A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending October 7, 2010

October 1, 2010 Briefs
• Order for Mumbai-style terror attacks in three EU countries came from Bin Laden, say US intel officials. Friday, Sweden joined UK, France and Germany on high terror alert.
• South Afghanistan sees heavy fighting, while in the east, 2 Taliban chiefs captured, at least 10 killed.
• Four big oil firms agree to stop investing in Iran's energy sector in compliance with US sanctions. Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Eni and Statoil later said they had not broken off all business ties with Tehran.
• US dollar surges in Iran from 10,500 to 12,000 rials as banks withhold sale amid biting sanctions.
• Gunmen torch NATO Afghanistan-bound supply convoy blocked by Pakistan after US attack kills three soldiers.
• Iran seeks computer wizards to exorcize cyber worm marauding through its systems.

Iran is bent on avenging cyber attack, raising military tensions

1 Oct. Tehran is bent on military action to settle scores with Israel and the US whom it suspects of planting the malignant Stuxnet cyber worm in the controls of its nuclear, military and strategic systems, debkafile reports. The timeline for action revolves around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon Oct. 13-14, during which he plans to tour the Israeli border. Preying on Tehran too are the personal sanctions Barack Obama has imposed on its top brass.
In its latest issue, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported Friday, Oct. 1 that when Assad and Ahmadinejad last met in Damascus on Sept. 18, three days after the malworm surfaced, the Iranian president warned that his country would retaliate for the cyber attack by military means. Its allies, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas were advised to prepare for Israel taking the opportunity to attack them.
Washington got involved Wednesday, Sept. 29, when President Barack Obama signed an executive order imposing sanctions on eight top Iranian officials, accusing them of serious human rights abuses, including the killing, torture, beating and rape of Iranian citizens since the country's disputed 2009 presidential election.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly noted that this was the first time Washington had singled out top-flight Iranian military and security personages for personal penalties and imposed them without reference to Iran's nuclear program.

October 2, 2010 Briefs
• Iran's intel minister Moslehi claims "nuclear spies" arrested to "block destructive enemy moves". He said: Enemy has sent electronic worms to undermine Iran's nuclear activities. But Iran is capable of rapidly detecting and taking measures to counter all enemy's destructive moves in cyberspace. debkafile: It was a face-saver to cover up Tehran's inability to combat the Stuxnet cyber invasion.
• Assad arrives in Tehran for talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.
• Mitchell returns to Jerusalem next week after weekend trips to Gulf states, Cairo and Amman. He hopes to drum up help for salvaging Israel-Palestinian talks.
• PLO Executive approves Abbas decision to quit talks with Israel over settlement construction. Arab League foreign ministers postpone next Monday's meeting on issue.

Palestinian "no" to talks faces strong US, Egyptian, Saudi objections

2 Oct. Saturday, Oct. 2, the PLO Executive Committee gave Mahmoud Abbas the mandate he requested for breaking off the US-sponsored "direct talks" with Israel until all Jewish construction ceases on the West Bank and Jerusalem. debkafile's Middle East sources report however that this negative is neither total nor final because it will be found unacceptable in Washington, Cairo and Riyadh. He has therefore left the door partly open to more diplomacy.
The Saudi royal mouthpiece Asharq Al-Awsat crowned Mahmoud Abbas on Sept. 29 the "most inept diplomat of 2010," a dubious honor he is said to have earned by simultaneously meeting Israeli and Hamas objectives, i.e. the breakdown of talks and resumption of settlement construction.
Egyptian foreign minister Aboul Gheit in an interview Thursday took Abbas to task for focusing on settlement construction instead of the far more important issue of the final borders of a future Palestinian state, thereby putting the cart before the horse.

US expands Afghan war arena into NW Pakistan (update)

2 Oct. Has the nine-year deal for Pakistan to serve US-led NATO forces as their primary logistics and supply base run aground? Tempers are running high in Islamabad since US officials intimated that additional remote-controlled aircraft and helicopters from other Afghan sectors were brought in to strengthen the major new front opening up against Taliban strongholds in Pakistan's North Waziristan.
Pakistan blocked NATO Afghanistan-bound convoys at the frontier after a US helicopter mistakenly killed 3 Pakistani border troops. Still, debkafile's military sources do not rule out the US drive into North Waziristan escalating into ground incursions going especially after the Haqqani network.
Gen. David Petraeus decided to escalate the cross-frontier campaign from drones to helicopters for destroying insurgent and terrorist concentrations in Pakistan's lawless North Waziristan province, debkafile's military sources report. The drones alone, accepted by Pakistan, have proved ineffective for demolishing large bases or catching insurgent forces on the move into Afghanistan or on their way back to their Pakistani havens.
The Haqqani network has been preserved as Islamabad's trump card for guaranteeing Kabul is governed by a pro-Pakistan regime after US troops start pulling out of Afghanistan in August 2011.

