Saturday, April 25, 2009


Obama's charm offensive for radical rulers abandons Israel to Iranian threat

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis:

Even if Israel accepted a two-nation solution to its conflict with the Palestinians and removed every last settlement, Barack Obama would not be diverted from his global courtship of radical rulers led by Iran's Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Washington will seek to make Israel to follow its lead in accepting a nuclear-armed Iran and firmly oppose a military strike.

The name and policies of the occupant of the prime minister's office in Jerusalem do not matter - any more than Tehran's determination to complete its nuclear weapons program in defiance of the world, or even its first A-bomb test in a year or two, for which intelligence sources report Tehran is already getting set.

Obama's Washington believes America can live with a nuclear-armed Iran.

But Israel cannot, and may have no option but to part ways with the Obama administration on this point. As a nuclear power, Iran will be able to bend Jerusalem to the will of its enemies, make it unconditionally give Syria the Golan plus extra pieces of territory, tamely accept a Hamas-dominated Palestinian West Bank louring over its heartland and let the Lebanese Hizballah terrorize Galilee in the north at will.

All three would make hay under Iran's nuclear shield, while Tehran lords it over the region in the role of regional power conferred by Obama's grace and favor. (A Jimmuh the idiot Carter replay).

In no time, Israel would be stripped of most of its defenses. US-Iranian reporter victim of Iranian extremists' bid to block talks with US

Special Report: In the course of opening up US relations with Iran, the Obama administration was confronted April 18 with an unforeseen obstacle: A Tehran court convicted the US-born American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi of spying for the US and sentenced the 31-year old to eight years in jail.

Her attorney was barred from attending the one-day trial behind closed doors. Iranian sources explain the timing of the Saberi case as an attempt by wildly anti-US elements inside Tehran's power structure, possibly in the Revolutionary Guards Corps and clergy, to choke off an Iranian-US rapprochement.

Already, some political circles in Washington are up in arms over the heavy sentence, embarrassing the White House at the very moment it is extending a hand to Iran, reported to entail acceptance of its nuclear program.

This policy has encountered little open criticism at home till now.

Twenty-three diplomats storm out of UN Racism conference as Ahmadinejad condemns Israel as "racist": Protesters constantly disrupted the speech as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned Israel for "racism" at the Anti-Racism conference which opened in Geneva Monday, April 20. Some were bundled out.

He went on to denounce the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as an arrogant drive to "expand its sphere of influence."

April 20 Briefs: - Israel marks annual Holocaust Remembrance and Heroism Day.- Events dedicated to one-and a-half million children who died at Nazi hands.- Netanyahu vows Holocaust deniers will never be allowed to carry out another holocaust against the people of Israel.-

Israel recalls ambassador from Bern for consultations after Swiss president meets Ahmadinejad in Geneva.-

Excavation to begin at Jamlitz on Berlin's outskirts for remains of 753 Jewish inmates of Lieberose subsidiary camp shot by Nazis in 1945.

This would be largest Jewish mass grave outside main concentration camps.-

President Peres: The Nazis were defeated, anti-Semitism lives and breathes ---- New Holocaust museum inaugurated in Chicago.

India puts an Israeli all-weather spy satellite in orbit Monday 20 April: military sources report India rushed through its order for the Israeli Aerospace Industries all-weather, 24-hour surveillance TecSAR after 10 gunmen murdered 165 people in Mumbai last November, including five Israelis.

The Israeli satellite is considered one of the most advanced in the market, capable of seeing through clouds and carrying out day-and-night all-weather imaging. It is the first time an acquisition of this nature has gone through within five months of ordering.

The ten gunmen, members of Lashkar-e-Taibe, an operational branch of al Qaeda, landed in Mumbai from the Pakistani port of Karachi after seizing an Indian vessel on the Arabian Sea. Their undetected landing showed New Delhi a big hole remains in its defenses against terrorists.

