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Fordo Sabotage Enabled Netanyahu to Move Iran Red Line to Spring 2013

By DEBKAfile

The sabotage of the Fordo uranium enrichment facility's power lines on August 17 gave Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu extra leeway to move his original red line for Iran from late September 2012 – now – to the spring or early summer of 2013.

The disruption of the underground enrichment plant's power supply caused several of the advanced IR-1 and IR-4 centrifuges producing the 20% grade uranium to burst into flames. Work was temporarily halted and the accumulation of 240 kilos for Iran's first nuclear bomb slowed down by at least six months, DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report.

Hence Netanyahu's new red line timeline of "late spring, early summer" - before which preventive action is imperative - in his speech to the UN General Assembly Thursday. Our military sources report that the advantage gained is already proving short-lived. Iran has pounced back fast with two aggressive counter-moves on Israel's doorstep:

Thousands of elite Al Qods Brigades officers and men are being airlifted into Lebanon and Syria and deployed opposite Israeli borders (as DEBKAfile has reported); and shortly before the Israeli Prime Minister rose to speak in New York, Syrian President Bashar Assad again removed chemical weapons out of storage. Some were almost certainly passed to the incoming Iranian units. The weapons' movements were accounted for as a precaution for "greater security," but in practice they will be ready for use against Israel when the order is handed down from Tehran.

On Friday, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was specifically asked by a reporter if it was believed that "Iran's Revolutionary Guards or Syrian rebels had been able to get possession of any of the chemical weapons" which the secretary had just disclosed were on the move. He left the door open, saying only that he had "no firm information to confirm this." That sort of question never comes out of thin air.

It was also the second time in three weeks that the defense secretary mentioned the movements of Syrian chemical weapons out of storage. This time, he said, ``There has been intelligence that there have been some moves that have taken place. Where exactly that's taken place, we don't know." But he did not rule out the possibility that they were being made ready for use.

This non-denial tied in closely with the words heard that day from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "Iran has left no doubt that it will do whatever it takes to protect the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Tehran's staunch ally," she said.

Syrian chemical weapons movements out of storage, the presence of crack Iranian fighting units on Israel's borders and Tehran's determination to keep Assad in power "whatever it takes" hung in menacing silence over Netanyahu's powerful cartoon presentation of the Iranian nuclear peril. Already on September 16, the Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Ali Jafary announced publicly that al Qods Brigades personnel had landed not only in Syria but also Lebanon. The chemical weapons may therefore have already reached Hizbullah or be on their way there unbeknownst to US intelligence.

Both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have repeatedly stated that the transfer of chemical weapons to Hizbullah would necessitate Israeli military action. The IDF's large-scale military call-up and firing exercise on the Golan of September 19 failed to deter the Iranian military buildup opposite Israeli northern borders in Syria and Lebanon. The Iranian airlift continues and US intelligence has not denied that some al Qods arrivals may now be armed with chemical weapons.

The Iranian threat to Israel is therefore far from static; it is gaining substance and menace, keeping two IDF divisions on call in northern Israel after the exercise was over.Netanyahu's red line for preventing Iran achieving a 240-kilo enriched uranium stockpile does not cover an Iranian preemptive attack on the Jewish state before then – as threatened explicitly by the Iranian missiles Corps chief Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizade on September 24.

Neither had Israeli officials anything to say about the Hamas leaders' trips to Beirut and Tehran this month to sign military accords with the Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah pledging the Palestinian extremists' participation in an attack on Israel.The red line on the cartoon bomb which Netanyahu held up so effectively at the UN Thursday covered only one segment of the peril Tehran poses for the Jewish state. A more immediate danger lurks in the north.

Report: Azerbaijan Considering Helping Israel in Iran

By Reuters

Azerbaijan has looked into the possibility of assisting Israel with a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, a report Sunday by Reuters reveals.The report, published by correspondent Thomas Grove, is based on "local officials with extensive knowledge of Azerbaijan's military policy." According to these sources, Azeri authorities have, along with Israel, looked into how Azeri air force bases and the drones at its disposal could help the IAF to carry out attacks in Iran.

"That is a far cry from the massive firepower and diplomatic cover that Netanyahu wants from Washington. But, by addressing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan -- notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews -- such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without U.S. help," says the report.

However, noted the report, Israel will along the way have to overcome many Azeri concerns, as it is uncertain whether the president of Azerbaijan would risk harming his country's oil industry. In addition, support by Azerbaijan for an Israeli strike may trigger a revolt in the Arab and Muslim world, noted the report.

At the same time, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran. "Where planes would fly from --- from here, from there, to where? - that's what's being planned now," a security consultant with contacts at Azeri defense headquarters in Baku said. "The Israelis ... would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan."

Rasim Musabayov, an Azeri lawmaker and a member of parliament's foreign affairs committee, told Reuters that he understood that Azerbaijan would probably feature in any Israeli plans against Iran, at least as a contingency for refueling its attack force.

Several months ago, the Iranian Foreign Ministry called in the Azerbaijani ambassador to protest Baku's alleged cooperation with Israel's Mossad. The meeting was apparently inspired by a report in the London Times that Mossad agents were using Azerbaijan as a "hub" from which to conduct operations and spy on Iran. The report quoted an anonymous alleged agent who called himself "Shimon," who said that Azerbaijan was "ground zero for Israeli intelligence work. Our presence here is quiet, but substantial. We have increased our presence in the past year, and it gets us very close to Iran. This is a wonderfully porous country."

