A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending September 20, 2012
September 7, 2012 Briefs
Obama skips action on Iran at Democratic Convention
In his speech to the Democratic Convention Thursday night, Barack Obama had little to say on foreign policy, aside from, "Our commitment to Israel's security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace," and "The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions."
WP: Syria’s chemical arsenal bigger, more scattered than suspected
Preparations for securing the sites with foreign troops have accelerated after the discovery that Syria’s arsenal contains several hundred tons of chemical weapons and precursors including battlefield-ready sarin in widely distributed sites.
US Rep. Mike Rogers: Israel will strike Iran soon unless US commits to the job
Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said in Jerusalem Thursday that he thinks Israel is at its wits’ end over Obama and will launch its own preemptive attack on Iran soon,
September 8, 2012 Briefs
IRGC Dep. Com.: If attacked, Iran will take the war to enemy soil
Brig. Gen. Salam Hossein, Dep. Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said Saturday that Iran would not allow war on its territory and if attacked would carry the battle over to enemy soil.
Chemical threat is back. Hizballah, Israel close to clash
8 Sept. The first US-Turkish backed steps for creating safe havens in Syria and possible Western bombardment of the Syrian army have brought the Middle East close to two dangerous junctures: The Syrian army’s use of chemical weapons, and an outbreak of hostilities between Hizballah and Israel – which nearly happened in mid-week, debkafile reports. Washington has now confirmed that US officials and intelligence agents were training and aiding Syrian rebels from positions on the Turkish border – and therefore directly intervening in their operations. Britain and France are also part of the creeping Western intervention.
These admissions came on the heels of the debkafile disclosure of Sept. 6 that Turkish officers backed by US agents had taken command of two Syrian rebel brigades. Washington also said Syria’s nuclear arsenal was bigger and more widely scattered than suspected hitherto; US intelligence appears to have lost count.
September 10, 2012 Briefs
Al Qaeda owns up to 11 attacks killing 100 Iraqis
In terrorist attacks on 11 Iraqi cities Sunday and Monday, more than 100 people were killed. Al Qaeda claimed they were retribution for the death sentence passed in absentia by an Iraqi court against the Sunni ex-Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi.
Israeli air force bombs four Gaza targets
Early Monday, the Israeli Air Force struck four terrorist targets in response to Palestinian Grad missile attacks on Beersheba and Netivot. Responsibility for the attacks was claimed by the Al Qaeda-linked Mujaheddin in the Vicinity of Jerusalem which operates from Gaza and Sinai. Schools were reopened as usual in Beersheba and Ashdod Monday.
September 12, 2012 Briefs
Security stepped up at US embassies and missions worldwide
Following the wave of Islamist terrorist attacks on US missions in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia – and the deaths of four US diplomas in Benghazi – security has been reinforced at all US embassies around the world.
Romney condemns “disgraceful” Obama response to attacks on US missions
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney voiced outrage at the attacks on US diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and deaths in Benghazi. "It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” Romney added.
Obama: Murders of US ambassador to Libya and 3 staff members outrageous
The US president said that while America respects all faiths, nothing justifies such actions. “We will work with the Libyan government to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said. A few hours earlier, a mob of angry Islamists, some hoisting al Qaeda flags, stormed the US embassy in Cairo.
Al Zawahri personally ordered Al Qaeda to murder US Ambassador Stevens
12 Sept. The US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three staff members at the US consulate in Benghazi were deliberately murdered Tuesday night Sept 11 just after memorial ceremonies were held in America for the victims of the 9/11 outrage. Far from being a spontaneous raid by angry Islamists, it was a professionally executed terrorist operation by a professional Al Qaeda team, whose 20 members acted under the orders of their leader Ayman al Zawahri in revenge for the liquidation of a top al Qaeda operative Abu Yahya al-Libi in June.
They were all Libyans, freed from prison after Muammar Qaddafi’s passing. They stormed the consulate on the back of a violent protest against an insulting Prophet Muhammed video produced in California.
September 13, 2012 Briefs
Islamist riots flare in Yemen, continue in Egypt
Anti- American protests over video mocking Islam also spread at lower intensity to Casablanca, Tunis, Sudan, Bangladesh, Tehran, Baghdad by Shiites and Tel Aviv.
Obama: Egypt is no longer an ally – but not an enemy
Shortly after Egyptian Islamist protesters tore down the US flag at the US embassy in Cairo, President Obama said Thursday that the US would no longer consider the Egyptian government an ally, “but we don’t consider them an enemy.” He said the new Muslim Brotherhood leadership was still “trying to find its way.”
Israel on alert for Islamist anti-US violence spillover
13 Sept. Israel has posted additional military, police and security forces in the West Bank, around the Gaza Strip and among Israeli Arab communities following information warning that they were all preparing anti-American protests Friday, Sept. 14 which could spill over into Israel. A few score members of the extremist Northern Section of the Islamic Movement in Israel demonstrated outside the US embassy in Tel Aviv Thursday, chanting anti-American slogans.
