A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending Oct. 17, 2013
October 11, 2013 Briefs
- Palestinian terrorists murder Col.(res.) Seraya Ofer in Jordan Valley
IDF Reserves Col. Seraya Ofer, 50 was attacked by two Palestinians at his home at Rosh Habik’a in the Jordan Valley after midnight. Stepping out of the house to investigate a suspicious sound, he was beaten to death with axes, a pitchfork and iron bars as he struggled against his assailants. After phoning for help, his wife, Monique, fled the house chased by the terrorists until she stopped a passing car and summoned security forces to the scene. She was hurt as she ran and taken to hospital.
Netanyahu is too late to stop a nuclear Iran
11 Oct. Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16 fighter squadrons this week carried out exercises testing their capability to conduct missions at long ranges, as a message to Tehran that Israel’s military option against its nuclear program is alive. However, it is by now an open secret that the battle against a nuclear Iran is lost. The secret understandings President Barack Obama negotiated with Tehran are ready for endorsement at the Geneva conference on Oct. 15-16. And they leave Iran with much of its nuclear capacity in place. Netanyahu believes he still has three cards to play: the Israeli Air Force, Europeans fearful of a nuclear Iran and the US Congress.
October 12, 2013 Briefs
- Iran reports trial of suspected Israeli spies
The semi-official Mehr news agency quotes Judge Dadkhoda Salaria as disclosing that a group of three spies hired 60 others to conspire against Iran’s ruling government by collecting information and transferring it outside the country, as well as assisting anti-religious establishments in Israel. The case was tried somewhere in southeastern Iran. The judge said many of those charged confessed during interrogation, but he provided no further details of when the trial took place or if they were sentenced.
- Amos Gilead: Iran can develop a nuclear weapon whenever it wants
The Defense Ministry’s political adviser Amos Gilead said Wednesday in a lecture to a Washington audience: “If Khamenei were to ask Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Commission: ‘Can we develop a nuclear weapon whenever we want? The answer would be ‘yes.”” In 2003, when they feared an American attack, they suspended the program, but have since reactivated it and also built hundreds of missiles. Now facing tough sanctions, Tehran may again suspend its program while preserving the ability to develop a nuclear weapon in due time.
October 13, 2013 Briefs
- An Iranian negotiator: Iran will not send any enriched uranium abroad
Abbas Araghchi, a senior member of the negotiating team taking part in the Geneva talks opening Tuesday gave due warning Sunday that Tehran will not consider sending abroad any of its stockpile of enriched uranium as part of a deal with the world powers.
- Gaza “terrorist” tunnel 2.5km long found near kibbutz
A 2.5 km tunnel from the Gaza Strip ending near Kibbutz Ain Hashlosha has been discovered by Israeli forces. Its starting point was at Kafr Ibsen al-Zariz east if the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. The tunnel has niches for explosives and several openings, some of them far inside Israeli territory. Believed to be one of many, it was equipped with electricity, telephone connections and food. After finding the walls made of new concrete slabs, Israel suspended the transition of building materials to the Gaza Strip.
Bushehr builder is live wire in secret Obama-Khamenei dialogue
13 Oct. Putin assigned Russia’s top nuclear expert, the builder of Bushehr Sergei Kiriyenko, to negotiate and formulate a secret deal on Iran’s nuclear program between the White House, the Kremlin and the office of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, debkafile reveals. He heads a team of Farsi-speaking Russian nuclear experts set up in Bushehr as President Putin’s forward staff in Iran. They were given the job of hammering out the draft for a nuclear agreement, modeled on the US-Russian Syrian chemical accord, ahead of the Geneva talks on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
October 14, 2013 Briefs
- British police foil terrorist attack, detain four suspects in London
The four Muslim suspects were picked up in different parts of London – two after a car chase in Whitechapel, East London, Sunday night. A third man was detained on a street in west London and a fourth at a flat south east of the city. The police were in race for time to prevent the four suspected terrorists gaining access to weapons and staging an Islamist terror attack.
- A large booby-trapped car dismantled in Beirut’s Hizballah stronghold
Lebanese army experts are working to dismantle large amounts of explosives found Monday in a booby-trapped blue Grand Cherokee car found in Beirut's al-Maamoura neighborhood in the Hizballah stronghold of Dahya. Wires connected a mobile phone to a cable found in the car.
- Former Israeli Navy chief briefly detained at Heathrow
Rear-Admiral (ret) Eliezer Maron was briefly detained at London Heathrow Airport upon landing Monday in the United Kingdom. After he was questioned, he was released and allowed to continue his visit. An Israeli embassy spokesman in London said “We are looking into the issue right now.”
- OPCW can’t reach Syrian rebel-held areas for inspections
Ahmet Uzumcu, of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said inspectors had reached five out of at least 20 facilities capable of producing chemical weapons, but access to other sites went through rebel-held areas and could not be reached.
US to Iran: Carry on enriching uranium – just cut down on IR-2 centrifuges
14 Oct. Iranian hardliners urge pushing Barack Obama harder after he agreed to let Iran’s nuclear program continue, including the enrichment of uranium up to 20 percent purity, and is only holding out for a cap on the high-speed IR2 centrifuges. This ace, say the hardliners, could make Washington drop demands to remove enriched uranium stocks from the country. debkafile: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s four stipulations for a nuclear accord with Iran vanished on the road to Geneva, except for Secretary John Kerry’s vague comment “…we are mindful of Israel’s security needs.”