Foreign Policy magazine reported in March that Israel has purchased an Azeri airfield on Iran's northern border, prompting the United States to watch very closely, believing Israel may use the site as a springboard for an attack on Iran's nuclear plants, or as a landing and refueling spot following one.

Azeri president Ilham Aliyev later dismissed speculation that Israel would use four abandoned bases in his country to launch strikes on Iran's nuclear program. "Azerbaijan's territory will never be used to launch an attack against its neighbor, Iran," Aliyev's office said in a statement.

Iran: Israel is World's Laughing Stock

By YnetNews

A senior Iranian official derided Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's UN General Assembly speech, and asserted that the Islamic Republic's "growing power and influence" have angered Jerusalem, the Iranian FARS news agency reported Sunday.

"The fake regime of Israel is mocked by everyone in the world today, although such cheap actions of the leaders of the occupying Zionist regime are nothing new," top foreign ministry official Hassan Qashqavi said, referring to the cartoon-like bomb illustration that the prime minister presented at the UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday.

Netanyahu used the diagram and a red marker to demonstrate the Iran's nuclear progress and press the international community to set a "red line" that would stop the atom program in its tracks.

Qashqavi, who was speaking at a ceremony in Iran's southern city of Kangan, further claimed that Tehran's might had angered Israeli officials so much that they were driven to using "silly" props.

Netanyahu, who returned to Israel from the US on Sunday, expressed contentment with his speech. "During my visit here we drew a clear red line for Iran's nuclear program and we strengthened our coordination with the US administration on the issue," the prime minister wrote on his Facebook page prior to his flight. "I will continue to make every effort to ensure that the world's most dangerous country doesn't obtain the world's most dangerous weapon."

Despite the mockery on the part of the Iranians, the General Assembly week ended with an embarrassing incident for the delegation from Tehran; a cameraman who accompanied President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York decided to defect to the US. According to some reports, Hassan Golhandan was soon expected to reunite with his family, which has left Iran for Turkey and now plans to continue to the US.

Secret Passage of Wine and `4 Species' to Jews in Arab Nations


An unidentified rabbi and a Jew from an Arab country have completed a secret and dangerous mission to bring wine and the"four species" to Jews in Muslim nations, which have made life difficult for them.

Wine is prohibited by Muslims, and most Arab countries do not maintain diplomatic ties with Israel, which would allow importing "lulavim, etrogim, hadasim and aravot," the four species that Jews hold together during blessings on the festive holiday of Sukkot.

Likud Knesset Member Ayoob Kara, who is a member of the Druze faith, told Arutz Sheva that as Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, his work brings him into contact with people in Arab countries. "Before Sukkot, Jews in Arab nations asked me for several important items they do not have, such as wine, lulavim and etrogim."

The MK contacted a rabbi, who is not connected with the Office of the Chief Rabbi and whose name remains anonymous, for obvious reasons. The rabbi was able to carry the products abroad and meet with a Jewish emissary from Arab countries, whose name also cannot be published.

The emissary carried the products for hundreds of miles to several Arab countries on what Kara said was a "life-endangering mission" in order to ensure that Jews could perform the mitzvot of the holiday, as commanded in the Torah.

How To Choose An Etrog for Sukkot

By Mark Etinger

Sukkot is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the harvest and the protection of the Jewish people as they wandered through the desert during the Exodus from Egypt. It is celebrated in modern times by a series of wonderful traditions, stories, meditation in prayer, and most notably, the building of a sukkot. It also requires the purchase of four spices for the appropriate celebration of the holiday.

The four spices are the lulav, etrog, haddasim, and avarot. These spices can usually be purchased from your rabbi but some choose to search elsewhere for their four spices. Be careful, however, as there are very strict rules governing the spices used during Sukkot.

First, the etrog must be beautiful and pleasant looking. It cannot be discolored or harmed in any way. This means the skin must be intact and the pittum must be attached to the fruit. The pittum is a stem-like piece of wood that protrudes from the top of the fruit. If the pittum is broken, the etrog is no longer kosher, however if the fruit grows without a pittum, the fruit is still kosher. Make sure that the etrog is oblong in shape and not ball-like.

That being said, don't feel like you need to take a magnifying glass to the skin of the etrog. It must be pure on first glance only. Many times an etrog will have a slight discoloration which is the natural result of having a leaf laying on it while it was in the sun. If there are several bubbles or dark black spots that are easily noticed then the fruit is invalid for use during the holiday.

Along with the etrog you need to purchase the lulav. There are rules governing this as well. The leaves of the lulav are naturally doubled. They are connected and folded over on one another. Be sure to look extra carefully at the middle leaf. This is the most important. If the leaf in the middle of the lulav is significantly divided then it is invalid and cannot be used for Sukkot.

The other two spices do not have the same strict rules regulating their appearance but you still need to take care to follow the regulations set down in the teachings of the Torah. The importance of tradition in the Jewish faith is paramount. Following the correct teachings and ways as your ancestors is how to stay in touch with the faith and your family values. This is why it is important to choose the correct celebratory spices for your Sukkot celebration.

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