Newsletter : 12fx1030.txt
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Iran Develops a 2,000-km Range Stealth Attack Drone
Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi warned Sunday, in Tehran: "The drone was
definitely not the latest Iranian technology.": He was talking about the drone which Iran
and Hizbullah sent over Israeli airspace on October 6 and stressed that it was not the
last word in their UAV armory - or even the last to invade Israel's skies.
According to our military sources, in mid-September, Tehran secretly shipped to Lebanon
a batch of dismantled Ababil-T UAVs although the Iranians could not be sure that Israel
would not discover their location and its air force bomb them before they were launched.
The Syrian war is also making it hard to maintain permanent Iranian launching teams in
However, Iran is making great strides in producing drones with more capabilities and
longer ranges. During the 2006 Lebanon War, Hizbullah launched an earlier model of the
Ababil to bomb Tel Aviv. It was shot down by the Israeli Air Force. Since then, the
Iranians have produced the more advanced Ababil-T for short and medium range attack and
Ababils-B and S.
DEBKAfile's military sources identify Ababil-T as Iran's most advanced drone in
operational service. It has electronic warfare, military intelligence-gathering and online
transmission capabilities suited to conditions of front-line battle. It is designed to
disable enemy electronic systems in combat, especially those of the United States and
Israel. Ababil means "swallow," after the story in the Koran of an enemy sending a herd of
elephants to attack the Qaaba in Mecca and the swallows released by Allah for defeating
Its prototype had a maximum flying range of 150 kilometers, an altitude 4.2 kilometers
and it could stay aloft for 10 hours at a stretch. Iranian engineers have rapidly improved
its velocity and range. But until recently, they were not known to have figured out how to
produce a drone able to cover the distance to Israel in direct flight without a
staging-post in Lebanon. They dared not let their prize Ababil-T cut through Iraq or
Turkey because it risked interception by the American or NATO forces stationed in those
This obstacle appears to have been overcome by the last upgraded Ababil, according to
Gen. Vahidi. Indeed, a week before he spoke, Manouchehr Manteqi, head of Iran's aerospace
industry, announced that Tehran now had drones capable of flying a distance of 2,000
kilometers and therefore reaching Israel.
Iran plans to store a supply of those advanced models to Lebanon for the use of
Hizbullah and not only against Israel but to extend its range against a whole
array of Tehran's enemies before flying them back to home base in Iran. Iranian
sources claim that the latest drone was tested in combat conditions In November 2011. A
UAV was sent secretly over US Fifth Fleet vessels in the Persian Gulf, collected data and
gained valuable experience for its further development.
Iran says it now has advanced to the planning stages of a spy drone with stealth
qualities and a large UAV bomber, cannibalizing technology pirated from the American
RQ-170 Sentinel drone they downed on Dec. 4, 2011, buying it from Russia and China and
stealing it from the West. Most of their UAV development program budget is being spent on
upgrading their drones' navigation, transmission and cyber warfare systems.
The great progress Iran has made in the past five years in all these fields has been
helped along by Iranian students returning home from studies at MIT and other universities
in the United States, Britain and Germany. They are offered attractive salaries to work
hard on the goals set before them.
Al-Qaeda Forms All-Female Brigade to Attack West
Al-Qaeda has formed an all-female 'Burkha Brigade' to infiltrate and hit Western
military bases and targets, as they are less likely than men to attract suspicion. A film
posted online shows the all-female unit of al-Qaeda using an alarming array of weapons,
including machine-guns, grenade rocket launchers and sniper rifles during their training
session at an unknown location.
The women are thought to have been recruited from the war-torn Russian republic of
Chechnya by an al-Qaeda-linked group, with bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, The Sun
reported Sunday. The report has raised concerns that the global terror network has formed
all-female units because they are less likely to attract suspicion than men and can more
easily infiltrate security barriers. Women also remain less conspicuous as they generally
hide the explosives beneath the abaya the black cloak worn from head to toe,
according to The Sun.
In September, a female suicide bomber in Afghanistan rammed an explosive-laden car into
a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul,
killing at least 12 people, including eight South Africans. In August, a 30-year-old
Russian actress who converted to Islam killed Dagestan's top Muslim spiritual leader
Sheikh Said Afandi and six others in a suicide attack.
Netanyahu's Likud Party Approves Merger with Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party voted to approve a merger with Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu on Monday, finalizing the move first
announced by the two party leaders last week. Likud members, meeting in Tel Aviv's
Exhibition Grounds, voted to approve the move by an overwhelming majority, despite recent
and vocal criticism against the bid from within the party.
"We must protect the security of the State of Israel, protect jobs, act to lower the
cost of living," Netanyahu told the gathering ahead of the vote. He argued that, despite
the merger, the Likud would remain a separate entity. "The Likud will remain an
independent party," he said.
Addressing rumors to the effect that the move was meant to position Lieberman as
Netanyahu's ultimate successor as prime minister, Netanyahu said, "I've heard all kinds of
things in recent days about successors. I have news for you: I plan to lead the State of
Israel for many more years. The Likud will continue to lead the State of Israel for many
Lieberman on Monday night called the vote "a historic and important decision that will
lead to a strengthening of the State of Israel and to its leadership by an experienced and
united leadership. The unification of Likud-Beiteinu will allow for the setting up after
the elections of a stable, strong government that can deal in the best way with the
challenges facing the State of Israel. This move will bring back the ability to govern and
create internal fortitude and outward power."
What's irking many Likud members is that Netanyahu was definitely the next prime
minster even before he stood under the canopy with Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor
Lieberman. And the Likud-right-ultra-Orthodox bloc led unequivocally in all polls before
the announcement of the surprise joint list.
During a meeting with Likud ministers, Netanyahu defended his decision to unify Likud
with Yisrael Beiteinu, saying the move would guarantee his win in the election. "It is one
list but it is not the unification of parties," Netanyahu told Likud ministers. "This is a
step that guarantees that we will assemble the next coalition government," Netanyahu said,
stressing that the two parties will run on one list but not merge together. We will not
alter the Likud platform," he said. "This is an important step on the way to the
unification of the right."
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