Thursday, December 30th, 2010
Pakistan makes two nuclear weapons available to Saudi Arabia
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 30, 2010, 9:41 AM (GMT+02:00)
Pakistan's GhauriII guided missile
With an eye on the nuclear arms race led by its neighbor Iran, Saudi Arabia has arranged to have available for its use two Pakistani nuclear bombs or guided missile warheads, debkafile's military and intelligence sources reveal. They are most probably held in Pakistan's nuclear air base at Kamra in the northern district of Attock. Pakistan has already sent the desert kingdom its latest version of the Ghauri-II missile after extending its range to 2,300 kilometers. Those missiles are tucked away in silos built in the underground city of Al-Sulaiyil, south of the capital Riyadh.
At least two giant Saudi transport planes sporting civilian colors and no insignia are parked permanently at Pakistan's Kamra base with air crews on standby. They will fly the nuclear weapons home upon receipt of a double coded signal from King Abdullah and the Director of General Intelligence Prince Muqrin bin Abdel Aziz. A single signal would not be enough.
Our military sources have found only sketchy information about the procedures for transferring the weapons from Pakistani storage to the air transports. It is not clear whether Riyadh must inform Pakistan's army chiefs that it is ready to take possession of its nuclear property, or whether a series of preset codes will provide access to the air base's nuclear stores. The only detail known to our Gulf sources is that the Saudi bombs are lodged in separate heavily-guarded stores apart from the rest of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.
This secret was partially blown by Riyadh itself. In recent weeks, Saudi officials close to their intelligence establishment have been going around security forums in the West and dropping word that the kingdom no longer needs to build its own nuclear arsenal because it has acquired a source of readymade arms to be available on demand. This broad hint was clearly put about under guidelines from the highest levels of the monarchy.
Partial nuclear transparency was approved by Riyadh as part of a campaign to impress on the outside world that Saudi Arabia was in control of its affairs: The succession struggle had been brought under control; the Saudi regime had set its feet on a clearly defined political and military path; and the hawks of the royal house had gained the hand and were now setting the pace.
'Mossad, US, UK tried to sabotage Iran nuke program'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Sabotage acts on Iran included Stuxnet virus, explosion in missile factory, killing of scientists, reports newspaper 'Le Canard Enchaine.'
US and UK intelligence forces are cooperating with Mossad to sabotage Teheran's nuclear program in exchange for Israel agreeing not to launch a military strike on Iran, reported the French weekly Le Canard Enchaine on Thursday, quoting French intelligence sources.
According to the sources, acts of sabotage carried out in the past year in Iran were conducted by Israel with the assistance of the CIA and MI6.
Iran says it arrested killers of nuclear scientists
Ahmadinejad admits centrifuges damaged by virus
Among the sabotage acts, according to the report, was the introduction of the Stuxnet computer virus into 30,000 computers in Iran's nuclear reactors.
Other sabotage acts included explosions in October in which 18 Iranian technicians were killed at a factory in the Zagros Mountains that manufactured Shihab missiles.
According to the sources, the assassination of of five Iranian nuclear scientist was also carried out by the Mossad in cooperation with the American and British intelligence agencies.
The sources said the cooperation continues, and further joint actions aimed at deterring Iran from completing its nuclear program are expected.
Soldier Attacked at Entrance to Kiryat Arba
by Elad Benari
An Israeli soldier was attacked and wounded by Arabs on Thursday evening at the entrance to Kiryat Arba.
According to reports, the Arabs hit the soldier with various objects and threw a glass bottle at him, injuring him in the head.
The assailants were arrested and turned over to the police for questioning.
Following the incident, Kiryat Arba local council members Bentzi Gofshtein and Yisrael Bramson called on the IDF to close Tzir Tzion (Zion Road) to Arab traffic. “Don’t force us, the residents, to close the road,” they said.
Tzir Tzion, the road leading from Kiryat Arba to Hevron, was reopened to Arab traffic last summer, upsetting Jewish residents of Hevron and Kiryat Arba who warned that opening the road will lead to murder.
The opening of the road, as well as the removal of dozens of other checkpoints, was done as part of Israel’s “good-will gestures” to the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier on Thursday, Arab terrorists opened fire towards the community of Horesh Yaron in Binyamin. No one was hurt. IDF soldiers were searching for the shooters.
Thursday’s incidents occurred after the Israel Security Agency released its annual report which said that there was an overall decrease in the number of terror attacks against Israel in 2010, compared to 2009.
The report said that there were 798 recorded terror attacks by Arabs in 2010, down from about 1,354 in 2009. Nine people were murdered by terrorists in 2010, and none of the terror attacks were suicide bombings. The total number of shooting and explosive attacks in Judea and Samaria in 2010 was 32, just one less than the previous year.
Obama Appoints Robert Ford as Ambassador to Syria
by Chana Ya'ar
The White House has announced the appointment of a new ambassador to Syria -- a controversial move by U.S. President Barack Obama, who used his Constitutional muscle on Wednesday to name the envoy while the Senate was not in session.
