DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 15, 2007
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The Lebanon war and a fistful of Iranian petrodollars have impelled Syrian president Bashar Asad to haul his armed forces into the present. DEBKA-Net-Weekly 284 of Jan. 5, 207, revealed his latest acquisition: the sophisticated Russian S-300PMU2 FAVORIT air defense system, which is capable of downing Israel planes in Israeli air space and aircraft taking off from US Mediterranean carriers. Two new mechanized divisions are under construction raising the total to 12. Five will face Israel on the Golan, joined by new elite units trained for cross-border incursions.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> from Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's adherents apply strong-arm tactics to falsify election results after early gains by his opponents
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 21, 2006
Publication of results was halted after only one-tenth of the votes had been counted in Tehran 60 hours after balloting. The president's followers, backed by Revolutionary Guards, had stormed the election committees. They used threats and harassment to force the counters to falsify the results and reverse the president's opponents' gains. Four prominent Iranians, including two ex-presidents, leveled charges of vote-rigging. One of them is Ahmadinejad's main rival, Hashem Rafsanjani, whom early results promise a seat in the powerful Assembly of Experts.
Read debkafile's Exclusive Report from Tehran below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2006
The results of Iran's elections for local councils and the powerful Assembly of Experts have been tensely awaited as the first test of the president's popularity since he took office last year.
debkafile's Tehran sources report that his followers, seeing which way the wind was blowing, took matters in their own hands. Backed by armed Revolutionary Guards, they stormed the counting sessions Monday, Dec. 18, using threats and physical harassment to force the counters to falsify the results and reverse the gains.
Sixty hours after balloting ended, when only 10 percent of the returns to the key Tehran city election had been counted, the publication of further results was suspended.
Four prominent Iranians, including ex-presidents Hashem Rafsanani and Mohammed Khatami, protested that vote-rigging was taking place.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 13, 2006
debkafile's Iranian sources report the Islamic Republic plans an extensive campaign to justify its nuclear program, based on Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert's statement in Berlin Monday, Dec. 11, listing Israel with the world's nuclear powers. Tehran also hopes to rebut the universal revulsion stirred by the Holocaust denial conference president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad staged this week.
Tehran's first step was a call Wednesday, Dec. 13, on the UN Security Council and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to combat "Israeli threats." It was issued by the foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini in Tehran.
The prime minister had meanwhile amended his statement by saying: "Israel has said many times it will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East. That was our position - nothing has changed."
Tehran will attempt to twist Olmert's statement round in its UN Security Council showdown over sanctions for defying the resolution banning uranium enrichment, and claim its entitlement to "self defense."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 15, 2006
The powerful spectacle of Iran's be-turbaned supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei clutching an automatic rifle, displayed exclusively by debkafile, drew on the belligerent imagery of Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein.
debkafile's Tehran sources reveal that the Iran's leaders took three fateful steps ahead of Khamenei's performance:
1. They pointed up the tradition initiated by the father of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of marking the last Friday of Ramadan as International al Qods Day - "Jerusalem Liberation Day."
2. Khamenei's aides leaked word that his decision to hold the sermon of Oct. 13 was prompted by his discovery that the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group was heading for the Persian Gulf and would be deployed in operational mode opposite Iran's shores by Oct. 21.
3. In Beirut, Iran's surrogate Hizballah announced the cancellation of its annual military parade on al Qods day, i.e. Oct. 20.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 13, 2006
The military pacts Palestinian Hamas interior minister Said Siyam signed with his Iranian counterpart Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi in Tehran on Oct. 12 are designed to transform Hamas' military wing, the Ezz e-Din al Qassam, into a crack operational arm of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and Gaza into a second Lebanon.
debkafile's Iranian sources report Tehran has committed to training Hamas' rapid deployment force of 6,500 men in Hizballah combat tactics, with the accent on missiles, especially the anti-tank variety which were used with devastating effect against Israeli tanks in the Lebanon War.
The Hamas military delegation flew from Cairo to Dubai and on to Tehran. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and intelligence chief, Gen. Omar Suleiman, were apprised of the Hamas leaders' trip and the military accords they were to sign, but did nothing to detain the travelers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 9, 2006
The underground nuclear explosion North Korea carried out early Monday, Oct. 9, confronts US president George W. Bush with one problem that has run out of control and another, Iran's nuclear program, which soon will.
The European-Russian-Chinese insistence on diplomacy with Iran - no sanctions, no military action - is close to reaching the same dead end as did the talks with North Korea conducted by the US, Japan, China, Russia and South Korea.
Bush knows that a military attack would evoke an immediate North Korean invasion of the South and a potential nuclear conflict. But Tehran is quietly watching to see how the North Korea crisis plays out.