Cheney steps into row over CIA's grilling methods as Obama moves to calm crisis

21 April: Former Vice President Dick Cheney formally asked for the declassification of legal memos which proved that the CIA's interrogation techniques such as water-boarding worked. He said that last week's decision by Obama to release memos which bared the harsh methods the CIA employed for extracting information from terrorists was a mistake.

Cheney spoke to Fox News April 20 as President Barack Obama paid his first visit to Central Intelligence Agency headquarters at Langley, Virginia, Monday, April 20, to tell its staff that their work was "more important than ever."

But he insisted that the agency staff must uphold the rule of law and the nation's values in its continued fight on terror.This morale-booster, unusually broadcast live, came after the criticism voiced by former agency director Gen. Michael Hayden of publication of the memos, which covered "waterboarding", week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity and painful positions.

Hayden had insisted that the release would make it more difficult to get useful information from suspected terrorists. "I think that teaching our enemies our outer limits, by taking techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult… for CIA officers to defend the nation," he said.

Iran could produce first nuke in 60 days with 7,000 centrifuges working 24/7 –

Western experts - military sources predict that Iran could turn out nuclear weapons some time in the next 12 months. This estimate is based on Tehran's announcement that 7,000 centrifuges are in operation to enrich uranium. If all those machines were to work at top speed day and night, seven days a week, they could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a bomb in 60 days, say some intelligence sources.

According to American experts, given the current rate of the program's development, Iran will be in a position to manufacture as many as 60 nuclear bombs and warheads in 12 to 18 months.

This judgment was confirmed by Israel's military intelligence (AMAN) chief, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin in his latest briefing to the cabinet

Monday, April 20. He reported that Iran is going all-out for enriched uranium from overseas to shorten the process. Barak seeks US anti-Qassam missile Vulcan Phalanx after Israeli Iron Dome fails

21 April: The population of southwestern Israel will remain vulnerable to attack after eight years should Hamas revive the Qassam missile blitz from the Gaza Strip.

Defense minister Ehud Barak, after finally accepting that the Iron Dome still under development will not be up to the task, applied to Washington to purchase Vulcan Phalanx systems worth $25 million each.

Raytheon recently tested a new version fitted with a solid-state Laser Area Defense System (LADS). It outdid expectations by intercepting 60mm mortar shells fired from a distance of 450 meters.

Israel's Red Color warning system works for missiles only - not mortar attack.

However, Israeli cannot expect to obtain the Vulcan Phalanx any time soon; the US army ordered all the Raytheon manufacturers' product for years ahead and our Washington sources doubt that in the current cool climate governing relations, US defense secretary Robert Gates will be too forthcoming.

Israel shocked by Obama's approval of large Turkish arms sale to Lebanon

22 April: DEBKAfile describes senior Israeli military circles as staggered by the discovery that US president Barack Obama had approved a large Turkish arms sale to the Lebanese army, including the services of Turkish military instructors, without informing Jerusalem. This was taken as further proof that the US president is deaf to Israel's immediate security concerns.

When he signed the arms deal in Ankara Tuesday, April 21, Lebanese president Gen. Michel Suleiman once again pledged publicly to place the Lebanese army at the disposal of the Shiite terrorist Hizballah in any confrontation with Israel.

More than 50 percent of Lebanon's fighting manpower are Shiites loyal to Hizballah.

The conviction is growing in Jerusalem that the US president endorsed the transaction as a means of breaking up the long-standing military pact between Israel and Turkey, because it interferes with his Middle East objectives.

Suleiman coordinates Egyptian-Israeli positions for talks with Obama Invites foreign minister Lieberman to Cairo

Report 23 April: Egypt's senior negotiator, intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman met the prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, opposition leader and president in Jerusalem Wednesday, April 22, and brought Avigdor Lieberman an invitation to visit Cairo.

After exposing Hizballah's Iranian-backed machinations to destabilize the Egyptian government, Cairo finds it is fighting an enemy shared with Jerusalem.

