DEBKAfile Special Report February 11, 2013
A secret US Pentagon study “casts doubt on whether the multibillion-dollar missile defense system planned for Europe can ever protect the US from Iranian ballistic missiles...” Clearly, the missile shield against Iran, which aroused ire in Moscow, is about to fall under the axe of US defense budget cuts. debkafile: Scrapping it will leave Israel and Turkey undefended against Iranian missile attack. But if Tehran can put a satellite in orbit of 36,000 kilometers above earth, as Ahmadinejad boasts, America is just as exposed.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2013
Obama’s preoccupation with Iran and Syria was signaled by his green light for Israel’s air strike in Syria and the announcement of his coming visit to Israel for consultation with Binyamin Netanyahu on those subjects, leaving the peace process with the Palestinians for a later date. This change of face was effected by the combined effort of Clinton, Kerry and Donilon.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 7, 2013
Iran’s Ali Khamenei closed the door on the direct nuclear talks offered by Vice President Joe Biden, arguing, Thursday, Feb. 7, that they “would solve nothing” because, "You are holding a gun against Iran.” debkafile: He was reacting both to the new sanctions the US imposed Wednesday and to President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to Israel to confer with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Iran and Syria. The US has cancelled the departure of a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf due to budget cutbacks.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 6, 2013
President Barack Obama is not coming to Israel to advance new proposals or break the peace talks deadlock with the Palestinians, the White House said Wednesday night, Feb. 6. US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said earlier he was coming for consultation on major issues: preventing a nuclear Iran and the collapse of the Assad regime in Syria. debkafile: The visit strengthens Netanyahu’s hand in coalition negotiations, especially after the close rapport between Washington and Jerusalem on Israel’s military action in Syria.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 5, 2013
As Israeli parties haggle over a new government coalition, Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Moscow, sits firmly in the saddle and plays hardball with the Syrian opposition. Former military intelligence chief Asher Yadlin says Iran can “achieve nuclear breakout in four to six months.” Ahmadinejad invites Egypt to join Syria, Hizballah and a nuclear Iran for an unbeatable coalition to “solve the Palestinian question” and wipe Israel off the map so that he can pray on Temple Mount, Jerusalem.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 27, 2013
Tehran is looking seriously at a limited Syrian-Lebanese clash of arms with Israel – possibly using Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons as a trigger, debkafile discloses. Israel reacted to this news by announcing Sunday, Jan. 27, the deployment of Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in northern Israel and Haifa port. A clash would serve Tehran by sidetracking Israel from striking Iran’s nuclear facilities and help spin out its nuclear talks with the Six Powers. Israel has got plans ready for current military challenges.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013
The shakeup produced by Israel’s national elections has produced more than a new breed of political leaders and lawmakers. If the effect is sustained, it will break up traditional party frameworks and bring a new generation to power.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013
One of the new arrivals to Israeli politics, Yair Lapid and his Future (Yesh Atid) party, have kicked off the bargaining for joining Binyamin Netanyahu’s next government armed with a substantial shopping list for jobs and other demands. debkafile: He wants the foreign ministry for himself, the right to veto the prime minister’s choice of defense minister in case it is Avigdor Lieberman, and three more portfolios. Naftali Bennett wants Religious Affairs. Both Lapid and Bennett put Netanyahu in a tough spot.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2013
Binyamin Netanyahu may keep responsibility for defense in his next cabinet, naming Yair Shamir (of Israel Beitenu) minister in the defense ministry, debkafile discloses. This would end outgoing Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon’s expectation of defense in the post-election lineup. As an alternative, Ehud Barak would be retained as a non-political expert. After his stunning election showing, Yair Lapid is in line for Vice Prime Minister plus a key cabinet post, possibly foreign affairs. Naftali Bennett is in line for an economic portfolio.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 23, 2013
Even after losing one-third of his party’s support in the Tuesday election, no figure aside from Binyamin Netanyahu can form Israel’s next government. But he cannot do this without a deal with Yair Lapid’s fledgling Future and concessions on key economic, budget, security and other policy changes. If they agree on guidelines, other parties will fall in line behind them. The newcomers lack background in government. But long experience didn’t prevent Netanyahu from making serious mistakes in the last year or two.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2013
