A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending September 1, 2011

Tehran-backed Iraqi terrorists shoot Scuds at Kuwait


26 Aug. Three Scud missiles flying from Iraq to Kuwait early Friday, Aug. 25 were launched by the Iran-backed Ketaeb Hizballah of Iraq. They exploded harmlessly, but debkafile's sources report that the first such attack since the US 2003 invasion of Iraq carried a warning to Kuwait: Halt construction of the Grand Mubarak Port opposite the Iraqi shore – or else face a destructive barrage. It was also the first time any Middle East terrorist group had used Scud missiles.
The troops Kuwait massed on Boubiyan island In the second week of August were not designed as a response to the Iraqi demand to freeze construction of the huge $1.1 billion Grand Mubarak Port until guarantees were provided that the new facility would not hinder the operations of Iraq's own planned harbor in the southern region of Basra.
What concerned Kuwait was the Iran-backed threat to attack the port and prevent its completion.


Egypt hires Sinai Bedouin militias to combat Palestinian, al Qaeda terror


27 Aug. The Egyptian army is negotiating deals with 13 Bedouin tribal chiefs for setting up militias to secure their territories in Sinai and the Israeli border region against raiders, terrorists and smugglers. On offer are new weapons, training and monthly paychecks for undertaking this task. The Sawark and Tiyaha tribal chiefs have accepted. Sinai's Bedouin population of approximately 100,000 might produce a fighting force of 8,000-10,000, debkafile's military sources estimate, but their loyalties tend to be changeable.


August 28, 2011 Briefs
• Israel's chief of staff orders Gaza, Egyptian border units reinforced after Jihad Islami attack warning.
• PA head Mahmoud Abbas released 40 Hamas terrorists from Palestinian jails for Ramadan.
• Qaddafi's spokesman proposes talks with rebels about forming a transitional government as NATO attacks his home town of Sirte.
• A Grad missile aimed from Gaza at Beersheba early Sunday was intercepted by Iron Dome.
• FM Lieberman: Abbas' refusal to recognize the Jewish state betrays Palestinian goal of state instead of – not alongside – Israel.


Palestinian terror attack in Tel Aviv injures seven


28 Aug. Seven people were injured in South Tel Aviv early Monday, Aug. 29, when a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Nablus grabbed a taxi, ran over pedestrians, jumped out outside a night club and stabbed four Border Police officers, two seriously, at a checkpoint as well as the club security guard.
He shouted Allah Akhbar and verses from the Koran throughout the attack. Several hundred teen agers were milling in and outside the Hauman 17 club in South Tel Aviv for a back-to-school party. The assailant was captured after a fierce struggle.
Police commissioner and Tel Aviv commander praised the police on the spot for preventing a far more serious incident by posting the checkpoint which stopped the terrorist from attacking the youngsters' party. But they did not explain why the officers did not use their firearms to shoot him at the outset of the attack and save several people from serious injury.


Pro-Al Qaeda fighters control Tripoli


28 Aug. Members of the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – LIFG, are in control of the former strongholds of Muammar Qaddafi captured by Libyan rebels last Sunday, Aug. 21, debkafile reports from Libyan sources. Their commander Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj, an al Qaeda veteran from Afghanistan, now calls himself "Commander of the Tripoli Military Council." A US source confirms that NATO's British and French special forces opened Tripoli's door to the rebels. Now, the LIFG is unlikely to relinquish power to the NTC.
Belhadj is on record as rejecting any political form of coexistence with the Crusaders excepting jihad.
For the first time, therefore, the armies of Western members of NATO took part directly in a bid by extremist Islamic forces to capture an Arab capital and overthrow its ruler.


August 29, 2011 Briefs
• Qaddafi's wife Safia and three children Aysha, Hannibal and Mohammed crossed into Algeria from Libya Monday morning.
• Libyan rebels refuse to extradite Lockerbie bomber Megrahi to the US for trial. They claim he is "slipping in and out of a coma".
• Israel's central bank leaves interest at current 3.25 %.


A terror attack every two days shows Israel's military restraint policy to be bankrupt


29 Aug. The policy of military restraint pursued by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak was shown in the Tel Aviv attack by a Palestinian terrorist yelling Allah Akhbar Monday, Aug. 29, to have crossed a dangerous red line: Civilians are being left in harm's way to serve diplomatic interests such as not further straining relations with the new rulers in Cairo. In the 10 days after Palestinian raiders killed eight Israelis on the Eilat highway on Aug. 18, Israel has suffered five terrorist attacks, the latest in Tel Aviv Sunday night which targeted a big teenagers' back-to- school party. Five of the eight people injured were police officers and the club's security guard.
Israeli failure to respond commensurately to the Eilat Highway attack, the first in the series, blew another big hole in Israel's military deterrence.
An Israeli defense official has admitted that Iran fears American – not Israeli – military strength, thereby confessing to Israel's loss of deterrence.


August 30, 2011 Briefs
• Libya's rebels give pro-Qaddafi forces until Saturday to surrender or face general offensive on all fronts.
debkafile: The rebels lack the strength for a general offensive, unless NATO takes the lead as in Tripoli.
• The rebels accused Algeria of aggression by sheltering Qaddafi's family and demand their extradition.
• Syrian troops kill seven people on first day of Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival.
• Jordan urges Mahmoud Abbas to drop his plan to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state. This step might compromise the "right of return" – Jordan's overriding interest.
• The Palestinian who injured eight people in Tel Aviv remanded for eight days in closed doors hearing.
• Home Front Minister Vilnai warned at least 10 Jihad Islami terrorists have departed Gaza on their way to an attack on S. Israel.
• Barak: Israel is on maximum preparedness and alert.