The Egyptian visitor and his Israeli hosts therefore sought to define common interests ahead of the separate White House talks Netanyahu, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will hold between late May and early June.

Barack Obama announced the invitations after his conversation with the visiting King of Jordan, Abdullah II at which he accepted the extended Arab peace plan initiated by Saudi Arabia and reaffirmed at an Arab foreign ministers' conference in Amman this month.

He will present this formula to his three Middle East visitors as the starting point for the diplomatic process. Three major flies in Washington's peacemaking ointment are, one, the rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions failed to achieve a power-sharing accord and so Abbas represents only one Palestinian faction - and not necessarily the largest one.

Second, Syria stands opposed to the Arab peace initiative. Netanyahu will lay emphasis on Iran's aggressive posture, military nuclear program and sponsorship of rejectionist and terrorist Middle East elements as the major impediment to peace in the region.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. … We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. –Sir Karl Popper

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was caught selling Sayyid Qutb (the father of Jihad) books and anti-Judeo-Christian material which state that those who wrote the Bible should “burn in hell for blasphemy.”

ACT! For America, Jacksonville and Orlando Chapters, caught the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Orlando Chapteron tape, selling radical Islamist propaganda at their Community Service/Family Picnic two weeks ago at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

Notice how they deny, deny, deny and try to throw the American camera crew off this public space.

The FBI has publicly stated that CAIR along with 80% of Saudi-funded mosques in the USA and Europe support Sayyid Qutb’s “CONVERT TO ISLAM OR BE ELMINATED” Doctrine. Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Iran and Syria are the enforcement branch of this doctrine, which CAIR promotes and sells at ‘family gatherings’ on American public property.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


April 2, 2009

By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

On March 31, Baitullah Mehsud, commander of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), called The Associated Press and Reuters to claim responsibility for the March 29 attack against a Pakistani police academy in Manawan, which is near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore and the Indian border.

The attack had been previously claimed by a little-known group, Fedayeen al-Islam (FI), which also took responsibility for the bombing of the Marriott Hotelin Islamabad in September 2008. Mehsud has also released an Urdu-language audio message claiming responsibility for the Manawan attack as well as a failed March 23 attack on the headquarters of the Police Special Branch in Islamabad.

Mehsud, whom authorities claim was behind the March 3 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, also warned that there would be additional attacks all across the country in retaliation for U.S. drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Area.

He even threatened to launch attacks in Washington, D.C.

It is not clear at this point if the two claims of responsibility for the Manawan attack are indeed contradictory. If FI is an independent group, it is possible that it was working with Mehsud in the assault on the police academy. However, it is also quite possible that FI is either part of the larger TTP (which is an umbrella group with many factions) or perhaps just a nom de guerre used by the TTP to claim certain attacks.

When a reporter asked about the FI claim, Mehsud refused to comment. Two things can be ascertained from this: that Mehsud’s organization has the ability to conduct these attacks, and that a major jihadist figure like Mehsud has no real need to claim the attacks of others to bolster his reputation.

In fact, lying about such a thing would hurt his well-established reputation.It is a good bet, therefore, that the TTP was in fact involved in the Manawan attack. The odds are even greater when one considers the intelligence reports from a few days prior to the attack: that Mehsud had dispatched a group of 22 operatives from his base in South Waziristan, through the town of Mianwali in southwestern Punjab, to conduct attacks in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

Pakistani authorities were actively searching for those operatives when the attack occurred in Manawan.While STRATFOR has already published a political assessment of the Manawan attack, we believe it might also be interesting to look at the incident from a protective intelligence standpoint and examine the tactical aspects of the operation in more detail.

Sequence of EventsThe attack on the police academy in Manawan happened at approximately 7:20 a.m. on March 29 as more than 800 unarmed police cadets were on the parade field for their regularly scheduled morning training.