October 15, 2013 Briefs
- Netanyahu: Preemptive strike against Iran not be ruled out
One lesson Israel learned from the Yom Kippur war, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday, was never to disallow the option of a preemptive strike in advance. Addressing the Knesset session marking the 40th anniversary of that war, Netanyahu stressed that while this option may not meet all situations, it must be seriously weighed.
- US weighs letting Iran keep enrichment facilities
Just hours before the Geneva nuclear talks opened in Geneva US sources in Washington told the Wall Street Journal that the Obama administration is weighing allow Iran to keep its uranium enrichment facilities. This was disclosed earlier in a debkafile Special Report.
- Russian security services foil chemical terror attack
Russia detained two men, followers of the Islamic Wahhabi sect, suspected of planning a terrorist attack at a chemical weapons storage facility that could have caused “hundreds of deaths.”
Syrian convoy moves chemical arms out of Al Safira
15 Oct. A convoy of about 100 Syrian army trucks was sighted Monday, Oct. 15, transporting a large consignment of chemical arms from their big depot at the Al Safira military base east of Aleppo to another facility in the town of Hama, some 160 kilometers to the south, debkafile discloses. This was the first time in the more than two and-a-half years of the Syrian civil war that a large shipment of chemical weapons has been moved out of Al Safira, where also CW-capable Scud missiles are stored.
Iran dictates Khamenei’s “fatwa” for nuclear negotiations
15 Oct. The Iranian negotiators arrived in Geneva Tuesday, Oct. 15, armed with inflexible positions for the talks with the six powers in Geneva on their country’s nuclear program. Most of all, the world must recognize Iran’s inalienable right to enrich uranium. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi also insisted on the (P5+1) powers accepting as the basis for negotiations the Supreme Leader’s 2006 fatwa banning the development of nuclear weapons – an edict devoid of religious value. debkafile: This ploy was meant to make the powers accept Khamenei’s standing as a world leader.
Thus far, the Obama administration had not relayed a single word to Binyamin Netanyahu on the Geneva proceedings.
October 16, 2013 Briefs
- UN chemical inspectors visit 11 Syrian sites, destroy six
The international chemical weapons experts of OPCW, working in Syrian since Oct. 1, have conducted inspections at 11 facilities, and destroyed production equipment at 6 facilities.
- Russia: No guarantee of progress in future nuclear talks with Iran
Sergey Ryabkov, senior Russian negotiator at the Geneva talks said after they ended Wednesday that he sees no guarantee of further progress in future talks with Iran.
- State ceremony commemorates late PM Yitzhak Rabin
President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attended a state ceremony on Mt. Herzl to commemorate the late Prime Minister Yithzak Rabin on the 18th anniversary of his assassination.
- Rev. Guards to Khamenei: Stop détente with US at Geneva
debkafile’s Iranian sources report that Revolutionary Guards leaders demanded of Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Wednesday that he put a stop to the upbeat comments of Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and his deputy at the Geneva talks – and most of allto the détente with the United States.
- Urgent sidelines meetings in Geneva to bridge gaps
In view of the wide gaps between the Six Powers and Iran at the Geneva conference on Iran’s nuclear program, meetings on the sidelines took place. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman met Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy executive Catherine Ashton saw his deputy Abbas Araghchi.
Geneva talks fail to break standoff on Iran’s nuclear program
16 Oct. Two days of talks in Geneva between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany ended Wednesday, Oct. 16, with little but a decision, reported by Tehran, to reconvene on Nov. 7-9 for another attempt to break the standoff on Iran’s nuclear program. debkafile: In general, Iran appears to be willing to partially scale back uranium enrichment for immediate sanctions relief.
The gaps between the opposing sides were so wide that the forum in Geneva suspended its multinational discussion after the first day and the delegations broke up into two camps for bilateral meetings on the sidelines. The Western delegates conferred with each other, while the Iranians put their heads together with the Russian and Chinese delegates.
October 17, 2013 Briefs
- Palestinian driving a tractor shot dead crashing into an army base
The Palestinian rammed his tractor through the guard post of the IDF Ramah base north of Jerusalem. After crashing into a number of vehicles inside the base, the soldier and officer chasing him opened fire. He was taken with severe injuries to the Kalandia checkpoint where he died. Army forces have spread in the surrounding district.
- Former US President G.W. Bush: Iran remains hostile to Israel
Iranian hostility to Israel remains despite renewed diplomatic communication between President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani, said Former President George W. Bush Tuesday. “… until the form of government changes in Iran, it is unlikely that their intentions toward Israel will change.”
Turkey shopped Mossad spies to Iran – Netanyahu is warned
17 Oct. Early last year, the Erdogan government blew the cover of up to 10 Israel agents in Iran. This story was published in The Washington Post, Thursday, Oct. 17 – the day after the Geneva conference on Iran’s nuclear program, hailed by Western powers led by the US as “substantive” and “forward-looking.”
The WP story was a broad hint to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that if he fails to fall in line, get behind the New Middle East, and accept Barack Obama’s take on Iran’s position, Israel would face more intelligence debacles. The message was also intended for two other naysayers, Saudi Arabia and Egypt