September 8, 2010

Israel, the U.S. and the Arab World

Hizballah Strikes US Troops in Iraq, Clears Way for Anti-Israel Eastern Front

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
September 6, 2010

debkafile's military sources report increased Hizballah involvement in actions to terrorize, subvert and destabilize Iraq. A US intelligence source told debkafile's Iraq and counter-terror sources Monday Sept. 6:
"Hizballah is striking US targets in Iraq as sub-contractor for Iran and Syria."
According to the Sunday Times of Sept. 5, Iranian "firms" in Kabul are shelling out $1,000 to Taliban for every American soldier they kill in Afghanistan.

These developments make nonsense of the dire predictions heard from some American military experts that an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities would unleash a wave of anti-US terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is happening anyway without Israel lifting a finger against Iran or its aggressive allies.

debkafile's counter-terror sources can exclusively reveal the nature and makeup of Hizballah's operation in Iraq: The Lebanese terrorists are working directly and through two Iraqi Shiite affiliates.
  1. Asaib al-Haq (League of the Believers): Under a variety of names, such as the Qais Khazalis for its commander, this group spent the last four years under the tutelage of Hizballah officers at Revolutionary Guards bases in Iran.A few weeks ago, the Lebanese officersleft Iran and crossed into Iraq disguised as Shiite pilgrims to spread out in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi towns of Karbala, Najef, Nassiriyeh and Basra from which to attack attack US targets.

  2. Kata'ib Hizballah (Hizballah Brigades): This organization is commanded by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who visited Damascus on Aug. 21 with the Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Ali Jafaari. They got together there with Syrian and Hizballah officers to synchronize their campaigns of violence in Iraq, Israel and the West Bank.
The Iraqi operation was clearly uppermost on the mind of Hizballah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah, judging from the number of words he poured out on Iraq in his speech in Beirut on Palestine Solidarity Day of Sept. 3 and the way he bracketed the two "resistance struggles."
"The steadfastness of the Palestinians, Syria, Iran and the Iraqi people has been able to foil the US plot seeking to partition the region and liquidate its resistance," he said. "The US withdrawal from Iraq is a sign of weakness and defeat." Furthermore, "the Americans came to Iraq to stay there and control it, but years later, they were surprised by the early resistance and cited enormous and strategic mistakes in their reading of the Iraqi arena."
debkafile's military sources report that Hizballah's increased involvement in actions to terrorize, subvert and destabilize Iraq on behalf of Syria and Iran is their first practical step for reviving the Eastern Front which threatened Israel in the days of Saddam Hussein.

In its contemporary re incarnation, the Eastern Front would be orchestrated from Tehran and link up with the armed-to-the-teeth Northern Front composed of Iran's cohorts, Hizballah, Syria and the Palestinian rejectionists.

Israel's Foreign Minister Reflected Washington's Limited Goal

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis
September 6, 2010

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's remarks Sunday, Sept. 5, that an Israeli-Palestinian peace would not come this year or even in the next generation, infuriated some political circles in Jerusalem. The opposition accused him of breaking ranks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ahead of the second round of his direct talks with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, next week.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell had already booked their flight to the Sinai resort to hover protectively over the new peace process born of President Barak Obama's ambition to perform the peace miracle that had been denied all his predecessors in the White House.

However, debkafile's political sources reveal that Lieberman, whose favorite position is that of hawkish maverick, was manipulating for his own political ends inside information reaching him from Obama's circle. He had discovered that the peace hype staged in Washington last week had not clouded President Obama appreciation of the goals realistically attainable from the face-to-face process he kicked off. He had no illusions about achieving more than an interim framework with ambiguous, non-binding applications on the core issues of the Israel-Palestinian dispute, with which Israelis and Palestinians could live with over a period of several years.

This achievement would be hailed as a major success and credited to the US president.

And indeed, the US officials addressing the peace ceremonies in Washington last week talked about resolving issues and hardly used the word peace - unlike the Israeli prime minister.
Lieberman set his many critics by the ears when he said he did not believe the Palestinians would sign a peace accord "recognizing Israel as the Jewish nation-state within the year assigned by Washington for the direct talks - or even in the next generation."
Addressing his Israeli Beitenu party activists after listening to Netanyahu's briefing to the Forum of Seven, Lieberman said he said he was ready to give the prime minister a chance to explore the process, but without illusions that painful concessions and compromises would achieve anything more than they did in Israel's repeated testing of the peace track in the last 17 years. Much better, he said, "to focus on security and a long-term interim understanding for stabilizing the not inconsiderable advances Israel has already made with the Palestinians," he advised.

