A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending June 14, 2012
June 8, 2012 Briefs
An Israeli soldier was killed, three injured in Golan road accident
Pvt. Dor Gan, 19, from Rishon Letzion, was killed and three soldiers were injured – two badly, when their jeep overturned while patrolling the Syrian border fence near Yonathan village.
The IAEA: No progress in talks with Iran
The UN nuclear agency described talks with Iran in Vienna as failing to make any progress in its demands for Iran to open up its suspected nuclear sites to inspections and “disappointing.” No new date was set for future negotiations.
China rejects calls to step up pressure on Assad
While Beijing rejected the appeal by Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, to pile extra pressure on Damascus, France declared it was willing to go along with Annan’s planned “contact group” for the Syrian crisis so long as Iran was not co-opted.
Russia and Iran dump Syria in America’s lap
8 June. After the UN gridlock on the Syrian crisis Thursday, an American delegation headed by Fred Hoff drew a blank in talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow Friday, June 8, with Syrian expert, Mikhail Bogdanov. Russia flatly rejected President Barack Obama’s proposal to post 5,000 armed UN monitors in Syria, most of them Russian troops. Moscow and Tehran calculate that the higher the flames of civil war in Syria, the more the US will be blamed for the bloodshed. They therefore refuse to join any international effort to stop it.
June 9, 2012 Briefs
Russia calls for international conference on Syria, is still against force
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said an international conference should convene to galvanize international commitment to the Annan plan because there was no other solution to the Syrian crisis. The meeting should bring together the permanent Security Council powers, the European Union and “influential countries in the region” – indicating Iran.
After 4 French troops killed, French Afghanistan withdrawal next month
President Francois Hollande announced the French troop withdrawal would begin next month after four members of the French NATO unit were killed and five injured in the northeast province of Kapisa early Saturday by a suicide bomber claimed by Taliban.
New US coordinator for Israel-Palestinian Authority
Rear Adm. Paul J. Bushong has been nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral for assignment as the US Security Coordinator with the Israeli-Palestinian Authority. Rear Adm. Bushong has been on Guam since March 2010 serving as the commander of US Naval Forces Marianas.
Islamist stab two policemen in Brussels
A confessed Islamist stabbed two policemen Friday at an underground station in a Brussels neighborhood. The two victims, a man and a woman were not in danger.The attacker was quickly subdued and was found to be carrying documents connected to Shariah4Belgium. Brussels recently outlawed the niqab in public for women.
June 10, 2012 Briefs
Israel’s Dep. C-of-S: Syria has the biggest chemical arsenal in the world
Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh said Syria also long-range rockets capable of carrying poison warheads to any part of Israel. He was addressing the annual memorial ceremony for the IDF soldiers fallen at the Sultan Yakoub battle with the Syrian army in 1982. Syrian soldiers behaved then, said the Deputy Chief of Staff, exactly as they behave today.
Palestinians start fires in Jerusalem
Jerusalem’s firefighters grappled with five blazes Sunday, most set by Palestinian arsonists. At nightfall they were still battling a large blaze in the Anatot forest set by bottle bombs lobbed from the Palestinian Shuafat district. No sooner were parts of the fire brought under control, when more bottle bombs were thrown to reignite them.
German sources: Houla massacre was work of Syrian Sunni rebels – not military
A report in the respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) lays the 98 deaths in Houla on May 25 at the door of anti-Assad Sunni rebels said to have massacred members of Alawite and Shiite families in the predominantly Sunni town. The FAZ report, which is not confirmed by any other source, quotes opponents of Assad who said the perpetrators filmed their victims and presented them as Sunni.
Chemical warfare feared raising its head in the Syrian civil war
10 June. Tehran early Sunday June 10 accused Syrian rebels of arming themselves with chemical weapons originating in Libya and acquiring training in their use – sending shudders of alarm through the West and Israel. They fear the Assad regime is preparing the ground for chemical assaults to finally crush its foes.
Both sides to the conflict are talking about chemical warfare openly. If they go through with it, President Barack Obama will have to reconsider non-intervention and use limited force to stop the escalating horror.
The conflict is no longer clear-cut between the Syrian army and rebel groups. In the latest massacres, armed groups of Alawites and Sunnis living in the same neighborhoods are turning on each other. This happened last week in Latakia after al-Houla. Many parts of southern, eastern and northern Syria have spiraled out of control of military and security forces.
Of major concern for Jerusalem was a comment in Iranian Revolutionary Guards publications, such as is official mouthpiece Mashregh, which quotes Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazaeri as warning that in the event of Western or Arab force in Syria, Assad’s allies “would ensure that aggressors do not survive the conflict. The Zionist regime and the interests of the enemies of Syria are all within range of resistance fire.”
Obama speeds up limited air strike preps for Syria
11 June. US President Barack Obama has ordered the US Navy and Air Force to accelerate preparations for a limited air offensive against the Assad regime and the imposition of no-fly zones over Syria, debkafile reports. Their mission will be to knock out Assad’s central regime and military command centers so as to shake regime stability and restrict Syrian army and air force activity for subduing rebel action and wreaking violence on civilian populations.
debkafile’s sources disclose that the US President decided on this step after Russian officials stated, “Moscow would support the departure of President Bashar al-Assad if Syrians agreed to it.”
