— The Erimtan Angle —

The Israeli military intelligence website Debka, based in Jerusalem, and providing commentary and analyses on terrorism, intelligence, national security, military and international relations, with a particular focus on the Middle East that is is available in both English and Hebrew. On a weekly basis, Debka provides a newsletter that for the most part manages to provide real interesting information and propaganda updates . . .

18 July 2015

Iran experts: Khamenei will back out of nuclear deal in a year

Some Iran experts in Washington are certain the nuclear deal signed in Vienna will be terminated by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a year’s time on the pretext of non-compliance by the US and the West. He said Friday that he was “not certain that the agreement would be ratified.”

Khamenei: Iran’s adversarial relations with US won’t change

 In his first response to the nuclear deal signed last Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader said: “Our policy regarding the arrogant US government will not change. We don’t have any negotiations or deal with the US on different issues in the world or the region. Their actions in the region are 180 degrees different from ours,” he said and praised the annual anti-Israel rally, on Al Quds Day, and its slogans of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” Khamenei also noted that Iran would not change its policy of “supporting regional allies inimical to Israel and the US …We will not give up our friends in the region – Yemen, the Syrian government and people, Iraq, and oppressed Bahraini people, and also the honest fighters of Lebanon and Palestine.

The third Jordanian-Palestinian to attack US military in six years

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis: Mohammed Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, who Thursday, July 16, murdered four US Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the third Muslim of Jordanian-Palestinian descent to perpetrate a massacre of American military or intelligence personnel in six years. DEBKAfile: These acts of terror were the price US agencies paid for relying on Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate to supply penetration agents for fighting Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other radical Islamist organizations. His predecessors with the same background and objectives were Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan who on Nov. 9, 2009 shot dead 13 American soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas, and Jordanian physician Humam Khalil al-Balawi who in 2009 blew up 9 CIA agents in Afghanistan in the name of Al Qaeda.

For a unity government Netanyahu offers Herzog hard-to-refuse deal: 7 posts in centrist cabinet

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made leader Yitzhak Herzog a magnanimous offer for joining a national emergency government, which DEBKAfile’s political sources are calling the “Deal of the Century.” It would toss out the traditional lines polarizing the “rightwing” and “leftwing” political camps and reshuffle them in a different order – that is if Herzog says yes. He is offered at least seven top portfolios, making Herzog Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. The new centrist guidelines would leave room for talks with the Palestinians.

19 July 2015

Israel detains Hamas gang which murdered Malachi Rosenfeld

The Shin Bet, the IDF and police in a combined operations caught up with members of the Hamas gang which murdered Malachi Rosenfeld three weeks ago in a terrorist attack at the entrance to Shevut Rachel on the West Bank. The gang leader, who was released in the prisoner exchange of Shalit, fled to Jordan.

ISIS blows up 6 Hamas executive vehicles in Gaza 

Islamic State terrorists early Sunday attached explosive devices to the cars of three senior Palestinian Hamas and three pro-Iran Islamic Jihad executives in the Gaza City suburb of Sheikh Radwan. The attack by the ISIS Salafist Jihadist Branch in Gaza was in response to reports Saturday that the group had negotiated a ceasefire and collaboration accord with Hamas.

Saudis arrest 431 ISIS suspects in nationwide dragnet

The Interior Ministry in Riyadh reported the arrests of 431 people suspected of links to recent attacks in the kingdom, planning more attacks or spreading extremist ideology on social media. DEBKAfile: The authorities are battling the fast spreading support for ISIS among young Saudis, some of whom are calling to oust the House of Saudi and remove the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina from its control.

20 July 2015

US Defense Secy discusses “mutual security” with Ya’alon

Visiting US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Monday: “We held a discussion on steps to strength our missile security, on missiles, cyber and preserving Israel’s qualitative edge.” He spoke at a joint news conference with Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. The two ministers also discussed “joint contingency plans for various situations.’

