A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending November 8, 2012
November 2, 2012 Briefs
Jewish man injured in Palestinian stabbing attack in Jerusalem
The 34-year old man was stabbed in the back by two Palestinians while walking with a friend in the Ras Al-Amud neighborhood of Jerusalem from the Kotel Friday night.
Israeli Defense Official calls Egypt’s Muslim rule a “terrible dictatorship”
“There is no official contact between the top tiers of Egyptian and Israeli government, and I don’t think there will be,” said the Defense Ministry’s Amos Gilead Friday. All the same, it is vitally important for both countries to preserve their peace treaty at any cost. Gilead was a key go-between in relations between Jerusalem and Cairo in the Mubarak era and the period of military rule in its aftermath. Immediately after Egypt’s first democratic election last June, Gilead hailed the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory. Now he says, “a terrible dictatorship sprouted from the desire for democracy (in Egypt).”
November 3, 2012 Briefs
Abbas backtracks on concessions for talks
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: "I watched President Abbas' interview over the weekend. I have heard that he has already managed to go back on his remarks. This only proves the importance of direct negotiations without pre-conditions. But if he is serious, I am ready to sit down with him immediately.” Netanyahu was responding to Mahmoud Abbas’s remarks to Israel’s Channel 2 TV Friday, that he would not demand the right to live in his birth town of Safed (which is in Israel proper) and viewed a Palestinian state as existing only in the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem its capital.
US-Russian Syrian deal that would leave Assad in power
US and Turkish sources report that Admiral James Winnfeld, Vice-Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff informed Turkey of a peace plan negotiated with Moscow for keeping Assad in power and barring the creation of buffer zones. Instead, the UN was studying the deployment in Syria of a peacekeeping force.
UK, France, Israel prepare post-US vote action on Syria, Iran
3 Nov. Israel, France, the UK lined up this week for military action on Syria and Iran after the US presidential election was over in four days time, debkafile reports. Binyamin Netanyahu spent two days (Oct. 31-Nov. 1) talking to President Francois Holland in France and the next day, Defense Minister Ehud Barak landed in London, after the top US soldier Gen. Martin Dempsey spent several days in Israel. They all agreed on the unsustainability of US Mid East crisis policy after Nov. 6 – whoever was elected.
November 4, 2012 Briefs
Israel’s top soldier visits Golan
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz inspected the Quneitra region in the Syrian demilitarized zone of Golan where Syrian tanks have been battling rebels. Saturday Israel lodged a complaint over three Syrian tanks which crossed into the zone and exchanged fire with rebel forces near the Circassian village of Beer Ajam. The C-of-S issued the border contingent with guidelines for rebuffing further incursions.
North Sinai security chief sacked over three Egyptian troop deaths
Egyptian Interior Minister Ahmed Gemal e-Dom Fitr sacked the North Sinai security chief over the deaths of three Egyptian soldiers in a Salalifist ambush in El Arish Saturday.
Iran suspends uranium enrichment 2 days before US vote
4 Nov. Sources in Tehran put out word Sunday, Nov, 4, that Iran had suddenly suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment. An Iranian lawmaker called it a "goodwill" gesture ahead of a new round of talks with the US directly after the presidential election. Two days before the vote, Tehran is transparently throwing its weight behind Obama by suggesting to the American voter that he can solve the nuclear crisis without resorting to war and is Iran’s preferred partner for talks.
It was also cover-up for Tehran to quietly finish transferring the last of its 3,000 advanced centrifuges to the underground enrichment plant in Fordo for expanding it capacity to produce medium-enriched uranium and replenish its stock. Last April, Barak declared that the transfer of this project to “immune zones” would be a red line for Israel.
Israeli warplanes over Golan. Hizballah pours fighters into Syria
4 Nov. Israeli warplanes flew over the divided Golan Sunday, Nov. 4, in a show of strength against the Syrian civil war seeping across the border, debkafile’s exclusive sources report. Their message was reinforced by chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz’s visit. To the west, 5,000 Lebanese Shiite Hizballah fighters, who had poured across the border, were fighting rebels 50-60 km deep inside Syria with heavy artillery and Chinese “katyushas” made in Iran, in coordination with Tehran’s Beirut and Damascus command centers and the Syrian Air Force.
