Archive | March, 2012

Israhell Shields Public from Risks of War with Iran

NOVANEWS

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been   telling Israelis that Israel can attack Iran with minimal   civilian Israeli casualties as a result of retaliation, and   that reassuring message appears to have headed off any   widespread Israeli fear of war with Iran and other   adversaries.

But the message that Iran is too weak to threaten an effective   counterattack is contradicted by one of Israel’s leading experts on   Iranian missiles and the head of its missile defense program for   nearly a decade, who says Iranian missiles are capable of doing   significant damage to Israeli targets. 

The Israeli population has shown little serious anxiety about the   possibility of war with Iran, in large part because they have not   been told that it involves a risk of Iranian missiles destroying   Israeli neighborhoods and key economic and administrative targets.

“People are not losing sleep over this,” Yossi Alpher, a consultant   and writer on strategic issues and former director of the Jaffee   Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, told IPS in an   interview. “This is not a preoccupation of the public the way the   suicide bombers were a decade ago.”

Alpher says one reason for the widespread lack of urgency about a   possible war with Iran is that the scenarios involving such a war are   “so nebulous in the eyes of the public that it’s difficult for them   to focus on it.”

Aluf Benn, the editor in chief of Ha’aretz, told IPS in an interview,   “There is no war mentality,” although he added, “that could change   overnight.” One reason for the relative public calm about the issue,   he suggested, is the official view that Iran’s ability to retaliate   is “very limited.”

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in Bloomberg Mar. 20 that “Some Israel   officials believe Iran’s leaders might choose to play down the insult   of a raid and launch a handful of rockets at Tel Aviv as an angry   gesture rather than declare all-out war.”

But Uzi Rubin, who was in charge of Israel’s missile defence from   1991 to 1999 and presided over the development of the Arrow anti-  missile system, has a much more sombre view of Iran’s capabilities.

The “bad news” for Israel, Rubin told IPS in an interview, is that   the primary factor affecting Iran’s capability to retaliate is the   rapidly declining cost of increased precision in ballistic missiles.   Within a very short time, Iran has already improved the accuracy of   its missiles from a few kilometers from the target to just a few   meters, according to Rubin.

That improvement would give Iran the ability to hit key Israeli   economic infrastructure and administrative targets, he said. “I’m   asking my military friends how they feel about waging war without   electricity,” said Rubin.

The consequences of Iranian missile strikes on administrative targets   could be even more serious, Rubin believes. “If the civilian   government collapses,” he said, “the military will find it difficult   to wage a war.”

Rubin is even worried that, if the accuracy of Iranian missiles   improves further, which he believes is “bound to happen,” Iran will   be able to carry out pinpoint attacks on Israel’s air bases, which   are concentrated in just a few places.

Some Israeli analysts have suggested that Israel could hit Iranian   missiles in a preemptive strike, but Rubin said Israel can no longer   count on being able to hit Iranian missiles before they are launched.

Iran’s longer-range missiles have always been displayed on mobile   transporter erector launchers (TELs), as Rubin pointed out in an   article in Arms Control Today earlier this year. “The message was   clear,” Rubin wrote. “Iran’s missile force is fully mobile, hence,   not pre-emptable.”

Rubin, who has argued for more resources to be devoted to the Arrow   anti-missile system, acknowledged that it can only limit the number   of missiles that get through. In an e-mail to IPS, he cited the Arrow   system’s record of more than 80 percent success in various tests over   the years, but also noted that such a record “does not assure an   identical success rate in real combat.”

The United States and Israel began in 2009 developing a new version   of the Arrow missile defense system called “Reshef” – “Flash” – or   “Arrow 3,” aimed at intercepting Iranian missiles above the   atmosphere and farther away from Israeli territory than the earlier   version of the Arrow. The new anti-missile system can alter the   trajectory of the defensive missile and distinguish decoys from real   missile reentry vehicles.

Until last November, the Arrow 3 system was not expected to become   operational until 2015. And that plan was regarded by U.S. Missile   Defense Agency (MDA) as probably too ambitious, because such a system   would normally take a decade from conception to deployment.

But Xinhua news agency reported in November that Israeli Air Force   officials said they expected Arrow 3 to become operational by mid-2013, cutting even that abbreviated timeline for development of the   system in half.

Nevertheless, the ability of the Arrow 3 system to shoot down an   incoming missile still has not been announced, although an Israeli   official said Mar. 1 that such a test would take place after the   meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

In December 2008, Western intelligence sources were reported by   Israel’s Ynet News as saying the improved version of the Shahab 3   missile had gone into production earlier that year and that Iran was   believed to be able to produce 75 of the improved missiles annually.

Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, then IDF chief of staff, told a visiting   Congressional delegation in November 2009 that Iran already had 300   missiles capable of hitting Israeli targets, according to a U.S.   State Department cable released by WikiLeaks.

Those reports suggest that Iran now has roughly 450 missiles that can   reach Israel, half of which are improved models with much greater   precision. Even if only one-fifth of those missiles get through   Israel’s missile defenses, Israeli cities could be hit by at least   100, most of which are able to hit targets with relative accuracy.

The Netanyahu government has sought to minimise the threat of Iranian   retaliation for an Israeli strike against Iran in part by likening   war with Iran to those fought against Hezbollah and Palestinian   rockets in recent years, which have resulted in relatively few   Israeli civilian casualties.

That was the message that Israeli military officials conveyed to the   Israeli news media after an escalation of violence between the IDF   and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza earlier this month.

Columnist Zvi Barel of Haaretz speculated on Mar. 11 that the purpose   of the escalation, provoked by the IDF assassination of Zuhair al-  Qaisi, the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committee in   Gaza, was to show the Israeli public that Israeli missile defense   system could protect the population against rockets that the IDF   linked to Iran.

Barel went even further. “After Iron Dome demonstrated its 95 percent   effectiveness,” he wrote, “there is no better proof to Israel’s   citizens that they will not suffer serious damage following an   assault on Iran.”

The success of the Iron Dome against short-range rockets from Gaza is   irrelevant, however, to what could be expected from a relatively   untested Arrow system against Iranian ballistic missiles aimed at   Israeli targets.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Israhell Shields Public from Risks of War with Iran

THE UGLY TRUTH Podcast: MUJAHEDIN E KHALQ

TUT Podcast March 29, 2012

by crescentandcross

 

Mujahedin e Khalq–desginated a dangerous terrorist organization by the US government as AND YET, inviolation of US law, politically-powerful and well-connected individuals from Rudy Giuliani to Howard Dean to Tom Ridge are being paid tens of thousasds of dollars each to advocate on behalf of having this organization.

