DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 31, 2003
Obtaining satellite photographs of Israel nowadays is just a matter of placing a credit card order with one of the international consortia marketing images from outer space. A paying customer can obtain photos with a resolution of between 80 cm and one meter, good enough to spot a tank or an infantry squad guarding a Golan Heights hilltop. The real problem is real-time. According to debkafile's intelligence sources, US and Israeli intelligence discovered in a joint investigation that Arab armed forces recently began buying up reams of satellite photos of Israel. That was the point at which the US government entered the picture, debkafile's sources report from Washington, with a decision to restrict Arab and Muslim access to satellite photos of strategic value.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 28, 2003
Al Qaeda's determined assassination attempts on Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on December 14 and again on the 25th bring to mind an ominous sequence that preceded the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on New York and Washington. Two days earlier, on September 9, al Qaeda assassins murdered Ahmad Shah Massoud, semi-legendary leader of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Dr Ayman Zawahiri, sent a group of suicide bombers to pose as journalists and kill Massoud while pretending to interview him. A bomb hidden in either a belt or a television camera detonated and killed the opposition leader, famous for his role in the campaign to drive the Red Army out of the country in the late 1980s and with a good chance of ousting the Taliban-al Qaeda regime. To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click HERE.The Afghan hero's assassination turned out to have been a pre-emptive tactic of al Qaeda's for wiping out America's chief ally in Afghanistan and so undercutting the Bush administration's retaliatory resources in advance of its horrendous airborne airborne suicide strikes in the United States.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 15, 2003
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Teheran's confidence in its ability to press on with its prohibited nuclear weapons program while blowing hot and cold on international threats was rudely shattered last week. Against all its expectations, a tough US-backed ultimatum was tabled and carried by the International Atomic Energy Agency board in Vienna on Friday, September 12. Iran was given until October 31 to stump up with full details of its nuclear activities program and prove it was not engaged in covert weapons production.
If this deadline is not met, the screw will turn again: The IAEA will pronounce Iran in violation of its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, opening the door to a UN Security Council debate in December 2003 or January 2004 and economic sanctions, one of which will prohibit UN members from purchasing oil and energy products from Iran, a measure that would bring havoc to Iran's limping economy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 30, 2003
British premier Tony Blair may have hoped that the resignation of his most un-lamblike communications and strategy adviser Alastair Campbell might deflect some of the heat of the Hutton Inquiry and limit the damage of the Kelly affair. That sacrifice will be in vain. Some British commentators saw the shock move as the "spin master's final spin". Anyway, the public inquest into the death of British bio-weapons expert Dr. David Kelly last month is expected to recall him for further grilling on the controversial dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and his role on the exposure of the dead scientist to the media in view of conflicting testimonies by other witnesses.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 23, 2003
The Blair government faces a serious test of its survival next week when its highest officers are questioned by the Hutton Inquiry into the sudden death of its senior bio-weapons expert, Dr. David Kelly on July 17. The circumstances leading up to that death forced British prime minister Tony Blair to set up a judicial inquiry commission headed by Lord Hutton. Blair, who promised full cooperation with the probe, himself takes the stand Thursday, August 28. He is preceded by defence secretary Geoff Hoon on Wednesday and on Tuesday, by chairman of the join intelligence committee John Scarlett who wrote the crucial Iraq WMD dossier that has tested the government's credibility. They will be called upon to address the main issues placed before the Inquiry in the first two weeks of sittings. In none does the Blair government come out with too much credit. That evidence in the form of 6,000 pages of testimony and e-mails was placed on the inquiry's Website this weekend.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 19, 2003
US intelligence has dissected the makeup of the guerrilla groups lurking in Baghdad and points north in an area enclosed by Tikrit, Haditha, Fallujah and Baquba. They have come up with some alarming findings: 1. Since late June, Chechen terrorists have been coming to Iraq to join the anti-American offensive. 2. The intake of Arab fighters entering Iraq from Syria is beginning to outnumber the indigenous Iraqi guerrillas fighting in the northern Mosul-Haditha district and the central Ramadi-Fallujah region. 3. The commanders of the guerrilla campaign, Saddam Hussein or his henchmen, appear to are imparting Muslim fundamentalist characteristics to units fighting the Americans - both as camouflage and to foster greater cohesion. In at least one case, a group was lent a pan-Arab identity.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 16, 2003