November 5, 2012 Briefs
UN nuclear chief says Iran is not cooperating with probe
Yukio Amano told the UN General Assembly that "Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."
Turkey puts Israeli ex-military chiefs on trial (in absentia)
Turkish prosecutors are demanding life sentences for Israel’s former chief of staff Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, former Navy Commander Eliezer Marom, former MI chief Gen, Amos Yadlin and former Air force Intelligence chief Gen. Avishai Levi. Turkey charges them with nine deaths aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara vessel in May 2011 after “peace activists” attacked the Israel troops boarding the ship to avert its breach of the Gaza blockade.
Egyptian forces desert N. Sinai positions amid multiple terror alerts
Warnings of terrorist attacks on the way have been flooding in from North Sinai in the last 24 hours, debkafile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources report Monday. Their targets are Egyptian, Israeli and the US contingents of the Multinational Force peacekeepers. Egyptian security troops are deserting their positions in northern Sinai, complaining they are not properly equipped or armed to fight the terrorists.
Russian foreign minister in Cairo for talks on Syria
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Arab League Secretary Nabil al-Araby in Cairo Monday, after which he is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Foreign Secretary Muhammad Kemal Amar. From Cairo, he flies to Jordan. debkafile: Lavrov is taking advantage of the discord between the Obama administration and the Syrian opposition to pick up points for Moscow.
Israeli forces on high alert after Syrian gunfire hit Israeli military jeep on Golan
5 Nov. Tension shot up on the Israeli-Syrian Golan border Monday night, Nov. 5, after Syrian small-arms fire from 1 kilometer over the Golan border hit the jeep of the Golani Brigade’s Patrol Battalion commander.
There were no injuries. debkafile: The incident occurred after Syrian rebels captured the Golan town of Quneitra from the Syrian army. Israeli air force planes are patrolling the Golan and Galilee skies of northern Israel. The IDF is on high alert on Golan and Israeli-Lebanese borders.
November 6, 2012 Briefs
Palestinian mob injures 10 Israeli police in Jerusalem
Two police officers sustained moderate injuries, one of them a stabbing wound. The disturbance began Tuesday, Nov. 6, when a mob hurled stones and bottle bombs at undercover police officers in the Palestinian Sheafat district of Jerusalem.
Explosion on Gaza border fence injures 3 Israeli soldiers
The device blew up along with Palestinian gunfire from the southern tip of the Gaza Strip against a passing Israeli military patrol near Kibbutz Nirim early Tuesday. The patrol returned the fire.
Iran did not lose by claiming uranium enrichment halt
Tehran Sunday, Nov. 4, first claimed, then denied, halting 20-percent uranium enrichment – not just hoping to swing the US election in favor of President Barack Obama, but to mask the transfer of the last 600 advanced centrifuges to the underground enrichment plant at Fordo.
Prince Muhammed bin Nayef is new Saudi Interior Minister
At 53, Prince Muhammed steps into his late father’s shoes as minister responsible for the war on terror, taking over from Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, 72. debkafile: Crown Prince Salman is clearly going forward with the change of generation he started at the top of the Saudi royal government.
Putin sacks defense minister
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has been dismissed amid a scandal over the selloff of $95 million worth of ministry assets including real estate at lower than market prices.
Netanyahu is willing to decide on Iran attack
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he is willing to attack the Iranian nuclear program without support from Washington: “If someone sits here as the prime minister of Israel and he can’t take action on matters that are cardinal to the existence of this country, its future and its security, and he is totally dependent on receiving approval from others, then he is not worthy of leading,” Mr. Netanyahu said, adding, “I can make these decisions.”
