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>Israel News Faxx
>JN June 5, 2015, Vol. 23, No. 111
Tehran Expected to Invoke Defense Pact for Large-Scale Troop Deployment to Syria
Thursday, June 4, reliable sources in Tehran expected the Iranian government to invoke
its 2006 mutual defense pact with Syria "in the coming hours" for the transfer of Iranian
troops to Syria - most likely by air. This was reported by DEBKAfile's exclusive military
and intelligence sources.
It would be Tehran's first direct military intervention in the Syria conflict as it
goes into its fifth year. Bashar Assad's regime and the Syrian and Hizbullah armies are
collapsing under the twin assaults of the Islamic State and the armed Syrian opposition
forces and in need of urgent life support.
Tehran was persuaded that, without direct intervention, its ally would go under at any
moment Thursday when Islamic State forces broke through Syrian army defenses to the
northern Syrian Kurdish town of Hasakeh, which sits on the Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish border
junction. Towards evening, the Islamists had come to within one kilometer of the strategic
town and captured its power station. Its defenders, the Syrian army's 52nd Division, were
falling apart under the ISIS assault; some of the soldiers making a run for it.
Although the town is ruled by a coalition of central government and local Kurds, there
was no operational coordination between the Syrian and Kurdish forces defending the town
against the common enemy. If ISIS manages to take Hasakeh, it would chalk up its third
major victory in a couple of weeks after capturing Palmyra in Syria and the Iraqi town of
Its fall would provide the Islamists with an open route across northern Syria to
northern Iraq and strengthen their grip on Mosul, their Iraqi capital. It would also count
as a major setback for the United States, whose air strikes in support of Hasakeh's
Kurdish defenders failed to stall the Islamist advance.
In the southern sector too, Syrian troops of the 68th and 13th divisions defending
Deraa are reported to have laid down arms and fled under the massive onslaught of the
opposition Army of Conquest coalition. Tehran's final decision about sending a substantial
Iranian force to Syria is awaited in the coming hours. This intention was strongly
intimated in the last 48 hours by Adm. Ali Shamkhani, head of Iran's National Security
Council, and Gen. Qassem Soleimani, supreme commander of Iran's Middle East operations.
Both announced that dramatic events for Syria are to be expected in the coming days.
Israel Military: Iran Nuclear Threat May Wane with Deal
The Israeli military sees potential security benefits in an expected international deal
curbing Iran's nuclear program, a senior officer was quoted as saying on Thursday in an
unexpected analysis of the issue.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has presented the planned deal as a threat to Israel.
But in a closed-door briefing to Israeli reporters published in part by local media, the
officer said the deal - if agreed by its June 30 deadline - could provide clarity on
whether Iran is on course to a bomb.
Western powers share Israel's fear that the Iranians harbor ambitions to get nuclear
weapons - something Tehran denies - and years of negotiations backed by sanctions have
aimed to eradicate any such capability.
The senior Israeli officer said that, for now, measures sought by international
negotiators such as stepped-up inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities and scaling back
of its uranium enrichment "allow for the supposition that, in the coming period of years,
this is a threat in decline."
A military source confirmed the authenticity of the quotes to Reuters. They reflect
wider thinking in Israel's armed forces, where senior staff have recently made clear they
were more worried about the dangers posed by Iran's guerrilla allies in Lebanon, Syria and
Gaza than its nuclear program.
Looking longer-term, the Netanyahu government argues that a nuclear-armed foe would
threaten Israel's survival and has lobbied for comprehensive caps on Iranian projects with
bomb-making potential. "The deal is going to allow Iran to actually become a military
nuclear threshold state ... whether it be (in) 10 years or whatever," Defense Minister
Moshe Yaalon told the Washington Post on Wednesday. Israel is widely assumed to have the
region's sole atomic arsenal.
Like Israel, Gulf Arab Sunni states are also concerned about a possible deal between
the major powers and Tehran. However, speaking in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday,
Qatar's Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah struck a conciliatory tone with its regional
neighbor and said Western states had given assurances that any deal would be solid.
"For the sake of Iran and its people, we would like to see this agreement happening and
maybe they can focus on development and prosperity for the region, which we would all like
to see," he said. "The parties discussing this agreement are discussing it with the
intention that we have a solid agreement. We have no doubt about our allies. We have this
assurance by the Americans and the French as well."
Declassified Documents: Israel Feared Egyptian Attack on Dimona Nuclear Reactor
By The Jerusalem Post
One of Israel's most worrisome concerns in the days preceding the 1967 Six Day War was
that the Egyptian Air Force would attack the nuclear reactor in Dimona. This was revealed
in the newly released and declassified secret documents of the IDF archives, to mark the
48th anniversary of that war, which began June 5.
The war broke out with the Israel Air Force's surprise preemptive strike, which within
three hours destroyed the entire Egyptian Air Force, sitting like ducks on the tarmacs of
On June 2, the government's security cabinet convened for a tense and dramatic meeting
with the IDF General Staff. It was the first session to include Moshe Dayan as the new
defense minister, appointed only a day before, after prime minister Levi Eshkol was forced
due to public pressure to relinquish the defense post.
Eshkol's decision to step down as defense minister was a result of a confusing speech
that he delivered during a live radio broadcast in which he stuttered. The impression on
the Israeli public, already under tremendous fear of another Holocaust, was
The times were of extreme emotions and tension, referred to as the "waiting period."
