Sunday, December 12th, 2010
Iran bent on punishing CIA, MI6, Mossad accused of attacking its scientists
DEBKAfile Special Report December 12, 2010, 11:51 AM (GMT+02:00)
Two nuclear scientists targeted in Tehran
US, British and Israeli secret services are getting set for Iran to retaliate for the attacks of which they are accused on its top nuclear physicists. debkafile's Iranian sources report that the last straw for Tehran were the attacks of Nov. 29, which killed Dr. Majid Shariari, head of the national offensive against cyber attack by Stuxnet, and injured Prof. Fereydoun Abbasi, director of centrifuge operation at Nananz, in the heart of the Iranian capital.
Iran also has an unsettled score for the murder eleven months ago of Prof. Massoud Ali Mohamadi, by the remote-control detonation of a booby-trapped motorbike parked outside his home.
In the last ten days, the Iranians have mounted a propaganda campaign of rising intensity accusing the CIA, MI6 and Mossad of combining forces to liquidate its senior nuclear scientists inside the country during 2010. A Western intelligence source commented Sunday, Dec.12 that Tehran would not have waged this campaign so publicly unless it was planning imminent retribution. He reported: "All three Western agencies have taken special measures to safeguard their scientists and senior diplomats across the world against assassins."
The Iranians are fingering the US, Israel and the UK, in unfolding blasts of vilification:
The Six Power nuclear talks with Iran opened in Geneva on Dec. 12 with an 80-minute tirade by Iran's representative Saad Jalili, Iran's National Security Adviser and head of its delegation. He declared, "Iran has so far lost 13,000 citizens in terrorist attacks… that (are) supported by the West. The same trend is repeating again." Turning to European Union executive Catherine Ashton, he said, "The recent assassination of the two nuclear scientists was a different case compared with the previous cases."
To explain why they were different, he claimed that the MI6 director John Sawers and Israel had confessed they were behind those attacks. Jalili went on to ask: "Why has the world kept mum about the terrorist action and the straightforward confession of a number of countries about their involvement in this act"?
debkafile's intelligence source pointed out: No regime, and certainly not Iran, could think of openly charging that 13,000 of its citizens were murdered - and then let the culprits go unpunished." By naming the head of the British secret service and Israel as the culprits, Tehran is telling London and Jerusalem they have crossed red lines and will have to face the consequences.
A day earlier, Alil Salehi, Director of Iran's Nuclear Commission and Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi, both spoke sharply about the involvement of foreign agencies in the attacks on Iranian scientists and their modes of operation, such as "sticky bombs."
Finally on Saturday, Dec. 11, Interior Minister Mostafa Najjar claimed that,"Arrested agents confessed that they received equipment and training from the Mossad, the CIA, and MI6." He promised special measures to provide protection for the elite and scientists.
debkafile's intelligence sources: This is the first time Tehran has claimed the existence of a joint US, Israeli British clandestine mechanism collecting intelligence for assassinations in Tehran. It indicates that the country is wide open to such activities and its security services helpless to combat them.
Israel pleased Clinton rejects idea of imposed solution
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER AND HERB KEINON
At Saban forum address, Clinton says US may offer "bridging proposals when appropriate"; Barak discusses solution with divided Jerusalem.
Israel expressed satisfaction on Saturday night that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out unequivocally against an imposed diplomatic solution in her Middle East policy speech a day earlier.
“The United States and the international community cannot impose a solution,” Clinton said at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum dinner in Washington. “Sometimes I think both parties seem to think we can. We cannot. And even if we could, we would not, because it is only a negotiated agreement between the parties that will be sustainable.
Clinton's speech: Time to grapple with the core issues
Livni meets Clinton as US tries to salvage peace process
UN and EU blame Israel for breakdown of peace talks
Abbas vows: No talks without a freeze
Clinton’s comments come as Palestinian Authority officials continued to threaten to ask for international and UN recognition of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines; as three South American countries extended that recognition last week; and as 26 former EU leaders issued a letter calling on the multinational organization to set an April 2011 deadline by which either there is “progress” on the diplomatic track or it should be left to the international community to “define a vision and strategy for a resolution of this conflict.”
“Unilateral efforts at the United Nations are not helpful and undermine trust,” Clinton said on Friday.
One government official said that Clinton’s clarity in saying that there should be no imposed solution was one of three important elements Jerusalem saw in her speech.
