Newsletter : 13fx1218.txt
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Hizbullah's Nasrallah's Secret Trip to Tehran
All day Monday, Washington leaned heavily on Israel's government and military leaders
to hold back from a military strike to punish the Lebanese hands behind the shooting dead
of Navy Master Sgt. Shlomi Cohen Sunday. The Obama administration was anxious to avert a
major flare-up that might jeopardize its plans for dealing with the Syrian war in
cooperation with Tehran.
However, early Tuesday, an audacious bomb-car attack close to a main Hizbullah base in
the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon demonstrated that the Syrian-Lebanese arena was out of
Hizbullah will now be trying to figure out how to even the score against the Middle East
intelligence agencies conducting a relentless covert war on Hizbullah facilities and
leaders as well as Iranian targets, which seemingly know every last detail of their
whereabouts and movements.
They suspect the Saudis of spearheading this war, but Tuesday, a Hizbullah lawmaker
accused Israel of orchestrating a wave of attacks in Lebanon, including the Baalbek bomb
blast, with the aid of "local sleeper cells. " The group reported two injured from the
blast, but witnesses attested to several casualties including fatalities and vehicles
Tehran's Lebanese surrogate is forced to accept that it is not safe from its omniscient
enemies in any of its strongholds, whether in Beirut or the Beqaa Valley. Its leader,
Hassan Nasrallah, was concerned enough last week to pay a secret trip to Tehran, revealed
here exclusively for the first time by DEBKAfile's Iranian and military sources.
He discussed with his Iranian masters the urgent need to avenge the wave of attacks
besetting them in Lebanon. The Iranians are still fuming over the twin suicide attack on
their Beirut embassy on November 18, which left 23 dead, including their cultural
attaché and security guards, and 146 injured. Two weeks later, a three-man
assassination squad shot dead at close range in Beirut a top Hizbullah operative Hassan
al-Laqqis, who was in the middle of preparing a revenge hit for the embassy bombing.
This attack put Tehran and its Lebanese arm on the spot, because it meant that whoever
was gunning for them was determined to keep going. In this inflammatory atmosphere, Israel
and Hizbullah both decided to mass military strength on the Lebanese border immediately
after the shooting in cold blood of Sgt. Cohen.
The IDF kept the extra units in place Monday to wait for intelligence input confirming
or refuting Hizbullah's culpability for the murder of its soldier, possibly in revenge for
suspected Israeli and Saudi attacks in Beirut; Hizbullah kept its reinforced units on the
border, taking it for granted that the IDF was bound to retaliate for its loss.
In Beirut, US ambassador David Hale went into action, first by persuading the
government to say the Lebanese gunman who fired the shots was missing. This gambit bought
President Michele Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati time to come up with the story
that the soldier had acted on his own initiative, had subsequently been caught and would
be put on trial.
DEBKAfile reports that Israel decided to accept Beirut's account of this episode, in
response to US pressure - knowing, however, that it had not yet got to the bottom of what
Further episodes are most probably still to come in the light of the secret discussions
Nasrallah held in Tehran.
Israel prepares for short, intense war to deliver `knock-out blow' to Hizbullah
Israel's military has been preparing for a brief and decisive war against Hizbullah, a
The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies asserted that Israel's military has invested
heavily in new capabilities to ensure a brief war against Hizbullah in Lebanon. A report
said Israel is prepared for a large-scale ground operation against Hizbullah in southern
In a report, Israeli analyst Yaakov Lappin said Israel was preparing for air and ground
operations that would destroy Hizbullah's strategic capabilities. "The Israel Defense
Forces has prepared for a combined air and large-scale ground operation, driven by new
intelligence and precision-firepower capabilities, to deliver a knock-out blow and
eliminate Hizbullah as a fighting force for years to come," the report, titled "Israel vs.
the Iran-Hizbullah Axis," said.
The report, released before the latest attacks from Lebanon, said both Israel and
Hizbullah were engaged in a long-term military buildup. Lappin, a defense reporter for the
Jerusalem Post, said the buildup was meant to prepare for an imminent war that could
include massive Hizbullah missile and rocket strikes on the Jewish state.
Hizbullah, aided by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was said to have
accumulated an arsenal of more than 80,000 missiles and rockets. Lappin said the arsenal
as well as Hizbullah capabilities were growing despite its intervention in the civil war
in Syria. Israel and Hizbullah
fought an inconclusive 34-day war in 2006.
"With one out of every 10 homes in Lebanon used as a rocket launcher or weapons storage
depot, Hizbullah and Iran have hidden the core of their firepower in the midst of the
Lebanese civilian population, endangering its safety in a future war," the report
At the same time, Israel was preparing for what the report termed unprecedented air
power capabilities to counter Hizbullah. Lappin said the Israeli military intended a rapid
invasion of Lebanon based on augmented intelligence as well as a combat air fleet that
could destroy hundreds of Hizbullah targets per day.
"The IDF's new capabilities also lean on a network-centered technological revolution
that allows the three branches of the IDF Air Force, ground forces, and Navy
to coordinate their strikes, and stay linked in to Military Intelligence in real time,"
the report, released in November, said. "The new technology also allows both the General
Staff and the commanding levels in the field at the division, brigade, and
battalion command levels to enjoy enhanced command and control
Still, Israel's plans could be hampered by infighting and budget constraints. The
report cited the suspension of production of the Namer armored personnel carrier, designed
to withstand Hizbullah mines and anti-tank missiles. "The ground forces, stung badly by
its poor performance during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, has been preparing for new
conflict with Hizbullah by drilling a blitz invasion of southern Lebanon and the
destruction of Hizbullah infrastructure, using a massive combination of tanks, infantry,
artillery, and engineering corps," the report said.
