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

With US ties frayed, Saudi calls for Gulf union

Regardless of what Chuck Hagel says, the decisions regarding who or what will stay in the Middle East will increasingly be decided by a region who is taking the reins away from the US. Too much trust has been eroded with taking sides in the war on Syria, let alone witnessing the turning of entire countries upside down, such as Egypt and Libya.

With its decades-old US alliance strained over the Syria war and a nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia is calling on the Gulf monarchies to unite for their own self-defence.

US Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday, has assured Gulf states that the agreement struck between major powers and Iran on November 24 will not affect the presence of some 35,000 US troops in the region. Continue reading

Iran Announces Development of Ballistic Missile Technology

IRGC leader: ‘We own this technology as well’

A top Iranian military leader announced late Tuesday that Iran has developed “indigenous” ballistic missile technology, which could eventually allow it to fire a nuclear payload over great distances.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made the critical weapons announcement just days after Iran and the West signed a deal aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear activities. Continue reading

Iran Launches ‘Massive’ War Drills — Drills codenamed “Towards Jerusalem”

Iranian military forces launched a series of “massive military drills” across nine provinces on Wednesday following an order by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to state media reports.

The drills, codenamed “Towards Jerusalem,” will continue over the coming days and throughout the rest of the year. Continue reading

Western nations rush to restore business ties with Iran ahead of a nuclear deal and eased sanctions

The six powers’ negotiating teams sat down in Geneva for resumed nuclear talks with Iran Wednesday, Nov. 20 in a haze of cautious optimism radiating from from Washington, Moscow and London about the prospects of the first accord to be signed with Tehran on a path toward resolving the controversy over its nuclear program.
Still, no one was laying bets on the deal, a preliminary accord providing six months for a comprehensive agreement to be discussed. Continue reading

Four new Iranian conditions block nuclear accord in Geneva. Lavrov intercedes with Rouhani, attacks Israel

The US and Russian presidents after bringing all their weight to bear on Tehran have failed to gain an inch toward a possible deal at the resumed nuclear talks in Geneva Wednesday Nov. 20, after being blocked by hardliners at the Iranian end. Tuesday, Kayhan, the mouthpiece of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, ran an article telling Foreign Minister Javad Zarif he should not go to Geneva at all.

DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources reveal the red lines with which the Iranian delegation to the talks has been armed for accepting an interim deal with the six powers on their nuclear program: Continue reading

Israel said to be working with Saudi Arabia on Iran strike plan

Riyadh reported to give Jerusalem okay to use Saudi airspace and to cooperate on other tactical support, according to Sunday Times

Israel is working on coordinating plans for a possible military strike with Saudi Arabia, with Riyadh prepared to provide tactical support to Jerusalem, a British newspaper reported early Sunday. Continue reading

Secret Israeli document to White House shows how US strategy shortens route to Iranian nuclear weapon

Thursday, Nov. 14, Israel sent the White House in Washington a confidential document outlining blow by blow how and when Iran will attain a nuclear weapon if the Obama-Kerry strategy for dealing with the issue goes through. The document was addressed to the National Security Council headed by Susan Rice, debkafile reports. Communications between the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem and the State Department have almost petered out since exchanges between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry sharpened in tone.

Our Washington sources report that Rice and the NSC have taken a critical stand against the State Department’s policies – not just on the Iranian nuclear question, but also on Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Gulf and Egypt. However, the Israeli document does not take issue directly with Obama administration policies per se. It confines itself to a dry account, step by step, of how the Iranian nuclear bomb program will continue to unfold if the administration’s secret proposition is accepted. Continue reading

‘Israel will attack Iran if you sign the deal, French MP told Fabius’

As exactly was discussed here several times, and in a most recent post:

Exclusive: Obama’s Secret Iran Détente

Paris legislator Meyer Habib, a friend of Netanyahu, called his FM in Geneva to warn of likely response should accord be signed, Israeli TV reports

A French member of parliament telephoned French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Geneva at the weekend to warn him that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if the P5+1 nations did not stiffen their terms on a deal with Iran, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Sunday.

