A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending Dec. 05, 2013
November 29, 2013 Briefs
- Rioting Palestinians in Al-Azariyeh, Jerusalem, injure two police
Hundreds of Palestinians rioting Al Azariya, East Jerusalem injured two border police with rockes and bottle bombs. The police broke up the disturbance injuring several Palestinians.
- More than 50 killed in mass executions in Iraq
In the latest form of terrorism, Iraq has seen victims kidnapped from their homes and their bodies found later using mass executions. Friday, more than 50 were executed in and around Baghdad and Sunni Arab parts of the country, after the authorities found the bodies of 18 men, including two tribal chiefs, four policemen and an army major, dumped in farmland near the Sunni town of Tarmiyah north of Baghdad. All were shot in the head and chest with their hands tied behind their backs.
November 30, 2013 Briefs
- Iran will never be in the same room as Zionists
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Friday: "Never such a thing will happen and we definitely we will not be in the room in which representatives from the Zionist regime will have presence."
- Bedouin protests against settlement scheme injure 15 police
Small groups of protesters turned out Saturday in the Negev, Haifa, Jerusalem, Tira, Taiba and Qalanswa against government resettlement schemes for Bedouin. In the Negev, dozens of protesters were detained for throwing rocks which injured 15 police officers, including a commander. The government proposes to resettle the Bedouin in new Negev towns and compensate those whose land is seized.
- Rouhani: No dismantling of Iran’s nuclear facilities in deal
Iran is 100 percent determined not to dismantle its nuclear facilities, President Hassan Rouhani said in an interview with The Financial Times.
Iran has enough enriched uranium for 4 nukes
30 Nov. When the Geneva accord was signed on Nov. 24, Iran had already amassed enough enriched uranium for four nuclear bombs, and the Saudis stood ready to collect an atom bomb from a Pakistani shelf. In his phone call to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Barack Obama proposed tighter US intelligence oversight for verifying Iran’s compliance with its commitments. He offered to share its findings with Israel for further analysis. However, if Israelis were co-opted – even indirectly, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif threatened to boycott the discussion on the deal’s technical details.
December 1, 2013 Briefs
- Iran’s FM Zarif on first trip to Arab oil emirates
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarir took his first trip to the Gulf emirates Sunday in an effort to ease tense relations over fears that his country is using its nuclear program to build a weapon. His first destination was Kuwait, after which he heads to Oman and the UAE.
Pakistan’s new army chief and nuclear ties with Saudis
1 Dec. If Pakistan’s new army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, goes through with the transfer of nuclear arms and missiles to Saudi Arabia, he ranges Islamabad on the side of Sunni versus Shiite by lending a Sunni power a nuclear capability versus a nuclear-armed Shiite Iran, whose “nuclear rights” have just been recognized by the six world powers. Gen. Sharif must also adapt Pakistan’s armed forces to the US military exit from Afghanistan next year and decide whether to allow Saudi covert operations against Iran to continue from Pakistani soil.
December 2, 2013 Briefs
- Tripoli under six-month Lebanese military command
Lebanese security forces took control of the northern city of Tripoli for six months after 12 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in three days of clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
- Israel and Italy hold joint government session, sign 10 agreements
Visiting Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta headed a government-to-government session in Rome Monday. They signed 10 agreements focusing on advanced technology, economic start-ups and energy after Israel’s off-shore gas strikes. Monday morning, Netanyahuy paid a visit to Pope Frances.
Ex-CIA, AMAN chiefs: A nuclear-armed Iran is unstoppable
2 Dec. In New York and Tel Aviv, former CIA director Gen. Michael Haden and ex-chief of AMAN, Gen. (ret) Amos Yadlin, offered the same opinion, namely that Iran has reached the stage of a nuclear threshold state able to build several nuclear bombs in a matter of weeks. By this diagnosis, they indicted their respective governments for failing to stop this happening. Hayden: “We need to negotiate hitting the delete button.” Yadlin: “Iran is a step before breakout to a bomb. This is unfortunate but true.”
Senior lawmaker Tzahi Hanegbi expressed concern that the interim deal with Iran would remain in force as the final accord, and so leave the Islamic Republic in place as a nuclear threshold state, able to build a bomb within six to seven weeks. Iran has built a uranium stockpile of 7.2 tons, enough for several bombs,” he said.
December 3, 2013 Briefs
- French forensic experts rule out Arafat’s death by poisoning
French forensic experts have ruled out Yasser Arafat’s death by poisoning, confirming an earlier conclusion by a Russian forensic lab. An inquiry instigated by Arafat’s widow and supported by the Palestinian Authority tried to prove that Israel killed Arafat by polonium poisoning.
- Israeli humanitarian aid for besieged Syrian border villages
On a tour of the Golan Tuesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said “We are helping Syrian civilians face the winter, and sending baby food and other essentials to the Syrian villages of Golan which are under (Syrian military) siege and cut off from aid from any other source.” Syrian army gunfire on an Israel Golan patrol Monday was deliberate, he said. No one was hurt.