What’s the ‘real deal’ here?

Simple, as always, when it comes to American foreign policy decisions–

ISRAEL.

Unable to have her agents and assassins move about the world freely as she has in times past, Israel now plans to use this dangerous terrorist group in doing her dirty work for her, including carrying out acts of terrorism on American soil to further the cause of war against Iran, if indeed this has not already been the case viz a viz the mouch-touted assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador and the killing of the Iranian medical student in Houston, Texas recently

We are joined once again by the one and only Mark Dankof to discuss this very important topic.

tut29mar2012dankoffin.mp3

Download Here

THNAK YOU FOR ASSISTING WITH THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PRODUCING THIS PROGRAM

Posted in InterviewComments Off on THE UGLY TRUTH Podcast: MUJAHEDIN E KHALQ

مخاوف من«نهر بارد» جديد بلبنان

 جهاد أبو العيس ـ الجزيرة  
كشفت قوى فلسطينية ناشطة بمخيمات لبنان عن مخاوف متزايدة من احتمالات الزج بالمخيمات الفلسطينية في صراعات الداخل اللبناني, وحذرت من مخاطر ذلك.
جاء ذلك, بعد مطالبة رئيس حزب القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع بضرورة توقيف من يعتقد بأنه مسؤول إحدى شبكات القاعدة في مخيم عين الحلوة، حتى لو اقتضى الأمر «نهر بارد» مرة أخرى أو «الدخول للمخيم وإلقاء القبض على المطلوب بالمنيح أو القبيح».
وكان الجيش اللبناني أعلن أنه وضع يده على خلية وصفها بالإرهابية بين صفوف جنوده ـ قال إنها كانت تخطط لضرب ثكناته ـ على صلة بمسؤول في القاعدة داخل مخيم عين الحلوة، نافياً أي علاقة لها بالشأن السوري.
وجاءت هذه الأحداث متزامنة مع ضبط مخابرات الجيش أسلحة خفيفة داخل سيارة قيل إنها خرجت من مخيم عين الحلوة، دون معرفة الوجهة التي كانت تقصدها.
ويرى عضو المكتب السياسي للجبهة الديمقراطية علي فيصل أن المخيمات نأت بنفسها منذ انتهاء الحرب الأهلية عن التدخل بالشأن الداخلي أو حتى الإقليمي «لكن ذلك لم يمنع قيام البعض بمحاولات زجها وتوريطها عنوة».
ويرى فيصل في تصريح للـ«جزيرة نت» أن البعض يحاول زج المخيمات اليوم فيما يجري على الساحة السورية ضمن عناوين عدة، محملاً القوى الفلسطينية جزءاً من المسؤولية نظراً لغياب الإطار القيادي الموحد الممثل للمجموع الفلسطيني أمام الدولة اللبنانية.
وكان مسؤول المقر العام بحركة فتح بلبنان منير المقدح قال إن مسؤول الخلية السلفية أبو محمد توفيق طه ـ المطلوب لجيش لبنان ـ موجود بعين الحلوة دون معرفة مكانه بالضبط، وهو ما نفاه القيادي عزام الأحمد خلال زيارة سريعة للبنان مؤخراً بالقول إن معلومة وجود طه بالمخيم غير دقيقة.
من جهته رفض ممثل حركة المقاومة الإسلامية حماس بلبنان علي بركة ما سماها الدعوات الحاقدة لتكرار تجربة الحرب في نهر البارد لتصل عين الحلوة، رافضاً أية إجراءات عقابية جماعية لأبناء المخيمات في حال وجود مطلوبين.
وشدد بركة في تصريح للـ«جزيرة نت» على تمسك حماس والفصائل الفلسطينية كافة باستقرار المخيمات وجوارها، وإدانة أية محاولات لاستهداف الجيش أو استقرار لبنان. وقال إن القوى الفلسطينية داخل المخيمات متفقة على رفع الغطاء عن المسيئين للسلم الأهلي بالمخيم وخارجه، داعياً لعدم استغلال الظرف أو الحاجة الأمنية «لتفريغ الأحقاد على أبناء المخيمات».
كما يرى عضو المكتب السياسي للجبهة الشعبية مروان عبد العال أن «الخطر على الوجود الفلسطيني في لبنان لايزال موجوداً، من خلال ما يطرح بين الفينة والأخرى من تهم وتنفيس للأحقاد واتهامات الغاية منها الإبقاء على صورة الفلسطيني بأنه مصدر كل شر ونقطة كل توتر».
ولم يستبعد عبد العال أن يكون ما يجري اليوم «من تسخين وتعبئة ضد المخيمات» راجعاً للتأثر بشكل أو بآخر بتداعيات الأحداث الخارجية التي تتأثر وتؤثر على الدولة اللبنانية.
من جهته أكد أمين سر حركة فتح وفصائل منظمة التحرير في لبنان فتحي أبو العردات أن المخيمات «لم ولن تكون ممراً ولا مقراً إلا للفلسطينيين الطامحين بالعودة».
وشدد أبو العردات بحديثه للـ«جزيرة نت» على أن الفلسطينيين بلبنان «تحت القانون وحريصون على أمن وسلم لبنان وجيشه ومقدراته دون مساس» مؤكداً أن «عين الحلوة سيبقى شوكة في عين كل من يحاول توريطه وجره لمستنقعات الفتن».
أما الكاتب والمحلل السياسي الفلسطيني تيسير الخطيب فيرى أن المخيمات «حُمّلت أمنياً فوق طاقة أبنائها الذين ارتضوا وقرروا الحياد في شؤون الداخل والخارج».
وقال الخطيب للـ«جزيرة نت» إن الحرب على نهر البارد والتي دُمر فيها المخيم «جاءت ضد تنظيم فتح الإسلام الذي لم يكن يضم بين جنباته سوى 10% فقط فلسطينيين، أما الباقون فلبنانيون وعرب وافدون».
وقال الخطيب أيضاً «الفلسطينيون إجمالاً ليس لهم دالة على تنظيم القاعدة، ولا يعرف ولم يعرف أن هناك قيادات داخل القاعدة من أصول فلسطينية نظراً لانشغال الفلسطينيين بقضيتهم وهمومهم الكثيرة».
واستهجن الكاتب الفلسطيني التهم الملقاة على مخيم عين الحلوة واتهامه بكونه «جزيرة أمنية» بالقول, إن المخيم محاط بالجيش وأمنه ومخابراته، وهناك تنسيق كبير بين الدولة والفصائل داخله، والدخول والخروج فيه محكوم بإجراءات مشددة.