Cutbacks in IDF non-combat personnel in next budget

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott Monday released his five-year plan for cutting back on military spending. It entails reducing regular forces by 2,500, slashing the reserve army by 100,000 men and women, as well as the artillery brigades and light infantry battalions. The education corps, chief chaplaincy, adviser to the C-of-S on women’s affairs, the army radio and the military censor will also be trimmed down. Eisenkott also proposes to reduce the age of field commanders. Future battalion commanders will be no more than 32 compared to 35-37 at present and Brigade Commanders no more than 40-42 instead of 45-46 at present.

Egypt’s terrorist containment loses traction after 9 men killed

After losing 9 soldiers dead and 59 wounded in heavy battles with the ISIS Sinai affiliate Sunday, DEBKAfile reports that Western military experts say the Egyptian strategy of containing the terrorist group has failed. The terrorists have got the Egyptian army and police pinned down in a shrinking area of northern Sinai between Rafah on the Gaza border and El Arish on the coast. They blame the support of local Bedouin with intelligence feeds, ferrying the terrorists to target and driving them to safety after attacks aboard 4×4 trucks. These trucks will soon be banned in all parts of northern Sinai.

Two major Syrian-Hizballah offensives stalled against ISIS

DEBKAfile: The major offensives Syrian-Hizballah forces launched last week to recover the central Syrian town of Palmyra from ISIS and break through to rebel-held Zabadani west of Damascus are stalled, amid heavy casualties.

German official urges Iran to “improve relations with Israel”

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel Sunday urged Iran to improve relations with Israel if it wants to form closer economic ties. Gabriel, who is also German economy ministry, is the first major western politician to visit Iran since a nuclear deal was agreed on July 14. He arrived in Tehran with a large group of German businessmen, including Siemens and Volkswagen executives.

Israel to Ashton: Iranian forces mustn’t be allowed to dump ISIS on Israeli Golan

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report: Israeli leaders’ main business with visiting US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter when they meet Monday, July 20, is their concern about Tehran’s possible endgame in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will ask Carter if the US has any control over the Iranian command centers, and is in a position to stop Tehran harnessing Hizballah and Syrian troops to help its Shiite militias push ISIS onto the Golan and the Jordanian borders, to remove the threat to Tehran’s allies in Damascus and Baghdad.

 21 July 2015

North Korea: No Iran-style nuclear deal with US for us

North Korea’s government said Tuesday that it had no interest in pursuing a nuclear agreement of its own with the US as long as Washington pursued what Pyongyang described as “provocative” policies. The North’s nuclear deterrent was “not a plaything to be put on the negotiating table.”

US pilot hailed as “The Man Who save Tel Aviv” is dead

Louis (Lou) Lenart, an American fighter pilot, hailed as “The Man who saved Tel Aviv” during the opening days of Israel’s War of Independence, has died, aged 94 in Raanana, Israel. High-ranking officers of the US Marine Corps and Israeli Air Force were to attend his funeral Wednesday. Born in Hungary, the son of Jewish farmers, the family moved to the US when he was ten and settled in Pennsylvania. At 17 he enlisted to the US Marine Corps and saw action the Battle for Okinawa and other Pacific missions. Discharged with the rank of captain, he learned that 14 of his Hungarian relatives had died in Auschwitz. In early 1948, Lenart joined the clandestine effort to smuggle surplus planes to the nascent state of Israel. On May 29, large Egyptian forces had advanced to within 16 miles of Tel Aviv when Lenart, as only of four Israeli fighter pilots, led the attack on the Egyptian columns. They retreated. That was how the US pilot became “The Man Who Saved Tel Aviv. After the war, Lenart participated in the airlift of Iraqi Jews to Israel, was a pilot for El Al Airlines and produced six feature films, including “Iron Eagle” and “Iron Eagle II.” He is survived by his wife Rachel, his daughter and grandson.

New Netanyahu tactics on nuclear deal, Iran Guards chief: It’s unacceptable

DEBKAfile Special Report: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has switched tactics for his struggle against the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. It was unanimously endorsed Monday, July 20, by the UN Security Council and European Union in the first step towards winding down sanctions. DEBKAfile: Instead of an all-out effort to block the deal’s passage through Congress, Netanyahu will propose to Congress new laws to specify the issues on which Iranian violations would make US administration penalties mandatory. In Tehran, the Guards chief has rejected the UN resolution as “unacceptable” for “crossing Iran’s red lines.”

