Newsletter : 13fx0205.txt
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Assad Set on Arms Transfers to Lebanon
Syrian ruler Bashar Assad has ordered the resumption of weapons transfers to the
Lebanese Hizbullah, DEBKAfile's exclusive military and intelligence sources report. This
was agreed with Iran's National Security Director Saeed Jalilee, who arrived in Damascus
after Israel's reported air strike last Wednesday as Syrian trucks prepared to ferry to
Lebanon for Hizbullah the sophisticated Iran-supplied arms stored at the Jamaraya military
complex north of Damascus.
The Syrian ruler assured the Iranian official that he would not be deterred by what he
called acts of "aggression." It was up to Syria and Iran to put their heads together to
find a safe method of getting the hardware across to Hizbullah without exposing it to
Israeli attack in truck convoys on the open road.
Jalilee is still in Damascus. He arrived Saturday to discuss with Syrian and Hizbullah
how to activate against Israel the secret mutual defense pact binding Iran, Syria,
Hizbullah and Hamas.
According to our sources, Israeli military tacticians believe that as winter weather
starts clearing up, Syria and Iran will devise crafty methods for outwitting Israel and
getting the weapons to Lebanon for example, disassembling the missiles and
launchers and disguising them as non-lethal merchandize. They could then be spirited
across from Syria to Lebanon in small packages by the smuggling rings regularly operating
on their common border.
In anticipation of such tricks, the Israeli Air Force has in recent days thrown a
round-the-clock blanket over the border area. It is constantly monitoring the traffic
moving across and is ready to prevent any arms traffic. Without going through any
formalities, Israel has thus effectively imposed a no-fly regime over a buffer zone
straddling the Syrian-Lebanese border and placed it under the control of its air force.
Israeli officials have been warning for months that the IDF will not allow the transfer
of advanced Syrian weapons including chemical and biological weapons to
terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and Hizbullah.
Without directly confirming the Israel attack on the Jamaraya military compound, defense
minister Ehud Barak told the Munich security conference Sunday "
what happened in
Syria several days ago
that's proof that when we said something we mean it
we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into
Israel's actions to this end, including over flights by its air force which are widely
reported by the Lebanese media, were undertaken after Assad was seen to be bent on testing
Israel's resolve to prevent arms transfers to Hizbullah. These transfers were expressly
prohibited under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the Israeli-Hizbullah war
'Iran Could Have Bomb Within Six Months of Decision'
By Israel Hayom
Iran could have its first atomic bomb within four to six months if the regime in Tehran
took the decision to go ahead and make a bomb, former IDF Director of Military
Intelligence Amos Yadlin said on Monday. Speaking at a press conference at the Institute
for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, a national security think tank which
he heads, Yadlin said that Israeli's binary decision "whether to bomb or to live with an
Iranian bomb" will come up at the end of summer this year.
"In the past few years Iran has completed all of the necessary stages it needs to break
out to a nuclear weapon. They have all the tools they need to produce a nuclear weapon
once they decide to do so. The main reason they haven't constructed a bomb yet is that
their breakout period is still too long. They want to be able to break out within a
shorter time frame. They don't have sufficient numbers of the right centrifuges to break
out sooner. The Iranians currently have over 10,000 centrifuges in two locations and it is
quite possible they will make the decision to break out in 2013. This will necessitate an
American and Israeli operation," Yadlin said.
Turning to Syria, Yadlin said the ongoing crisis there presents a unique opportunity
for Israel to break the radical axis in the Middle East. The former intelligence chief
made the comments at a special event to unveil his think tank's "2012-2013 Strategic
Assessment." According to Yadlin, "The anti-Israel radical axis has been fractured and is
heading toward breaking point; at the center of the axis lies Syria, which is gradually
crumbling, with the Sunni-Arab world turning against it. This is a positive
Tension with Syria has been on the rise after Israel allegedly struck a convoy carrying
advanced air defense systems en route to Lebanon. While Israel has not confirmed it was
behind the attack, it has repeatedly warned Syria not to allow game-changing arms to reach
the hands of the Shi'ite terrorist group Hizbullah in Lebanon and said it would work to
prevent any such transfers.