The second element, the official said, was her stressing that future borders must “protect Israel’s security” – diplomatic code for not insisting that Israel had to return to pre-1967 lines, which are widely deemed by the government as indefensible.
“Israeli leaders must be able to offer their people internationally recognized borders that protect Israel’s security,” Clinton said.
“And they must be able to demonstrate to their people that the compromises needed to make peace will not leave Israel vulnerable. Security arrangements must prevent any resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats.”
And third, the official said, Israel was pleased that Clinton said that the core issues must be dealt with together, not separately. Israel has adamantly opposed Palestinian demands that the issue of borders be decided within 90 days, without tackling at the same time the security arrangements – the disarmament of a Palestinian state, and an IDF presence on the Jordan River – that Jerusalem deems will be necessary to enable any Israeli withdrawal.
Clinton said the core issues – borders and security, settlements, water, refugees and Jerusalem – are “woven together. Considering the larger strategic picture makes it easier to weigh the compromises that must be made on both sides and see the benefits to be gained. We are not moving forward in a vacuum.”
Clinton, during her address, recommitted the US to the peace process and said it might offer its own bridging proposals.
“We will push the parties to grapple with the core issues. We will work with them on the ground to continue laying the foundations for a future Palestinian state. And we will redouble our regional diplomacy,” she said.
“When one way is blocked, we will seek another. We will not lose hope and neither should the people of the region.”
She said she shares “the deep frustrations” of so many invested in the peace process who have been concerned at its foundering in recent days. But she said the US would be consulting assiduously with the parties to try to reignite direct talks.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who spoke after Clinton at the Saban dinner, also pledged to continue pursuing peace, saying that the contours of a two-state solution were well-known and going further than Clinton into the details of final-status issues.
On Jerusalem – perhaps the most vexing issue – he described a solution that would split the city.
He said the issues would be discussed last and resolved along the lines of the (former US president Bill) Clinton parameters, namely “western Jerusalem and the Jewish suburbs for us, the heavily populated Arab neighborhoods for them, and an agreed upon solution in the ‘Holy Basin.’” One government source stressed on Saturday night that this was Barak’s position, and did not reflect the position of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who continually says that Jerusalem will remain the united capital of Israel. At the same time, Netanyahu has also made clear that he is ready to discuss all the core issues, including Jerusalem.
There had been speculation that during Friday’s address, Clinton would lay out a more concrete American vision for the outcome of the process. But the closest she came to such a statement was that the US would continue consulting with both sides and that “in the context of our private conversations with the parties, we will offer our own ideas and bridging proposals when appropriate.”
While Clinton listed Jerusalem as a final-status issue that would need to be addressed by the sides, she was more circumspect in possible prescriptions. But on another significant issue – settlements – she stressed American opposition.
“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity,” she said. “We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and the two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself.”
The Palestinians have refused to hold direct talks so long as Israel does not renew the moratorium on settlements that expired on September 26. Since then, the US and Israel have been working on a deal which would give Israel incentives for a 90-day extension, but that deal fell apart earlier this month.
Still, Clinton warned the sides against thinking that the relative lull in violence and prosperity means a political solution isn’t necessary.
“I know that improvements in security and growing prosperity have convinced some that this conflict can be waited out or largely ignored,” she said. “This view is wrong and it is dangerous.”
She spoke of the “unacceptable” and “unsustainable” status quo that has continued “to deprive the Palestinian people of dignity and self-determination.”
Clinton declared that “a Palestinian state, achieved through negotiations, is inevitable” and the US would continue pushing for its creation.
“She’s recommitted the administration to a comprehensive peace agreement in a very short time frame,” said Robert Danin, a former deputy envoy to the Quartet and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a US think tank, who attended the Saban dinner.
“It’s dangerous if expectations are maintained at a high level if these goals aren’t realized,” Danin warned.
Clinton met with Barak, opposition leader Tzipi Livni, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat as part of her diplomatic outreach to re-jigger the talks.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is headed to the region next week to continue the effort.
At the Jerusalem Post this morning, we learn that in a major address at the Saban forum Friday night, Hillary Clinton "stressed American opposition" to Jews building anything on the territory won by Israel in the Six-Day War.
????"We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity," she said.
"We believe their continued expansion is corrosive
not only to peace efforts and the two-state solution,
but to Israel's future itself."
