A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending May 18, 2012
May 11, 2012 Briefs
Israel’s invitation to NATO summit in Chicago is blocked
Secretary-General Anders Fog Rasmussen explained that this was not because of Turkey but, strangely, because Israel “does not participate in the alliance’s main military missions.” debkafile military sources: This excuse does not stand up to scrutiny. NATO has an outreach program with seven friendly nations including Israel and dozens of others, 13 of which have been invited to the May 20-21 summit.
Israel is a key link in the US missile shield established for NATO, the Israeli navy partners NATO forces in securing the Mediterranean and Red Seas – among its other important military and intelligence contributions to Western security. Those sources cannot understand why Israel’s invitation to this important forum should be vetoed and believe it shouldn’t be taken lying down.
Hizballah runs arms to Syria, Iran to install CCTV net in Damascus
11 May. The two explosions which killed 55 people and injured almost 400 in Damascus Thursday, May 10, galvanized Bashar Assad’s allies into frenetic action. Tehran ordered its Lebanese proxy Hizballah to open up its arms stores and run quantities of weapons and military equipment across the border to the Syrian army and started organizing a security camera network for Damascus.
May 12, 2012 Briefs
US-British row over al Qaeda double spy
High British intelligence circles were reported Saturday in high dudgeon over Washington’s revelations about the double agent who obtained an upgraded underwear bomb from a Yemeni al Qaeda cell. US media claimed MI6 had given him a British passport. “How can we convince agents to act as double spies when they face exposure on the front pages of the American press?” asked a senior British official.
Nasrallah threatens Tel Aviv
“We can hit any building in Tel Aviv. Israel is doomed,” said Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah Friday.
Tremors in Israel and Lebanon from a 5.3 magnitude mid-sea earthquake
The epicenter of the moderate quake was between Lebanon and Cyprus. Mild earth tremors were felt in North and central Israel and South Lebanon. No damage or casualties were reported.
Former MI chief Yadlin slams Dagan and Diskin
Amos Yadlin, former Military Intelligence chief took strong issue with ex-chiefs of the Mossad and Shin Bet, Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, for campaigning against an Israeli attack against a nuclear Iran. Denying Israel its military option, he said, would give Iran the freedom to develop a nuclear bomb regardless of sanctions. Yadlin said he takes his hat off to Israeli government and military leaders for preparing a credible military option to prevent this happening.
May 13, 2012 Briefs
Palestinians say Israel falls short of Palestinian demands for talks
Yasser Abed Rabbo said Sunday the new letter from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered by an envoy to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah “does not hold clear answers concerning the issues required to resume peace talks.”
Deaths in Afghanistan
Afghan peace council member, the former Taliban minister Arsala Rahmani was shot dead in Kabul Sunday. In Helmand province, two British servicemen were killed by Afghan police.
Israel’s unity cabinet holds first session
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after welcoming new Deputy Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz Sunday, May 13, set the new government four tasks: “Equal burden” legislation for Jews and Arabs (replacing Tal Law) by the end of July; resuscitating the peace process after sending a positive message to Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah; government and electoral reform; and getting the next biannual state budget through the Knesset.
Iran opposition: Nuclear bomb-making is advancing fast
13 May. The 60 Iranian experts employed by 11 different Iranian agencies under the control of the Iranian Defense Ministry (under the IRGC) were revealed by names and addresses Saturday, May 12, by the main Iranian opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) in the first ever detailed exposure of a highly secret, central Iranian organizational structure working on building a nuclear weapon.
Its sub-divisions are revealed as:
1. Working on the main element for the bomb, i.e. enriched uranium and fissile material.
2. Shaping and molding the required material, including metal elements, to build a warhead.
3. Producing metals required for building a nuclear warhead.
4. Producing high-explosive material used to detonate a nuclear bomb.
5. Conducting research on advanced chemical material.
6. Blue prints and carrying out electronic calculations required for building a nuclear warhead.
7. Laser activities applicable in the nuclear field.
May 14, 2012 Briefs
Israel hands to PA remains of 100 Palestinian terrorists
After Palestinian prisoners ended their hunger strike Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to hand over to the Palestinian Authority the remains of 100 Palestinians. He said he hoped this step would help set the scene for reviving peace talks which Abbas has stalled for more than a year.
District Court Judge Yosef Shapira is new Israeli State Comptroller
Judge Shapira, 67, takes over from Micha Lindenstrauss as State Comptroller and State Ombudsman for a seven-year stint. He is an expert in corporate law and has a degree in criminal law from Leicester University, UK.
Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel takes command of Israeli Air Force
The handover by Maj. Gen Ido Nehushtan took place at the Hatzor Air Force base. The new IAF chief said: “In the Middle East there is no room for the weak.”
Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike
1,600 jailed Palestinians ended their 28-day hunger strike Monday in a deal with the Shin Bet: In return for a pledge to abstain from terrorist activity, they won most of their demands.