Yadlin told reporters that the destabilization of the Damascus regime is not
necessarily a bad omen for Israel. In fact, he said, the potential overthrow of the regime
"was a great opportunity for Israel and could be very promising if it takes Syria out of
the radical axis.
"After President Bashar al-Assad falls, Syria whatever its constellation may be
would be preoccupied with reconstruction; the large fighting force it will have at
its disposal would be turned inward, not outward; it would be hard to imagine Syria
turning toward armed conflict with Israel."
Yadlin commented that the alleged attack on the convoy would have damaged weapon
systems that "we did not want in Lebanon." He added that the delivery of the systems was
"in breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 and went against a promise
made by Syria to Russia." Yadlin said the U.S. condoned the alleged attack and "even the
Russians understood that there was a problem."
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Israel targeted "SA-17 missiles and their
launchers" that had been destined for Hizbullah. The paper, which relied on unnamed
American officials for its report, also appears to confirm Syria's claim that a scientific
research center was hit. According to the sources, the center may have suffered from
collateral damage as a result of the attack on the weapon systems nearby. The paper said
the West imposed sanctions on the center for its alleged role in developing unconventional
Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij told Syrian television Monday that Syria
did not feel compelled to retaliate because Israel's alleged action was actually a
response to the "victory of the Syrian military over the armed gangs," implying that
Israel was behind the popular unrest in his country.
Assad accused Israel on Sunday of trying to destabilize Syria by attacking a military
research base outside Damascus last week, and said Syria was able to confront "current
threats ... and aggression," state media said. He made the remarks in a meeting with Saeed
Jalili, Iran's national security council secretary, in the Syrian capital. It was his
first reported response to the attack.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency quoted Jalili as reaffirming Tehran's "full
support for the Syrian people ... facing the Zionist aggression, and its continued
coordination to confront the conspiracies and foreign projects."
The Syrian president, Shi'ite Iran's closest Arab ally, is battling a 22-month-old
uprising in which 60,000 people have been killed. Assad says the rebels are Islamist
terrorists funded and armed by Turkey and Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states.
Turkey, which seeks the ouster of Assad and supports the opposition that is fighting
against his regime, harshly criticized Israel regarding the airstrike in Syria. Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Israel engaged in "state terror" and he
suggested that its allies have nurtured wrongdoing on the part of the Jewish state. "Those
who have from the very beginning looked in the wrong direction and who have nourished and
raised Israel like a spoiled child should always expect such things from Israel," Turkey's
Hurriyet Daily News quoted Erdogan as saying.
Ahmad Juma'a, one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition told Israeli radio on Sunday
that the rebel groups welcome the alleged Israeli attack, saying it targeted weapon
systems that were supposed to be used against the Sunnis in Syria. He further said Israel
should impose more military pressure on the regime, Israel Radio reported
Ahmadinejad: The Period of the Zionists is Over
By AFP & Reuters
"The period of the Zionists is over," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on
Monday, in his latest attack on Israel. Speaking to the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen
television network, which is affiliated with the Hizbullah terror group, Ahmadinejad said,
"They (the Zionists) should give their place to others. I hope to pray in Jerusalem after
its full liberation. Gaza is my stop before Jerusalem. If they let me, I will visit
The Iranian president claimed that the alleged Israeli attack last week in Syria was
proof of Israel's "weakness" and that Syria was unable to retaliate due to the ongoing
conflict. "We were hoping for different circumstances in Syria, that way it could have
defended itself," Ahmadinejad told Al Mayadeen.
The Iranian president also said that "war is not a solution" in Syria and called on the
government in Damascus and the opposition to engage in talks. Asked if Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad should quit, Ahmadinejad replied, "I think it is up to the Syrian people
to determine who should stay and who should go."