Obama's Middle East policy
is based on ideology, not reality.
it is immune to rational argument."
Jordanian King looks to improve ties with Iran
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
In meeting with Ahmadinejad's bureau chief, Abdullah says he wants to change tense relations with Islamic Republic; receives invite to Teheran.
AMMAN, Jordan— Jordan's King Abdullah II on Sunday said he is seeking "practical steps" for improving his country's frosty relations with Iran.
The monarch's appeal contrasted with his regime's frequent criticism of Iran's policies.
Amman urges US to find new peace formula
Wikileaks: Assad - Iran not pursuing nuclear weapons
Abdullah made the appeal for better ties during a meeting with Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the director of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's office, according to an official Jordanian statement. It said Abdullah was invited to visit Teheran.
As early as 2004, Abdullah warned of Iran's growing influence in Iraq and the rest of the region.
In US cables released by WikiLeaks, US diplomats were quoted as saying Jordan warned that Iranian influence could undermine American interests and moderate nations like Jordan, an ally of the US.
Left, Right Clash on Support from European Right
by Gil Ronen
A show of support for Israel's settlements in Judea and Samaria by a delegation of right-wing European politicians has led to a highly charged yet fascinating debate between left-wing and nationalist spokesmen in Israel.
Samaria spokesman David Ha'ivri sees the European Right's support for settlements as “a revolutionary opportunity” for Israel and is already planning a follow-up visit to Europe, including joint appearances with the right-wing European politicians.
In Left-wing Ha'aretz, Adar Primor blasted the Europeans' visit and the reasoning behind it. In an article titled “The unholy alliance between Israel's Right and Europe's anti-Semites,” it mocked the Israeli nationalists who “believe they have tamed this bunch of extremists they brought over from Europe” but warned that the Europeans “have not genuinely cast off their spiritual DNA, and in any event, they aren't looking for anything except for Jewish absolution that will bring them closer to political power.”
“Filip Dewinter, a member of the delegation, is a leader of the Vlaams Belang party, a successor to the Flemish National Movement, many of whose members collaborated with the Nazis,” wrote Primor. “Among its current members are a number of Holocaust deniers. Dewinter himself moved about in anti-Semitic circles and has ties to European extremist and neo-Nazi parties. In 1988, he paid his respects to the tens of thousands of Nazi soldiers buried in Belgium, and in 2001, he opened a speech with an oath used by the SS.”
Primor had worse words for Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of Austria's Freedom Party. “If Jorg Haider was 'Hitler's spiritual grandson,' then Strache is his extremely illegitimate great-grandson. His grandfather was in the Waffen-SS, and his father served in the Wehrmacht. As a university student, Strache belonged to an extremist organization from which Jews were banned, hung out with neo-Nazis and participated in paramilitary exercises with them. Commentators in Austria say that Strache is trying to copy Haider but that he is less sophisticated and ultimately more extreme than his role model.”
Ha'ivri headed for Europe?
Ha'ivri, one of the settler movement's most prominent representatives on the world media stage, was unfazed by the leftist riposte. “If these European leaders – with their ties to anti-Semitic groups and their past – come around and declare that Israel has a right to exist securely in all of the areas under our control, and that Europe has a moral responsibility because of the crimes of their past, then I believe that we should accept their friendship,” he told Israel National News.
“Their statements are the strongest possible tool in the war against antisemitism,” Ha'ivri contended. “No skinhead cares what [Anti-Defamation League Chairman] Abe Foxman has to say, but if Filip Dewinter and Heinz-Christian Strache make these statements they will have real impact. For that reason I am considering appearing with them in their countries for pro-Israel rallies. I think that it is worth the risk of being defamed by Ha'aretz and the like if we can cause a shift in the European nationalist movements, moving them away from their traditional Jew-hatred and bringing them closer to appreciation of Zionism. I don't think that I am naive to feel that this is a revolutionary opportunity.”
“I agree that we should be careful,” Ha'ivri added on his Facebook page. “The Left on the other hand will never let up; they will use fascist tactics and brand us as fascists. Their historic heroes Arlozorov and Kastner actually collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust. But the Left never excused Avraham Stern ('Yair') for exploring the option of working with the Germans against the British before the Holocaust began.”
