DEBKAfile Dispatches: 3.28.2014 – Israel, Iran & other Mideast News Briefs sifts through the weekly dispatches and recaps the items related to Mid-East developments that may be of interest. Articles are written from an Israeli perspective, but in most cases are objective. Israel lives in a tough neighborhood and these dispatches reflect that tension. The long reach of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) often results in Iran’s fingerprints on much of the turmoil and violence. Iran accomplishes this through local militants, (e.g. Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon) they recruit, train and fund  – yet denies any involvement. Iran also participates directly as non-uniformed “resistors” as in Syria, Afghanistan and formerly in Iraq, where they were responsible for 100’s if not thousands of US and NATO casualties. Additionally these stories are often difficult to find in US mainstream media, such as the last item on March 18 … did you know? *


From January 1-July 4, 2014 there are 184 days (6 months and 4 days). Iran has been given 6 months (180 days) to show good faith regarding their nuclear programs. America must insist that no more billions of US dollars, gold or other resources will be unfrozen and transferred to Iran as a result of further sanctions loosening. Nor should oil exports flow freely to other nations, including Russia that has negotiated a side deal worth $1.5 billion per month known as ‘oil for goods.’ In this barter system Russia would continue building Iran’s nuclear facilities in exchange for oil that may be used or sold on the open market. Finally, the main purpose of the current negotiations, the cessation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, must be realized and continually verified.




From the DEBKAfile:

March 21

MasterCard, Visa cut service to sanctioned Russian bank clients

MasterCard and Visa Friday stopped service to clients of Russian banks under US sanctions. [Russia announced it will begin its own credit card system bypassing US banks.]

Khamenei: Not clear what happened in Holocaust

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that “If the Shoah did indeed take place, there is no certainty about what happened there.”

March 22

Why doesn’t Netanyahu back Defense Minister Ya’alon? He’s not the only Mid East leader to fault Obama’s policies.

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon found little backing at home for his outspoken remarks on US policies. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu let him face the music alone when John Kerry demanded an apology – and even when State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the clarifications Ya’alon gave Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel were not enough. He must say he’s sorry for terming US policy weak and wavering – not just on Ukraine, but on Iran – in a way that impinged on Israel’s security. His ultimate sin was to urge that his country stop waiting for America to pull the Iranian chestnut out of the fire and take matters in its own hands. But Ya’alon is in good company: US policy is faulted even more vigorously by top people in the region like Saudi King Abdullah and Egyptian ruler Gen. Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi.

March 23

Iran ‘launches’ mock-up of USS Nimitz nuclear air carrier

While President Obama sent New Year greetings to the Iranian people on March 20, U.S. satellites were recording a mockup of an aircraft carrier under construction at the Revolutionary Guards’ naval base at Bandar Abbas. It was modeled on a US Nimitz-class super-carrier. These vessels are nuclear powered, 330 meters long and carry 3,000 naval and air crew and 85-90 fighter craft and helicopters each. The Iranian mockup is still crude. But Iran has surprised the world before by copying, developing and operating advanced surveillance drones and cyber war capabilities.

March 24

Aviation sources skeptical about final word on MH370

Some aviation sources, especially in the US and China, were not satisfied with the Malaysian prime minister and airline’s conclusion that the missing airliner had ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean and all 239 people aboard must be considered lost. They maintained that neither the Malaysian prime minister nor the British Inmarsat which provided the data suggesting the location of the lost Boeing 777 offered a single piece of information to explain how the plane came to veer so far off course or describe the situation on board after seven hours in the air.

Egyptian court sentences 529 Muslim Brotherhood members to death

Most of the 529 Brotherhood activists sentenced to death by an Egyptian court Monday were detained in clashes with the police in the southern province of Minya when their protest camps were forcibly dispersed in Cairo in mid-August. The condemned men may appeal.

March 25

Canadian judge turns over Iranian assets to Hizballah victims

In a landmark ruling, Ontario Superior Court Judge David M. Brown ordered $7 million worth of Iranian bank assets and two properties operating as “cultural centers” liquidated and the proceeds handed to two victims of Hizballah terror. The recipients are Joseph Cicippio of the American University of Beirut, who was abducted by Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hizballah in 1986 and held for five years; and Edward Tracy, then a bookseller living in Beirut, who was kidnapped the month after Cicippio.

U.S. officials: Iranian missile ship was bound for Sinai

U.S. officials questioned the official Israeli claim that the Iranian cargo of M302 missiles aboard the Klos C apprehended by Israeli commandos on March 3 was destined for Gaza. They now believe that the freight was meant for terrorists in Sinai. DEBKA reported this two days after the event. Some Middle East military sources now conclude that the weapons were destined for Muslim Brotherhood operatives fighting the Egyptian army from bases in the Gaza Strip or, alternatively, for al Qaeda affiliates in Sinai. Iran has more than once collaborated with al Qaeda in operations suiting its agenda.

Arab League summit has it in for Obama and Kerry, will carry hard-line demands to derail Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

The Arab League summit in Kuwait is set to carry hard-line ultimatums as a means of derailing US-sponsored Palestinian-Israeli talks and as a red flag for President Barack Obama warning him to expect a hard time when he visits Riyadh in three days. They propose a veto on recognizing Israel as the Jewish national state, mandating all parts of East Jerusalem, including Al Quds al Sharif (Temple Mount) and the entire Old City of Jerusalem, as the capital of a Palestinian state; and the immediate, unconditional release of all Palestinians in Israeli jails.

March 26

Obama proposes extra NATO forces for E. Europe

US President Barack Obama plans to discuss with the NATO Sec. Gen. the deployment of additional military forces in Eastern Europe against Russian aggression as reassurance for Poland and the Baltic states. He announced this at a news conference Wednesday in Brussels. (DEBKAfile’s military sources: Neither the US nor NATO has the military assets or funds to spare for extra forces.)

Arab summit vetoes Israel’s acceptance as Jewish State

Arab League leaders meeting in Kuwait carried a resolution barring the recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. This effectively marks the end of US-sponsored diplomacy for ending the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

World leaders play nuclear terror ‘game.’ Obama says more worried about nuke in Manhattan than Russia

World leaders meeting in The Hague Tuesday played a computer game simulating an imminent threat of terrorists assembling a dirty bomb from stolen nuclear materials for unleashing against a Western City. President Barack Obama, China’s Xi Jinping, British premier David Cameron and Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, could choose one of four buttons on their tablets to test their response following a short film that showed a mock terrorist announcing the bomb was ready and able to bring sudden death to hundreds of thousands of victims. [Chancellor Merkel voiced objections to playing the game.]

Earlier in  March, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu referred to a possible Iranian consignment ahead of the summit. Denis Flory, deputy director of the IAEA said 140 cases of nuclear and radioactive materials were reported missing or in unauthorized use in 2013.