Ehud Olmert and his foreign minister Tzipi Livni are not the first Israeli leaders to dump the Iranian issue in the international lap. None of their predecessors made any real effort to nip the Iranian nuclear threat in the bud when it could still be stopped cold or at least slowed down. There is still a short time left to take action before Israelis wake up one morning - as did North Koreans and Japanese Monday, Oct. 9 - to find they ware living under a dark nuclear shadow - only for Israel a nuclear Iran will be less a shadow than a mortal threat to its very existence.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 20, 2006
While the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement nations were making speeches at the 14th conference of their movement in Havana in mid-September, three groups of experts were off in a well-guarded corner next door to talk about matters far from the conference's main theme of how to develop backward economies and societies.
Iranian, Cuban and Venezuelan teams were putting their heads together on ways of translating their hostile rhetoric and slogans into effective war action against the United States.
debkafile's Exclusive intelligence and counter-terror sources disclose that the three teams were made up of intelligence officers and civilian officials on the staffs of the three rulers; their job is maintaining clandestine ties with underground and terrorist organizations.
Iran is also busy creating similar bases in E. Africa, favoring Sudan and Somalia.
At the Havana NAM conference the Iranian president and Sudan's Omar Bashir were seen deep in conversation. Tehran believes that the Sudanese ruler will come round now to accepting expanded military and intelligence collaboration between the two countries, whereas in 2003, he threw Iranian agents out of Sudan together with all their development specialists. Bashir is now seeking support for his Darfur policy which aims to remove pro-Western military elements from Sudan.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 20, 2006
Washington is keeping a sharp weather eye out for Tuesday, August 22, which this year corresponds in the Islamic calendar to the date on which many Sunni Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on his winged horse Buraq.
debkafile's intelligence sources report that information rated "highly credible" has reached US undercover agencies of a secret report presented to Iran's supreme ruler Ali Khamenei by Abdollah Shabhazi, one of the heads of the Supreme National Security Council. He claims to expose a mega-terror plot against Jerusalem scheduled for August 22, which aims at killing large numbers of Jews, Arabs and Christians.
This atrocity will reportedly arm the United States and Israel with the pretext for hitting Iran's nuclear installations, as well its capital, Tehran, and other big cities.
Deeply impressed, Iran's rulers launched a large-scale are, sea and ground exercise Saturday, Aug. 19.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 14, 2006
While the damage caused Israel's military reputation tops Western assessments of the Lebanon war, debkafile's Iranian sources report an entirely different perception taking hold in ruling circles in Tehran.
After UN Security Council resolution 1701 calling for a truce was carried Friday, Aug. 11, the heads of the regime received two separate evaluations of the situation in Lebanon - one from Iran's foreign ministry and one from its supreme national security council. Both were bleak: their compilers were concerned that Iran had been manipulatively robbed of its primary deterrent asset ahead of a probable nuclear confrontation with the United States and Israel.
It took Iran two decades to build up Hizballah's rocket inventory.
debkafile's sources estimate that Hizballah's adventure wiped out most of the vast sum of $4-6 bn the Iranian treasury sunk into building its military strength.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 15, 2006
In the past two weeks, Iran has been pumping into Iraq two types of extra-lethal weapons in very large quantities. They have already taken their toll in the shooting down of two military helicopters - one American and one British - and an estimated 19 deaths of US military personnel.
debkafile's military and intelligence sources estimate the delivery to Iraqi insurgents as consisting of around 1,000 SA-7 Strela ground-air missiles made in Iran, and a very large quantity of a newly-developed roadside bomb, loaded with compressed gas instead of ball bearings and cartridges, to magnify their blast and explosive power.
Together with the new Iranian weapons, a new array of Shiite terrorist groups has sprung up and is hitting American and British troops.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 14, 2006
Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim of Iranian success in low-level uranium enrichment was more bombastic than frank. Before springing his disclosure at a sacred mausoleum in the northern town of Mashhad on April 11, debkafile's Iranian sources disclose he paid a stealthy visit to Neyshabour in Khorassan, 38 kms to the southeast.
There, he inspected a project he omitted to mention in his Mashhad speech about low-level enrichment, namely, a top-secret plant under construction that is designed to run 155,000 centrifuges, enough to enrich uranium for 3-5 nuclear bombs a year.
This is Project B, or the hidden face of the enrichment plant open to inspection at Natanz.
This plant, due for completion next October, is scheduled to go on line at the end of 2007.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 4, 2006
Saturday, Feb. 4, Jerusalem stood back and watched the United States buckle under European pressure and accept Egypt's demand to incorporate the following phrase in the resolution on Iran:
The resolution recognized "that a solution to the Iranian issue would contribute to global nonproliferation efforts and... the objective of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, including their means of delivery."
While the Vienna decision looks like a victory for Western diplomacy, Iran's leaders have lost no time in seizing on it as a license to go full throttle ahead with their illicit uranium enrichment, free of UN spot inspections. Furthermore, they have been given added leverage: before halting their own program, they can demand that the entire Middle East be disarmed - first and foremost Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 28, 2005
On Dec. 17, debkafile reported exclusively:
A special Iranian plane flew Palestinian Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to Revolutionary Guards HQ at Bandar Abbas Monday, Dec. 12, after he spent 10 days in Tehran as favored guest of Iran's clerical rulers. There, he conferred with RG commanders on operational collaboration between the two Palestinian groups, Hamas and Jihad Islami in Gaza and the West Bank, and their hook-up with Iranian networks and Hizballah in Lebanon. Their shared goal: the opening of a second rocket and shelling front against northern Israel to complement the Gaza front in the south.
