federal magistrate in Alexandria, Va.
• France raises terror alert after Osama bin Laden threatens to kill French citizens.
• Moscow asks Iraq to commute death sentence against Saddam's deputy Tariq Aziz.
• UK police armed with more powerful automatic weapons to combat threat of Mumbai-style ¬terrorist attacks.
• Turkish police arrest 12 suspected al Qaeda members in Istanbul and Van, near Iranian border.
• One policeman injured, 9 Israeli Arabs arrested for stone-throwing during Jewish right-wing demo in Israel-Arab town of Umm al-Fahm. The Jewish activists demanded local Islamist movement, branch of radical Muslim Brotherhood be outlawed. Hundreds of police broke up Islamists' counter-protest with tear gas, prevented two sides clashing.
• US accuses Syria of undermining Lebanese sovereignty and region.
Crowley cited Syria directing weapons to Hizballah and 30 arrest warrants for Lebanese and others.
• Assad said earlier that the US sows chaos everywhere it has gone in several decades.
• Haifa district court approves plea bargain under which Israeli Arab Ameer Makhoul confessed to spying for Hizballah. He also admitted to contact with a foreign agent and conspiring to aid an enemy, faces 7-10 years jail time.
Iran ready to surrender Egyptian Islamists for Cairo's aid on Iraq and Lebanon
27 Oct. To curry favor with Egypt, Iran has offered to hand over 13 long wanted Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorists in return for Cairo's support for installing Shiite Nuri al-Maliki as Iraqi prime minister and helping to find a way out of the impasse over the Hizballah's indictment for the Hariri assassination. This is revealed exclusively by debkafile's counter-terror sources. Islamic Jihad's leader is Ayman al Zuwahiri, Osama bin Laden's lieutenant and of late his rival.
debkafile adds that until Tehran made this advance to Cairo, no Western intelligence organization knew about the 13 or more Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorists given sanctuary in and allowed to stay in touch with their leader. For Zuwahiri and Al Qaeda their surrender to Egypt would be a serious blow.
October 28, 2010 Briefs
• Nasrallah promises "proofs" of Israeli complicity in 2005 Hariri murder in Thursday night speech. His tactics designed to cover up UN tribunal's indictments against Hizballah.
• British MI6 chief John Sawers says spying crucial to stopping Iranian nuclear drive. Diplomacy is not enough.
• Two senior Egyptian ministers in Ramallah Thursday fail to persuade Palestinians to go back to talks with Israel.
• US imposes sanctions on German, Maltese, Cypriot shipping firms acting as fronts from Iranian traders.
• Thirteen containers unloaded from Iranian ship impounded at Lagos port. They contained rocket launchers, grenades explosives destined for Hamas or Hizballah.
First steps for French pullout from Afghanistan day after Bin Laden threat
28 Oct. The day after Osama bin Laden warned France to remove its troops from Afghanistan, French Defense Minister Herve Morin announced Thursday, Oct. 28 that the withdrawal of French troops would begin in early 2011. Paris then raised its terror alert level to "red" after confirming the authenticity of the Bin Laden audiotape aired Wednesday. debkafile's sources report: The French government takes the threat very seriously, apparently convinced that al Qaeda teams may already be in Paris to back it up.