A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in the Week Ending September 8, 2011
September 2, 2011 Briefs
• Qaddafi tells his supporters to prepare for a guerrilla war. He spoke in new audio message broadcast on Syrian-based pro-Qaddafi channel. His home town of Sirte was named capital of the resistance.
• Thursday, NATO bombed 24 targets Thursday in Sirte, Bani Walid and Waddan.
• Anti-Israel demonstrators disrupt live BBC prom concert in London conducted by Zubin Mehta. Many members of the audience booed them back but the live broadcast was interrupted twice.
Turkey maligns Israel to freeze it out of US anti-Iran missile lineup
2 Sept. For two years, Turkey has tirelessly maligned Israel, aided its enemies and schemed to destroy its army's strategic value as a key American ally. This campaign hit a serious contretemps in the UN report out Friday, Sept. 2 which justified Israel's Gaza blockade and its navy's interception of a Turkish vessel bent on breaching that blockade, although Israel was assailed for its "excessive response" to the violence of Turkish extremists.
Ankara tried in vain to squash this report, which accused Turkey of sponsoring a flotilla which acted recklessly in trying to breach the Gaza blockade, and postpone its publication. Israel resisted another Turkish demand for an apology. Ankara has threatened Israel with sanctions and asking international prosecution of its prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff and naval commander.
None of these measures were recommended in the UN report.
Turkey's combative intransigence over the flotilla episode and rank hostility toward Israel reflect the Erdogan government's frustration over his failure to win a role for Turkey as the leading regional power broker, especially in the Arab Revolt. To vent his frustration, he is trying to isolate Israel, break the close military and intelligence links between the US and the Jewish state and cast it out of the collective missile shield against Iran. Outside the shield, Israel would be wide open to Iran's ballistic missiles.
September 3, 2011 Briefs
• Countrywide Israeli cost-of-living demonstrations Saturday night mustered 400,000 in several towns. They had set a target of one million.
• Worldwide US terror alert for tenth anniversary of 9/11 al Qaeda attacks.
September 4, 2011 Briefs
• Iran's Bushehr reactor goes on line for domestic electricity consumption.
• In another day of bloodshed in Syria, 12 protesters shot dead Sunday by Assad's troops.
• Libyan rebels hold off assault on Bani Walid despite ultimatum. debkafile: They are building up to storm Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte in next 72 hours.
• British sources: Qaddafi has gone to ground in Sahara. Chances of his capture are slim.
• Israel's cost-of-living demonstrators fold their tents after eight-week protest centering on Tel Aviv, They promise to carry on campaign by other means,
US sources: Turkey's anti-Israel vendetta hides economic slump
4 Sept. debkafile's US sources disclose that while Ankara may act as though it calls the shots in the region to cow Israel, Turkey is fast sliding into a deep economic slump. In Washington, the Erdogan government's threat to incite an "Arab revolt" against Israel is seen as beyond acceptable diplomatic bounds, while its other threat on maritime movement in the Mediterranean is ridiculed: "The Turkish Navy is no match for Israeli missile boat technology, electronic jamming and tracking systems, submarines or close air cover."
debkafile's sources in Washington and various European capitals warn that the unbridled vendetta Erdogan and his foreign minister are waging against Israel will boomerang.
Early Sunday, Sept. 4, an American official revealed that Turkey's published impressive GDP growth rate of 11 percent is artificially inflated by out-of-control credit pumped out by its central bank to create a short-term bubble. In fact, Turkey is fast sliding into a deep economic slump. Its current account deficit has reached almost the same crisis level as those of Greece and Portugal and its currency faces devaluation.
September 5, 2011 Briefs
• Greece warns Turkey against sending warships into Cypriot oil well areas in the eastern Mediterranean.
• Large group of Israeli travelers suffers humiliating treatment at Istanbul airport Monday, even those stopping over on connecting flights to other destinations.
• Israeli ambassador, consul-general, first secretary and military attaché expelled from Turkey. Israel gives three top Turkish diplomats 48 hours to leave.
• Turkish media criticize Erdogan government for going overboard in anti-Israel campaign and jeopardizing national security.
Barak to Abbas: Zero tolerance for Palestinian Sept. 20 outbreaks
5 Sept. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas surprised a group of Israeli intellectuals whom he received in Ramallah Monday, Sept. 5, by informing them that he had met Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Amman on Aug. 24. debkafile's sources disclose that the Barak-Abbas conversation in Jordan was more businesslike than diplomatic. It revolved around the Palestinian UN application to be submitted on Sep. 20 and clear security limits laid down by Barak for the Palestinian popular response.
Present at their meeting was Gen. Muhammad Rakad, Jordan's General Intelligence Director.
From mid-September, Jordanian forces will be on high preparedness for Palestinian unrest in the same way as the IDF's West Bank Division and the Israeli police. Israel will respond rapidly and forcefully for Palestinian demonstrations spilling out of the West Bank to any part of Israel including Jerusalem.
Iran conducts nuclear missile payload tests
5 Sept. Iran's 20 percent enriched uranium production exceeds its needs. debkafile' reports this disclosure by Iran's atomic energy agency head Fereydoon Abbas presages the production of 60 percent grade fuel, one step before weapons grade. This progress plus the relocation to an underground location near Qom of accelerated enrichment brings forward to the spring of 2012 the potential completion of between two and four bombs and Tehran's ability to conduct a nuclear test.