Posted in LebanonComments Off on مخاوف من«نهر بارد» جديد بلبنان

Anarchists Against The Wall Ask for your Support

NOVANEWS

Dear All.

I am writing on behalf of Anarchists Against The Wall to ask for your support for our legal defense fund. It has been another intense year of constant struggle against the construction of Israel’s wall. We have also worked on struggles against Israeli settlements and for freedom of movement for Palestinians. We have managed to reach every village in the West Bank that invited us to join their struggle. We have continued to march in villages such as Bilin, whose struggle we joined seven years ago when its demonstrations began; and we have recently joined villages such as Kafr Qadum, which has been demonstrating for seven months.

Throughout hopeful times and times of mourning, we have continued to demonstrate every single week following the example of our Palestinian partners. This year another demonstrator was killed in the struggle for his freedom. Mustafa Tamimi of Nabi Saleh was shot by the army at close range and died from his injuries the following day. Like a lot of the people in his village Mustafa had formed close ties with many of the Israeli supporters, and his killing was a shock to many of us.

The knowledge that our struggle is supported by people throughout the world helps sustain our work but we are also in need of donations to be able to keep activists out of jails and in the struggle. Please donate what you can and consider making recurring monthly donations.

We have no office, no paid staff. Our objective is to reach $2,500 per month to cover the legal fees and thus to ensure that all our activists receive good representation when they need it. Donations (which are tax deductible in the US) can be made through our website http://awalls.org/donations. Please consider lending a hand.

All the best,
Adi Winter

http://www.awalls.org

P.O. Box 5046
Tel-Aviv, TA 61050
Israel

opt-out

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on Anarchists Against The Wall Ask for your Support

نعم للتوريث فلسطينياً

منعت الدولة اللبنانية اللاجئين الفلسطينيين من التملك، ومنعتهم بالتالي من توريث ما يملكون. هؤلاء مضطرون إلى الالتفاف على القانون الجائر لمجرد تأمين مستقبل أولادهم، وذلك من خلال توريثها، وهم أحياء، لأغراب

قاسم س. قاسم
«قوم في شي لازم نحكي فيه»، بهذه العبارة الغريبة توقظ الأم ابنها. هذا الصباح غيرت الوالدة عبارتها المعتادة «قوم خلصت القهوة» إلى أخرى مثيرة للقلق. يجلسان في الصالون، مكان الأحاديث الجادة، تبدأ الوالدة حديثها: «ماما الأعمار بيد الله، ولا يعرف الإنسان ساعة وفاته». تهبط العبارة عليه كالصاعقة «عند هذا الصبح»، يتوقع خبر وفاة قريب، أو؟ تأخذ الوالدة نفساً عميقاً كأنها ستكشف له أنها مصابة بمرض عضال ما.
الجملة بحد ذاتها تثير المخاوف وكأنها تمهد لخبر سيئ. تكمل حديثها: «ماما، لا أعرف متى قد أموت، وبما أنك فلسطيني ولا تستطيع أنت أو أخوك أن ترثا هذا المنزل، لذلك دعنا نفكر معاً باسم من يمكننا أن نسجل المنزل ليرثه بعد وفاتي، ونأتمنه عليه كي لا يضيع حقك وحق أخيك فيه». الحديث نفسه كان قد دار مسبقاً بينهما، لكنه لم يكن قد وصل إلى هذا الحد من الجدية. يبدآن بعرض الأشخاص المحتملين «لوراثة» البيت وأصحابه أحياء. تصبح الأم (اللبنانية بالطبع) وابنها حكمين لتقويم أخلاق المرشحين المفترضين. المعايير التي وضعاها هي: الأخلاق ووقوف هؤلاء المرشحين بجانبهما في مواقف الشدة. الخيار الأول هو استبعاد أفراد العائلة، وذلك نتيجة مواقف سابقة. تضيق الحلقة تدريجاً، فيبدآن البحث بين الجيران. يقع الخيار على أحدهم. فهو «مؤمن، وبيخاف الله»، كما تصفه الوالدة. هاتان الصفتان ليستا دافعهما الأول. فالشاب الثلاثيني كان قد تربى في كنف تلك العائلة الفلسطينية منذ صغره، وأصبح مثل أحد افرادها. بعد وقوع الاختيار عليه، تتصل الوالدة بابنها الثاني المقيم في الإمارات. تخبره عمن جرى اختياره، وأنها بانتظاره ليأتي إلى لبنان في أسرع وقت ممكن، «كي أذهب أنا وأنت وأخوك وابن الجيران إلى كاتب العدل لنسجّل المنزل باسمه». تنهي الأم اتصالها بابنها لتتصل بمحامٍ قريب من العائلة. تسأله عن المطلوب كي لا يستطيع، حتى ابن الجيران، من أن «ينصب البيت على الأولاد». الحل القانوني هو منعه من البيع والشراء والتصرف بالمنزل إلا بحضور الولدين وتوقيعهما. يذهب المحامي أبعد من ذلك، ليقول إنه «حتى يُمنع على أحد الولدين بيع المنزل من دون وجود الآخر وحضوره».
«الشربوكة» القانونية التي تقوم بها هذه العائلة هي مثال على ما تعانيه المئات من العائلات الفلسطينية في لبنان، وذلك بسبب منعها من التملك أو توريث ما تملكه. لكن رغم أن الأم في حالة هذه العائلة لبنانية، إلا أنها لا تستطيع أن تورث أطفالها الفلسطينيين المنزل الذي عاشوا فيه؛ لأن الأم اللبنانية حتى الآن لم تستطع أن تعطي أبناءها جنسيتها.
في مخيم برج البراجنة يتناقل أبناء المخيم رواية مضحكة مبكية، حصلت لأبو يوسف، أحد أبناء المخيم، وذلك بسبب ظلم القوانين اللبنانية للفلسطينيين. فالرجل أراد أن يسجل شقته التي اشتراها في منطقة الغازية، باسم أخيه الذي «أنعم الله» والدولة الدنماركية عليه بالجنسية الأوروبية. الحل الذي كان قد رسمه الرجل لتسجيل شقته باء بالفشل؛ إذ إن الدولة اللبنانية في الفترة الممتدة من 2001 حتى 2005 منعت حتى على الأجانب من أصل فلسطيني تسجيل الشقق بأسمائهم، بسبب تطبيق خاطئ للقانون، فكان الحل الوحيد الذي يملكه الرجل هو تسجيل الشقة باسم الخادمة التي تعمل عنده. يضحك أبو يوسف ساخراً من الوضع الذي يعيشه، قائلاً: «صار بدنا رضاها كرمال ما تزعل وتاخد البيت». يؤكد الرجل أنه في تلك الفترة كانت الخادمة «الخيار الوحيد؛ لأنه لا أقارب لبنانيين لنا» يقول الرجل.
هكذا، تضطر الدولة اللبنانية اللاجئين الفلسطينيين على أراضيها إلى أن يحتالوا عليها وعلى قوانينها، وأن يعمدوا إلى تسجيل شققهم بأسماء أقارب لهم يحملون جنسيات لبنانية أو أجنبية. أما بالنسبة إلى الباحث الفلسطيني د. سهيل الناطور، فيقول إن «الدولة اللبنانية منعت بالقرار الصادر عن حكومة رفيق الحريري في تاريخ 20 آذار 2001 الذي يحمل رقم 296 كل الفلسطينيين من تسجيل ما يملكونه، خوفاً من التوطين». يضيف الناطور: «خلال تطبيق هذا القرار منع جميع الفلسطينيين، حتى الذين يحملون جنسيات أخرى، من تسجيل أملاكهم بأسمائهم. لكن بعد مراجعة سفارات تلك الدول للحكومة اللبنانية وانتقاد التمييز الذي يتعرض له مواطنوها، عادت حكومة فؤاد السنيورة لتسمح لهؤلاء بتسجيل البيوت بأسمائهم». الناشطون الفلسطينيون أسسوا حملة «حق الملكية» تتكون من 12 جمعية فلسطينية، وذلك للمطالبة بالسماح بتملك اللاجئين الفلسطينيين، فأعد الحقوقيون منهم اقتراح قوانين لتعديل القانون الجائر الصادر في عام 2001. طاف به هؤلاء على ممثلي الأحزاب اللبنانية، على أن يلتقوا في ما بعد بنواب لبنانيين سيقدمون مشروع الاقتراح لمجلس النواب. قبل هذه التحركات، كان قد أقام مسؤولو حملة «حق الملكية» حملات توعية وندوات لشرح أن حق الملكية للاجئين الفلسطينيين لا يتناقض مع حق العودة ومقدمة الدستور اللبناني الرافض للتوطين.
هكذا، وإلى أن يقضي الله أمراً كان مفعولاً، سيبقى الفلسطينيون يورثون ما يملكون وهم أحياء، عسى أن تنصفهم الدولة اللبنانية، ولو لمرة واحدة، بتطبيق أبسط حقوق الإنسان، الذي دائماً يقول اللبنانيون إنهم شاركوا في كتابته، هو «حق التملك».

