A Digest of debkafile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending August 31, 2006

Israeli anti-government protesters visit late prime minister Golda Meir’s grave


25 August: At her graveside on Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, they held Mrs. Meir up as the model of a leader who took responsibility for the failings of the 1973 Yom Kippur War in support of their demand for the Olmert government to step down.

The movement spearheaded by army reservists who fought in Lebanon joined by bereaved families of the fallen has gathered in Katyusha victims from the north. They accuse the government of dereliction of their duty in failing to care for the hundreds of thousands of citizens victimized by Hizballah’s rocket blitz.

The movement sprang up after hundreds of officers and men of the crack Alexandroni Brigade which fought in Lebanon leveled charges against the Chief of Staff, Lt. Dan Halutz at a meeting in Hadera. One carried a banner with the motto: You prevented us from winning.


Ahmadinejad inaugurates heavy water plant which can manufacture plutonium for weapons


26 August: Touring the site at Khondab near Arak, 190 km southwest of Tehran Saturday, Aug. 26, the Iranian president said Iran is not an atomic threat – even to Israel. But five days before the UN deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment, he boasted the Arak plant will be able to produce 16 tons of heavy water a year.

This is taken by debkafile‘s military sources as confirmation that, in addition to accelerated uranium enrichment, Iran has embarked on a second technology for producing fuel for nuclear warheads – plutonium as a by-product obtained from the Bushehr nuclear reactor.

Tehran is thus doubly defying the West and the UN after sending a fudging response to the incentives package on offer for abandoning enrichment.

The United States, Europe and Israel have every reason to be fearful of the course on which Iran is speeding forward pell-mell.

debkafile‘s military sources report Tehran is taking encouragement from the quiescence of the Bush administration and Israel on two linked issues: a European force for Lebanon which announces in advance that it will not disarm Hizballah or bar its acquisition of massive quantities of war materiel from Iran and Syria; and Iran’s nuclear advances.


Kofi Annan rides roughshod over Israel’s security demands


26 August: UNIFIL-2, which will deploy in two stages starting early September, “will not be used along Lebanon’s long and porous border with Syria to stop any shipments of arms reaching Hizballah,” the UN secretary admitted Friday night from Brussels.

This confirms debkafile‘s report Friday that Israel has failed to obtain a pledge to enforce the UN embargo on arms for Hizballah’s rearmament from Iran and Syria.

Annan also stated: “Troops are not going in there to disarm – let’s be clear.” Disarming Hizballah, he said, is a subject for “political agreement among the Lebanese -” (a direct contradiction of UN Security Council resolution 1552).

Annan also spoke of “international guarantees” to secure Israel against further attacks. In other words, that is not UNIFIL’s job.

The UN Secretary General will go ahead with raising more international soldiers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, despite their refusal to maintain diplomatic relations with Jerusalem. He said he would take the best peacekeepers “wherever he can find them “- even if Israel does not accept this.


Hassan Nasrallah’s apologetic speech contrasts starkly with his rapid rearmament


27 August: Hizballah’s leader said in a broadcast speech Sunday night that he would not have ordered the kidnap of two Israeli soldiers had he known it would lead to full scale war.

debkafile reveals the other side of the picture: Nasrallah has just finished reconstituting his Southern Nasser Brigade command (short range Katyusha rockets) in the port town of Tyre. His fighters reached Tyre at the same time as French UNIFIL troops landed in the same port but were not noticed.

debkafile‘s Beirut sources report Nasrallah goes in fear of an Israeli attempt on his life. He therefore resisted the UN secretary Kofi Annan insistent request for a meeting in Beirut lest its venue leaked out and Israeli warplanes found him. He has called off a victory parade he had planned for next week in the southern Beirut Shiite suburb of Dahya among the ruins left by Israeli air strikes. Nasrallah wanted to take the salute of his armed men as they marched past with Fajer-3 and Fajer-5 rockets. An intelligence tip-off that the Israeli air force and navy were waiting to bomb the parade persuaded him to cancel the event.


A Hostage Affair in Gaza with a Shabby Ending


27 August: It is hard to blame the two Fox News journalists, the American Steve Centanni, 60, and the New Zealander, Olaf Wiig, 36, for converting to Islam on tape to buy their way to freedom from their Palestinian abductors.

It must also be said that the Palestinian kidnappers walked away without suffering any harm and can keep on snatching victims without fear. In fact, the prime minister Ismail Haniya, who belongs to an Islamist terror group, was allowed to take credit for the release and whitewash his Hamas movement after winning a face saver in the form of the conversions and an anti-American diatribe from Wiig.

It worth considering that shortly after Centanni and Wiig were snatched on Aug. 14, the various intelligence agencies operating in Gaza knew who the kidnapper was: the Palestinian warlord Zakaria Dughmush, who had been hired by the Hamas group which on June 25 kidnapped and – is still holding – the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit.

In the final reckoning, the Palestinians got off scot-free without releasing the Israeli soldier..


The northern tip of the West Bank was designated “Jihadland” by Shin Bet Director Tuesday


29 August: Yuval Diskin revealed that the security service he heads had strongly advised the former prime minister Ariel Sharon to refrain from evacuating the northern West Bank last summer, for fear of its falling into the hands of the most extremist Palestinian fundamentalists terrorists – as in fact has happened.