The anti-US ferment sweeping Arab capitals finds Obama administration policy-makers in two minds about how it fits into the bigger picture of the Arab Spring and its aftermath, debkafile reports. One assigns the disturbances a domestic motive, stirred up or exploited to weaken the new rulers thrown up by the Arab Spring while dimming US influence in the region.
The other argues that “moderate” Islamic rulers like Morsi are in no danger and are in fact riding the anger of the masses over the film to solidify their grip on power at the expense of America’s unpopularity among Muslims.
Al Qaeda attacks US-led Sinai peace mission
14 Sept. Four Colombian peacekeepers were injured holding off scores of Salafi Bedouin linked to al Qaeda who stormed the Multinational Force’s camp in northern Sinai with grenades, mortars and automatic guns Friday, Sept. 14.The 1,500 mostly US troops are posted in Sinai to monitor the Egyptian-Israeli 1979 peace accords. This was the second al-Qaeda-instigated assault on a primarily American target in the Middle East in four days after the murder of four US diplomats in Benghazi Tuesday.
Mounted Israeli police break up Palestinian mob at US consulate
14 Sept. Hundreds of Palestinians lobbing rocks clashed with Jerusalem police while marching Friday from Temple Mount, Jerusalem, toward Damascus Gate – the first Palestinian protest against the anti-Muslim film made in the US. Mounted police using stun grenades stopped them reaching the US consulate. Protests erupted too in the Gaza Strip and the Israel Bedouin town of Rahat. Islamists continued to batter the US embassies in Cairo and Sanaa, riot in Bangladesh and Lebanon and attack the British and German embassies in Khartoum.
“Moderate” Muslim regimes start sharing power with radicals
15 Sept. The mounting wave of anti-US Islamist protests now encompassing 21 countries is rapidly turning violent. In at least four Arab countries, anti-US protesters used firearms. The most serious occurred in Egyptian Sinai, where a horde of armed Salafist Bedouin linked to al Qaeda overran the US-led Multinational Force base near El Arish base Friday, Sept. 14.
debkafile’s counter-terror and intelligence sources conclude from nearly a week of surging anti-American violence that the anti-Muslim video was not the cause but the pretext, that radical Islamist organizations including al Qaeda built on swelling anti-US sentiment to weaken local governments maintaining ties with the US; that they coordinate operations through an as-yet undiscovered mechanism; that they plan to use their momentum to push the Muslim Brotherhood out of power; that some of the MB regimes have begun bowing to the extremists and preparing to share power.
The Arab Spring and President Obama’s outreach to Muslims are crumbling, recalling the debacle of 33 years ago when President Jimmy Carter helped overthrow the Shah of Persia only to bring implacable ayatollah rule to Tehran.
September 16, 2012 Briefs
Taliban attack caused unprecedented US, UK air force damage
The Taliban attack on Camp Bastion in S. Afghanistan Friday destroyed 6 US fighter jets and significantly damaged two. Three coalition refueling stations were also destroyed and six aircraft hangars damaged. A Taliban spokesman said the massive assault had targeted Prince Harry who is posted at the US-UK base. Known as “Captain Wales,” he was unhurt.
Netanyahu: Iran is perilously close to a nuke
A containment policy won’t work for Iran because of its “unbelievably fanatical” leadership, says Israel’s prime Minister in an interview to the NBC’s Meet the Press to be aired Sunday. “You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?” He said he disagrees with those he say going to war with Iran would be worse than a nuclear Iran.
A 25-nation armada launches giant war game at Strait of Hormuz
16 Sept. Battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz Sunday for a 12-day exercise, the largest ever held in the region. They will practice tactics for breaching an Iranian blockade of the strait, undertake counter-mining drills and simulate the destruction of Iranian combat jets, ships and coastal missile batteries.
The multi-national naval force in the Gulf includes three US Nimitz class carrier groups, each of which has more aircraft than the entire complement of the Iranian air force. It is estimated that after the exercise ends Sept. 27, the components of the exercise will not disperse but remain in place to be ready for any repercussions from a potential Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Al Qaeda hits three Egyptian bases, takes schoolchildren hostage
16 Sept. Al Qaeda-led Salafi Bedouin bands expanded their Sinai offensive to three Egyptian bases along a 70-kilometer front three days after they overran the US-led Multinational Force base in northern Sinai. Heavily-armed Islamist gunmen struck Egyptian bases at El Arish, Rafah opposite the Israeli border and Sheikh Zuweid, where they used local schoolchildren as human shields and shot down an Egyptian helicopter. Egypt has imposed a blackout on all three episodes. Hundreds of US MFO officers remain trapped in their Sinai base.
September 17, 2012 Briefs
Beirut asks Iran for clarifications on Al Qods ops in Lebanon
Lebanon has formally asked Iran to explain the statement by Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Ali Jafary that officers of Al Qods, the Guards’ terrorist and intelligence arm, are present in Syria and Lebanon. His statement was Tehran’s first admission that those officers were there.