June 12, 2012 Briefs
Israeli minister Yaalon: Israel won’t rest until Iran gives up enrichment
Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said the Iranian nuclear program must be stopped one way or the other, not necessarily by war, which should be the last resort. If faced with a choice between a bomb and bombardment, we must opt for the latter.
Iran designing its first nuclear submarine
Deputy navy chief in charge of technical affairs, Adm. Abbas Zamini says Iran has begun "initial stages" of designing the nuclear-powered craft.
Home Front plans massive Tel Aviv evacuation under missile attack
12 June. Col. Adam Zusman, Home Front Commander of Israel’s Dan region told AFP Tuesday, June 12, "In case of a missile attack on the centre of Israel, especially unconventional attacks and if buildings are destroyed, the population from Tel Aviv and other cities will be evacuated and relocated in other areas of the country." The first Israeli official to speak openly of this prospect, he did not say to where the roughly three million inhabitants of Tel Aviv and its environs would be relocated.
Col. Zusman said Israel continued to face serious threats from Iran and its allies, the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and Gaza's Hamas rulers. He did not mention Syria when he said, "We are getting ready for the worst-case scenario."
US, EU fake Iran’s consent to discussing enrichment to fend of military action
12 June. The spokesman for the EU’s Catherine Ashton reported Monday night, June 11 that Tehran had agreed to discuss high-grade uranium enrichment in Moscow on June 18-19.
debkafile: That claim is false; Iran refuses to put enrichment on the table. But the US-EU sham puts diplomacy on artificial life support, away from the only remaining option of a military strike – either by the US, to which President Barack Obama is committed if all other options fail, – or Israel, with US backing.
debkafile wonders why Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu goes along with this charade.
June13, 2012 Briefs
US, UK, France initiate Security Council motion for military intervention in Syria
British Foreign Secretary William Hague meets urgently with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov Thursday to warn him that the US, UK and France will unilaterally impose a no-fly zone in Syria failing any other option for stemming the bloodshed.
Lavrov in Tehran accuses US of arming Syrian rebels
During a visit to Tehran Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov Wednesday accused the US of supplying weapons to Syria’s rebels. In reply to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s charge that Moscow as sending helicopters to Syria for the Assad army to attack civilians, Lavrov said Russia was supplying conventional “anti-air defense systems” in line with international law.
Major victories for US-led Yemeni offensive on al Qaeda
Two US drone strikes killed 10 al Qaeda insurgents in Azzan in Yemen's southeastern province of Shabwa early Wednesday, the day after Yemeni forces backed by US command, air and logistical support captured the strategic towns of Zinjibar and Jaar from AQAP.
Scores die in coordinated attacks on Shiite festival in Iraq
More than 50 people killed and 100 wounded in Wednesday morning attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims across Iraq.
Israel’s State Comptroller faults PM’s decision-making on Turkish flotilla
State controller Mica Lindenstrauss, who conducted a probe on the political processes leading up to the clash and 10 deaths aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara in 2010 when the vessel was on its way to break the Gaza blockade, seriously faulted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision-making procedures. He said they were defective, disorganized, relied on hasty and superficial consultation and omitted to address the potential for a violent clash.
Secret US poll projects 70 pc lead for Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Morsi
13 June. The Obama administration is girding up for the shock of Egypt becoming the first Arab country, and the most populous, to be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Secret US intelligence polls in Egypt gave MB contender Muhammad Morsi a 70 percent win in the presidential runoff this weekend.
The Brotherhood gangs terrorizing Shafiq’s campaign are evolving into a national paramilitary militia like the early form of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. They will not disappear after the elections but are there to stay as part of Egypt’s political and street landscape. That is cause for trepidation in the US and Israel.
June 14, 2012 Briefs
Obama: Peres represents Israel’s self-defense, desire for peace
Awarding Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Obama said Wednesday that the Israeli president embodied Israel's need to simultaneously defend itself and to seek peace.
Russia, Israel negotiating joint UAV Project
Russia and Israel are negotiating a joint project to build an unmanned aerial vehicle, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday. “Our aim is to start technological cooperation and to develop a product that will be used in both countries, and could also be sold to third countries,” he said.
US Intel circles correct Clinton: Russia is not sending Assad new helicopters
In a bid to cool the escalating war of words between the US and Russia and their two foreign executives Hillary Clinton and Sergey Lavrov, US intelligence circles contradicted Clinton’s accusation that Russia was sending attack helicopters to Assad and said Moscow was only returning damaged choppers after repairs.
American arms were being supplied to Syrian rebels through third countries in the Gulf –anti-tank missiles via Qatar and the UAE.
Cairo in turmoil: Military Council assumes legislative powers after court dissolves parliament
14 June Egypt’s transitional military government assumed legislative powers after the constitutional court Thursday, June 14, dissolved parliament because one on third of its seats were gained illegally in an election which handed a majority to two Islamist parties. Egyptians found they faced a new general election for all 498 seats in parliament two days before they vote in the presidential runoff.
The court also ruled that Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister, would stay in the presidential race and run against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi.
debkafile: The Muslim Brotherhood is unlikely to take these two major setbacks to its political aspirations lying down.
Because the parliamentary constitutional assembly is prevented from writing a new charter to determine the extent of the new president’s powers, the powers of the winner of the presidential election, whether Shafiq or Morsi, remain undefined. He may be no more than a figurehead.