fl!KEL2.jpg>In the first week of the Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Dr. David Kelly the BBC's credibility and professionalism were on the line. Next week, the limelight will shift to the Blair government's official spin doctors - 10 Downing Street's communications chief Alastair Campbell, who is invited to appear on Tuesday, August 19, and the Prime Minister's spokesman Tom Kelly, who is summoned for Wednesday, August 20. At least in its early stages, the probe led by Lord Hutton into Dr Kelly's death has become the catalyst for a thorough review of the whispering game that ends in a breaking news story for British media audiences and for a hard look at the way official dossiers are manufactured for parliament. Later, it will be the turn of the politicians led by Tony Blair to defend the credibility of their arguments for going to war against Iraq. Campbell's head may roll first for his role in spinning the case for war. Defense minister, Geoff Hoon, may also pay the price for his involvement in the grave circumstances that led to the Britain's top expert on chemical and biological weapons being found dead on a woodland down with a slashed left wrist.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 14, 2003
Monday, July 14, American forces in Iraq suffered their 32nd death since May 1 when a military convoy was assaulted with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns while patrolling the Mansour district of Baghdad. Another six troops were injured. The attack took place on the anniversary of the 1958 overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy, one of the anniversaries the new Iraqi governing council abolished at its inaugural meeting the day before. To pre-empt the expected "anniversary campaign" against its troops, the American army launched Operation Ivy Serpent focusing on the triangle north and west of Baghdad, from which most of the deadly attacks emanate. Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld said frankly Sunday, July 13, that he did not expect the summer to be peaceful for US forces in Iraq and did not rule out consigning reinforcements "as needed".
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 9, 2003
Violent three-way clashes in Tehran marked the July 9 anniversary of the brutally suppressed student demonstrations of 1999, despite the Islamic regime's advance crackdown against the pro-democracy student movement. Hundreds of hard-line Islamic vigilantes, police and students milling about outside Tehran University got into running battles Wednesday night. Police clashed with students as well as with the Basiji vigilantes, who are fiercely loyal to Iran's radical spiritual leader Ali Khamenei and controlled by the Revolutionary Guards, to prevent them from getting closer to the university.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 25, 2003
This exclusive report appeared for the first time in the last issue of debkafile's intelligence weekly published on June 20.
The Americans are secretly building two giant intelligence facilities in Iraq at a cost of some half a billion dollars, according to an exclusive report received from DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources. US engineering and construction units are setting up what amounts to an "intelligence city" on a site north of the oil city of Mosul in Kurdistan and a second facility in Baghdad's Saadun district on the east bank of the Tigris. Our military experts infer from the vast dimensions of the two projects and their colossal expense that it is Washington's intention to retain a large US military presence in Iraq in the long term, for a decade at least.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 7, 2003
The Americans are sitting tight on the extremely valuable Iraqi intelligence archives discovered at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad and at sub-departments of Saddam's clandestine machine never before known to exist. The only data released are a few leaks to the British media calculated to help prime minister Tony Blair stand up to anti-war campaigners at home and around Europe. From this treasure trove, America has distributed to its war allies some materials relevant to their national security. But no decision has been taken as to the disposition of documents attesting to the clandestine ties of collaboration maintained with the Saddam regime by a whole range of foreign government and public office-holders, academics, media figures, financiers and industrialists the world over, many deeply involved in sanctions-busting.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 16, 2003
A secret Washington-sponsored mediation effort, in progress since early March, has just about run its course in the diplomatic twilight zone behind the emergency summit taking place at Praia Da Vitoria in the Azores Islands of Portugal Sunday, March 16, between US president George W. Bush and the two European prime ministers, Tony Blair of Britain and of Spain. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources reveal this last mediator as former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel. On his penultimate trip to Baghdad on March 7-10, our intelligence sources discovered Gemayel took with him a special guest - an American colonel. "When do you intend to attack and try to kill me?" Saddam asked. "Basically, after the March 19 deadline passes," came the reply
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 25, 2003
All may not be well for Adib Shaaban, senior aide to Saddam's powerful son Uday and Iraq's highest-ranking would-be defector. His attempt to flee to the United States, first revealed exclusively in DEBKA-Net-Weekly 97 (February 14), may not have come off. First a recap: Shaaban -- charged with Uday's most sensitive missions -- traveled to Jeddah in early February, saying he needed to put through some gold transactions ahead of the war. From Jeddah, he flew to Beirut and disappeared.