Parchin inspections versus diluted sanctions
debkafile discloses that Tehran has agreed through its backdoor dialogue with Washington to allow the nuclear watchdog access to the site suspected of serving nuclear-related explosions – but only in return for the phased dilution of economic sanctions.
Syrian conflict encroaches on Lebanon
14 May. Bashar Assad has stepped in directly to halt the covert war his Western and Arab foes are waging against him through Lebanon. debkafile’s military sources disclose he is now sending Lebanese army commanders direct orders for cutting arms, money, fighters and medical supplies to the rebels, especially in Homs. Last week, Chief of Staff Gen. Jean Kahwagi was given a crude ultimatum from Damascus: Take care of the Syrian rebels’ backers in Tripoli, or else the Syrian army will enter Lebanon and do the job.
The immediate result was a flare-up of armed hostilities in the mixed northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. Since Saturday, May 12, the various armed groups and sects have been at each other’s throats: the local Alawites who side with the Syrian ruler and the Lebanese Army on the one side, but separate, and Sunni groups led by former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, his Al-Mustaqbal and Salafite militias, on the other.
May 15, 2012 Briefs
“Naqba Day” marked by violence
Palestinians across the West Bank and parts of Israel marked the Day of Catastrophe, the anniversary of Israel’s creation in 1948, with rallies and violent incidents. North of Jerusalem at the Kalandia border post, five fire bombs were hurled at Israeli security forces and an ambulance aiding road accidents was attacked on the Adam-Hizbe road. Rioting, rock attacks and burning tires occurred at Bitunyeh, Hebron, Machmesh on the Efrat-Tekoa road, Carmei Tzur, Rachel’s Tomb, Sheafat, Isawiya and El Arub. No casualties in any of these incidents.
At the Tapuah intersection, two Palestinians were detained carrying explosive devices, the fourth such incident this month.
Qassam missile fired from Gaza
The Palestinian missile landed harmlessly on empty ground at Shear Hanegev.
Iran hangs a man accused of killing a nuclear physicist
State broadcast in Tehran said Majid Jamali Fashi, 24, accused of being an Israeli Mossad agent, was hanged Tuesday morning, after being convicted of killing Tehran University physics professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi by a bomb-rigged motorcycle outside his home in January 2012.
New US battle strategy tested in region, drilled by Israel
15 May. A new US battle strategy against Iran (ASB – Air Sea Battle) hinges on tightly coordinated air, land, sea, undersea, space and cyberspace capabilities for defeating closure of the (Hormuz) strait, cyber attack, mines, cruise and ballistic missiles. Israeli Air Forces, Navies and their special forces have carried out a special drill using the ASB concept, after which the Israeli navy set up a dense defensive line against enemy sea assault by unconventional weapons. Monday, a large US amphibious marine force vessel anchored in Jeddah.
May 16, 2012 Briefs
Extremist assassins enter Lebanon with political hit lists – reports
An extremist group of terrorists is reported by Arab media to have entered Lebanon with a list of politicians targeted for assassination.debkafile: Syrian intelligence is suspected of spreading the reports to stir Lebanese security agencies into action against the local, Arab and Muslim suppliers of military aid to the Syrian rebels.
Police shootout with crime gang in Israeli-Arab town
During a sweep to round up criminal elements in the Israeli Arab town of Taibe, a special police force was confronted by armed men, members of the Abd al-Qader gang. In a shootout, one of the suspects was killed and a second injured. Police clean-up operations in Taibe continue.
Iran drills first large-scale paratroop drops for offensive action
16 May. Special operations units of the Iranian army and Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Tuesday, May 14, began a two-day practice of offensive tactics, for the first time dropping large-scale forces from the air deep behind enemy lines. The many war games Iran has conducted until now focused on defenses of strategic and nuclear locations and repelling invaders. It began on the same day as the US-led multination nation special forces exercise in Jordan and was staged deliberately near the Afghan border.
May 17. 2012 Briefs
Ambassador Dan Shapiro: US battle plan for Iran is ready
The US Ambassador to Israel: To stop Iranian uranium enrichment, “it would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically than to use military force. But that option is not just available but it’s ready.”
Russia warns military intervention in other states may lead to nuclear war
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, “The introduction of all sorts of collective sanctions does not improve the situation while reckless military operations in foreign states usually end up with radicals coming to power,” he told an international legal forum in St. Petersburg. “Military intervention in the sovereign affairs of other states may lead to outright war, including nuclear war,”
Iran expands near weapons-grade uranium enrichment at Fordo
17 May. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Thursday 17, that a nuclear Iran would change the whole Middle East landscape and “we must do something to block” what he called “a catastrophe.” The impending agreement would permit Iran “to deceive the world” and continuing building a nuclear bomb. Western diplomatic sources disclose that Iran has moved this process forward by starting to install new centrifuge cascades at Fordo in the middle of negotiations to double or triple near-weapons grade enriched uranium production after accumulating 110 kilograms.