US diplomats start destroying Beirut embassy documents
The diplomats were told to destroy classified material and Lebanese staff sent home early as a security precaution. Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on all Lebanese Shiites to join the anti-US wave sweeping Muslim countries.
Iran emboldened by US-led bid for fresh nuclear diplomacy
17 Sept. Emboldened by certainty that its nuclear program was safe from attack, Iran’s atomic energy chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani felt free to heap abuse on the International Atomic Energy Agency. In Vienna Saturday, Sept. 17, he accused the watchdog of a cynical approach and mismanagement, being influenced by “certain states” and infiltration by “terrorists and saboteurs [the US and Israel].” Abbasi was further bolstered by the US-Israel row on Iran and the fresh US-led bid to revive nuclear diplomacy with the Islamic republic.
September 18, 2012 Briefs
PKK ambush kills 7 Turkish soldiers, injures 63
The military convoy was traveling between Bingöl and Muş in eastern Turkey Tuesday when a bus in the convoy was hit by a rocket. Kurdish PKK fighters hiding on the side of the road opened fire on the vehicles with assault rifles, prompting a firefight.
debkafile: PKK attacks in Turkey have mounted since Syria opened up its territory for the Kurdish separatists to attack Turkey.
Exclusive: Iran arrests 3 Fordo sabotage suspects
18 Sept. Iran is holding three suspects who entered the country from Azerbaijan under intense grilling to discover their role in the mid-August explosion of the power lines to the underground uranium enrichment site at Fordo, debkafile’s exclusive Iranian sources reveal. Tehran is also questioning the engineers, planners and company heads who built the facility to find out why it was not provided with an independent power generator, an omission which exposed the plant to stoppage by sabotaging its electricity supply.
Iranian investigators suspect that local builders of Fordo may have been bribed by Israeli and American agents to omit this back-up system and so leave the enrichment plant vulnerable to external attack for interrupting its continuous operation
September 19, 2012 Briefs
Palestinian pipe bomb defused at Israeli factory
The device was set to explode Wednesday in one of the Nitzanei Shalom Industrial zone’s factories. It was discovered in time and defused by a police explosives expert.
Beijing demonstrators damage US ambassador’s car
A car carrying the US ambassador to China was mildly damaged after around 50 anti-Japan demonstrators surrounded as he tried to enter the embassy but were removed by Chinese security personnel. They expressed outrage over a territorial dispute and marking the 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China. Ambassador Gary Locke was unhurt.
Tens of thousands of Israeli troops in surprise Golan drill
19 Sept. Reservists drafted at no notice, Air Force, Central Command and other IDF units were flown to Israel’s northern Golan border early Wednesday, Sept. 19, for a surprise exercise, shortly after an earlier drill in the same area. Since early September, therefore the Israeli Defense Forces in a constant state ofreadiness for a real war.
In the Persian Gulf, the US is leading 25 West European and Arab nations in a gigantic 12-day war game in the Straits of Hormuz which began Sunday, Sept 16. It includes a large-scale minesweeping drill to simulate the breaching of the Strait of Hormuz against Iranian efforts to block oil passage through the strategic waterway.
September 20, 2012 Briefs
A Syrian air strike killed or wounded 110 at a gas station
Syrian opposition activists report that a targeted Syrian government air attack Thursday on a gas station in Ain Issa village in the northern Raqa province killed or injured 110 people.
Iran’s atomic energy chief admits to giving the IAEA false information
Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, admitted to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper Thursday that Tehran had fed the nuclear watchdog false information to protect its nuclear facilities and progress. “Sometimes we made ourselves appear weak and at other times we reported issues that made us appear stronger than we really were,” he said.
Abbasi estimated that the Iranian nuclear program would come up again before the Security Council in November and if this step fails, a US military operation will come after the US presidential election.
Israeli targeted air strike killed two Palestinians in Gaza
An Israeli air strike killed two wanted Palestinian terrorists in the southern Gazan town of Rafah Wednesday night in a joint IDF-Shin Bet operation targeting the two “Defenders of Al-Aqsa” members who were heading for an attack on Israel from Egyptian Sinai.
Israel does not object to a nuclear power station in Jordan
Dr. Shaul Horev, Director of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission denied Wednesday that Israel objects to Jordan building a nuclear power station for electricity but is strongly opposed to an Arab initiative supported by the Obama administration for a conference on a nuclear-free Middle East.
Iran pours more troops into Syria
20 Sept. Iran is flying more military personnel and into Syria by civilian aircraft cutting through Iraqi airspace, US intelligence sources disclose. debkafile: By augmenting its military involvement Iran is turning the Syrian civil war into a multinational conflict also and shoring up Hizballah for potential war with Israel.
Frequent exercises keep the IDF on the move and constantly ready for a real war on familiar terrain.