Arlozorov, Kastner and Stern are well known figures from Israel's pre-statehood and early statehood era. Labor party functionary Arlozorov was killed by unknown assassins in 1933, Lechi underground leader Stern was murdered by British authorities in 1942 and prominent Hungarian Jewish leader Kastner was shot dead by a Holocaust survivor in 1957.
The debate between Israel's left wing and right wing over the subject of the European Right is as old as Israeli politics. While the Left tends to despise all things nationalist, including Jewish nationalism, the Right tends to differentiate between anti-Jewish nationalism and other forms of nationalism. However, cooperation with politicians from right-wing European parties is a subject of controversy within the Israeli nationalist camp as well.
Syria Told Iran: 'We're Too Weak' to Help You Fight Israel
by Gil Ronen
Tehran asked Syria one year ago to say that it would join Iran and its proxy militia, Hizbullah, in case of a war with Israel, but Syria refused. According to JTA, this information is included in a US diplomatic cable made public by Wikileaks.
The cable from the US embassy in Syria is dated Dec. 22, 2009, and is one of thousands published by WikiLeaks in recent weeks. It relates to a visit to Syria by four high-level Iranian officials and the signing of a defense memorandum of understanding between the two countries.
"Syria reportedly resisted Iranian entreaties to commit to joining Iran if fighting broke out between Iran and Israel or Hizbullah and Israel," said the cable, which was signed by Chuck Hunter, the charge d'affaires at the U.S. embassy in Syria.
The cable quoted a source whose identity has been redacted:
"XXXXXXXXXXXX said Iranian officials were in Syria 'to round up allies' in anticipation of an Israeli military strike. 'It (an Israeli strike on Iran) is not a matter of if, but when,' XXXXXXXXXXXX said, reporting what Syrian officials had heard from their Iranian counterparts. The Syrian response was to tell the Iranians not to look to Syria, Hezbollah or Hamas to 'fight this battle.' 'We told them Iran is strong enough on its own to develop a nuclear program and to fight Israel,' he said, adding, 'we’re too weak.' The Iranians know Syria has condemned Israeli threats and would denounce Israeli military operations against Iran. 'But they were displeased with Assad’s response. They needed to hear the truth,' XXXXXXXXXXXX said."
JTA said that while the Iranian visit to Syria was touted at the time as a signal of Syrian support for Iran in its showdown with the West, the cable “notes signs and reports that the Syrians were not eager to receive their guests.”
The Syrian government timed visits from French and Turkish dignitaries to coincide with the period of the Iranians' visit. The presidential spokeswoman discussed the other visits in a press conference but “barely touched on the Iranians.”
PA expresses discontent with current US administration
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Meetings held in Ramallah amid disappointment with US for failing to pressure Israel to halt building in W. Bank settlements and east J'lem.
The Palestinian Authority leadership began a series of meetings in Ramallah on Sunday ahead of US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell’s planned visit to the region this week.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a meeting on Sunday of the Fatah Central Committee. On Monday, Abbas will chair another meeting of the PLO Executive Committee.
Palestinian refugee issue comes to fore as Mitchell arrives
PA furious US cannot persuade Israel to renew freeze
The meetings are being held amid deep disappointment in Ramallah with the US administration for failing to pressure Israel to halt construction in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem.
A PA official said that Abbas informed the Fatah committee that he would reject the American call for holding indirect talks with Israel.
Abbas is also expected to seek the backing of Arab League foreign ministers for his position. The ministers have decided to hold a meeting on Wednesday at the request of Abbas to discuss the repercussions of Washington’s failure to convince Israel to renew a moratorium on settlement construction.
Mohammed Shtayyeh, member of the PA negotiating team with Israel, was quoted by AFP as saying that Washington has suggested that the Palestinians resume indirect negotiations with Israel – an indication that the Americans have “nothing to offer.” He also ruled out the possibility that such negotiations would succeed.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official and close adviser to Abbas, said he expected the PA leadership to reject Washington’s demand to resume the peace talks.
“We don’t want to return to indirect talks to once again discuss agendas for the negotiations because we will then waste another year,” he said.
Abed Rabbo warned that the interests of the superpowers in the region would be affected if an independent Palestinian state is not established. He added that Washington’s credibility has already been undermined as a result of its announcement that it has failed to stop settlement construction.
“This is the first time since the Vietnam War that the US declares its failure,” Abed Rabbo told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.