A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending March 30, 2012

March 23, 2012 Brief

  • Israel allows 9 fuel tankers into Gaza
    The 450,000 liters of industrial diesel for the Gaza Strip’s only power station was the first fuel delivered through Israel in almost a year – just over a week after the 200-missile offensive from the Palestinian enclave at its Israeli neighbors died down.
  • Washington praises European blacklisting of Assad family
    The EU imposes sanctions on Bashar Assad’s British-born wife, his mother, sister and sister-in-law. They and 7 Syrian ministers are barred from travel to the continent and their assets frozen.
  • French authorities say no evidence Merah tied to al Qaeda
    They deny any sign that the killer of seven people was linked or trained by terrorists. debkafile: Three questions remain unanswered: Who funded his operations and lifestyle? Who gave him automatic weapons worth 20,000 euros? How was he able to visit so many countries without leaving any record?
  • Israel will not cooperate with UN human rights probe
    “We will not legitimize a ridiculous body on an illegitimate mission,” said the foreign ministry spokesman in response to a UN Human Rights Council resolution to probe the effect of Israeli settlement construction on Palestinian human rights.

Tehran forces Iranian Jews to join anti-Israel Global March

23 March. The Islamic regime in Tehran recruited Islamists worldwide for the Global March for a Palestinian Jerusalem. This week, the organizers, Majlis Speaker Hossein Sheikh-ol-Eslam and Salim Ghafouri, ordered the Jewish community to send at least 10 young men to march with the Islamist groups in Lebanon, debkafile’s Iranian sources disclose, where they face the risk of murder or abduction by Palestinian Salafis and HIzballah.
Last week, the Jewish MP Syamak Mare Dedeq and Chief Rabbi Mashallah Golestani-Nejad were obliged to sign this declaration: “We the Jews of Iran strongly condemn the barbaric crimes of the occupation regime in Palestine and declare the Zionist state in violation of the principles of Our Teacher Moses and the Will of God. We are totally at one with the aspirations of the heroic Palestinian people.”
To mark the Global March, Tehran staged a cartoon contest. The winner drew around the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem a wall modeled on the fences of Auschwitz.

Obama’s back-channel to Tehran bypasses allies Erdogan, Netanyahu

24 March. US President Barack Obama sits down with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Seoul, South Korea Sunday, March 25. Before they were to meet, Washington awarded 11 nations exemptions from new US financial sanctions against Iran. The downscaling of sanctions caught Israel by surprise and angered Turkey even more because they were the outcome of secret direct US-Iranian talks.
The Obama administration appears to be rethinking sanctions as a bludgeon for turning Tehran away from its nuclear weapon aspirations. This was reflected in a new assessment coming from London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies Friday, March 23, which asserted that sanctions were having an effect – “but just not the effect they were supposed to have.”
They have made the Iranians more not less committed to pursuing a nuclear weapon and“had the knock-on effect of pushing oil prices to levels threatening the global economy.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman commented Saturday, March 24, that the Six Power nuclear talks with Iran next month will be the last attempt to persuade Tehran to give up is nuclear weapon program.

March 25, 2012 Briefs

  • Palestinians beat up unarmed Israeli soldier in Jerusalem
    The soldier was taken to hospital after being kicked in the face and head by a gang of Palestinian youths in Jerusalem’s Shmuel Hanavi Sunday night.
  • France to bar entry to influential Muslim preacher Yousef Qaradawi
    debkafile: For decades, Qaradawi has condemned suicide attacks on Western targets, while condoning them only against Jewish and Israelis.
  • Israel’s Supreme Court rejects Migron outpost compromise
    Three justices refused to endorse the compromise deal agreed between the state and the occupants of the Migron outpost for its eventual evacuation.
  • Syrian Druze leader Muhammad al Hajara dead
    Syrian authorities say he died in a traffic accident. Opposition sources say he was murdered over his anti-regime views.
  • Netanyahu: No early election
    The Israeli prime minister dispelled rumors of an early election, stating Sunday the poll would take place on time in November 2013.
  • Pakistani Taliban says Toulouse killer trained at its camp
    Mohamed Merah trained with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s Jandola faction at its camp in North Waziristan, said the group’s spokesman. More than 80 French nationals are present in North Waziristan, members of the foreign Jhihad e-Islami which pledges allegiance to al Qaeda.

