A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending August 30, 2012
August 25, 2012 Briefs
A Nato strike kills Pakistani Taliban leader in tribal area
Pakistani and Afghan officials confirm the coalition report that Mullah Dadullah died in the attack along with 12 other terrorists, but disagree on its location. NATO spokesman said it took place in Kunar province in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. Pakistan said 19 people were killed at a location in Pakistan’s Bajur region just across from Kunar.
Pink plastic sheeting hides Iran’s suspected nuclear site in Parchin
At failed talks in Vienna Friday, Tehran again refused to allow international inspectors access to Parchin, where Iran has long been suspected of testing nuclear charges. The new sheeting would hide activities from satellite monitors.
Obama, Netanyahu hold White House talks Sept. 27
25 Aug. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are to meet at the White House on Sept. 27, debkafile reports. This timeline indicates that the prime minister is inclined to accommodate President Obama by delaying an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program again until after the US presidential elections on Nov. 6.
Thursday, diplomats close to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna disclosed that Iran had installed another 1,000 uranium enrichment machines at its fortified underground facility at Fordo, and was expanding its production of 20-percent refined uranium. Experts not bound by the IAEA’s diplomatic constraints report that enrichment climbed to 30 percent some months ago and was now on the way to 60 percent.
Israel recently passed information to Washington that Iran has already developed a radioactive (dirty) bomb.
Meanwhile a nuclear race is afoot in the Middle East. President Morsi went shopping in Beijing for the same nuclear-capable missiles as Saudi Arabia has acquired.
August 26, 2012 Briefs
Saudis bust two terrorist cells in Riyadh and Jeddah
The interior ministry said eight people, two Saudis and six Yemenis, were arrested preparing attacks on Western targets as well as local security forces and public places in the kingdom.
Syrian opposition: More than 400 people killed Saturday
Pro-government forces are accused of a massacre in the Damascus suburb of Darya, where 200 bodies, including those of 13 women, were found after hundreds of troops with dozens of tanks and APCs battered the suburb for three days. Another 240 were reported killed in fighting in other parts of Syria. These figures are not confirmed by any other source.
Conflicting reports about death of Haqqani chief by US drone
Pakistani military and intelligence officials say a US drone killed Badruddin Haqqani, commander of the jihadi network behind some of the most high-profile attacks on NATO and the Kabul government in Afghanistan. Afghanistan's Taliban said he was alive.
Missiles from Gaza injure two Israelis
They hit two factories in the Shear Hanegev district’s industrial zone. Two workers suffered minor injuries in one of the explosions. Both buildings were damaged.
Al Qaeda targets Saudi Arabia, Israel
26 Aug. For the first time, a thread links the triple rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot, with the two terrorist cells captured in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – Sunday, Aug. 26, debkafile reports. Both were conceived by Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP has ordered its Sinai cells and Egyptian and Palestinian offshoots to step up their attacks and hold Israeli towns, Eilat and Sderot, hostage against pursuit. It is feared that poison chemicals found in the possession of the Saudi cell may have reached Sinai.
August 27, 2012 Briefs
IDF Intel chief predicts year of regional instability, sudden flare-ups
In his annual report to the chief of staff, Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen Aviv Kochavi evaluated the coming year as confronting Israel with an unstable, tense and Islamist environment. External and internal crises will render all the region’s players prone to sudden conflagrations. The annual evaluation produced by the MI Research Division is designed as a working tool for future IDF policy.
Syrian 7th Infantry Division Commander defects to Jordan
Maj. Gen Muhamad Mussa Harayit is the highest-ranking Sunni division commander to turn his back on Bashar Assad, debkafile reports. His division was posted in the restive Horan region of southern Syria on the Jordanian border after a former stint on the Golan border with Israel.
Qassam rocket from Gaza sends Sderot schools running for bomb shelters
It exploded outside the town as bells rang for the start of the new school year for 2 million children across Israel Monday, Aug. 27. The figure expanded with the introduction of free schooling from the age of three. Most schools and kindergartens in the south were fortified over the summer holidays.
Attorney General studies request for criminal probe against ex-Chief of Staff
It is up to Attorney General to decide whether to act on the recommendation of the military Advocate General to open a criminal probe into the conduct of IDF ex-chief Gabi Ashkenazi and his former aide Col. Erez Weiner who is still in uniform. They are alleged to have committed fraud, breach of trust and conduct unbefitting an officer in connection with a (successful) scheme to bar Yoav Galant’s appointment as the next chief of staff.
Syrian rebels say they’ve shot down first military helicopter over Damascus
State TV reported a helicopter came down over Damascus Monday without details.
Al Qaeda targets kibbutz and army post on second day of strikes
27 Aug. Al Qaeda missiles struck Kibbutz Kholit opposite the Egyptian-Gazan-Israeli border junction and an IDF post in the Kissufim district Monday, Aug. 28, debkafile reveals, in line with their tactic of holding Israel hostage as a lever for bending Cairo to their will. The IDF communiqué did not disclose those attacks – only the Qassam rocket targeting Sderot that morning. Al Qaeda’s affiliates timed their attacks Monday to coincide with the truce talks the Egyptian defense minister and army chief held Monday with Sinai Bedouin chiefs. They were a warning to Cairo to leave them alone or more Israeli locations would be struck.
August 28, 2012 Briefs
Muslims riot after unidentified gunmen kill Kenyan Islamic cleric
At least one person died in the violent protests continuing into Tuesday which erupted in Kenya after radical Islamic cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed died in a drive-by shooting while driving a van in Mombasa. Rogo was on a US sanctions list and under a UN ban on his assets and travel for recruiting Swahili-speaking Africans to fight with the Al-Shabab terrorists in Somalia.