October 3, 2010 Briefs
• Twenty oil tankers bound for Afghanistan attacked on Pakistan side of border Sunday.
• Palestinian killed climbing Jerusalem border fence with 15 others early Sunday. He was shot dead trying to grab a policeman's sidearm.
• French man suspected al Qaeda member arrested last month in Naples.
• Israeli military court convicts two soldiers for sending Palestinian boy to search bags during Gaza battles last January. They were convicted of risking the boy's life and unbecoming conduct. The two were supported by their unit whose members sported T-shirts with slogan: "We are victims of Goldstone Report".
• US State Dept. alerts citizens to potential for terrorist attacks in Europe.

Russian experts flee Iranian dragnet for cyber worm source

3 Oct. debkafile's intelligence sources report from Iran that dozens of Russian nuclear engineers, technicians and contractors are hurriedly departing Iran for home with their families since local intelligence authorities began rounding up their compatriots as suspects of planting the Stuxnet malworm into their nuclear program.
Among them are Russian personnel who built Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr which Tehran admits has been damaged by the virus.
One of the Russian nuclear staffers, questioned in Moscow Sunday, Oct. 3 by Western sources said he and his colleagues intend to return to Iran if the trouble blows over and the detainees are quickly released after questioning. According to our sources, these detentions were the source of the announcement Saturday, Oct. 2, by Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi that several "nuclear spies" had been captured, in Tehran's first admission that its entire nuclear program had been affected.

October 4, 2010 Briefs
• Israel's supreme court rules Irish pro-Palestinian activist Mairead Maguire be deported without delay. She was accused to taking the law into her own hands by ignoring a previous deportation order issued against her for disseminating anti-Israel propaganda.
• (Res) Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, former OC Central Command, named new deputy chief of staff under incoming Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant.
• Small leak in storage pool holding fuel – not computer worm – delays Bushehr reactor start-up, says Iran's nuclear chief Ali Salehi Monday. He added problem has been fixed but later statement from Tehran said the reactor would not go online before next spring.
• Five German Muslims among eight killed by US drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan Monday. It came day after US and UK alert against terror attack in Europe originating in Pakistan. Alert remains in force.
• Ahmadinejad on US: May the undertaker bury you, your table and body which has soiled the world.
• Six killed when Taliban attacked 20 oil tankers bound for Afghanistan on Pakistan side of border Sunday. More than 60 NATO trucks destroyed since Pakistan closed Khyber Pass to NATO traffic.
• Joint Israeli-Palestinian probe of arson attack at village between Hebron and Bethlehem. Hebrew graffiti left on walls. Neighboring rabbis visit village to condole for attack bring new Korans to replaced damaged volumes. Imam decides to distribute them among Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails.

Hizballah told to grab Lebanese power centers right after Ahmadinejad visit

4 Oct. The Iranian and Syrian presidents agreed in Tehran Saturday, Oct. 2, to support Hizballah's grab of Lebanon's power centers, including the capital Beirut, right after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ends his controversial two-day visit to the country on October 13-14. They also decided to harass the Saad Hariri government as long as it refuses to dissolve the UN tribunal probing the Hariri murder – or is overthrown.
As part of this Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah master plan, President Assad Sunday, Oct. 3 referred to the former Lebanese head of internal security Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed – a list of 33 international and Lebanese individuals against whom the Syrian prosecutor general had issued arrest warrants on charges of false testimony in the UN probe of the Hariri murder.
On that list are the first UN investigating prosecutor of the Hariri probe, Detlev Mehlis and his deputy, Gerhard Lehmann, who found evidence of high-placed Syrian complicity in the crime. Syria also wants the two Lebanese judges serving on the special tribunal arrested, together with most members of the Lebanese judiciary, the heads of Lebanese security and intelligence services, leaders of the anti-Assad opposition parties in Syria, especially the exiled former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam.

October 5, 2010 Briefs
• France arrests 14 Muslim suspects and seizes weapons in anti-terror raids in southern towns of Marseille, Aubagne, Marignane and Bordeaux.
• International and Arab concerns over possible assassination attempt against Lebanese PM Saad Hariri. The Kuwaiti Al-Rai runs report from US sources.
• Another Afghanistan-bound NATO fuel truck attacked Tuesday at Pakistani border. This was fifth attack on NATO convoy since Islamabad blocked passage Thursday.
• Times Square would-be bomber Faisal Shahzad sentenced to life in prisonTuesday.
• Reflecting world trend, dollar-shekel rate keeps on sinking and hits lowest level in two years.