Posted in Arabic, LebanonComments Off on نعم للتوريث فلسطينياً

Must Watch–Iran Bashing, Terrorism and Who Chose The Chosen Zio-Nazi People, Anyway?

NOVANEWS

 

Of the many excellent videos produced by the very gifted Anthony Lawson, this one has to be one of the very best.

Please pass this around as much as possible

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Must Watch–Iran Bashing, Terrorism and Who Chose The Chosen Zio-Nazi People, Anyway?

Zio-Nazi Secret Staging Ground

NOVANEWS

U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?

foreignpolicy.com

In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled “Azerbaijan’s discreet symbiosis with Israel.” The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country’s relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: “nine-tenths of it is below the surface.”

Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran’s northern border and, according to several high-level sources I’ve spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the “submerged” aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance — the security cooperation between the two countries — is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran.

 

Senior U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Israel’s military expansion into Azerbaijan complicates U.S. efforts to dampen Israeli-Iranian tensions, according to the sources. Military planners, I was told, must now plan not only for a war scenario that includes the Persian Gulf — but one that could include the Caucasus. The burgeoning Israel-Azerbaijan relationship has also become a flashpoint in both countries’ relationship with Turkey, a regional heavyweight that fears the economic and political fallout of a war with Iran. Turkey’s most senior government officials have raised their concerns with their U.S. counterparts, as well as with the Azeris, the sources said.

The Israeli embassy in Washington, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, were all contacted for comment on this story but did not respond.

The Azeri embassy to the United States also did not respond to requests for information regarding Azerbaijan’s security agreements with Israel. During a recent visit to Tehran, however, Azerbaijan’s defense minister publicly ruled out the use of Azerbaijan for a strike on Iran. “The Republic of Azerbaijan, like always in the past, will never permit any country to take advantage of its land, or air, against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which we consider our brother and friend country,” he said. (Following the publication of this article, an Azeri spokesman denied that his government had granted Israel access to Azeri airbases.)

But even if his government makes good on that promise, it could still provide Israel with essential support. A U.S. military intelligence officer noted that Azeri defense minister did not explicitly bar Israeli bombers from landing in the country after a strike. Nor did he rule out the basing of Israeli search-and-rescue units in the country. Proffering such landing rights — and mounting search and rescue operations closer to Iran — would make an Israeli attack on Iran easier.

“We’re watching what Iran does closely,” one of the U.S. sources, an intelligence officer engaged in assessing the ramifications of a prospective Israeli attack confirmed. “But we’re now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we’re not happy about it.”

Israel’s deepening relationship with the Baku government was cemented in February by a $1.6 billion arms agreement that provides Azerbaijan with sophisticated drones and missile-defense systems. At the same time, Baku’s ties with Tehran have frayed: Iran presented a note to Azerbaijan’s ambassador last month claiming that Baku has supported Israeli-trained assassination squads targeting Iranian scientists, an accusation the Azeri government called “a slander.” In February, a member of Yeni Azerbadzhan — the ruling party — called on the government to change the country’s name to “North Azerbaijan,” implicitly suggesting that the 16 million Azeris who live in northern Iran (“South Azerbaijan”) are in need of liberation.

And this month, Baku announced that 22 people had been arrested for spying on behalf of Iran, charging they had been tasked by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to “commit terrorist acts against the U.S., Israeli, and other Western states’ embassies.” The allegations prompted multiple angry denials from the Iranian government.