The previous ambassador to Syria was withdrawn by former President George W. Bush in 2005 in response to the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as well as its support for Saddah Hussein-sympathizers and terrorism in general. There were strong indications at the time that Syria was behind Hariri's murder, although Damascus denied involvement in the truck bombing.
The Obama administration has contended since taking office that re-establishing diplomatic relations would be the best way to convince Syria – listed by the State Department as a “state sponsor of terrorism” – to change its policies towards Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
Robert Ford, a career diplomat who has been waiting in the wings since his confirmation hearings were completed in February, was appointed to become the new envoy. Ford, who has previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Algeria, was not confirmed by the Senate, which has refused to consider sending an ambassador to Syria.
“Making undeserved concessions to Syria tells the regime in Damascus that it can continue to pursue its dangerous agenda and not face any consequences from the U.S.,” explained the incoming chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She told reporters in a prepared statement, “That is the wrong message to be sending to a regime which continues to harm and threaten U.S. interests and those of such critical allies as Israel.”
Obama used a Constitutional power that enables him to make recess appointments in order to work around the impasse. Under the loophole, the president can fill a post when the Senate is not in session, and the appointment is valid until the end of the next session of Congress. Presidents often use the power to make appointments when Senate confirmation is blocked.
Other appointments that were filled Wednesday by Obama during the Senate recess included envoy posts to Azerbaijan and NATO allies Turkey and the Czech Republic.
UN prepares to condemn Jewish life in Judea and Samaria
At the behest of the Palestinian Authority, the UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that condemns Jews for settling in their ancestral lands of Judea and Samaria, and demanding that Israel halt the practice altogether.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters on Wednesday that his government would soon be seeking official UN Security Council condemnation of Jewish communities in those areas claimed by the Palestinians as “illegal.”
The Associated Press published a copy of the draft resolution authored by the Palestinian Authority. In it, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “Jewish settlements”) are blasted as the “major obstacle to the achievement of peace.”
The document goes on to claim that “Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, are illegal,” and demands that Israel “immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem.”
The US State Department responded to the news by reiterating that Washington opposes taking these issues to the UN Security Council. However, because the current draft does not include operative steps, such as imposing sanctions on Israel, it is feared that the US will not veto the resolution should it come to a vote.
Israeli officials warn that the more watered-down the resolution text is, the less likely the US is to block its adoption by the Security Council. Nevertheless, the Palestinians and Arab world will hold such a resolution aloft as further “proof” that the Jews have no legal right to reside in this land.
The resolution is, of course, a misrepresentation of recent history and international law, not to mention totally contradictory to the biblical mandate.
In the original British Mandate for Palestine adopted in 1923 (the only legally binding resolution on the issue of the land), the Jews were granted international recognition of their right to settle all parts of their ancient homeland.
In 1948, in response to growing Arab pressure, the UN decided to propose (not impose) a division of the land that would have created an Arab state in Judea and Samaria. Israel agreed, the Arabs rejected. Legally, the deal was off the table. From that time until Israel’s liberation of the land in 1967, Judea and Samaria were occupied by neighboring Jordan.
Despite this history, the Arabs have somehow managed to convince the world’s top administrative body that Israel has invaded and illegally settled “the land of Palestine,” as though such an entity ever existed.
Palestinians’ UN Gambit Puts Both Israel and Obama on the Spot
The Associated Press has published excerpts from the Palestinians’ draft resolution; it seeks a declaration that Israeli settlements are “illegal” and a “major obstacle” to peace, and demands that settlement activities cease “immediately and completely.” The gambit should put the Palestinians on the spot.
As Jonathan noted, the asserted illegality has no foundation in international law. Nor have settlements been a “major obstacle” to peace, since notwithstanding them, Israel has made repeated offers of a Palestinian state on substantially all the West Bank. In 2005, Israel removed every settlement from Gaza, only to have the Palestinian Authority turn it into Hamastan in one week. In 2009, Israel declared a 10-month West Bank construction moratorium (more than enough time to negotiate still another offer of a state, since Abbas asserted it would take only six months); George Mitchell repeatedly warned the Palestinians that the moratorium would not be extended, yet they had to be dragged to the table in the ninth month, and then left it at the end of the tenth.
The Gaza experience in 2005, the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s offer of a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) in 2008, the Palestinian refusal to negotiate during the 2009-10 moratorium, and now the attempted UN diversion all demonstrate that the problem is not the settlements but the Palestinians.
Settlements are a final-status issue under the Roadmap, to be negotiated in good faith. Asked yesterday about the potential Palestinian push for a UN resolution, the State Department spokesman said:
We believe, fundamentally, that direct negotiations are the only path through which the parties will ultimately reach the framework agreement that is our goal, our mutual goal. And final status issues can only be resolved through negotiations between the parties and not by recourse to the UN Security Council, so we’ve consistently opposed any attempt to take these kinds of issues to the Council. [emphasis added]
Asked yesterday if the U.S. would exercise its veto, the State Department spokesman said that “it’s a hypothetical at this point … but I think I made our position pretty clear.” If the Palestinians proceed with their end-run resolution, they will force the U.S. to make that position even clearer, assuming the italicized words matter.