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 Special Report December 29, 2012
Moscow and Tehran have advanced from their strategic partnership for Bashar Assad's survival to military cooperation. debkafile: An Iranian naval maneuver began in the Straits of Hormuz Friday, Dec. 28 - two days after Russia launched its largest naval war game ever in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. As Iranian-made Fateh A-110 missiles were fired this week by the Syrian army under Iranian officers, Moscow rapidly expanded the deployment of its highly-sophisticated S-400 interceptors near the Turkish border.
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 15, 2012
Tehran refuses to discontinue 20-percent uranium enrichment. Either Washington accepts this or “the game is over” – says Iran, in reference to the secret talks launched in Lausanne on Dec. 1. debkafile: Iran is cool on talks since finding it can extract 100 kilos of weapons-grade uranium from the fuel rods removed from the Bushehr reactor in October. This is enough for 24 plutonium bombs - each equal to the WWII bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The US and Israel are ignoring this breakthrough.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2012
Obama has made it clear to Ayatollah Khamenei that lack of progress Iran abandoning its work on a nuclear weapon within the three-month framework for negotiations will lead to US approaching the UN Security Council as its penultimate move before a military offensive.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2012
An Iranian scientist who defected last week over lax safety at his country’s nuclear sites reports that the Bushehr reactor is too faulty to last more than 18 months and mysterious illnesses are spreading through Isfahan from four nuclear facilities. Fearing the reactor might explode, Russian experts summoned from Moscow temporarily removed the fuel rods. According to Russian estimates, an explosion might have caused one million Iranian deaths and injured hundreds of thousands of radiation victims in Persian Gulf countries.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly December 4, 2012
The US and Iran launched bilateral nuclear talks in total hush Saturday, Dec. 1, an event DEBKA-Net-Weekly 567 was first to disclose on Nov. 30. Tehran insisted on the session going forward on schedule, while at the same time staging a string of military incidents for racking up tension to strengthen its bargaining position at the table. The latest DEBKA-Net-Weekly out Friday opened an exclusive window on the secret session and charts the next US and Iranian moves.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 1, 2012
Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr was shut down in mid-October for fear of an explosion. Saturday, Dec. 1, an authoritative Russian nuclear industry source revealed why: “Indicators showed that some small external parts were… in the [Bushehr] reactor vessel….” They were identified as “bolts beneath the fuel cells.” debkafile: Russian experts estimated that a Bushehr explosion had the potential for causing a million Iranian deaths and hundreds of thousands of radiation victims in Iran and across the Persian Gulf emirates.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 30, 2012
President Obama took some tough steps to weaken the Iranian front ahead of the direct US-Iranian nuclear talks beginning December 1. The latest is a March deadline for results. But US military strength is also lined up just in case face-to-face with Iran leads nowhere. Most significantly, in September, the Pentagon and the US Army completed the deployment of US military strength in strike position and intensified military pressure on the Assad regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 30, 2012
A confidential report submitted to Ayatollah Khamenei advises a massive expansion of military spending focusing on earmarking more money and scientific resources for developing missile and sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles. The technology and manufacturing plants for sophisticated drones should be transferred to Gaza and Sudan – not Lebanon. This process was underway in Gaza when Israel launched its air offensive against Hamas in mid-November.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 26, 2012
Monday, Nov. 26, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he was quitting political life after 47 years but staying in defense until the January 22, 2013 general election. debkafile: His action ties in closely with President Barack Obama’s decision to embark on direct US-Iranian nuclear talks and his plans to bring Tehran to the table in a more amenable frame of mind. The Gaza operation was part of those plans. Should a major war erupt meanwhile and force a delay in voting, Barak would still be at his post.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 16, 2012
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided against opening direct talks with the Obama administration, upsetting the reelected President Obama’s best-laid plans to solve the Iranian nuclear controversy by diplomacy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 9, 2012
Barack Obama’s decision to go for direct talks with Iran comes too late to stop its nuclear program. He is left with bargaining over the size of the Iranian nuclear arsenal and its disposal with Ali Khamenei holding most of the high cards.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2012
US President Barack Obama aims to launch direct, fast-track nuclear talks with Tehran in December with a three month deadline for their conclusion, debkafile reports. His advisers warn him that Iran’s campaign for its June 14 presidential election kicks off in March and Tehran cannot be expected to commit to a resolution of their nuclear controversy by then. Iranian strategists would prefer to hold off nuclear diplomacy for eight months until after their election “just as Tehran waited for the US vote.”
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly November 8, 2012
The latest DEBKA-Net-Weekly out last Friday offers an expert forecast of how Barack Obama is approaching the region’s hot-button crises in his second term as US President. First, he will go for a “Grand Bargain” with Iran on its nuclear program – then, fast deals with Moscow and Beijing to cool the crises of a war-torn Syria, a burgeoning Muslim Brotherhood and a rampant al Qaeda. Will he keep US ties with Israel and other allies ambivalent? And will Obama diplomacy work better this time?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 7, 2012
Some Middle East nations, including the Persian Gulf and Israel, view with trepidation four more years of Barack Obama. They envisage the continued hitching of US regional influence on the Muslim world – Sunni and Shiite alike – through the acceptance of a nuclear Iran and the sponsorship of Muslim Brotherhood rule of Sunni Arab nations. Israel is caught in a vise between Iran, whose leaders call openly for Israel’s extinction, which is achievable only by nuclear aggression, and the hostile Muslim Brotherhood.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 4, 2012
Sources in Tehran put out word Sunday, Nov, 4, that Iran had suddenly suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment. An Iranian lawmaker called it a "goodwill" gesture ahead of a new round of talks with the US directly after the presidential election. Two days before the vote, Tehran is transparently throwing its weight behind Obama by suggesting to the American voter that he can solve the nuclear crisis without resorting to war and is Iran’s preferred partner for talks.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 3, 2012
Israel, France and the UK lined up this week for possible military action on Syria and Iran after the US presidential election was over in four days time, debkafile reports. Binyamin Netanyahu spent two days (Oct. 31-Nov. 1) talking to President Francois Holland in France and, the next day, Defense Minister Ehud Barak landed in London, after the top US soldier Gen. Martin Dempsey spent several days in Israel. They all agreed on the unsustainability of current US Mid East on-hold policy after Nov. 6 - whoever was elected.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 1, 2012
If France and Israel were to combine their air and sea assets, they could clobber Iran’s nuclear program without any other partners. However, neither is yet about to move in this direction without the United States, although their intelligence ties are in closer rapport than they are with US intelligence agencies.