Heavy security for first Baghdad Arab summit in 24 years

25 March. The 23rd Arab summit, the first to be held in Baghdad in more than two decades, opens Tuesday March 27 after Iraq’s Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bowed to the Saudi and Gulf Emirates’ demand not to invite Iran and receive only a low-ranking Syrian official. Although the city is in lockdown, Western security sources doubt it is 100 percent safe from terrorists, whether al Qaeda or Bashar Assad’s henchmen in revenge for the arms and aid certain Arab rulers are tendering Syrian rebels.

March 26, 2012 Briefs

  • Jew aged 73 clubbed to death in Morocco
    Binyamin Seriso, 73, was murdered in the Jewish Quarter of Fez, Morocco, by a man wielding a hammer and shouting Allahu Akbar. He escaped the scene. The dead man was a businessman who dealt in real estate.
  • Iran boosts drone intelligence-gathering for Assad
    Additional Revolutionary Guards surveillance drones have just arrived in Syria to support the Assad regime’s military assault against Syrian centers of revolt.
  • Toulouse killer sent attack footage to Arab media
    A second person posted it to al Jazeera in Paris which decided against airing it.
  • Two British servicemen killed by Afghan army member
    An Afghan soldier shot and killed the two British troops at a NATO base in southern Afghanistan. A third NATO service member was shot by Afghan local police while approaching a checkpoint.
  • The terrorist Merah did visit Israel in Sept. 2012
    Israeli security sources confirm that the killer of seven people in Toulouse entered Israel from Jordan on a French passport, was checked and cleared to enter.
  • Iraq foils assassination plot against Arab leaders
    Security forces uncovered 13 missile launchers aimed at Baghdad airport for arrival of Arab rulers for Thursday summit.

March 27, 2012 Briefs

  • Jewish schoolboy, 12, attacked by thugs in Paris
    He was set upon by a gang shouting anti-Semitic insults outside the Ozar Hatorah school in the French capital, just a week after an Islamist terrorist murdered three children and a rabbi at the Toulouse branch of the same school. He was not badly hurt.
  • Israeli Vice Premier hints at new sabotage, cyber war against Iran
    Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon, asked if Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear facilities within weeks if the mid-April talks showed sanctions weren’t working, said: “No. Look, we have to see…The (Iranian nuclear) project is not static — whether that means progress, or sometimes, retreat. All sorts of things are happening there.”
  • Annan says Syria accepted his two-hour truce plan. Assad visits Homs
    Tuesday too Bashar Assad paid a victory visit to Baba Amr, the Homs rebel stronghold his troops pounded into submission. debkafile: The UN envoy’s announcement should be treated with caution. Assad may just be maneuvering to: a) avert far harsher Arab League motions at their Baghdad summit Wednesday; and b) because he was unable to duck heavy Russian and Chinese pressure to accept the Annan plan.
  • Mass suicide attack foiled in Kabul by 16 arrests
    Afghan National Army soldiers who had penetrated government offices were among the arrested. Seized in the defense ministry were 11 suicide jackets.

Israel fortifies borders against pro-Palestinian activists airlifted by Iran

27 March. Israel boosted its Syrian and Lebanese border units Tuesday, March 27, as special flights carrying thousands of pro-Palestinian activists from Tehran touched down in Damascus for the international Global March to Jerusalem Friday, March 30. Before takeoff, they were split into small groups and tutored by Iranian Al Qods Brigades officers in tactics for breaching Israeli border barriers, bursting through and challenging the Israeli military forces defending the border. They go into action on Palestinian-backed Israel-Arab Earth Day.