- Five Palestinians held in Jerusalem for rock that injured baby
Jerusalem police Tuesday detained five Palestinian youths from Tzur Baher village in E. Jerusalem on suspicion of throwing the rocks which hit an Israeli car and injured a two-year old child last Thursday. They admitted to throwing stones at cars out of “hatred for Jews.” More arrests are expected.
- Unique Hasmonean structure uncovered in Jerusalem
An impressive structure – five meters high covering an area of 60 sq. m – has been unearthed at the City of David just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Its meter-thick walls are made of roughly hewn limestone blocks, indicating a public building or mansion of some kind. The coins found there, in addition to numerous potsherds, help date the building to early 2nd century BCE and its continued use under the Hasmonean rulers of Israel. The coins date back to the time of Antiochus III and IV, some bearing the name of Alexander Jannaeus in ancient Greek. Josephus and other historians have described Hasmonean Jerusalem, but this is the first time the remains were found of a large building of that period, after which much of the city was razed by successive conquerors..
Tehran: Israeli-Saudi intelligence designing a super-Stuxnet
3 Dec. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency “reveals” that Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Mossad are “co-conspiring to produce a computer worm more destructive than the Stuxnet malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.” It claims that Saudi intelligence director Prince Bandar Bin Sultan and Israel’s Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, met in Vienna to decide on the virus attack on Nov. 24, shortly after the six world powers signed their first interim nuclear agreement with Iran in Geneva, and that Prince Bandar visited Israel secretly with French President Francois Hollande.
December 4, 2013 Briefs
- Israel ambassador Ron Dermer presents credentials to US president
New Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer Tuesday presented his credentials to President Barack Obama at the White House. He also presented a gift, custom-made cufflinks etched with a replica of the Menorah found in Jerusalem excavations.
- Iran to challenge Saudis for OPEC leadership
At the OPEC oil ministers meeting Wednesday, Iran plans to reassert itself as a dominant force of the global crude markets, in the expectation that sanctions will be lifted in the six months after its nuclear deal with the six powers. Tehran will put in a bid for the 12-nation cartel’s secretary general as No.2 oil producer after Saudi Arabia before sanctions were imposed.
Slaying Hizballah commander ratchets up Saudi covert war on Iran and proxy
4 Dec. The gunning down of Hajj Hassan Hollo al-Laqqis, a high-ranking Hizballah commander and close crony of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah raised the stakes of the clandestine war between Saudi Arabia and Iran – or rather between Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Iran’s Al Qods Brigades commander Qassem al-Soleimani. Hizballah preferred to blame Israel for the assassination because it is easier to reach for revenge than Saudi Arabia. The Hizballah officer was killed in the underground parking lot of his home after midnight Tuesday, Dec. 3, by five shots to the head and throat.
A photo published by the Lebanese state news agency shows a man in his mid-40s.
It seems obvious that the al-Laqqis hit was timed to take place shortly after the Hizballah leader went on the air for an extraordinarily arrogant television interview, during which he made a point of sneering after every reference to the US, Saudi Arabia or Israel. He also appeared to glory in the big power status conferred on the Islamic Republic (and himself) by the Obama administration after the signing of the Geneva nuclear accord, which he hailed as “the end of the US monopoly on power.”
December 5, 2013 Briefs
- Kerry: Some progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel is ready for historic peace with the Palestinians, adding that Israel must have the ability to defend itself independently.
Addressing reporters following a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem, Netanyahu also said that the two sides needed to hold real negotiations and avoid finger pointing and artificial crises. Kerry told reporters that "we are making some progress" in the talks and headed to Ramallah.
- Saudi princes see US senator opposed to Geneva accord
Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Bandar talked for three hours Monday night with US Republican Senator Robert Corker, the first high-ranking American to be received in Riyadh in months. Bandar held up his flight to Russia and a meeting with President Putin to discuss with the senator Saudi disquiet over Obama administration policies on Iran and Syria. Sen. Corker, who opposed the six-power nuclear accord with Iran and supports sanctions, said he and Saudi officials shared many of the same concerns. He also met with Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef and National Guard commander Miteb bin Abdullah.
- Bomb blast, firefight at Yemeni defense ministry leave 52 dead
Assailants in military uniforms crashed an explosives-laden car in the Yemeni Defense Ministry gates in Sanaa early Thursday, setting off a chaotic firefight with heavy weapons and a secondary blast.
Zarif accuses Iranian media of quoting DEBKA instead of himself
5 Dec. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif bitterly complained Wednesday, Dec. 4, that his country’s media preferred to quote debkafile instead of himself. “Who tells the truth? I, the foreign minister of Iran? Or the Zionist website DEBKA which runs falsehoods?” It was the second time this week that Zarif vented his frustration with DEBKA’s popularity in Iran. Tuesday, he accused the non-official media of drawing heavily on foreign sources, such as “the Fact Sheet put out by the White House in Washington and the Israeli debkafile” while neglecting official statements.
A search on Google under Debka دبکا in Farsi reveals hundreds of articles using our Iranian coverage in a large number of Iranian Internet publications. Many others simply copy, paste our stories without attribution.