Italian Leader Justifies Hitler With Jewish Conspiracy
Last Friday the Anti-Defamation League issued a condemnation of remarks made by a
spokesman for the Italian populist "Pitchfork Movement," remarks which the organization
says show a "deep-seated anti-Semitic hatred." Andrea Zunino, the protest leader of the
Pitchfork Movement which is leading current anti-government protests in Italy, gave an
interview to the Italian La Repubblica.
In his interview, Zunino espoused classic tropes of Jewish global domination. He
remarked "we want the government to resign. We want the sovereignty of Italy, which is the
slave of bankers like the Rothschilds. It's curious that five or six of the richest people
in the world are Jewish."
Zunino also justified Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's genocidal Jew hatred, saying that
Hitler, "who probably was crazy, used anti-Semitism to avenge the about-face of his
initial American financial backers." In the World War II period, Germany and Italy were
partners in the Axis alliance.
In response to the comments, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman issued a statement
which reads, "these appalling comments display a deep-seated anti-Semitic hatred which
never belongs in politics or anywhere in Italian society. Whatever grievances the Italian
protest movement may have, anti-Semitism is simply unacceptable." Foxman called on
"responsible protest leaders" to "denounce Zunino's comments to make clear that bigotry is
not condoned in their movement."
Zunino's comments show a noted similarity to the positions espoused by Beppe Grillo,
the comedian turned politician, who in February became the leader of Italy's largest
party, the "Five Star Movement." Grillo has claimed a "Jewish conspiracy" controls the
world media, controlling global opinion and lying about the situation in the Middle East.
In 2012 an ADL poll of anti-Semitism found that 43% of Italians, when asked if Jews
have too much power in international financial markets, said the statement was "probably
true." Likewise, 35% of Italians said at least 3 out of the 4 anti-Semitic stereotypes
questioned were "probably true."
The results have been followed by more recent polls in November indicating more wide
scale anti-Semitic views on the rise throughout Europe. This is not the first time the ADL
has blown the whistle on Italian anti-Semitism. In 2012, ADL decried the Italian court
ruling to impose a 25,000 euro ($34,428) fine on an Italian journalist who criticized an
Father in Yemen Asks for Million Facebook Likes' as Dowry
Instead of the usual goods asked as dowry, such as camels and money, one Yemeni father
asked his future son-in-law one million Facebook 'likes' for the privilege of marrying his
According to Arab media reports, Salem Ayash, a well-known Facebook user from Western
Yemen, explained to a young suitor that he would grant his wish of marrying his daughter
if the suitor managed to raise an extensive number of likes for his Facebook page
dedicated to fighting rising dowry prices in Yemen.
In an interview with Arabic CNN, the father explained that there is a social motive to
his strange request, and that he means well: "My reason for such a request is soaring
dowry prices. I also wanted to encourage young people to surf informative social media
sites instead of wasting their time." The father stressed that he is not giving the
intended groom a time limit: "He can take a month, a year, or even two years to collect
the requested number of likes." However, he admitted that he would be willing to show
compassion if the task proved to be too difficult.
The father's Facebook page was flooded with responses. One wrote that he is thankful
for Ayash's worthy efforts of raising awareness on dowry payments. As of Tuesday evening,
the number of 'likes' at the Facebook page was 25,744.
The issue of dowry payment is a popular subject of discussion in Yemen, in light of the
rising prices fathers demand in exchange for their daughters' hands in marriage. Two
months ago, dozens of young men from southwestern Yemen held a protest demanding to reduce
the dowry prices. Yemen is a very poor country with a fairly high unemployment rate, and
the young men simply cannot afford to pay the customary fee. The catalyst for the
demonstration were 500,000 Yemeni Rial (about $ 2,500) that one father demanded for his
daughter an unaffordable fee for young suitors.
The men threatened to intensify their actions if families refuse to lower the dowry
price, and argued that the reduction of the amount would help reduce the high number of
bachelors in Yemeni society (30%) and encourage young people to marry.
From Alaska to Israel, Keeping Soldiers Warm
By Israel Hayom
When Channah Koppel began knitting hats for her son's paratrooper platoon six years ago,
she didn't expect it to become a worldwide project leading to thousands of wool caps
knitted for combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.
This week, it was the turn of soldiers from the Etzion regional brigade, based next to
Efrat, where Koppel lives, to receive their knit hats. "It's a present that warms the
heart," said Koppel excitedly.
The project began when her son was stationed on icy Mount Hermon. "In Efrat, we have
knitting groups, and one of the women suggested doing something special for the soldiers,"
Koppel recalled. She asked her son what they could do, and he suggested knitting warm caps
for his unit. News of the hats spread, and soldiers began asking for warm wool hats for
the winter. "We knit hats for every soldier who asks," Koppel said.
When Koppel and her friends realized that they would not be able to keep up with the
demand ("hundreds of hats per week"), she published an announcement on the town of Efrat's
website asking other knitters to join in. Women from all over Israel joined the
initiative, and now women from all over the world are knitting hats for the IDF.
"Today I am in contact with women from around the world, including Canada, California,
New Zealand, and even Alaska, who send me hats in the mail and I give them to the
soldiers," Koppel said. She adds a label to each hat that reads, "Knitted for you with
warmth and love."
The 300 wool hats given to the Etzion regional brigade are only a drop in the ocean of
hats that Koppel passes on to the IDF. She has her own shelf at her local post office. "I
receive about 100 hats each week," she said.
Also involved in the project are the security officer who put Koppel in touch with the
Etzion regional brigade, Nadav Tzahur; her mother-in-law Gita, who sews on the labels; and
Emma Sabina Shmidman, a new immigrant to Israel who organizes the project's Canadian
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