Palestinians to fan Israeli-Arab Earth Day disorders Friday

27 March. Despite Israeli warnings, the Palestinian Authority is for the first time making the annual Israeli Arab Earth Day Friday, March 30 a joint Palestinian-Israel Arab venture, organizing mass anti-Israel disturbances in Jerusalem, Jaffa and other places, while also instigating West Bankers to smash through Israeli border checkpoints.
Syria too plans to bus thousands of Palestinians to storm Israel’s northern border on the Golan. Both also aim to shake up the Arab summit in Baghdad. The PA is broke after Arab aid was cut off.

March 28, 2023 Briefs

  • The US suspends food aid to North Korea
    Pyongyang is accused of breaking its promise to refrain from missile launches by planning a rocket launch next month for boosting a satellite.
  • Erdogan’s Tehran schedule amended
    Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided to receive Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after letting him cool his heels in Tehran.

Challenger Mofaz handily unseats Kadima leader Livni

29 March: Shaul Mofaz won the primary of Israel’s main opposition party Kadima by a handy 61.7 percent, seizing the leadership from Tzipi Livni who took 37.2 percent. He invited the defeated contestant to join hands with him for the sake of the party. The size of the voter turnout, 41 percent, showed that Kadima is on the ropes. Mofaz, a former defense minister and chief of staff, will need all the help he can get to pull the party back into shape for challenging Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud in the next national election. Livni who was one of Kadima’s founders alongside Ariel Sharon, is expected to take time out from politics after her stunning defeat.
The outgoing leader’s left-leaning centrism and focus on a peace accord with the Palestinians as the key to Israel’s foreign policy were rejected by a majority in favor of Mofaz’s strong background in security. Kadima’s sickening plunge as an alternative to Likud in government leaves Israel’s parliamentary opposition without a strong voice. Mofaz must decide between focusing on a social agenda in which he has no experience or background and sticking with security issues for which he will have to jockey for a space filled by the ruling Likud and Israeli Beteinu parties.

March 29, 2012 Briefs

  • Arab Baghdad Summit adopts Annan’s Syria peace plan
    The Arab rulers called for the plan to be implemented “immediately and completely.” The UN said at least one million Syrians need urgent humanitarian help.
  • Israeli military and police on high alert for Earth Day
    A high alert is in place on Israel’s borders, the West Bank and inside the country ready for disorders, disruptions or terrorist attacks Friday, March 30, the annual Israeli Arab Earth Day.
  • Secrecy clamped down on Baghdad blasts near Arab summit meeting
    Explosions reported near central Baghdad’s Green Zone shortly after Arab rulers began their summit there.
  • Brics nations will continue to trade with Iran
    India and China, supported by Russia, South Africa and Brazil, will continue to defy US-led sanctions for strangling Iran’s economy over its nuclear program at the BRICS fourth summit meeting in New Delhi.
  • Turkey and Iran to seal preferential-trade accord
    Trade between the two neighbors and lira-rial transactions rising due to international sanctions against Iran.
  • US not happy about Israeli airbases in Azerbaijan – report
    Even if Israel doesn’t use the airfields for a direct airstrike on Iran, the bases could be used for search-and-rescue units after a strike, Foreign Policy magazine quotes a US intelligence official as saying.

A new counterfeit dollar trail leads to Iran

29 March. Two Iranian traders were arrested in Kuala Lumpur for using counterfeit $100 bills for their purchases. Their suitcases with the equivalent of $356,000 in fake bills were seized. They claimed they had been issued with the cash by the Iranian national bank in Tehran and had no idea the bills were not genuine greenbacks. Iran is threatening to sever trade ties with Malaysia over the incident. US and Chinese secret agents are in the Malaysian capital, the former to trace the fake currency’s provenance, the latter to find out how Iran got hold of quality Chinese printing paper.
Evidence that the Islamic regime of Iran was responsible for the wholesale forgery of the emblematic American dollar would have harsh consequences.

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