Israel cleared over US activist Corrie’s death
The Haifa district court Tuesday rejected accusations of negligence and damage claims brought by the family of Rachel Corrie who in 2003 was crushed standing in the path of an Israeli army bulldozer during a pro-Palestinian demonstration against demolitions in the Gaza Strip. Corrie's family filed the lawsuit in 2005, accusing Israel of intentionally and unlawfully killing their 23-year-old daughter and failing to conduct a full and credible investigation. They demanded a symbolic $1 in damages and compensation for the more than $200,000 they had spent on suing Israel.
The judge ruled that the state was not responsible for any "damages caused" as they had occurred during war-time actions. He called Corrie's death a "regrettable accident” which she brought on herself.
Israeli air force strikes Hamas targets in Gaza
debkafile: The bombardment of arms stores and a military installation early Tuesday was meant to encourage Gaza’s Hamas rulers to rein in the Al Qaeda-linked Salafi groups shooting rockets into Israel in the last ten days.
August 29, 2012 Briefs
Yaalon: Iran’s technological clock is running faster
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said Wednesday that the Iranian nuclear program’s technological clock has recently gained momentum. Speaking on his return from a memorial ceremony in Burgas, Bulgaria, for the five Israelis and one Bulgarian killed by terrorists, Yaalon said: “Iran must be forced to choose between the bomb and survival.”
Cairo continues to whitewash Sinai truce with terrorists
Egyptian TV claimed Wednesday that the military operation against terrorists was continuing, Egyptian troops had just killed 11 “terrorists” and captured 23, and seized large quantities of weapons including “boxes of Israeli ammo.” debkafile: Official Egyptian sources are bending over backwards to conceal a truce deal with Bedouin chiefs and certain Salafi leaders instead of that operation.
Egyptians defuse bomb at Sinai University
Egyptian security officials found a bag packed with explosives next to the Sinai University in the northern city of el-Arish near Egypt’s border with Gaza and Israel. Bomb experts defused the device, which was packed with land mines and gasoline and was wired to explode.
Two books put Osama Bin Laden back in the news
Both take issue with official US accounts. An unarmed bin Laden was shot when he stuck his head out of a door, says No Easy Day, the book by a former Navy SEAL who participated in the raid, due for release next Tuesday. Written by Matt Bissonnette under the name of Mark Owen, the book raises questions as to whether the terror mastermind presented a clear threat when SEALs first fired upon him.
Another book,"Ferreting Out Bin Laden" by former Polish spy Alexander Makowski, reported, 'In late 1999…a group of Afghan agents loyal to an anti-Taliban guerilla leader proposed assassinating Osama Bin Laden. All they wanted was the $5 million reward the Clinton administration had offered for Bin Laden's capture." But the CIA turned them down.
Indian Supreme Court upholds Mumbai terrorist’s death sentence
The 60-hour siege in 2008 by a gang of nine Pakistan-based terrorists claimed 165 lives in Mumbai luxury hotels, railway station and the Jewish Habad center, where six people were murdered. Ajmal Amir Qasab, who was condemned to death, was the only survivor
Damning IAEA report due on expanding Iranian nuclear program
Diplomats in Vienna report that the new UN atomic energy report due Thursday or Friday will show how Tehran is boosting uranium enrichment on the way to obtaining a nuclear arsenal and cleaning up the Parchin site to erase evidence of nuclear explosives testing. Iran seeks to burnish its image with the slick publicity surrounding the Non-Aligned Summit opening in Tehran Thursday, with 50 nations attending out of NAM’s 120 members.
Is Russia disengaging from Syria? Arms shipments stopped, warships exit Tartus
29 Aug. Russian naval vessels have unexpectedly departed the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartus and Russian arms shipments to Syria have been suddenly discontinued. debkafile’s military sources reveal that those and other military steps indicate that the Russians are rapidly drawing away from the Syrian arena to avoid getting caught up in the escalating hostilities expected to arise from military intervention by the US, Europe and a number of Arab states. Russian intelligence appears to have decided that this intervention is imminent.
According to our military and Russian sources, President Vladimir Putin ordered these steps over the objections of some of his army and naval chiefs. This would explain the mixed statements issuing from Moscow in recent days about the disposition of Russian personnel at the naval base in Tartus and Russian military personnel in Syria. The only Russian naval ship left in Tartus – a floating Russian Navy PM-138 shipyard – is also under orders to return to its Black Sea base in September.
August 30, 2012 Briefs
Without naming Iran, US Sec-Gen denounces his hosts for threatening Israel
In a speech at the Non-Aligned summit in Tehran, Ban Ki-moon said: "I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust," he said. "Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only wrong but undermines the very principle we all have pledged to honor.
Sgt. Yonathan Ben Yishay dies of accidental injury
Sgt. Yonathan Ben Yishay, 20, of the Golani 51st Battalion, died in hospital of injuries suffered in a training accident last Thursday. He was hit accidentally by a tank while asleep on the ground. The IDF inquiry continues.
Morsi in Tehran slams Israel, hugs and kisses Ahmadinejad
In a speech to the Non-Aligned Summit in Tehran Thursday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi fiercely criticized Israel and promised to back unilateral Palestinian moves for UN recognition. On Syria, he said President Bashar Assad had forfeited his legitimacy. He echoed Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s demand to open the UN Security Council to new members, then exchanged long hugs and kisses with Ahmadinejad.
Australia loses five men in Afghanistan
Three Australian soldiers were killed and two wounded by an Afghan in army uniform who opened fire on them with an automatic weapon at close range at their Uruzgan base. Two soldiers died after their helicopter rolled over while landing in Helmand province. This was Australia’s worst day in the war.