Last Israel warning to Damascus against violence spillover
6 Nov. Israel has given Damascus a final warning that a military response would be forthcoming if its fighter aircraft infringed the airspace over the Golan demilitarized zones, debkafile reports. The warning, further ratcheting up border tension, was relayed through the UN Disengagement Observer Force in an effort to contain any spillover of the Syrian civil war across Israel’s border. It applied to any ordnance flying across the border, the entry of Syrian forces to the Golan demilitarized zones and aerial flyovers.
November 7, 2012 Briefs
Surly Iranian comment on Obama’s reelection
The head of the Iranian judiciary Sadeq Larijani condemned the “crimes” of US sanctions, said relations with American “cannot be possible overnight” and the US president should not expect rapid new negotiations with Tehran.
Turkey asks for Patriot missiles for its border with Syria
The day after his reelection, Barack Obama rejected Ankara’s bid to post Patriot missiles along its border with Syria.
Netanyahu congratulates Obama
Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu congratulated Barack Obama on winning a second term and said the strategic alliance between the two countries was stronger than ever. “I will continue to work with President Obama to ensure the interests that are vital for the security of Israel’s citizens,” he said. Israel’s party leaders added warm wishes on Obama’s reelection.
Syrian rebels report bombing Assad’s palace
The rebel Deraa Brigade fighting in the Damascus area claimed to have blitzed Bashar Assad’s presidential palace and international airport in the Syrian capital. debkafile: If the claim is true, it would the rebels’ first success in hitting two major regime targets which hitherto eluded them.
Naftaly Bennett wins National Religious Party lead in upset vote
The new leader of Habayit-Hayehudi-National Religious Party is Naftali Bennett, 40, a hi-tech millionaire and former Yesha Council head. He beat veteran MK Zevulun Orlev by a 40 percent majority.
Barack Obama reelected: Watch out for a nuclear Iran, Islamist grip on ME
7 Nov. Some Middle East nations, including the Persian Gulf and Israel, view with trepidation four more years of Barack Obama. They envisage the continued hitching of US regional influence on the Muslim world – Sunni and Shiite alike, acceptance of a nuclear Iran and the sponsorship of Muslim Brotherhood rule of Sunni Arab nations. Israel is caught in a vise by Iran, whose leaders call openly for Israel’s extinction – achievable only by nuclear aggression – and by the hostile Muslim Brotherhood.
November 8, 2012 Briefs
Iran fired on an unarmed US drone
The Pentagon reported Thursday that an unarmed, unmanned MQ1 Predator drone was on routine surveillance over the Persian Gulf when it was shot at twice by Iranian fighter jets. The drone was not hit. It was flying 16 nautical miles off the Kuwaiti coast in international waters and never entered the 12-mile limit over Iranian territory. The Nov. 1 incident was the first time Iran has fired on a US drone.
Obama and Netanyahu have “very good” phone conversation
US President Barack Obama responded to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s warm congratulations on his election win by putting in a phone call to Jerusalem in his first round of responses to the good wishes he received from world leaders. Obama stressed that his friendship for Israel was unqualified and the two leaders agreed to meet at the earliest opportunity.
Three Syrian mortar shells land on Israeli Golan
One of the three Syrian mortar shells landing on the Israeli side of the Golan Thursday, Nov. 8, dropped onto open ground at Moshav Alonei Bashan without exploding.
Long conversation between Erdogan and Ahmadinejad in Bali
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a long, unscheduled conversation Thursday at the Democracy Forum taking place in Bali, Indonesia.
Obama aims for December nuclear talks with Iran
8 Nov. US President Barack Obama aims to launch direct, fast-track nuclear talks with Tehran in December with a three month deadline for their conclusion, debkafile reports. His advisers warn him that Iran’s campaign for its June 14 presidential election kicks off in March and Tehran cannot be expected to commit to a resolution of their nuclear controversy by then. Iranian strategists would prefer to hold off nuclear diplomacy for eight months until after their election “just as Tehran waited for the US vote.”
This would also give Iran more time for to race its nuclear program forward and erase another Israeli red line. In his UN September speech, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the spring or early summer of 2013 would be the critical date for Israel to act.