Israeli launches spy satellite after US refusal to push for Iran’s weapons program’s dismantlement

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to delay the launch of Israel’s improved Ofek 10 spy satellite Wednesday night April 9, hours after the six powers and Iran wound up another round of talks in Vienna on comprehensive accord on its nuclear program. Israel decided to show some muscle over the Obama administration’s consent to raise Iran’s weapons program at the next round of nuclear negotiations next month, debkafile‘s Washington and Jerusalem sources report. But this assurance, relayed also to the Saudi government, was not accompanied by information on the points to be raised, or the US response if Tehran continued to maintain that its weapons program is non-existent and therefore not up for negotiation with the world powers. Continue reading

Dempsey claims Israel satisfied the US will use military option against Iran. DEBKAfile: Israel doesn’t say this

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, flew out of Israel Wednesday, April 2, from three days of talks with Israeli leaders, asserting: “I think they are satisfied we have the capability [to use a military option against Iran]. I think they believe we will use it.”

debkafile sources tracking his talks did not receive that impression from Israeli officials. They did not subscribe to his statement that “Israel and the United States are in broad agreement about the threat that Iran poses to the region and how to deal with it.” Continue reading

Israel-China Alliance Moves Forward With $2 Billion ‘Red-Med’ Freight Rail Link Alternative to Suez Canal

The growing economic alliance between Israel and China is moving forward with a $2 billion, 300 kilometer freight rail link connecting Eilat, on the Red Sea, with Ashdod Port, on the Mediterranean, Germany’s Deutsche Welle news magazine reported on Monday.

The project, nicknamed the ‘Red-Med,’ was greenlit by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, and construction, which is expected to take five years, will begin within the year.

Continue reading

Netanyahu: “Iran will next hide nuclear suitcases.” DEBKAfile: Bought 10 years ago from Ukraine

We’ve been warned about ‘dirty nukes’ for quite a long time and the scenario isn’t difficult to imagine happening. However, the real question behind the matter is the origins and intention: Terrorism in the name of the so-called ex-Soviet Union, the only nation that was capable of leaking these materials out in the black market for planned paralyzing attacks against the West — which would be traced back to terrorist groups and not the Soviet Union itself.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday, March 10, that because the world chooses to slide over Iran’s concealed nuclear program, the next Klos C ship may not carry missiles but “nuclear suitcases.” They would not only reach an Israeli port, he said, but any port in the world.

Netanyahu did not elaborate on his reference to nuclear suitcases. debkafile’s military and intelligence sources link it to a shipment of 6-10 “nuclear suitcases” that were part of an illegal  Ukraine delivery to Iran in 2003 or 2004 of half a dozen nuclear-capable X-55 cruise missiles (NATO codenamed AS-15) whose 2000-km range covers every part of Israel.

These nuclear suitcases were believed at the time by Western and Middle East intelligence sources to be an original development of Russian nuclear agencies. Continue reading

Obama: US won’t be able to defend Israel if peace talks fail

From a Biblical perspective, one should keep in mind what happens to any nation that divides (Joel 3:2) Israel, His land. God lets it be known the consequences are high. Abandonment also leads to destruction.

Ahead of meeting with Netanyahu, president says unprecedented ‘aggressive settlement construction’ detrimental to peace process

Israel can expect to face international isolation and possible sanctions from countries and companies across the world if Benjamin Netanyahu fails to endorse a framework agreement with the Palestinians, US President Barack Obama cautioned on Sunday ahead of a meeting with the Israeli prime minister.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Obama stressed that time was running out for Israel to achieve a peace deal, and added that he believed Netanyahu had the capacity to rally Israel’s citizens behind an agreement.

But if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach,” Obama said. Continue reading

U.S. pushing Israel to stop assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists

WASHINGTON — As Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flies to Washington – due to arrive on Sunday (March 2), to prepare for talks with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday – it’s clear that there are several points of friction between Israel and the United States.

The two countries are allies, but their leaders often differ on the details of key issues: Israel’s peace talks with the Palestinians, America’s nuclear talks with Iran, how to approach political turmoil in Egypt, what might be done to limit Syria’s horrible civil war, and a broader issue of whether the Middle East sees President Obama as a powerful, influential leader. Continue reading

Israel Halted Iranian Assassination Campaign at US Urging

The Obama administration pressured Israel to stop assassinating Iran’s top nuclear scientists, according to a CBS News report.

Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency ran an assassination campaign for several years, during which time at least five Iranian scientists were killed, most by bombs planted on their cars, national correspondent Dan Raviv reported Saturday on the CBS News website. Continue reading

Iran a threat not just to Israel, says Germany’s Merkel

(Reuters) – Germany views Iran as a potential threat not just to Israel, but also to European countries, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The German chancellor visited Jerusalem with her cabinet to mark almost 50 years of bilateral ties with Israel, which was founded in part as a haven for survivors of the Holocaust.

“We see the threat not just as a threat for the state of Israel but as a general threat for Europe as well,” she said of a potential Iranian bomb, adding that Germany would pursue international talks with Tehran on its nuclear activities. Continue reading

China’s New Silk Road Must Pass Through Middle East

JERUSALEM — Three hundred kilometers by high-speed rail between the cities of Eilat and Ashdod, connecting the Red Sea coast to the Mediterranean: They call it the “Red-Med” Project.

Financed by Beijing and launched from Jerusalem, China has revealed its strategy for “West Asia” — the term that the China Shipping Container Lines company uses to delineate the area of operations between Hormuz, Suez and Haifa.

The use of the term West Asia rather than Middle East is no accident — this gives precedence to the size of the economic link with China rather than the ever troublesome geopolitics of the region. Continue reading

Nuclear talks open with Iran and three unattainable US pledges to Israel re Fordo, Arak, enrichment

The second round of talks between the six powers and Iran – this time for a final, comprehensive resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program – opened in Geneva Tuesday, Feb. 18. But first, the Obama administration gave the Israeli government three pledges, debkafile’s Washington and Jerusalem sources reveal. It must be said, however, that none of those pledges is realistic.

One was a commitment to insist on the absolute shutdown of Iran’s underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordo. The second was the conversion of the reactor under construction at Arak from a heavy to a light water plant, in order to preclude the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons; and the third, to place a cap on the low-grade 5-percent enrichment of uranium. Continue reading

Obama withholds from Israel details of nuclear accord with Iran: Tehran denies dismantling its program

US Vice President Joe Biden when he met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday night, Jan. 13, refused to level with him on the detailed agreements which the Americans claimed were reached by the six powers and Iran in their talks earlier this week on the implementation of their first-stage Geneva accord. This is reported by debkafile’s Washington and Jerusalem sources.  It was the first time US President Barack Obama personally vetoed a briefing to Israel on the content of the international nuclear negotiations he instigated – notwithstanding his private and public pledges to Netanyahu of “full transparency.”

This secretiveness has stirred concern and mistrust in Jerusalem on two grounds:

1.  It denotes a sharp decline in the strategic relations between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government and leaves Israel in the dark on an issue of vital concern to its security. Continue reading

Iran blatantly defies five key Geneva Pact commitments – heads for nuclear arsenal

In short, what Iran is seemingly looking to do is be able to up the production capability to where it can build nuclear weapons within two weeks. A two week time period would be too short of a period of time for most nations to react, especially as nations today are forming ‘coalitions’ in order to mitigate political backlash. Throw in the usual stalling/delay tactics as well as Russia and China blocking all efforts in the UN, combined with a United States that is slowly bringing resources to the Asian “pivot” and we might have a perfect recipe for disaster. Once again, Israel will find itself mostly alone with its back against the wall and left no choice but to strike preemptively or in reaction to an attack — neither make a difference now.

Iran’s utilization of advanced IR-2m centrifuges for enriching uranium, in violation of the interim Geneva accord, was presented by the US and the five powers Wednesday, Jan. 8, as the main difficulty in its implementation. This claim allowed the follow-up meeting to take place in Geneva on Thursday, Jan. 9.DEBKAfile’s Iranian and intelligence sources report that this was a lame excuse to account for the real situation, which is that Iran has not even started implementing any part of the Geneva accord it signed last November 24. The follow-up talks this week are not expected to break out of this impasse, any more than the first round did on Dec. 19-20.

This is because the obstacles are far from technical; they arise from Iranian domestic politics.  Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has fenced in President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif with hard-line objectors to the tactics employed till now by the Iranian team, led by Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi. In future, negotiators will be required to refer all the conclusions reached with the powers to the policy-making levels in Tehran for approval and abide by their guidelines. Continue reading