It’s clear why the Israelis prize their ties to Azerbaijan — and why the Iranians are infuriated by them. The Azeri military has four abandoned, Soviet-era airfields that would potentially be available to the Israelis, as well as four airbases for their own aircraft, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance 2011.

The U.S. intelligence and diplomatic officials told me they believe that Israel has gained access to these airbases through a series of quiet political and military understandings. “I doubt that there’s actually anything in writing,” added a senior retired American diplomat who spent his career in the region. “But I don’t think there’s any doubt — if Israeli jets want to land in Azerbaijan after an attack, they’d probably be allowed to do so. Israel is deeply embedded in Azerbaijan, and has been for the last two decades.”

The prospect of Israel using Azerbaijan’s airfields for an Iranian attack first became public in December 2006, when retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Oded Tira angrily denounced the George W. Bush administration’s lack of action on the Iranian nuclear program. “For our part,” he wrote in a widely cited commentary, “we should also coordinate with Azerbaijan the use of airbases in its territory and also enlist the support of the Azeri minority in Iran.” The “coordination” that Tira spoke of is now a reality, the U.S. sources told me.

Access to such airfields is important for Israel, because it would mean that Israeli F-15I and F-16I fighter-bombers would not have to refuel midflight during a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but could simply continue north and land in Azerbaijan. Defense analyst David Isenberg describes the ability to use Azeri airfields as “a significant asset” to any Israel strike, calculating that the 2,200-mile trip from Israel to Iran and back again would stretch Israel’s warplanes to their limits. “Even if they added extra fuel tanks, they’d be running on fumes,” Isenberg told me, “so being allowed access to Azeri airfields would be crucial.”

Former CENTCOM commander Gen. Joe Hoar simplified Israel’s calculations: “They save themselves 800 miles of fuel,” he told me in a recent telephone interview. “That doesn’t guarantee that Israel will attack Iran, but it certainly makes it more doable.”

Using airbases in Azerbaijan would ensure that Israel would not have to rely on its modest fleet of air refuelers or on its refueling expertise, which a senior U.S. military intelligence officer described as “pretty minimal.” Military planners have monitored Israeli refueling exercises, he added, and are not impressed. “They’re just not very good at it.”

Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner, who conducted a study for a think tank affiliated with the Swedish Ministry of Defense of likely Israeli attack scenarios in March 2010, said that Israel is capable of using its fleet of F-15I and F-16I warplanes in a strike on Iran without refueling after the initial top-off over Israel. “It’s not weight that’s a problem,” he said, “but the numbers of weapons that are mounted on each aircraft.” Put simply, the more distance a fighter-bomber is required to travel, the more fuel it will need and the fewer weapons it can carry. Shortening the distance adds firepower, and enhances the chances for a successful strike.

“The problem is the F-15s,” Gardiner said, “who would go in as fighters to protect the F-16 bombers and stay over the target.” In the likely event that Iran scrambled its fighters to intercept the Israeli jets, he continued, the F-15s would be used to engage them. “Those F-15s would burn up fuel over the target, and would need to land.”

Could they land in Azerbaijan? “Well, it would have to be low profile, because of political sensitivities, so that means it would have to be outside of Baku and it would have to be highly developed.” Azerbaijan has such a place: the Sitalcay airstrip, which is located just over 40 miles northwest of Baku and 340 miles from the Iranian border. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sitalcay’s two tarmacs and the adjacent facilities were used by a squadron of Soviet Sukhoi SU-25 jets — perfect for Israeli fighters and bombers.  “Well then,” Gardiner said, after the site was described to him, “that would be the place.”

Even if Israeli jets did not land in Azerbaijan, access to Azeri airfields holds a number of advantages for the Israel Defense Forces. The airfields not only have facilities to service fighter-bombers, but a senior U.S. military intelligence officer said that Israel would likely base helicopter rescue units there in the days just prior to a strike for possible search and rescue missions.

This officer pointed to a July 2010 joint Israeli-Romanian exercisethat tested Israeli air capabilities in mountainous areas — like those the Israeli Air Force would face during a bombing mission against Iranian nuclear facilities that the Iranians have buried deep into mountainsides. U.S. military officers watched the exercises closely, not least because they objected to the large number of Israeli fighters operating from airbases of a NATO-member country, but also because 100 Israeli fighters overflew Greece as a part of a simulation of an attack on Iran. The Israelis eventually curtailed their Romanian military activities when the United States expressed discomfort with practicing the bombing of Iran from a NATO country, according to this senior military intelligence officer.

This same senior U.S. military intelligence officer speculated that the search and rescue component of those operations will be transferred to Azerbaijan — “if they haven’t been already.” He added that Israel could also use Azerbaijan as a base for Israeli drones, either as part of a follow-on attack against Iran, or to mount aerial assessment missions in an attack’s aftermath.

Azerbaijan clearly profits from its deepening relationship with Israel. The Jewish state is the second largest customer for Azeri oil -shipped through the Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan pipeline — and its military trade allows Azerbaijan to upgrade its military after the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) slapped it with an arms embargo after its six-year undeclared war with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Finally, modernizing the Azeri military sends a clear signal to Iran that interference in Azerbaijan could be costly.

“Azerbaijan has worries of its own,” said Alexander Murinson, an Israeli-American scholar who wrote in an influential monograph on Israeli-Azeri ties for Tel Aviv’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. “The Baku government has expelled Iranians preaching in their mosques, broken up pro-Iranian terrorist groups, and countered Iranian propaganda efforts among its population.”

The deepening Azeri-Israeli relationship has also escalated Israel’s dispute with Turkey, which began when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship destined for Gaza in May 2010, killing nine Turkish citizens. When Turkey demanded an apology, Israel not only refused, it abruptly canceled a $150 million contract to develop and manufacture drones with the Turkish military — then entered negotiations with Azerbaijan to jointly manufacture 60 Israeli drones of varying types. The $1.6 billion arms agreement between Israel and Azerbaijan also left Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “sputtering in rage,” according to a retired U.S. diplomat.

The centerpiece of the recent arms deal is Azerbaijan’s acquisition of Israeli drones, which has only heightened Turkish anxieties further. In November 2011, the Turkish government retrieved the wreckage of an Israeli “Heron” drone in the Mediterranean, south of the city of Adana — well inside its maritime borders. Erdogan’s government believed the drone’s flight had originated in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq and demanded that Israel provide an explanation, but got none. “They lied; they told us the drone didn’t belong to them,” a former Turkish official told me last month. “But it had their markings.”