But he never really went to the Lebanese capital. Instead, he made his way undercover to Damascus Monday and was picked up by an unmarked plane that flew him out of the Middle East. At least, that's how Shaaban scripted his plan. But like so many things in the murky world of intelligence, the plan went awry - as is strongly indicated by the fresh information reaching DEBKA-Net-Weekly.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 21, 2003
Fired four months ago from Saddam Hussein's inner bodyguard detail, Jassem Abdullah - not his real name, but one of several aliases - lives in Amman in fear of his life. He moves from place to place taking his secrets with him. As a member of the elite trusted group of five to six men sworn to defend the Iraqi ruler with their lives, he claims to know where Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are hidden - and points to three sites.DEBKA-Net-Weeklylocated and interviewed Jassem through intermediaries in a suite we rented at one of Amman's most luxurious hotels. He was pale and tense.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 20, 2003
Hans Blix, chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the internationial nuclear agency, have not turned up any Iraqi scientists or civilians to interview outside the country's borders. After two days of negotiations with Iraq officials in Baghdad, they came out with a 10-point accord that guarantees very little help for their search.DEBKA-Net-Weekly, however, did locate a highly knowledgeable defector from Saddam Hussein's immediate circle - one, moreover, willing to talk. His name - or more precisely one of his many aliases - is Jassem Abdullah. He managed to escape from Baghdad four months ago.Jassem, it turns out, served on Saddam's bodyguard detail, one of an elite trusted group of no more than five to six security men sworn to defend the Iraqi leader with their lives.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 18, 2003
Last week's "discovery" by UN arms inspectors of a dozen empty chemical 122 mm missile warheads at an Iraqi ammunition dump in Ukhaider, 70 miles south of Baghdad, was not the outcome of intelligence but subtle Iraqi manipulation. The UN inspectors were led by the nose to their discovery. debkafile's military and intelligence sources report this after tracking it down to source.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 17, 2002
The North Ireland Executive has been suspended for the fourth time since devolution in the aftershock set off by the disclosure of a spy ring which operated out of the Stormont offices of the Irish Republican Army's political wing for two and a half years. Our intelligence sources report that the October 5 police raid that smashed the ring lodged in the home of Ulster democracy touched off a multi-pronged undercover manhunt in Britain, Northern Ireland, Eire, Cyprus and Lebanon, as well as Northern Iraq. Its targets are Irish, Palestinian, Cypriot, Greek, Lebanese and Iraqi agents or go-betweens, who may have bought or mediated the transfer of security secrets stolen by members of the IRA spy ring.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 14, 2002
Some of Israel's missile sites had their first airing in spring 2000, when space imaging Ikonos, the world's first commercial 1-meter remote sensing satellite homed in on the "Zakaria" Sedot Micha bases, 45 km south of Tel Aviv. debkafile's analysts note the timing of their photos' first release in Washington: close to the 29th anniversary of the Arab-Israel Yom Kippur War and during the run-up to Gulf War II.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 11, 2002
In the days leading up to the first anniversary of al Qaeda's September 11 outrages against America, US authorities detected a sharp spike in the volume of electronic traffic flying around its component groups, raising the specter of a repeat terrorist attack. Yet no intelligence expert has succeeded in decrypting those messages.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 4, 2002
Iran has drawn up an elaborate war plan of its own to counter the approaching US campaign against Iraq. Syria, Lebanon, the Hizballah and the Palestinians have been enlisted to provoke a massive confrontation with Israel that will serve as a second front and hamstring the US offensive. This is revealed exclusively by debkafile's Iranian and Middle East sources, in the wake of a secret visit that Iran's deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, Mohammad Sadr, paid to Syria and Lebanon this week.