Ahmadinejad, who is due to visit Egypt this week and meet President Mohammed Morsi, was
asked in the interview about talks with Egypt regarding the Palestinian Authority Arabs,
to which he replied, "If we agree on the liberation of Palestine, it will undoubtedly
happen. Egypt and Iran can change the equation in favor of the Palestinian people. We want
the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people to be fulfilled," he said. "We support
the Palestinian people whatever it takes.
"We do not differentiate between groups and interact with everyone," Ahmadinejad said,
referring to the ongoing infighting between rival groups Fatah and Hamas. "Assistance to
Palestine is one of the main strategies of the Islamic revolution. How can we help and
assist? The Palestinian people will determine that."
The latest anti-Israel remarks by the Iranian president come a week after he called on
all Muslims to mobilize their resources to uproot Zionism. He made the remarks in his
speech to the 26th international conference on Islamic Unity, saying that the prime goal
of the Muslims should be terminating the issue of Zionism. "Under the circumstances that
the corrupt, uncultured and murderous Zionists are occupying and killing oppressed people,
we should not sit idly by," Ahmadinejad said.
Several months ago Ahmadinejad labeled Israel "the axis of unity of the world hegemonic
powers. It has now been some 400 years that a horrendous Zionist clan has been ruling the
major world affairs, and behind the scenes of the major power circles, in political,
media, monetary and banking organizations in the world, they have been the decision
makers..." the Iranian president claimed.
The Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has also repeatedly
expressed hope that Israel would be wiped off the map. Last summer Khamenei expressed
confidence that the "Palestinians" will eventually retake control of their motherland.
"The light of hope will shine on the Palestinian issue, and this Islamic land will
certainly be returned to the Palestinian nation, and the superfluous and fake Zionist
(regime) will disappear from the landscape of geography," Khamenei said.
Iran's president expressed interest in visiting the Gaza Strip; he did not specify whose
permission he would seek.
Ahmadinejad, who is due to take part in a summit in Egypt this week, expressed his
desire on Monday to visit the neighboring Gaza Strip. Asked in an interview on the
Al-Mayadeen news channel whether he would visit Gaza while in Cairo next week or before
his term as president expires in June, he replied: "My wish is bigger than this. I wish to
pray in Jerusalem after complete liberation."
"If they allow it, I would go to Gaza to visit the people," he said, without saying
whose authority he would seek Egypt controls the crossing with Gaza and leaders of Qatar
and Malaysia have both visited the enclave from Egyptian territory in the last six months.
Ahmadinejad's visit to Cairo will be the first for an Iranian president since the 1979
Iranian revolution ruptured diplomatic ties between the two most populous countries in the
Middle East. He will head Iran's delegation to a summit of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation in Cairo.
Ahmadinejad also said that he's ready to take the risk of being the first Iranian
astronaut sent into space as part of Iran's goal of a manned space flight. "I'm ready to
be the first Iranian to sacrifice myself for our country's scientists," the official IRNA
news agency quoted him as saying in an address to space scientists in Tehran.
Saudi Preacher Who Raped, Murdered His 5-Year-old Daughter is Freed
A Saudi preacher who tortured his five-year-old daughter to death has been released
after agreeing to pay 'blood money', The Daily Mail reported. Lama al-Ghamdi died in
October having suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left
arm, extensive bruising and burns, according to the report. She had also been repeatedly
raped and then burned.
Her father Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a prominent Islamist preacher who regularly appears on
television in Saudi Arabia, served only a few months in jail despite admitting to having
used a cane and cables to inflict the injuries. Lama al-Ghamdi. Spent 10 months in a
hospital before succumbing to wounds
Women's rights activists said al-Ghamdi had doubted Lama's virginity and had her
checked up by a medic. Rather than the death penalty or a long prison sentence, the judge
in the case ruled the prosecution could only seek 'blood money', according to activists.
According to the report, the judge ruled the few months al-Ghamdi spent in prison since
his arrest in November was sufficient punishment. He has reportedly agreed to pay
£31,000 ($50,000), which is believed to have gone to Lama's mother.
Activists say under Islamic laws a father cannot be executed for murdering his
children. Husbands can also not be executed for murdering their wives, they say.
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