Witness reports suggest that there were 10 attackers who scaled the back wall of the academy and began to attack the cadets. Part of the attack team reportedly was dressed in police uniforms, while the rest reportedly wore shalwar kameez (traditional Pakistani dress).

Several members of the team also wore suicide belts, and at least some of them carried large duffle bags (similar to those carried by the assailants in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and the March 3 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore).

The gunmen reportedly engaged the cadets with hand grenades and fire from assault rifles. As the gunmen raked the parade ground, many of the cadets reportedly fled the compound or barricaded themselves in various rooms inside the facility. Because the bulk of the people at the academy were cadets and not trained police, they were not issued firearms.

The armed guards at the academy were able to offer some resistance, but the attack team was able to make its way across the parade ground and into the barracks, where the attackers established defensive positions, apparently with the hope of initiating a prolonged hostage situation. Reports are conflicting as to how many hostages they were actually able to seize and control inside the barracks.

The Pakistani police and military responded aggressively to the attack. Within about 30 minutes, officers from the Elite Force — a highly trained branch of the Punjab Police responsible for counterterrorism — reportedly had surrounded the barracks building.

By 9 a.m., paramilitary Pakistan Rangers and Pakistani army troops began to arrive. Many of the wounded cadets were evacuated from the parade ground using armored personnel carriers (APCs) to protect them from the attackers’ fire. The attackers apparently attempted to use grenades to attack the APCs, but were met with heavy suppressive fire from the security forces. Pakistani forces also apparently used tear gas against the attackers, as well as APCs and helicopter gunships.

Eventually, the Elite Force went room to room to clear the barracks building of attackers. By 4 p.m., the siege had ended, with six of the attackers captured and four killed. (Three of the four reportedly killed themselves using suicide belts.)

Despite initial reports of high casualties, it now appears that only eight police officers or cadets were killed in the attack, with more than 90 others wounded.

While armed assaults against paramilitary forces, convoys and other targets are common along the border with Afghanistan, this attack was only the second such attack in Lahore. Terrorist attacks in Pakistan have more commonly been committed by suicide bombers, and it appears that Mehsud’s group may have embraced a change in tactics, perhaps influenced by the success of Mumbai. (However, as we will discuss below, this latest attack, like the attack on the cricket team, was far from a spectacular success.)


First, it must be recognized that jihadist attacks on police recruits are not uncommon. We have seen attacks on police training and recruiting centers in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other countries, and we have also seen them before in Pakistan. On July 15, 2007, a suicide bomber attacked a police recruitment center in Dera Ismail Khan, killing 26 people and wounding 35.

The victims were at the center to take medical and written tests for entering the police force.

A training center like the one in Manawan provides an unusually large concentration of targets. The more than 800 cadets at the academy were a far larger group of police than is normally found in the police stations scattered throughout the country. The training center was also a far softer target than a traditional police station, where all the officers are armed.

From media reports, it appears that there were only seven armed guards on duty at the academy at the time of the attack. The instructors allegedly were armed only with lathis (long canes commonly used by police in India and Pakistan).

The academy’s rigid training schedule also provided a highly predictable target, as the attackers knew the cadets would be on the parade field from 7-8 a.m. every day.With so many potential targets on the parade field and in the barracks, and with so many attackers, it is amazing that there were only eight people killed in this attack (one-fourth the death toll of the April 2007 Virginia Tech shooting).

This is an indication that the Manawan attackers were not nearly as well trained in marksmanship as the assault team that conducted the November Mumbai attacks, in which 10 gunmen killed 173 people.

The 10 heavily armed Manawan assailants did not even succeed in killing one victim each in a situation akin to shooting fish in a barrel.From a military standpoint, such a formation of massed people in the open would have been far more effectively targeted using mortars and crew-served machine guns, so it can also be argued that the attack was poorly planned and the attackers improperly equipped to inflict maximum casualties. Even so, it is quite amazing to us that attackers armed with assault rifles and grenades did not kill one victim apiece.