Israel began cultivating strong relations with Baku in 1994, when Israeli telecommunications firm Bezeq bought a large share of the nationally controlled telephone operating system. By 1995, Azerbaijan’s marketplace was awash with Israeli goods: “Strauss ice cream, cell phones produced by Motorola’s Israeli division, Maccabee beer, and other Israeli imports are ubiquitous,” an Israeli reporter wrote in the Jerusalem Post.

In March 1996, then-Health Minister Ephraim Sneh became the first senior Israeli official to visit Baku — but not the last. Benjamin Netanyahu made the trip in 1997, a high-level Knesset delegation in 1998, Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2009, and Lieberman again, as foreign minister, this last February. Accompanying Peres on his visit to Baku was Avi Leumithe CEOof Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems and a former Mossad official who paved the way for the drone agreement.

U.S. intelligence officials began to take Israel’s courtship of Azerbaijan seriously in 2001, one of the senior U.S. military intelligence officers said. In 2001, Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems contracted with Georgia’s Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing to upgrade the Soviet SU-25 Scorpion, a close air-support fighter, and one of its first customers was Azerbaijan. More recently, Israel’s Elta Systems has cooperated with Azerbaijan in building the TecSar reconnaissance satellite system and, in 2009, the two countries began negotiations over Azeri production of the Namer infantry fighting vehicle.

Israeli firms “built and guard the fence around Baku’s international airport, monitor and help protect Azerbaijan’s energy infrastructure, and even provide security for Azerbaijan’s president on foreign visits,” according to a study published by Ilya Bourtman in the Middle East Journal. Bourtman noted that Azerbaijan shares intelligence data on Iran with Israel, while Murinson raised the possibilitythat Israelis have set up electronic listening stations along Azerbaijan’s Iranian border.

Israeli officials downplay their military cooperation with Baku, pointing out that Azerbaijan is one of the few Muslim nations that makes Israelis feel welcome. “I think that in the Caucasian region, Azerbaijan is an icon of progress and modernity,” Sneh told an Azeri magazine in July 2010.

Many would beg to differ with that description. Sneh’s claim “is laughable,” the retired American diplomat said. “Azerbaijan is a thuggish family-run kleptocracy and one of the most corrupt regimes in the world.” The U.S. embassy in Baku has also been scathing: A 2009 State Department cable described Aliyev, the son of the country’s longtime ruler and former KGB general Heydar Aliyev, as a “mafia-like” figure, comparable to “Godfather” characters Sonny and Michael Corleone. On domestic issues in particular, the cable warned that Aliyev’s policies had become “increasingly authoritarian and hostile to diversity of political views.”

But the U.S. military is less concerned with Israel’s business interests in Baku, which are well-known, than it is with how and if Israel will employ its influence in Azerbaijan, should its leaders decide to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. The cable goes on to confirm that Israel is focused on Azerbaijan as a military ally — “Israel’s main goal is to preserve Azerbaijan as an ally against Iran, a platform for reconnaissance of that country and as a market for military hardware.”

It is precisely what is not known about the relationship that keeps U.S. military planners up at night. One former CIA analyst doubted that Israel will launch an attack from Azerbaijan, describing it as “just too chancy, politically.” However, he didn’t rule out Israel’s use of Azeri airfields to mount what he calls “follow-on or recovery operations.” He then added: “Of course, if they do that, it widens the conflict, and complicates it. It’s extremely dangerous.”

One of the senior U.S. military officers familiar with U.S. war plans is not as circumspect. “We are studying every option, every variable, and every factor in a possible Israeli strike,” he told me. Does that include Israel’s use of Azerbaijan as a platform from which to launch a strike — or to recover Israeli aircraft following one? There was only a moment’s hesitation. “I think I’ve answered the question,” he said.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Zio-Nazi Secret Staging Ground

Foreign Fighters Join Syrian Rebels

NOVANEWS

http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com

Photo Gallery: A Holy War Against Syria's Assad

Jihadists Declare Holy War Against Assad Regime

ed note–but, but, but, but, I thought that the jihadists were the BAAAD guys…Osama Bin Laden…Nasrallah…etc, etc, etc?

And yet, the US, GB, France, Israel and the rest of the ‘anti-Islamic extremism’ coalition are FUNDING AND TRAINING JIHADISTS???????

Does not seem to make sense, until you come to realize that Israel and the rest of her loyal, dutiful whores NEED Islamic ‘terrorism’ in order to see their agenda (war, war, and more war) realized.

speigel.de

Abu Rami hails from Lebanon, but his heart is in Syria these days. The 40-year-old is one of hundreds of Arabs who are fighting against the Assad regime at the side of Syrian insurgents. Many of these volunteer fighters are veterans of the Iraq war, who have now brought their holy war to Syria.

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Abu Rami’s last foray into war wasn’t much of a success. Just after his unit had crossed over the border, one of his men lost his wits. The young man cowered in the undergrowth, trembled and didn’t budge. Out of necessity, the whole unit had to come to a stop: Ten Lebanese, armed with 10 Kalashnikovs loaded with 65 magazines of ammunition, had come to a standstill inside the Syrian border, without any backup.

It was pure luck that the group wasn’t spotted by a Syrian border patrol and that they didn’t come under fire. “We sent the man with the weak nerves back to Lebanon. The rest of us made it as far as Homs,” a 40-year-old man who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Rami said, two days after his return from Syria.

The protest stronghold of Homs is located around 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) from the border. The Lebanese volunteers wanted to fight alongside Syrian rebels in the city’s Khaldiyeh district. They did just that, and retreated only after they ran out of ammunition. Abu Rami says his unit is now waiting in the safety of Lebanon for its next deployment.

Abu Rami is a commander in the growing band of volunteer Lebanese fighters who are getting involved in the conflict in neighboring Syria. Most come from Tripoli, the northern Lebanese city that is largely home to a Sunni Muslim population. Their hatred of the Assad regime is rooted in the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, which only ended in 2005.

Despite the withdrawal of its troops, Syria still exercizes considerable influence over Beirut. The Shiites are also in power in the Lebanese capital, further fomenting the hatred of Lebanese Sunnis against Assad and his Lebanese allies, which including the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

‘We Lebanese Are Part of the Syrian Revolution’

Radicals among Lebanon’s Sunnis view the insurgency in their neighboring country as a welcome opportunity to put an end to Damascus’ influence. “The struggle for freedom in Syria is our own struggle for freedom,” says Sheik Masen al-Mohammed, one of the most important Sunni religious leaders in Tripoli. “We Lebanese are part of the Syrian revolution, part of the rebellion. If Syria gains its freedom, then we will also win in Lebanon.” In addition to the political reasons, the sheik also has a key reason for encouraging Lebanese to fight in Syria. “Assad is an infidel,” the sheik says, noting that the Syrian dictator is part of the Alawite sect, which splintered from Shiite Islam hundreds of years ago. Sheik Masen views Assad as an enemy rather than a true Muslim.