“I know [Netanyahu],” the French MP, Meyer Habib, reportedly told Fabius, and predicted that the Israeli prime minister would resort to the use of force if the deal was approved in its form at the time. “If you don’t toughen your positions, Netanyahu will attack Iran,” the report quoted Habib as saying. “I know this. I know him. You have to toughen your positions in order to prevent war.Continue reading

‘US anxious to sign deal with Tehran to avoid military strike’

Senior Israel official reportedly says Geneva proposal is ‘very bad,’ would quickly lead to Iran becoming threshold state

A senior Israeli official said Sunday that the US was in a rush to reach an agreement with Iran over its controversial nuclear program because it feared that a military option would be the only alternative left if a deal failed to materialize.

“The Americans are anxious to sign a bad deal [with Tehran] because they are worried the only alternative left — without a deal — would be a military strike,” the official was quoted by Yedioth Ahronoth as saying Sunday.

“The deal is very bad. There’s no doubt that if they [the world powers and Iran] sign now, Iran would become a [nuclear] threshold state [a state that can quickly assemble a nuclear weapon] and there would be no deal under which that would prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear program,” the official added. Continue reading

Iranian leaders urgently mull some nuclear flexibility. Rouhani tells Khamenei: The cupboard is bare!

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif asked Sunday, Nov. 10 for an urgent meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the day after France aborted a nuclear accord at the Geneva conference with the six powers, debkafile’s exclusive sources report.

Before flying out of Geneva, Zarif called the president and warned him that unless Iran displayed a measure of flexibility, the negotiations with the powers would remain stalled – and badly-needed relief from sanctions stay out of reach – even at the reconvened conference on Nov. 20. Continue reading

Geneva fallout: Iran becomes a nuclear power, followed by Saudis. Israel loses trust in Obama

Israel’s most painful lesson from the two-day Geneva conference on Iran’s nuclear program is that the man who guaranteed to defend Israel’s security, President Barack Obama, is now marching hand in hand with Tehran towards a nuclear-armed Iran.

President Obama broke the news to NBC Thursday night: “There is a possibility of a phased agreement, the first part of which would stop Iran from further expanding its nuclear program. We are offering modest relief from the sanctions, but keeping the core sanctions in place, so that if it turned out during the course of the six months when we’re trying to resolve some bigger issues that they’re backing out of the deal or… not giving us assurances that they’re not developing a nuclear weapon, we can crank that dial back up,” the US president said. Continue reading

‘Breakout time’: Report details how Iran could achieve undetectable nuclear capability

WASHINGTON — A leading U.S. think tank has assessed that Iran was ready to assemble its first nuclear weapon.

The Institute for Science and International Security, which reviewed a series of scenarios, determined that Iran was one month away from full nuclear weapons capability. Continue reading

Israel issues warning on report on Iran bomb

Although the “ETA” on the final product keeps shifting around from as little as one month, to six months or even two years, depending who you ask and what official report you hear it from, the goal still remains the same. The Iranians won’t likely showcase their true capability until it’s too late to strike. Too late meaning that the attacker, for example, will have to fight an Iran with 50 nuclear missiles and face total destruction for even trying. Buying the time for the development is key in this case, therefore, expect to continue seeing a shifting timeline. News of a nuclear Iran or a strike on Iran should be expected to be news you wake up to one day as 9/11 was for America, not a specific date or just two months away.

A new report that says Iran may need as little as a month to produce enough uranium for a nuclear bomb is further evidence for why Israel will take military action before that happens, an Israeli defense official said Friday.

“We have made it crystal clear – in all possible forums, that Israel will not stand by and watch Iran develop weaponry that will put us, the entire Middle East and eventually the world, under an Iranian umbrella of terror,” Danny Danon, Israel’s deputy defense minister told USA TODAY. Continue reading

Israel’s Final Warning on Iran

With no military threat, Iran has no incentive to stop its nuclear progress. Iran might well conclude that the sanctions could disappear in the course of endless rounds of diplomacy. No one in Israel seeks war, but a central tenet of its own defense doctrine is that Israel cannot depend on any external power to deal with existential security threats.

The coming weeks probably represent the last opportunity for Iran and the international community to reach an enforceable deal that will dismantle Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, before Israel concludes that time has run out, that Iran has gotten too close to creating its first atomic bombs, and that the time for a military strike has arrived. Continue reading