Of course, one thing that helped contain the carnage was the response of Pakistani security personnel and their efforts to evacuate the wounded under fire. While not exactly practicing what are known in the United States as “active shooter procedures”, the Elite Force officers did quickly engage the attackers and pin them down until more firepower could be brought to bear. The Elite Force also did a fairly efficient job of clearing the barracks of attackers.

The Pakistani response ensured that the incident did not drag on like the Mumbai attacks did. The Elite Force went in hard and fast, and seemingly with little regard for the hostages being held, yet their decisive action proved to be very effective, and the result was that a minimum number of hostages were killed.

There were some significant differences from the situation in Mumbai. First, there was only one crime scene to deal with, and the Pakistani authorities could focus all their attention and resources there. Second, the barracks building was far smaller and simpler than the hotels occupied in the Mumbai attacks. Third, Manawan is far smaller and more isolated than Mumbai, and it is easier to pin the attackers down in a city of that size than in a larger, more densely populated city such as Mumbai.

Finally, there were no foreign citizens involved in the hostage situation, so the Pakistani authorities did not have to worry about international sensibilities or killing a foreign citizen with friendly fire.

They were able to act aggressively and not worry about distractions — or the media circus that Mumbai became.

The FuturePerhaps the most important thing to watch going forward will be the response of the Pakistani people to these attacks. In his claim of responsibility, Mehsud said the Manawan attack was in direct response to the expanding U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) campaign in Pakistan.

Mehsud threatened that there would be more militant attacks in Pakistan and the United States if the UAV attacks did not stop.

Clearly, Mehsud is feeling the heat from these attacks, and although he claims he is ready to be martyred, his bravado is belied by the fact that he is taking such extraordinary measures to try to halt the UAV campaign. He obviously fears the UAV strikes, not only for what they can do to him, but for what they can do to degrade his organization.

When the Elite Force completed the clearing of the barracks, several officers came out on the roof of the building, shouted “God is great” and fired celebratory shots into the air (something that is anathema to Western police and military forces). Many of the people gathered outside the academy joined in the shouting and loudly cheered the Elite Force. This sentiment was widely echoed in the Pakistani media.

Although the Manawan attack was intended to demoralize Pakistani security forces, it may have just the opposite effect. The bravery and dedication exhibited by the Pakistani police and soldiers who responded to the attack may instead serve to steel their will and instill professional pride. Mehsud’s recent threats, along with the militant attacks, may also work to alienate him from people who had been supportive of — or at least ambivalent toward — him and the jihadists.

Up until 2003, the Saudi public, and many in the government, pretty much turned a blind eye to the actions of jihadists in Saudi Arabia as long as the jihadists were concentrating their attacks on targets outside the kingdom. But when the jihadists declared war on the Saudi royal family and began to conduct attacks against targets inside the kingdom that resulted in the deaths of ordinary Saudis, the tide of public opinion turned against them and the Saudi government reacted aggressively, smashing the jihadists.

Similarly, it was the brutality of al Qaeda in Iraq that helped turn many Iraqi Sunnis against the jihadists there. Indeed, an insurgency cannot survive long without the support of the people. In the case of Pakistan, that also goes for the support of Inter-Services Intelligence and the army. The TTP, al Qaeda and their Kashmiri militant allies simply cannot sustain themselves without at least the tacit support of Pakistan’s intelligence apparatus and army.

If these two powerful establishments ever turn against them, the groups will be in serious peril.

Pakistan has long been able to control the TTP and al Qaeda more than it has. The country has simply lacked the will, for a host of reasons. It will be interesting to watch and see if Mehsud’s campaign serves to give the Pakistani people, and the authorities, the will they need to finally take more serious steps to tackle the jihadist problem. Having long battled deep currents of jihadist thought within the country, the Pakistani government continues to face serious challenges. But if the tide of public support begins to turn against the jihadists, those challenges will become far more manageable.