In mid-February, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as the head of the al-Qaida terrorist network, called on pious Muslims to support the insurgency against the Syrian regime. In an eight-minute video message posted on an Islamist Internet page, Zawahiri claimed that it is the religious duty of every Muslim to aid in the uprising against the “anti-Islamic regime … with everything that he has — his life, money, views and information.” He called Bashar Assad’s government a “pernicious, cancerous regime.” Zawahiri targeted his message to take up arms directly at Sunni Muslims living in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. He urged them to rush to the aid of the oppressed people in their neighboring country.

“It is the duty of every Muslim, every Arab to fight the infidels,” Sheik Masen also stated. “There is a holy war in Syria and the young men there are conducting jihad. For blood, for honor, for freedom, for dignity,” he said, speaking in a warehouse filled with spare parts. In his normal life, Sheik Masen operates an auto repair shop.

But these days he has little time for selling fan belts. Every minute, new applicants arrive in his oil-covered garage. The majority are Syrian refugees hoping to find lodging, a job and help. “We are sister peoples, and the enemy of the Syrian people is also the enemy of the Lebanese,” the sheik says, providing a rationale for the efforts of the fighters on behalf of Syrians who have been driven from their homeland.

Abu Rami claims that between 100 and 150 Lebanese have traveled to Syria in recent months to fight alongside the rebels. Between two deployments, he visits the wounded at the hospital and he discusses strategy with those fit for combat. Abu Rami was trained to become a television technician, but he quit his job in order to devote himself to the battle in Syria.

Rebels Need Weapons and Ammunition, Not Reinforcements

Abu Rami first took up contact with the rebels in Syria last summer. He soon began crossing the border regularly for combat missions. In recent months, he was captured once for a short time and also wounded on another occasion. During what has now become one year of fighting, he has risen to become a leading figure in the network of Lebanese volunteer brigades that are in combat in Syria.

Sheik Masen claims that the Syrian conflict is becoming increasingly international. “We know of Palestinian, Libyan and Yemen fighters who are active there,” he said. Iraqis are also fighting in Syria.

The situation hasn’t become as explosive the period in the Iraq war when thousands of volunteer fighters flooded into the country in 2006 to wage war against the American occupiers, Sheik Masen says. It’s not fighters the Syrian rebellion is lacking — it simply doesn’t have enough ammunition or weapons, he says. “We currently have 20 men willing to fight for each weapon in our possession. They need weapons and ammunition — not reinforcements.”

The Lebanese say they try to help the rebels in whatever ways they can. “We send as many supplies as we can,” Masen says. But he adds that, after one year of fighting against Assad, the black market for weapons in the Middle East has dried up. “It is high time that major Arab powers like Saudi Arabia intervene and start officially delivering weapons. That is their duty as Muslims,” he says.

First European Joins Fight Against Regime

Sheik Masen expresses hope that the situation in Syria will soon be like Iraq was and that Arabs from all nations will join forces to battle the regime. “If we get to that point, then we will be able to mobilize tens of thousands of Lebanese,” he says.

“I have a long list of telephone numbers of men who want to go to war in Syria,” Abu Rami says, adding that most are experienced fighters. “Of the Lebanese who are deployed now, around 60 percent already fought in Iraq,” he says. Men who once did battle against American soldiers, and were branded as al-Qaida terrorists, are now fighting on the side of Syrian insurgents, whose victory over Assad would be entirely welcomed by the West. Still, the involvement of foreign jihadist fighters makes it more difficult to differentiate between good and evil in the Syrian conflict.

Last week, the first European fighter voluntarily crossed the border and entered into Syria to fight alongside the Free Syrian Army against the Assad regime. He was “a Frenchman who had just turned 24 and comes from a wealthy family,” reports Abu Rami. “He just turned up here with his credit card in hand.” Abu Rami says he tried in vain to talk the man, whose parents are Algerian, out of it. “He bought a gun, we gave him a short bit of training and then he went in with one of our units,” he says.

Still, Abu Rami doesn’t believe the regime will fall anytime soon. “You will first get married when the problem in Syria has been taken care of,” he says jokingly to one of his subordinates. “In other words, in 50 years.”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Foreign Fighters Join Syrian Rebels

Whore-for-IsraHell John Bolton accuses Obama administration of leaking story on IsraHell planning along Iran border

NOVANEWS

foxnews.com

Former U.S. diplomat John  Bolton alleged Thursday that the Obama  administration leaked a story about covert Israeli activity in order to foil  potential plans by the country to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United  Nations in the George  W. Bush administration, was responding to an article in Foreign Policy magazine that quoted government  sources claiming Israel  had been granted access to airfields in Azerbaijan  — along Iran’s northern border.

qaThe article did not state exactly what the Israelis’  intentions were, but it suggested it could point to a possible strike on  Iran.

“I think this leak today is part of the  administration’s campaign against an Israeli attack,” Bolton claimed on Fox  News.

The White House did not respond to Bolton’s claims  Thursday.

Bolton, a Fox News contributor, noted that a strike  launched from Azerbaijan would be much easier for the Israelis than a strike  launched from their own country — jets could stay over their targets longer and  worry less about refueling. But he said tipping the Israelis’ hand by revealing  “very sensitive, very important information” could frustrate such a  plan.

Speaking afterward to FoxNews.com, Bolton said he  didn’t have hard proof that this was an intentional administration leak to halt  an Israeli attack.

But he noted widely reported comments from Defense  Secretary Leon  Panetta in February that he thinks the Israelis could strike as early as  April. If that’s the case, Bolton said, then it would be “entirely consistent”  for the administration to try to avoid that impending outcome.

The Foreign Policy article quoted what were  identified as “high-level sources … inside the U.S. government.” It  specifically mentioned “four senior diplomats and military intelligence  officers.”

One intelligence officer, who was unnamed, told the  magazine that the U.S. was “watching” the activity and was “not happy about  it.”

The Foreign Policy article did not specify whether  any of the information came from the White  House, and there is no direct evidence that this was a coordinated leak.

“Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated  leak,” Bolton told FoxNews.com. “This is not a rogue CIA guy saying I think I’ll  leak this out.”

“It’s just unprecedented to reveal this kind of  information about one of your own allies,” Bolton said.

Posted in USAComments Off on Whore-for-IsraHell John Bolton accuses Obama administration of leaking story on IsraHell planning along Iran border

Mossad Cutting Back on Covert Operations Inside Iran, Officials Say

NOVANEWS
Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images 

ed note–the day that Israel ‘cuts back’ on spying is the day that sharks become vegans. Although exactly what Israel is trying to achieve with a piece of prop like this is difficult to say, but at the very least it is designed to make Iran drop her guard. 

Israel’s intelligence services have scaled back covert operations inside Iran, ratcheting down by “dozens of percent” in recent months secret efforts to disable or delay the enemy state’s nuclear program, senior Israeli security officials tell TIME.  The reduction runs across a wide spectrum of operations, cutting back not only alleged high-profile missions such as assassinations and detonations at Iranian missile bases, but also efforts to gather firsthand on-the-ground intelligence and recruit spies inside the Iranian program, according to the officials.

The new hesitancy has caused “increasing dissatisfaction” inside Mossad, Israel’s overseas spy agency, says one official. Another senior security officer attributes the reluctance to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who the official describes as worried about the consequences of a covert operation being discovered or going awry.  Netanyahu was Prime Minister in 1997 when a Mossad attempt to assassinate senior Hamas official Khaled Meshaal in Amman Jordan ended in fiasco.  Two Mossad operatives were captured after applying a poison to Meshaal’s skin, and returned to Israel only after Netanyahu ordered the release of the antidote.  The Prime Minister also was forced to release Hamas’ spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin from an Israeli prison, dramatically boosting the fortunes of the religious militant movement.

“Bibi is traumatized from the Meshaal incident,” the official says. “He is afraid of another failure, that something will blow up in his face.”

Iranian intelligence already has cracked one cell trained and equipped by Mossad, Western intelligence officials earlier confirmed to TIME.  The detailed confession on Iranian state television last year by Majid Jamali Fashid for the January 2010 assassination by motorcycle bomb of nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohmmadi was genuine, those officials said, blaming a third country for exposing the cell.

(PHOTOS:Explosion by New Delhi’s Israeli Embassy)

In that case, the public damage to Israel was circumscribed by the limits of Iran’s credibility: Officials in Tehran routinely blame setbacks of all stripes on the “Zionists” and “global arrogance,” their labels for Israel and the United States.  But that could change if the Islamic Republic produced a captured Israeli national or other direct evidence – something on the lines of the closed circuit video footage and false passports that recorded the presence of Mossad agents in the Dubai hotel where Hamas arms runner Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found dead in his room in January 2010.  Difficult-to-deny evidence of Israeli involvement trickled out for weeks; Netanyahu was Prime Minister then as well.

The stakes are higher now. With the Iranian issue at the forefront of the international agenda, a similar embarrassment could undo the impressive global front Washington has assembled against the mullahs — perhaps by allowing Iran to cast itself as victim, or simply by recasting the nuclear issue itself, from one of overarching global concern into a contest confined to a pair of longtime enemies.

Some warn that the assassinations already run that risk.  After the most recent killing, of nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan in January, the United States “categorically” denied involvement in the death and issued a condemnation.  Western intelligence officials say he was at least the third Iranian scientist killed by Mossad operatives, who lately are running short of new targets, according to Israeli officials.

(MORE: Zip for Tzipi: Change Atop Israel’s Kadima Signals Opposition in Disarray)

“It undercuts the consensus, the international consensus on sanctions,” says Mark Fitzpatrick, a former State Department nuclear proliferation specialist who opposes the assassinations.

The covert campaign also invites retribution from Iran’s own far-reaching underground.  In the space of just days last month,  alleged Iranian plots against Israeli targets in Thailand, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Georgia were announced as thwarted, and Indian officials blamed Iran for a nearly fatal attack that went forward in New Delhi.  The wife of an Israeli diplomat was injured by a magnetic bomb attached to her car by a passing motorcyclist, the precise method Israeli agents are alleged to have used repeatedly on the crowded streets of Tehran.

But scaling back covert operations against Iran also carries costs, especially as Iran hurries to disperse its centrifuges, some into facilities deep underground. Quoting an intelligence finding, one Israeli official says Iran itself estimates that sabotage to date has set back its centrifuge program by two full years. The computer virus known as Stuxnet — a joint effort by intelligence services in Israel and a European nation, Western intelligence officials say — is only the best known of a series of efforts to slow the Iranian program, dating back years. That alleged effort involves a variety of governments besides Israel, involving equipment made to purposely malfunction after being tampered with before it physically entered Iran.  The resulting setbacks prompted Iran to announce it would manufacture all components of its nuclear program itself –  something outside experts are highly skeptical Tehran has the ability to actually do.

“Iran has said for some time that they’re self-sufficient, but that’s a bag of wind,” says Fitzpatrick, now at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.  For example,  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in February announced that Iran had perfected a far more efficient centrifuge — a “fourth-generation” machine, three levels beyond its original centrifuges, made from designs purchased from Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan.  Fitzpatrick has his doubts. “They haven’t been able to get the second generation to work over the last ten years,” he says.

The alternative is importing equipment, which leaves the product vulnerable to continued tampering — especially in the shadowy markets of front companies where Iran has been forced by U.S. and international sanctions to do much of its business.  It can be almost impossible to know whom you’re actually doing business with, a circumstance that favors Western intelligence agencies.

“The easiest way to sabotage is to introduce faulty parts into the inventory from abroad,” says Fitzpatrick.

Between assassination and silent sabotage lies another covert option: Very loud sabotage. Recent years have brought a series of mysterious explosions at complexes associated with Iran’s nuclear program.  TIME has reported Western sources saying that Israel was responsible for the massive November blast at a Revolutionary Guard missile base outside Tehran, which by dumb luck also claimed the life of the godfather of Iran’s missile program.

But other blasts remain genuine mysteries. Weeks after a huge explosion darkened the sky over a uranium enrichment site in Isfahan, in central Iran, Israeli officials appeared eager to see what had actually happened.  “I’m not sure what,” a retired senor intelligence official said two weeks afterward, then offered an analysis based on open-source satellite photos available to anyone with an internet connection.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Mossad Cutting Back on Covert Operations Inside Iran, Officials Say

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