A Digest of the Week’s Exclusives
13 January: The Turkish government is bargaining on two levels.
debkafile‘s sources in the Persian Gulf reveal that the question the Turkish prime minister privately posed Arab leaders, including Saddam Hussein, was this: Was Turkey’s unwavering resistance to Washington’s demands worth a comparable level of aid to that pledged by the US for taking part in the war, namely $4-6 billion? The Turkish prime minister topped his question up by asking for a further $4-5 billion, to be allocated over the next two to three years.
According to our Gulf sources, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed in principle to put up or guarantee the money. Saddam’s reply is unknown.
However, at the same time, Turkish emissaries sat down in Washington to bargain with the Americans. debkafile‘s Washington sources report that the US side was led by Marc Grossman, Number Three in the State Department and ambassador to Turkey from 1994-1997, and Daniel Fried, head of the European and Asian-European Desks in the White House’s National Security Council. The Gul government was represented by its Washington ambassador, Faruk Logoglu, backed up by members of the Turkish government and general staff sent over for the negotiations.
The US side argued that handing Kirkuk and Mosul over to Turkish control would be tantamount to Iraq’s dismemberment, when only a short while ago America pledged Iraq’s territorial integrity in response to a sine qua non from Ankara. Turkey’s repudiation of that condition would free Washington’s hands for redrawing Iraq’s external and internal boundaries without needing Ankara’s approval. Moreover, Ankara jeopardized its chances of getting through Congress the economic aid package it has requested to compensate for potential economic losses estimated at $4-15 billion.
The standoff remains in force with regard to the North Korean nuclear dispute.
DEBKAfile’s experts report that increasing signs point to North Korea’s saber-rattling coming out of a back alley in the Turkish Bazaar.
In mid-October 2002, DEBKA-Net-Weekly and DEBKAfile first exposed North Korea’s nuclear weapons program’s strong bonds to the Middle East. We also reported that Pyongyang had long since shifted major parts of its weapons production and nuclear enrichment processing from Yongbyon to secret sites in Iran and Libya. More than 400 Iraqi nuclear scientists and technicians were found by our sources to be employed in Libya’s underground complex at al Kufra Oasis, where costs are covered mainly by Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Monday, January 13, US assistant secretary of state James Kelly offered North Korea American energy and investment for scrapping its nuclear weapons program. However, even acceptance by the North of that offer would be if limited value; the program would simply go on undisturbed in the Middle East.
DEBKAfile‘s Gulf sources disclose the view current in circles close to the Saudi throne and Gulf Emirs that, just as the Iraqi ruler pledged Turkey generous largesse for hopping off the American war wagon, he also promised Kim Jong-Il a hefty aid package plus oil for opening an Asian front to sabotage Washington’s war initiative. A number of other Gulf oil producers have also offered to compensate North Korea for America, Japanese and South Korean energy stoppages.
The obstructionist moves by Turkey and North Korea led Saudi crown prince Abdullah to predict on Saturday, January 12, that the US war against Iraq would not take off. The Bush administration meanwhile finds itself engaged heavily in dealing with trip-wires and hurdles instead of getting the war started.
14 January: The Palestinian paper admits that the full text of the Suleiman ceasefire document presented to the London conference held on January 14 was kept dark for fear it will break up the inter-Palestinian dialogue in Cairo. Arafat is said to have approved, but not adopted it. None of the groups said to endorse it are named. Arafat’s ceasefire is therefore an obvious smoke and mirrors exercise.
Arafat is described by DEBKAfile‘s counter-terror sources as being fully absorbed in arranging the funding and deployment of new weapons, tricks, ruses and devices for the coming cycle of terrorist operations that bank heavily on the effectiveness of… a toy: Model planes packed with explosives and operated by remote control.
Last month, Palestinian toy importers in Jerusalem and Ramallah ordered hundreds of these toys for distribution to Palestinian children in hospitals. Subsidies from European Union member-governments could legitimately be allocated to this humanitarian purpose.
According to our sources, not a single toy reached an injured Palestinian child.
The model planes were converted in Palestinian workshops into miniature air bombers with explosive payloads. Tanzim militiamen from Arafat’s Fatah, who tested the flying bombs, discovered they could fly to a distance of 1 kilometer and an altitude of 300 meters. To guide the plane to target inside an Israeli built-up area when it was no longer visible to the remote control holder, he was enabled to cut out the engine from afar, allowing it to drop on target and blow up.
Contrary to reports that Arafat has withdrawn from the day-to-day management of Palestinian terrorist operations, DEBKAfile‘s counter-terror sources emphasize that the results of the model plane conversion tests were brought before him. Delighted with its performance, he ordered the new weapon to be used in the coming days in Jerusalem.
He chose Jerusalem, calculating that it would be some time before Israeli security and intelligence authorities caught on to and learned how to intercept the new mini-weapon whizzing around the city before it blew up. The deadly toy is easily launched from Arab Jerusalem. Its flying time is estimated at no more than 2-3 minutes.
The Palestinian terror master sought new devices because of the difficulties hampering the penetration of Israeli cities by his operatives in view of stepped up Israeli security, travel restrictions and Israeli intelligence agents planted in their ranks. Suicide bombers are deterred to a certain extent by the knowledge that their family homes will be demolished.
In addition to the mini-bombers, the Palestinians are trying out home-made rockets with a range of 15-20km, multiple rocket launchers and exploding cigarettes. They may also resort to kidnapping former senior military officers, who as civilians are not guarded, to ransom Palestinian captives. Palestinian gunners will be trained to fire heavy machine guns from moving vehicles against low-flying airplanes or helicopters coming in to land.
All these projects have met with Arafat’s approval. They were authorized separately from the mega-terror campaign promised by the Lebanese Hizballah and al Qaeda.