Addressing a parliamentary panel, he reported Palestinians Hamas terrorists are building an army modeled on Hizballah with the help of Iranian terror experts smuggled in together with quantities of Katyusha and Grad rockets through the Egyptian-Gaza Strip border past European inspectors and Egyptian police units.


First wave of arrests inside Hizballah of suspected informers to Israeli intelligence


29 August: No commissions of inquiry for Hassan Nasrallah’s organization. Hizballah’s special security agents are rounding up suspects in the northern Beqaa Valley, Baalbek and South Lebanon of members suspected of tipping off Israel intelligence on the location of the heavy Zelzal missile storehouse.

Those missiles, no more than three or four, were held in reserve as Hizballah’s most devastating strategic weapon against Israel.


Olmert’s two inquiry panels for Lebanon War universally slammed as a fig leaf


29 August: debkafile: Neither commission is empowered to interrogate or subpoena witnesses, certainly not to fire the national war leaders found culpable of the blunders or lapses committed in the Lebanon conflict.

The general consensus is that Olmert opted to duck the public clamor for a state inquiry commission because its members would have been appointed by the chief justice rather than the government and vested with powers to quiz and sack elected and public figures.


Israel’s Intelligence Chiefs Warn Lebanon War Is Relocating to Gaza


30 August: Israel’s intelligence chiefs have formed a new lobby to put their warnings in the public domain. The first to speak out was the Shin Bet director, Yuval Diskin.

He represented the heads of AMAN-military intelligence and the Mosad when he revealed to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday, Aug. 29, that Palestinian terrorists, notably Hamas, were employing Hizballah’s Lebanon tactics and building a Katyusha deployment, bunker network and anti-tank missile arsenal in the Gaza Strip. The northern West Bank, he said, had been taken over by Hizballah agents and radical Jihad Islami terrorists.

In the wake of the Lebanon war, the three security chiefs have resolved to stand guard over Israel’s national security interests against strategic misjudgments by prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Amir Peretz and chief of staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz.

debkafile‘s military sources report that the heads of the lobby are convinced that the Palestinian menace to Israel is as a great as Hizballah’s in Lebanon and becoming more acute.

They are campaigning for the Israeli army to reoccupy the Gaza-Egyptian border strip known as the Philadelphi route and create a security zone one kilometer wide from Kerem Shalom to the Mediterranean so as to cut the Gaza Strip off from Sinai, which has become a paradise for weapons traffickers since Israel’s pullout from Gaza.

debkafile‘s intelligence sources report Hizballah is keeping its head down in S. Lebanon and pretending to cooperate with the Lebanese army, while secretly working with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to open new fronts against Israel until they are ready for the next round from Lebanon.


A large group of IDF reserve generals will ask Lt. Gen Dan Halutz to step down as chief off staff


The ex-generals will call on him to take responsibility for the IDF’s missteps and mistakes in the Lebanon war. The retired generals have written a joint letter to the chief of staff decrying the first war ever fought by Israel’s armed forces in which division and brigade commanders conducted battles from rear command posts instead of leading the men in the field.

The members of this group are due to attend a gathering of 100 reserve generals invited by Halutz for a general debate on the Lebanon war and its consequences. They intend to stand up and call for his resignation.

debkafile‘s military sources have learned that a group of senior Tank Corps officers plan to join the demand, charging that tank forces were improperly deployed in the Lebanon war and their crews therefore sustained heavy loss of life.


UN Secretary General Kofi Annan demands an Israeli pledge not to attack Iran


30 August: Our exclusive Jerusalem sources reveal that the issues raised at his press conferences with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and FM Tzipi Livni – the full implementation of UN resolution 1701, the Israeli blockade of Lebanon, the kidnapped Israel soldiers, the embargo on imported weapons for Hizballah – were not what really exercised the UN Secretary General. Behind closed doors, he demanded an Israeli guarantee of non-aggression against Iran regardless of the accelerated tempo of its nuclear program, its leaders threats and its support for Hizballah’s assault. He told Olmert he intended placing this assurance in the hands of supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in person.

Olmert turned him down. Kofi Annan departed Jerusalem empty-handed, as he did Beirut, where Hizballah refused to part with the slightest scrap of information on the abducted Israeli soldiers for him to carry to Jerusalem.


Israel pulls out of another patch of land in the eastern sector of South Lebanon, completing the handover of nearly half of the territory


31 August: The Hatzbani plain between the river and the Hermon slopes was transferred to UNIFIL and the Lebanese army Thursday, Aug. 31, after Hizballah forces removed themselves and weapons from the area. The Hizballah withdrawal included the Shabaa and Shuba enclaves opposite Israeli positions on Mt. Dov. Their positions were taken over by the United Nations Indian brigade.

Our sources report that Hizballah relinquished a presence opposite the disputed Shabaa Farms for the first time in six years as part of its overall redeployment in all of Lebanon. The Israeli withdrawal began after the Aug. 14 truce went into effect, but Israeli troops still control the entire Lebanese-Israeli border line.

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