Abbas pronounced "dead" the 2009 proposal for the West to supply Iran with new fuel for its small research reactor in return for an end to Iranian production of the fuel.
Tehran has made it clear that the Qom facility will not be open to international oversight and will use the most advanced centrifuges – IR-4 and IR-2m – for speeding up the production of highly-enriched uranium.
September 6, 2011 Briefs
• Two Libyan convoys pass through Niger this week – one reaching capital of Niamey said carrying 6 high-ranking Qaddafi officials. One identified as Gen. Mansour Daw, head of Revolutionary Guard responsible for Qaddafi and family's security.
• Erdogan suspends trade, military and defense ties with Israel following expulsion of diplomats. Turkish vessels will increase visits to eastern Mediterranean, he said.
• Barak sees no reason for Israel's enemies to launch all-out war and is certain they will never dare think of using chemical weapons now or in the future.
• Home Front chief Eisenberg said Gaza terrorists used new weapon in recent round of attacks causing instruction to public to shelter under two roofs – not just one.
• Pakistan working with CIA arrests top al Qaeda operative Younis al-Mauritani in Quetta and two others. He was in charge of targeting US global interests.
• UK to probe close MI6 ties with Qaddafi regime as team sent to Tripoli to reopen diplomatic mission.
• The Dimona nuclear center in southern Israel holds a safety exercise Tuesday drawing on lessons from Japan's tsunami.
Israeli general's dose of reality flusters defense establishment
6 Sept. Home Front Commander Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg warned Monday, Sept. 5 of the increasing peril of a total Middle East war in the wake of the Arab revolts and Israel's rift with Turkey.
Stressing the long term, Eisenberg warned that the Arab Spring would likely evolve into "a radical Islamic winter" raising the potential for "total war in the Middle East" and the possible use of weapons of mass destruction.
His comments shocked Israel's policy-makers and defense establishment out of their complacence. The defense minister's adviser Amos Gilead, hurriedly denied this prediction. "Israel's security situation has never been better," he said insisting "The Arab regimes around us are stable."
debkafile: The general's wake-up call was both apt and timely. The stable regimes he referred to are a myth.
Israel faces a future beset at all hands by avowedly hostile Islamist regimes whose ideology obliges them to wage jihad against the Jewish state. Eisenberg tried to open Israeli eyes to the real perils around the corner, while Gilead made haste to close them.
September 7, 2011 Briefs
• The number of protesters' deaths from Syrian army bullets peaks Wednesday at 32. Half died in Homs where the Syrian army carried out mass arrests backed by armored vehicles and snipers.
• Netanyahu voiced pride in Israel's navy on a visit to their base Wednesday. He strongly rejected Turkish demands for an apology for last year's Israeli commando raid of a Turkish vessel.
• Erdogan to follow up visit to Egypt next Monday with trips to Tunisia and Libya.
• Israeli security forces detain members of 13 Hamas terrorist squads in West Bank and Jerusalem. They were plotting more attacks and a kidnapping. A suicide bombing set up at Pisgat Zeev, Jerusalem in Aug. 21, was thwarted. The security net caught the Hamas operative who set off a bomb blast outside Jerusalem's Convention Center in March killing a British tourist and injuring 47 people.
• Rogue settlers suspected of vandalizing Israel military base north of Ramallah Wednesday, damaging 13 military vehicles. Two days earlier the military demolished three homes in unauthorized Migron settlement near Ramallah. The Yesha Council which represents West Bank settlers strongly condemned act – first "price tag" strike against the Israeli army.
Qaddafi is hiding in Targan Oasis, Sahara
7 Sept. In a world exclusive, debkafile's intelligence sources reveal that Muammar Qaddafi, two of his sons and several thousand fighters have gone to ground at Targan. This dot on the vast Saharan map lies several hundred kilometers southwest of the remote desert town of Jiffra which, too, is more than 1,500 kilometers from rebel-held Tripoli. At Sirte and in a large enclave between this town and Tripoli, his loyalists are still holding out against Libyan rebels.
In case he is run to ground, he is believed to have prepared more than one escape route, some of them burrowed underground in places hidden by dense palm trees and papyrus rushes from the spying eyes of US satellites and reconnaissance planes. With him almost certainly are two of his sons, Saif al Islam and Moatassem-Billah and a part of the 32nd Khamis Brigade.
A very large military force inured to combat in the extreme climatic conditions of the Sahara would be needed to overcome Qaddafi's refuge, which neither NATO nor the rebels have available, as well as help from local tribes.
Syrian units pull back from Israeli border to join big anti-protest offensive
8 Sept. The Syrian ruler has ordered his military chiefs to get set to launch their biggest operation to destroy the protest movement bedeviling his regime for nearly six months, debkafile's military sources report exclusively. All units are deployed on full preparedness around the protest centers for coordinated strikes in the coming days and all leaves cancelled. The five divisions posted on the Israeli border have been pulled back. Aleppo staged its first major anti-Assad rally Sept. 6, after Assad froze the Syrian-Turkish free zone, cutting off the main sources of livelihood of Aleppo's merchants.