Growing skepticism over US terror alert for Europe

5 Oct. debkafile's counter-terror sources are increasingly uncomfortable with and skeptical of the imprecise American terror alert for Europe that was issued Oct. 3 by the US State Department. They commented Tuesday, Oct. 5, that the blanket US call for US travelers to watch out for terrorists in public places and tourist sites has little relation to their own data on existing terrorist threats.
Even the countries which have raised their level of terror alert, such as France, Japan and Sweden, have not received specific data from Washington confirming reports of an imminent attack. The "Kilowatt Group" for international cooperation among intelligence services on counterterrorism has received no fresh updates on the US-sourced alert. And Jerusalem, usually hypersensitive to any hint of terrorism afoot, has issued no advisories to Israeli travelers, embassies or businesses or Jewish institutions in Europe.
The only country which confirms an imminent terrorist threat is France, which is embroiled in battles with North African Al Qaeda and which Monday, Oct. 4 staged two anti-terror raids in southern France and arrested 14 suspects with weapons.

October 6, 2010 Briefs
• US ambassador apologizes to Islamabad government for helicopter strike that killed 3 Pakistani soldiers.
• Afghan police seize 20 tons of explosives in boxes marked "food, toys and kitchenware" imported from Iran.
• The Imam of Nazareth's central mosque is detained on suspicion of ties with a terrorist organization.
• France warns its citizens to beware of terrorist attacks in Britain where alert is high.
• A French man seriously hurt in shooting at Austrian oil compound in Sanaa after British embassy convoy was attacked.
• US notifies Lebanon it is opposed to Ahmadinejad visit to Beirut and S, Lebanon on Oct. 13.
• Taliban gunmen attack on 20 Afghanistan-bound NATO oil tankers killing one driver near SW Pakistan town of Quetta early Wednesday. This was sixth attack on NATO convoys since Pakistan blocked their passage.

Israel releases 1973 War papers to warn Syria, Hizballah off Beirut

6 Oct. By releasing the 1973 Yom Kippur War papers now, Jerusalem signaled Bashar Assad that his capital could be in peril if Syria and Hizballah go through with their plot against the Hariri government in Beirut. The papers reveal that 37 years ago, Israel's late Prime Minister Golda Meir denied defense minister Moshe Dayan and IDF chief David Elazar permission to bomb Damascus before and after Syrian and Egyptian forces advanced towards Israel at the war's outset.
The documents were released on Oct. 6 after the Obama administration failed to prevent a visit to Lebanon by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or deter Iran and Syria from planning to send Hizballah's militia against the power centers of the Hariri government in Beirut.

October 7, 2010 Briefs
• Eight killed 50 injured in two explosions at Sufi shrine in Karachi, southern Pakistan.
• Taliban destroys more than 40 NATO supply vehicles in two separate attacks in Pakistan Wednesday.
• Moscow: Russia, Iran in talks on compensation for cancellation of S-300 air defense missile sale to Iran.
• Israel's central bank buys $500 million in attempt to halt dollar's calamitous slide against shekel Thursday to 1$/NIS3.57 – the lowest in two years.
• Three Israeli air strikes hit three targets in Gaza City Wednesday night after two missiles fired into Israel. Palestinians report four people injured.
• Appointments by incoming Chief of Staff Gen. Galant:
Senior aide – Col. Yehuda Fuchs, head of Officers School.
Chief of bureau – Lt. Col, Ariel Ben Dayan, head of Counter-terror unit.
• Netanyahu: Equal civil rights of minorities will not be affected by proposed law amendment requiring new citizens to declare loyalty to Jewish Democratic State. The amendment comes before the next cabinet meeting for approval. He stressed that the ball for talks was in the Palestinian court. Israel had met all its obligations.

Iranian Guards, flags capture S. Lebanon for Ahmadinejad visit

7 Oct. US diplomat Fred Hof is due in Beirut Thursday, Oct. 7, for a last White House bid to get Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon cancelled. debkafile's sources say he is too late. With six days to go, Beirut and South Lebanon up to the Israeli border have become Ahmadinejad-land, taken over by an estimated 2,500 Revolutionary Guards special officers airlifted in and covered in Iranian flags. The Iranian president planned his visit to climax with him throwing rocks into Israel from the Fatma Gate opposite the Israeli town of Metullah.
Gen. Qasim Sulaimani, commander of the Al Qods Brigades. arrived in Lebanon secretly to take charge of the security preparations for the visit. Wafiq Safa, head of Hizballah' Special Security unit is acting as his deputy with 5,000 Hizballah commando fighters under his command.
The event's high point, our sources report, will be the joint appearance of Ahmadinejad and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in his first public appearance in the flesh in the four years since he fled to a Beirut bunker after the 2006 war with Israel.

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