A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending Oct. 10, 2013

October 4, 2013 Briefs

  • Russian staff evacuated from Libya embassy
    Moscow announced the evacuation to Tunisia of most of its embassy staff in Libya, after the Tripoli compound was attacked by unknown gunmen last week.
  • Netanyahu: Nuclear weapons will make Iran’s brutal regime immortal
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told BBC Persian that he wanted to see “a real diplomatic solution” that would involve completely dismantling Iran’s ability to make nuclear weapons – “not a fake one." He also said, "If they get nuclear weapons this brutal regime will be immortal, like North Korea. The people of Iran deserve better. They are a great people."

October 5, 2013 Briefs

  • Nine-year old Pesagot girl seriously hurt in terrorist shooting
    The nine-year old girl Noam Glick was shot by a terrorist Saturday night outside her home in the Israeli village of Pesagot near Ramallah. She was rushed to hospital with a bullet injury to her shoulder. Residents were told to stay indoors in case the shooter was still at large.
  • Obama says Iran a year or more from building nuke
    President Barack Obama said Saturday that intelligence estimates show Iran is “a year or more away” from building a nuclear weapon. In an interview with AP, he acknowledged that US estimates were more conservative than those of Israel, which said Iran was much closer that that to building an atomic weapon.
  • Palestinian car rams barrier injure two Israeli police
    A Palestinian vehicle rammed an Israeli Border Police roadblock in the Sebastia district of the northern West Bank. Two police officers were slightly injured. The vehicle got away as the unit shot at its wheels and was found abandoned in the village of Burqa.

Syria’s chemical disarmament stalled by UN inadequacies

5 Oct. debkafile’s military and intelligence sources affirm as unfounded the upbeat accounts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on its experts’ progress toward dismantling Syria’s chemical arsenal and praise for the “businesslike and efficient” cooperation of the Damascus regime. This optimism conceals the following facts:
1) Syria submitted lists of 19 chemical sites and left the rest of its known 45 locations unreported.
2) The OPCW team which landed Syria Tuesday, Oct. 1, consists only of negotiators charged with preparing a dismantlement plan which the Syrian government will be asked to approve.
3) The actual disarmament experts will need to be secured by military personnel and obtain armored vehicles before they can set out to for the destinations. Neither is yet available. Moscow has offered both, but Washington has yet to agree to their deployment.
4) Seven sites are situated in areas occupied by rebel forces, whose leaders have never agreed to grant international chemical experts access.
The partners in the chemical weapons deal – the US and Russia – continue to turn a blind eye to the human suffering caused by chemical warfare in Syria. Thousands of victims, many of them children, remain in hospital without proper treatment. Some have developed cancerous cells for lack of preventive care.

Muslim Brotherhood marks Oct. 6 war date with anti-military revolt

5 Oct. Four people were killed and dozens injured in clashes Friday and Saturday when pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with opponents and security forces in Cairo, Alexandria, Assiut and other Egyptian towns. This was a foretaste of the “Great Counter-Coup” the Brotherhood is preparing to launch on Oct. 6, the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war on Israel. Millions of Egyptians across the country received orders through underground channels to take to the streets for Stage One. During the week, gunmen attacked two military targets killing five Egyptian soldiers.

October 6, 2013 Briefs

  • Up to 53 killed in failed Egyptian Brotherhood counter-coup
    The Muslim Brotherhood failed to bring millions out on the street against the military coup and in support of its deposed president Mohamed Morsi Sunday. The “Great Counter-Coup” whose launch was timed for Oct. 6, the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, ended in clashes with the military – mostly in Cairo – in which up to 53 people were killed, 270 injured and hundreds arrested and poor attendance in other Egyptian towns.
  • US forces capture wanted Al Qaeda man in Libya, fail to nab Somali suspect
    In Tripoli, Libya, US special forces Saturday night captured Al Qaeda’s Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai aka Anas al-Libi, sought for 15 years for the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Also before dawn, Navy SEALs raided the hideout of the suspected Shabaab leader believed to have masterminded the group's deadly attack last month on a shopping mall in Kenya, but their target was not there.