The bloc Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud formed with Israeli Beitenu polled a disappointing 31 seats (in the 120-member Knesset) in Tuesday, Jan. 22, general election, according to 99 percent count of ballots.. The big winner is a newcomer to Israeli politics, centrist ex-journalist Yair Lapid, with 19 seats, who managed to push Shelly Yacimovich’s veteran Labor party down to third place with only 15 seats. Bennett and Shas – 11 each. Left-of-center with Arab parties could garner a bloc of 60 if Lapid joined.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 18, 2013
Obama’s harsh words for Netanyahu enhance his domestic popularity and the size of his victory at the polls next week. The plethora of new parties and faces challenging him suffer from lack of experience, coherence and clarity of message.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 15, 2013
After US intelligence admitted it cannot detect or stop a Syrian chemical attack, US experts now estimate that Iran will not be able to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for one or bombs before mid-2014 “without detection by the West.” debkafile: Barack Obama is preparing the world for the “surprise” of an Iranian nuclear test. The new, delayed dateline, moreover, is based on a false supposition. Already today, Iran has acquired or produced enough enriched uranium to build five nuclear bombs.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 11, 2013
After five months of silence, Binyamin Netanyahu is again talking to his close advisers about the urgency of a military attack to preempt a nuclear Iran, because the window of opportunity won’t stay open more than a month or two. The domestic opposition he faced last September has ebbed.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 5, 2013
Likud’s chief asset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, may also be its chief liability. His silence and ambiguity, his failure to preempt a nuclear-armed Iran and his alignment with Barak Obama on Middle East affairs affecting Israel’s vital security are hurting his party - the joint Likud-Yisrael Beitenu ticket – which, 17 days before a general election, is on a downward slide to 34 from its first 47-seat rating. Yet, the polls still put him in the top slot (43+ percent) as favorite for prime minister and his left-of-center opposition is falling back.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 27, 2012
A confederation plan for a Palestinian West Bank state and Jordan was the real subject of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent conversation with King Abdullah in Amman, debkafile’s sources reveal – not Syria. This idea has become a focal talking point in Amman, Washington and Palestinian centers. It ties in with the report from US and Jordanian sources that Israel and the Palestinians will resume talks in the spring for a long-term interim accord, and defer the core issues indefinitely.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 26, 2012
While running for reelection, Barack Obama said an Iranian “breakout capacity” must be averted because it meant Tehran could quickly assemble a nuclear weapon before US or Israeli intelligence caught on and had time to intervene. debkafile: Iran is widely presumed to have passed this stage already, and so “breakout capacity” is just another red line to be blown away by Tehran. The talk of 2013 being a critical year for preempting Iran’s nuclear capacity is nothing but election spin.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 24, 2012
Turkey’s resumption of strategic cooperation with Israel through NATO is a major breakthrough for Binyamin Netanyahu. He is constantly accused of bringing Israel into deep international isolation as he runs for reelection. NATO and Turkey undercut that charge. Barack Obama worked hard to heal the breach between Ankara and Jerusalem - both to strengthen his burgeoning pro-US Middle East axis and to pave the way for the resuscitation of Israel-Palestinian peace talks in March, 2013 in accord with Netanyahu.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 23, 2012
“At the moment, [Syria’s] chemical weapons are under control,” said senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad Sunday, Dec. 23, echoing the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Saturday that Syrian chemical weapons “are under control for the time being.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu then predicted early far-reaching changes in the Syrian regime with effect on "the sensitive weaponry present there.” debkafile: A foreign force commandeered the chemical stocks at al Safira after forcing the Syrian army and rebels to hold their fire.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 11, 2012
The US approved 20 F-16 fighter planes for Egypt, part of a $1 billion foreign aid package, Tuesday, Dec. 11, the day scheduled for massive rival demonstrations for and against President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional referendum Saturday, Dec. 15. The first four jets will be delivered the day after Barack Obama’s swearing-in as president, and coincide with Israel’s January 22 elections. Obama is telling the Middle East that he stands by his backing for the Muslim Brotherhood, including the radical Palestinian Hamas.