The foreign minister exploited his knowledge of the realistic expectations in the White House to maneuver himself and his party into the lead of the hawkish camp in Israeli politics. He took advantage of the fact that the nationalist activists of the Prime Minister's Likud were either backing Netanyahu's diplomatic venture or holding silent so as not to rock the boat - for now..

On the Palestinian side, Mohammad Dahlan an extremist member of Abbas' Fatah - former strongman of Gaza - dismissed the Israeli prime minister's call for peace and called him "a fraud."

Like Lieberman, he saw through the US initiative to its underlying limited goals. He was using this knowledge to get at Netanyahu and through him to expose Mahmoud Abbas, whom he seeks to overthrow, by showing him to be weak and wanting in loyalty to Palestinian aspirations.

US Warns Assad of Israeli Counter-strike for Terror Campaign

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
September 5, 2001

The Obama administration has sent Syrian president Bashar Assad a stern warning that he will be held personally accountable and face consequences if Israel and the Palestinian Authority are subjected to a terror campaign - whether by Hizballah or the Palestinian extremist groups based in Damascus, debkafile reports from Washington. The warning went out Thursday, Sept. 2, as Israelis and Palestinians sat down to talk in Washington in the shadow of threats from extremists sheltering under Syria's wing and after two attacks on the West Bank.

The caution was put in Assad's hands in Damascus by Fredric Hof, adviser to US envoy George Mitchell as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met for the first time under the aegis of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah.

debkafile's sources do not know exactly what was said at the interview but Saturday, Sept. 4, they confirmed the severity of the US message to the Syrian ruler.

Our military sources report that last week, Syria and Hizballah took joint steps against a possible Israeli strike against the sophisticated rockets which Hizballah is storing for safekeeping at Syrian bases close to the border and holding ready for immediate use. Hizballah militiamen have been visiting those bases to learn how to use the advanced hardware.

Assad is deepening his military partnership with Hizballah and advancing joint preparations for war under Iranian sponsorship. Last Sunday, Aug. 29, he urged Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to stand solidly behind Hizballah when they met in Damascus.

The Syrian ruler stressed to Hariri "…the importance of supporting the resistance [a euphemism for terrorism used by radical Arab elements] as the only way to preserve Lebanon's strength and security against regional threats."
Our sources report that the hands of Assad and the Iran-backed Hizballah are detected in fomenting terror in another part of the Middle East - Iraq, especially in Baghdad.

Iran Threatens Israel's Dimona Reactor, Will Destroy Israel in Nuclear War

DEBKAfile Special Report
September 4, 2010

A top Iranian general said Friday, Sept. 3:
"Iran hopes there won't be a need to target the nuclear facility of the Zionist regime, but if there is, Israel would receive dreadful retribution." Gen. Hasan Firouzabadi, supreme commander of Iran's military and Revolutionary Guards armed forces, went on to say, "Our developed weapons can hit any part of the Zionist regime."
Firouzabadi was the first senior Iranian military figure to publicly indicate Tehran readiness for the Middle East's first nuclear war. Saturday, Sept. 4, Israeli ambassador in Washington Michael Oren reported that Hizballah had posted in South Lebanon 16,000 rockets, altogether quadrupling the number ranged on the Israeli border four years ago (in violation of UN resolution 1701).

Their range now covered every part of Israel as far south as Eilat with enhanced precision.

This would obviously include Dimona.

In Havana, Fidel Castro again warned that a nuclear conflict was inevitable if the United States, in alliance with Israel, tried to impose international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. His speech to students was highlighted by the Iranian media.

A few hours earlier, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a pro-Palestinian rally that the talks re-launched between Israel and the Palestinians must fail.
"The fate of Palestine will be decided through resistance and not in Washington," he declared.
As thousands shouted "Death to America! Death to Israel!" the Iranian president mocked Arab leaders by yelling:
"The people of the Middle East are capable of ridding the region of the state of Israel even if their leaders chose not to."
He pointed a finger at Abdullah King of Jordan and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who took part in the ceremonial opening of Israel-Palestinian talks in Washington on Sept. 2, for a broad hint that their peoples would rise up against them.

Ahmadinejad then sneered at his favorite targets:
"I want to say that no only the Zionists, but even their masters are too small to lay a finger on the Iranian nation and its rights."
By' "rights," he referred to Iran's development of nuclear weapons, which he said they were "too small" to halt.

debkafile's Iranian sources stress that Iranian threats to the Jewish state have becoming increasingly harsh and pugnacious marking their contempt for the Netanyahu government's non-response and what they take as Israel's tacit surrender to the activation of their first nuclear reactor at Bushehr on Aug. 21.
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