Big manhunt for shooter of Pesagot child in first Palestinian “lone-wolf” attack on a civilian

The attack on nine-year old Noam Glick at her home in Pesagot was the third in a series of the new Palestinian “lone-wolf” terror tactic. Two soldiers were murdered on the West Bank by this method last month: Sgt. Tomer Hazan from Bat Yam, whose body was found near Qalqilya on Sept. 21 and Sgt. Gal Koby from Tirat Hacarmel who died Sept. 22 when a sniper bullet struck at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The Pesagot terrorist knew about the weak point in the electronic fence guarding the village which he breached without sounding the alarm, aided most probably by accomplices. He shot Noam at very close range and escaped. He knew that he was shooting a child.

October 7, 2013 Briefs

  • Half a million mourners at Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s funeral
    The roads to Jerusalem were blocked, traffic in the capital came to a standstill, 4,000 policemen fought for control, and 150 people needed first aid, as mourners from the across the country poured in for the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died Monday at the age of 93.
  • Gunmen kill 6 Egyptian soldiers near Ismailia
    Five Egyptian troops and one an officer, were shot dead by masked gunmen near the Suez Canal city of Ismailia Monday. In the southern Sinai town of A-Tur, a massive car explosion hit Egyptian district security headquarters, killing two people and wounding 50. In Cairo, rockets fired at a state satellite station wounded two people. The attacks took place hours after 53 people were killed in Muslim Brotherhood clashes with the Egyptian army in protest events marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war and calm was restored to the streets of the capital.
  • The Syrian chemical disarmament show goes on
    The international OPCW announced that the work of dismantling of Syrian chemical weapons sites has been started by … Syrian military teams. In Asia, US Secretary of State John Kerry fulsomely praised the Assad regime for its compliance with the UN resolution. – According to debkafile’s intelligence sources, no more than the token disarming of a few chemical bombs and shells has taken place.

Assad launches offensive to retake Golan border with Israel

7 Oct. Two Syrian armored brigades were on their way Monday night, Oct. 7, to link up with forces fighting in southern Syria to reach Quneitra opposite the Israeli Golan border. debkafile reports long convoys of around 200 tanks, APCs, armored vehicles and self-propelled artillery heading for an assembly-point near Daraa in the south. Their goal appears to be to root out rebel strength from all parts of the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan and also sever links between the Syrian rebels and the IDF across the divided Golan.

Hizballah secretly withdraws forces from Syria

7 Oct. Hizballah is surreptitiously withdrawing its thousands of fighting men from Syria after an intervention that helped save the Assad regime. debkafile: This withdrawal closes Tehran’s first successful experiment in fielding a surrogate force to determine the outcome of a war in an important strategic arena. Despite heavy losses, Hizballah comes out toughened by combat experience and seasoned in running regular military units in battle under combined Iranian-Syrian command. The Lebanese Shiites have won a tactical advantage over the IDF which has not faced real combat since 2006.