Assad may opt for war to escape international ultimatums


30 Aug. Monday night and Tuesday, Aug-29-30, three international heavyweights – Russia, the European Union and key Muslim nations – gave Syrian President Bashar Assad tough ultimatums for ending his ferocious crackdown on protest. Nevertheless, on Monday, his troops shot dead 17 people in Syrian cities – even as he received Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov who arrived in Damascus with a last warning from President Dmitry Medvedev: Recall you soldiers to their bases immediately and implement changes or Moscow will endorse UN Security Council sanctions stiff enough to stifle the Syrian economy.
Those sanctions are only a step away from a resolution authorizing NATO, together with Muslim and Arab nations, to intervene militarily in the Syrian crisis.
Monday, the 27-member European Union bowed to Washington's demand and clamped down an embargo on imported Syrian crude. The EU is Syria's biggest oil buyer.
Pushed into a tight corner, Assad may opt for war on his neighbors.


August 31, 2011 Briefs
• Qassam missile aimed from Gaza explodes on empty ground in the Eshkol region Wednesday night.
• Qaddafi's son Saif al Islam tells Syrian-based TV: The fight goes on and victory is close. He said his father is fine and more than 20,000 armed youths are in Sirte ready to fight for him to the death. In contrast, his brother, Saadi Qaddafi talking to Al Arabiya TV said he was commissioned officially to contact the NTC and negotiate a settlement to avoid any further bloodshed.
• The UK to send unfrozen Qaddafi assets totaling $1.6bn to Libya.
• Sarkozy warns that Iran's advances in long-range missiles and nuclear weapons could lead unnamed countries to launch a pre-emptive attack. This would provoke a major crisis that France wants to avoid. But Iran refuses to negotiate seriously, said the French president.
• Iran dispatches a submarine and warship to the Red Sea day after Israel deployed two missile ships off Eilat in the Gulf of Aden.
• August was the deadliest month for US troops in the 10-year Afghan war with a death toll of sixty-six.
• Third Israeli Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor deployed straight off the production line in Ashdod.
• Al Qaeda's No. 2 Atiya Abd al-Rahman said killed by a US drone attack airs a videotape to prove he is alive.
• Qaddafi rejects rebels ultimatum to surrender by Saturday night or face military offensive. “No dignified honorable nation would accept an ultimatum from armed gangs,” said spokesman Moussa Ibrahim.
• Amnesty reports at least 88 people, including 10 children, died in detention in Syria in last five months. They were subjected to beatings, burns, electric shocks and other abuse.
• Moscow reports eight dead, including 7 policemen, after suicide bombers in Grozny, Chechnya blew themselves up during a police search.


No Egyptian crackdown on Sinai terrorists. Jihad keeps Israel in suspense


31 Aug. The Cairo media's highly colored accounts Monday, Aug. 30 of 1,500 Egyptian commando and tank supposedly raiding Jihad Islami and al Qaeda cells in Sinai are pure fiction, debkafile's military sources confirm. Israeli forces along the Gazan and Egyptian borders down to Eilat stand at the highest level of preparedness for a Jihad Islami group which left the Gaza Strip for Sinai on Aug. 24 and is ready to strike. The Egyptian army, for its part, is sitting on is hands as the jihadists take up assault positions on its side of the Sinai border and Israel is waits passively for fear any preemptive action will further strain its relations with Caior.
But leaving the initiative to the terrorists is progressively sapping the IDF's deterrent strength.


September 1, 2011 Briefs
• Ankara gives Israel 24 hours to apologize for flotilla deaths before the UN report is published. Otherwise Turkey threatens sanctions and turn to international tribunal.
• Israel has refused to apologize for what it regards as legitimate self-defense against violence.
• Qaddafi urges his supporters to keep on fighting even if they don't hear his voice. We will never surrender to the rebels he said over Arrai TV.
• Libyan rebels give Qaddafi a week's extension in its ultimatum for Qaddafi's surrender up until next Saturday. This they later denied.
• British sources: Unexploded bomb cars found in Tripoli, indicating onset of Qaddafi's' guerilla war.
• Moscow recognizes Libya's rebel government.
• Sarkozy and Cameron gather world leaders in Paris to map out Libya's future.


US confirms al Qaeda members' role in Libyan rebel command. Qaddafi contacts them


1 Sept. On Wednesday, Aug. 31, the Obama administration admitted that former al Qaeda extremists who fought US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were part of the rebel push to capture Tripoli. Further highlighting Al Qaeda's role, Muammar Qaddafi instructed his son Saadi to contact self-styled Tripoli commander Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj, one of the a/m extremists, to discuss ways of ending the war.
The Libyan venture has therefore placed the United States in the anomalous position of opening the Libyan door to rebels allied to groups with a strong al Qaeda background while at the same time fighting similar groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen.
To prosecute guerrilla warfare against the rebels, the US and NATO, Qaddafi would have to follow in the West's footsteps and work with al Qaeda.

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