This decision was implemented ten days later, Tuesday night Dec, 27, with a bombardment from southern Lebanon of Israel's western Galilee and the northern towns of Kiryat Shemona and Shlomi.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 17, 2005
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Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, echoed by the ayatollahs, persists in making outrageous hate statements, directed mainly at Israel.
His latest called the Holocaust a myth and proposed the Jews be resettled in Europe or Alaska - two months after he was condemned worldwide for saying Israel should be wiped off the map. These statements aggravate tensions in the West - especially around Iran's nuclear intentions.
At home too, Iran's rulers are bent on generating a sense of high crisis and menace. Their methods were described exclusively in DEBKA-Net-Weekly 233 on Dec. 9.
A sort of collective delusional hysteria is sweeping the Iranian populace, induced by the Islamic republic's extremist clerical rulers for reasons of their own. Wonder and hate are invoked by fake miracles and myths, demons and monsters.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 3, 2005
Iran's radical leaders, supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his senior nuclear adviser Hashemi Rafsanjani, were not dismayed by Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's declaration Thursday, Dec. 1, that Israel would not be able to accept a nuclear-armed Iran.
The statement made a ringing slogan for Sharon's new Kadima party's campaign for the March 2006 general election. Otherwise it was meaningless.
A more serious statement came from AMAN commander Brig. Aharon Zeevi Wednesday Nov. 30 in his briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee. He warned that if international pressure on Iran fails to bring forth results by March 2006, the world powers might as well give up, because by then it will be too late: Iran will have attained the capability to manufacture a nuclear bomb.
debkafile's intelligence sources reveal that the data on Iran's nuclear industry found in computer that came into CIA hands included a set of instructions in Chinese on how to build miniature nuclear warheads that can be fitted onto surface missiles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 20, 2005
Iran agreed Sunday, Nov. 20, to suspend work on the conversion of raw uranium to UF6 gas at its high-speed centrifuge plant in Isfahan resumption - according to debkafile's exclusive sources in Tehran and Moscow. The announcement looks suspiciously like one of the Islamic Republic's usual stratagems ahead of yet another UN nuclear watchdog board meeting in Vienna to consider its nuclear case. These sources stress that the Bush-Putin plan is not aimed at rescuing Iran from the hot water of Security Council penalties but just the reverse - to draw Moscow into abandoning its resistance to sanctions.
Consequently, by cutting the ground from under a Russian veto against UN Security Council economic sanctions against Iran, Bush has brought this penalty closer to fruition.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 29, 2005
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's outrageous statements were not just the empty rhetoric of an inexperienced politician. They were backed up by solid action.
According to debkafile's counter-terror sources, Iranian intelligence shells out a fee of $50,000 and 80,000 to Sunni hit squads in central and western Iraq for every attack on American troops. Half this amount is paid out up front with the hit list; the balance, when the mission is accomplished. Unlike al Qaeda which kills Iraqis indiscriminately, Iranian intelligence paymasters insist on pinpointing Americans only.
The rate for Palestinian terrorist groups setting up strikes against Israelis is around $50,000 for each "successful" suicide killing.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 23, 2005
Mostafa Mohammad-Najar, brigadier general in the Revolutionary Guards, has packed a lurid, blood-spattered biography into his 49 years, according to the profile of Iran's new defense minister sketched here by debkafile's exclusive intelligence and Iranian experts. debkafile names him as the longtime senior controller of Imad Mughniyeh, one of Washington's most wanted terror masters, and notorious for his role in the earliest terror attacks on US targets in the Middle East. The first was the October 23, 1983, suicide bombing of US Marines headquarters in Beirut which killed 241 Marines. The second was the Khobar Towers blast in eastern Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996. In October 2000, a month after the outbreak of the Palestinian suicide terror war against Israel, Muhammad-Najar took a hand in the Hizballah's kidnap of three Israeli soldiers. At the end of 2001, he helped prepare the 50-ton illegal weapons cargo for loading at Kish Island aboard the Karine-A smuggling ship.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 25, 2005
A virtual nobody on Iran's national scene, Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 49, was picked by Iran's radical Islamic leaders and swung ahead of the presidential race to deal "the heaviest psychological blow to Iran's enemies." Those words were uttered by the new president in his first post-election statement Saturday, June 25. They attested to the fact that Iran had chosen him as its tool for getting back at the Bush administration for seeking to bring regime change and democracy to the Middle East and Iran in particular. debkafile's Iran experts note that this is the second victory Iran's unelected spiritual ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has scored against Washington in a month.
In early June, the Bush administration quietly gave up hope of the European-Iranian diplomatic track - or even UN Security Council penalties - persuading Tehran to relinquish its nuclear weapons program.