October 8, 2013 Briefs

  • Britain restores diplomatic ties with Iran
    Without waiting for Iranian concessions on its nuclear program – or even negotiations – the UK has appointed a charge d’affaires for Tehran and expects Iran to send a charge to London in return. Foreign Secretary William Hague said this would help towards “eventual reopening of both our embassies.”
  • Gantz postulates 10 notional war scenarios
    Ten hypothetical war scenarios that may confront a future Israeli army chief one morning were postulated Tuesday by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz in a lecture at the Begin-Sadat Strategic Studies Center of Bar Ilan University.
    1) A precisely-targeted missile hits the IDF’s General Staff center in Tel Aviv, or a cyber attack disrupts normal civilian routines;
    2) A nursery school is blown up; an Arab mob storms an Israeli village;
    3) An army patrol runs over a mine along the Golan border and first responders are hit by a rocket. One is a battalion commander who is kidnapped.
    4) A notorious jihadist organization strikes on all Israel’s borders. Israel strikes back and Hizballah exploits the mayhem to unleash a rocket attack on Galilee.
    5) The jihadists attack Eilat and hundreds of Hamas terrorists burst through the Erez crossing to hit the IDF’s Gaza Brigade,
    Gen. Gantz said he does not believe that any of those scenarios are unreal. The ever-present danger of war and the vast arsenal in the hands of non-government organizations, he said, obliges every commander to hold its operational options ready.
  • Erdan: Hizballah has 200,000 rockets able to hit every Israeli home
    Israel’s Home Defense Minister Gilead Erdan Tuesday cited the IDF’s worst case scenario when he raised the potential of Israel coming under a three-week blitz of thousands of missiles. Speaking at Bar Ilan University, the minister said Hizballah has accumulated 200,000 rockets and is capable of striking every Israeli home.
  • Putin: Russia and Israel on “same page” on Assad
    Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday echoed the praise for Assad’s consent to disarm his chemical arsenal voiced Monday by US Secretary of State John Kerry after they met at the Asia-Pacific summit in Bali. "We have a common understanding of what needs to be done and how. I am very glad that President Obama is occupying this position (on chemical arms)," Putin told reporters.
  • Two Palestinians detained on suspicion of shooting Israeli child
    After a three-day manhunt, the IDF Tuesday arrested two Palestinian brothers in El Bireh on the outskirts of Ramallah on suspicion of involvement in the shooting of nine-year old Israeli girl Noam Glick at nearby Pesagot on Oct. 5.

Syrian tanks besiege key town athwart Damascus-Golan highway

8 Oct. Large Syrian forces tightened through Tuesday night, Oct. 8, the siege on the rebel-held town of Khan Arnabeh, key to control of the main highway from the capital, Damascus, to the Syrian Golan. The town is expected to fall quite soon. Its capture would also open the way to the central crossroads around the Golan town of Quneitra and enable the Syria army to return to its former positions on the UN-policed disengagement zone dividing the enclave between Syria and Israel. debkafile: The rebels are putting up no more than token resistance both in this and other battle zones across Syria as Khan Arnabeh takes saturation bombing from Syrian tanks, artillery and aircraft. During the day, the IDF ordered the crews working on the Golan security fence to leave the area for their own safety.

October 9, 2013 Briefs

  • US suspends hundreds of millions dollars of aid to Egypt
    The US has frozen $260 million of its $1.5 billion annual aid to Egypt, most of it military assistance including four fighter jets, Apache helicopters and other large weapons systems, pending the restoration of democracy.
  • Larijani: Iran has surplus of 20-percent enriched uranium
    Iran has more 20-pc enriched uranium than it needs and plans to use that as a bargaining chip at nuclear talks in Geneva next week, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Wednesday. This was a key concession sought by world powers in negotiations.
  • Syrian mortar bombs injure two Israeli soldiers on Golan
    Israeli troops returned the fire with a Tamuz missile on a Syrian base, killing two Syrian soldiers.
  • Two Israeli-born chemists among three winners of Chemistry Nobel Prize
    Israeli-born Professors Arieh Warshel, of South California University and Michael Levitt of Stanford shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with American-Australian Prof. Martin Karplus of Strasburg University and Harvard “for the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems.” Both began their research at the Weizmann Institute, Israel.

Exclusive: Obama forewarns Netanyahu that sanctions on Iran will soon be lifted

9 Oct. President Barack Obama has notified Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the partial and gradual lifting of sanctions against Iran will soon begin. Israel is the only American ally to receive prior warning of this decision – and the only one to be briefed in detail on the US-Iranian understandings, including Iran’s concessions on its nuclear program. These concessions will start coming to light when they are put on the table of the nuclear negotiations beginning in Geneva on Oct. 15 between Iran and the P5+1 group. Meanwhile, high-ranking British, French and other European emissaries arrived in Jerusalem Thursday night to discuss the latest developments on the Iranian question and find out what Obama had told Netanyahu.

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