Roughly two weeks earlier the Egyptian Army broke the international agreement with Israel,
signed a decade earlier after the 1956 Sinai Campaign, and entered the demilitarized Sinai
Peninsula. A few days later, the Egyptians expelled the UN peacekeeping force, and closed
the Straits of Tiran, blocking Israeli and international ships from reaching the port of
Israel mobilized its military reserves, partially paralyzing its economy. The meeting
of the cabinet ministers and the military echelon would later become known as the
"generals' putsch," as some of these senior officers demanded of Eshkol and the cabinet to
make an immediate decision to launch a preemptive strike.
The meeting opened with a briefing by then Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon
Yariv, who said that one of the battle scenarios was that the Egyptian air force would
launch "a strike to destroy Dimona and airfields."
Construction of the Dimona nuclear reactor began in 1958 and ended in 1961. According
to foreign reports, by the eve of the Six Day War, Israel had already managed to assemble
one nuclear weapon.
Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Mordechai Hod revealed that Egyptian warplanes had
managed to infiltrate Israel's air space on reconnaissance missions at least four times,
photographing the port of Eilat on the Red sea and another site that was censored.
It can be assumed that their target was to take images of the nuclear reactor at Dimona.
Later, Yariv explained that efforts that the US or an international force would lift
the Egyptian blockade had failed. "We believe that the US doesn't consider taking a strong
and serious action to lift the naval blockade and solve the crisis," he said, adding, "We
believe that the US understands that we have to act" and that "American experts estimate
that Israel can win the battle." He stressed that "there are people in important places in
the US who see an Israeli action as an easy solution for the US to get out of this
This remark by the chief of Military Intelligence can be interpreted as an Israeli
understanding that the US administration was signaling Israel to launch the war.
Then IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin who had just returned to work
after a nervous breakdown, hidden from the public and explained as "nicotine poisoning"
warned, "As time passes and Israel doesn't act, Arab confidence is growing and our
mission will be harder." Rabin added, "I feel that the military and diplomatic ring to
strangle us is tightening." Nevertheless, he assured the meeting that "We can do it [win
the war YM], especially if the initiative is in our hands."
Yet most ministers were not convinced. They expressed concern that the Soviet Union
might intervene if Israel launched a military campaign and asked questions about the
defense capabilities of the IDF, and especially the air force, to protect cities from
Egyptian air raids and bombs. Eshkol remained hesitant, which drove then Maj. Gen. Ariel
Sharon to use harsh words bordering on contempt for the government a style that
characterized him in years to come.
"Because of hesitations and our time wasting, we lost our main deterring factor
this is the Arab states' fear of our army. We destroy it day by day. The loss of our
deterrence is the most important factor," Sharon said.
Moshe Dayan is given the floor for the first time. He said that, although there is no
guarantee, the IDF can defeat the Egyptian Army in six days exactly the same time
it took to do it in the Sinai Campaign in 1956, when Dayan was chief of staff. He added
that maybe extra days would be required to complete the task and conquer Sharm al-Sheikh,
which overlooks the Straits.
"What are we waiting for?" Dayan asked, and his words were echoed by Maj. Gen.
Mattityahu Peled, who after the war became one of the first promoters of the notion to
grant the Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza a state of their own.
Eshkol tried his best to calm the hot blooded attitude of Dayan and the generals. He
turned to Sharon and said, "I was disgusted by what you said." The prime minister
continued to express concern that, despite the comforting words of Rabin that the Soviet
Union most likely would not interfere in the war, he still did not know how the Soviets
Eshkol explained that the waiting period was still important, because it helped to
"engrave in [US president Lyndon] Johnson's ears that we didn't cheat him. "I truly hope
that we will not need him in the middle of the war." Eshkol concluded.
The meeting dispersed after two-and- a-half hours with no decision. Two days later,
Eshkol and the cabinet gave the IDF the order to launch Red Sheet, the code word for the
preemptive strike against Egypt and a war that changed the course of Israel's history.
Spanish Incitement: Jewish Voodoo Dolls, 'Kill All the Jews'
A shocking case in Spain of anti-Semitic incitement online displays just how the
internet is being used to call for murder against the Jewish people, and how the legal
system in Europe can play a role in countering the trend.
The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday expressed its approbation of the arrest of a
28-year-old foreign national in Ribaforada, Spain, who had shared extreme anti-Semitic
content and videos online, with the Spanish Ministry of the Interior noting on Saturday
the "gravity and brutality of the content."
The unnamed foreign national posted numerous videos, one of which featured three
visibly Muslim women chanting "catch and kill all the Jews. Strike them and make the Jews
bleed like animals. Exterminate the Zionists. Exterminate them, exterminate them, the
world will be better off." As they chanted, one of the women in the video stabbed a doll
in the image of an Orthodox Jew with a knife, giving a physical representation to their
shrill call to murder.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said, "if you call for Jews to be killed, you
should be prosecuted and go to jail. That should be the standard, especially in Europe
where we have seen several anti-Semitic murders over the past few years. Spain deserves
praise for upholding that principle in this case, even though Spain and other European
governments have failed to prosecute other instances of clear incitement to murder Jews,"
An in-depth ADL poll conducted in 100 countries found last May that 29% of respondents
in Spain have anti-Semitic attitudes, with 48% agreeing with the statement: "Jews still
talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust."
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