First US-Israeli intelligence collaboration in four years against an Iranian military target: Iranian missile ship

In an unusually frank disclosure, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday night, March 5, that US intelligence services and military had worked with Israel to track the Iranian Panama-flagged ship KLOS C, which was apprehended by Israeli naval commandos on the Red Sea earlier that day carrying missiles for Gaza via Sudan. The ship was boarded by the Israeli elite Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13) and found to be carrying dozens of 302mm rockets made in Syria with a range of 150 km made in Syria. It is now on its way to Eilat.

The White House spokesman said that Washington worked with Israeli through intelligence and military channels, and at the national security adviser level, as soon as it knew the shipment was on the move. He said that President Barack Obama also directed the US military to work out contingencies in case it became necessary to intercept the vessel (thereby sanctioning military action). 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

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

Intel Chief: Iran Will Have ICBM By 2015

Iran will have inter-continental ballistic missiles by 2015, a top intelligence official told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday. Continue reading

Iran: US ‘wishes won’t come true’ at nuclear talks

Mohammad Javad Zarif says Islamic Republic won’t give up major parts of its program

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Washington’s “wishes are unlikely to come true” in talks between the Islamic Republic and world powers over its nuclear program, the government’s latest apparent attempt to deflect criticism from hard-line skeptics who say that President Hassan Rouhani will give up too much for too little in upcoming negotiations over a final comprehensive deal.

Mohammad Javad Zarif indicated the U.S. wanted Iran to give up major parts of its nuclear program but said such demands won’t be carried out. Continue reading

170,000 rockets are aimed at Israel’s cities, says IDF intel head

170,000 certainly ups the ante and brings credibility to Iran’s latest threat of slaughtering all of America’s military bases within its reach.

The head of Israel’s most powerful intelligence agency depicted Wednesday a changing battlefield in which offensive cyber capabilities will, in the near future, represent the greatest shift in combat doctrine in over 1,000 years. For now, though, he said, the 170,000 rockets and missiles pointed by enemy states at Israel represented the most pressing threat, a danger he placed even above Iran’s rogue nuclear program.

“Cyber, in my humble opinion, and you don’t have to agree with me, will be revealed in a not very long time as a revolution greater than the creation of gunpowder or the usage of the aerial space at the start of the past century,” said Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate. Kochavi, a former infantry officer, called the possibilities inherent in cyber warfare “nearly limitless, and that is not a metaphor.” Continue reading

Dep. Defense Min. Hints at Israeli Strike on Iran

The Deputy Defense Minister, MK Danny Danon (Likud-Beytenu), has penned an article in the US-based Politico website that appears to be a warning about an Israeli intention to strike Iran’s nuclear weapon facilities.

The relatively short, 400-word article, refers to two previous cases in which Israel struck Islamic nuclear sites without US approval. 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

New Iran agreement includes secret side deal, Tehran official says

The current US administration, as predicted, has conceded everything and received nothing in return. Restraining ‘nuclear ambitions’ by continuing to allow them further enrichment is not restraint in the least bit. In the end, whatever gives Israel the proverbial short end of the stick is what will prevail. DEBKAfile had previously reported secret negotiations were already in the making last year (October and November) and has since been vindicated. (Additional sources: Source 1, Source 2)

This is how the West is (going to be) lost.

WASHINGTON – Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials, Iran’s chief negotiator said Monday.

Abbas Araqchi disclosed the existence of the document in a Persian-language interview with the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.

The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Continue reading

Iran: ‘We Will in No Way, Never, Dismantle’ Nuclear Infrastructure

Iran vowed to maintain its nuclear infrastructure and threatened to boost its uranium enrichment capabilities just hours after announcing that it had agreed to a deal to halt some aspects of its contested nuclear program.

Iran and Western nations announced on Sunday that they had agreed to an interim deal to halt portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for some $7 billion in sanctions relief.

Secretary of State John Kerry celebrated the interim agreement, which will officially begin on Jan. 20.

However, Iranian officials threatened to ramp up nuclear activities should they feel the West is violating the accord.

We will in no way, never, dismantle our [nuclear] centrifuges,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the country’s state-run television station on Sunday, according to New York Times reporter Thomas Erdbrink. 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

Gulf nations to create joint military command

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab neighbors wrapped up a summit meeting in Kuwait on Wednesday by agreeing to establish a joint military command, paving the way for tighter security coordination even as their regional rival Iran pursues outreach efforts in the wake of its interim nuclear deal.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also agreed to lay the foundations for a joint Gulf police force and a strategic studies academy, according to a summary of the group’s closing statement carried by the official Kuwait News Agency. Continue reading