22 July 2015

The EU targets Israeli banks in labeling goods made in settlements

The European Council for Foreign Relations Wednesday proposed including Israel banks in the boycott measure for labeling Israeli goods made in “settlements” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It would not cover bank loans and mortgages, qualifications earned in settlement institutions and the tax-exempt status of European charities that deal with Israeli settlements. Under European Commission guidelines from 2013, EU- and member-state-funded lending cannot be provided to Israeli businesses and individuals operating in the “occupied territories.” Israel has denounced Europe’s steps as discriminatory, wrongheaded and anti-Semitic.

First French Rafale fighter jets delivered to Egypt

Egypt has taken delivery of the first three of the 24 Rafale fighters jets bought from France in a 5.2 billion euro deal. They are armed with advanced ordnance including guided air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and come with a missile vessel to be launched at the ceremony marking the widening of the Suez Canal on Aug. 6.

Iran buys 100 Russian refueling aircraft for its air force to reach any point in the Mid East

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report: In defiance of its arms embargo, Iran has placed an order for 100 Russian IL78 MKI tanker aircraft for refueling its air force in mid-flight, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. The transaction runs contrary to the ten-year arms embargo embodied in the nuclear accord the six world powers have just signed with Iran. These tanker planes can simultaneously refuel 6-8 warplanes. Their acquisition brings Israel, 1.200km away – and the Middle East at large – within easy range of Iranian aerial bombardment. It puts Iran ahead of Israel in mid-air refueling resources. Secretary of State John Kerry can expect some really hard questions during his trip on exactly how the Vienna accord makes the region safer, when Iran’s first act after signing is to arm itself with a huge fleet of Russian in-flight fuel tankers to expand and strengthen its range and power for aerial aggression.

23 July 2015

SE Turkey sees rise in terror attacks, Police officer killed

A Turkish police officer was shot and killed and a second wounded on Thursday in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, a day after two police officers were killed in the first suicide bombing attack attributed to the Islamic State in Turkey occurred near the Syrian border. The dissident Turkish Kurdish PKK took responsibility for both attacks. It is accused by Ankara of links with ISIS.

Roadside bomb kills four Egyptian servicemen in Sinai

An Egyptian officer and three soldiers were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb Thursday near the Sinai-Gaza border town of Rafah. The attack came a few days after seven soldiers died in an attack by the Islamic State Sinai affiliate on a checkpoint.

Israel gives Jordan 16 Cobra helicopters to fight ISIS – with US approval

DEBKAfile Special Report: In the first publicized Israeli military hardware transaction with an Arab nation, Israel has handed Jordan 16 decommissioned Cobra combat helicopters free of charge in support of its large-scale aerial-commando operation in the Iraqi province of Anbar to carry out a security barrier against ISIS intrusion. Confirmed Thursday, July 23, by an unnamed US official, the transfer was also the first act of US-Jordanian-Israeli military cooperation in the struggle against ISIS to be publicly disclosed. The US first provided mechanical overhauls before they were incorporated in Jordan’s existing Cobra fleet. The transfer was announced while US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was touring the Middle East. He arrived in Amman Tuesday, July 21, after talks in Israel, and visited Baghdad unannounced Thursday, July 23 for an update on the war on ISIS.

ISIS infiltrates Egyptian special forces, joins with Hamas to occupy N. Sinai, liquidate Sisi

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report: The Islamic State’s success in infiltrating elite military units and banding together with the Palestinian Hamas poses mounting danger to the life and rule of Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. DEBKAfile: A large group of Egyptian officers and men have defected to ISIS led by Hisham al-Ashmawy, who is seen as the hand behind the prosecutor general’s assassination and other attacks on regime officials. Tuesday, July 21, the Multinational Force and Observers in northern Sinai came under attack for the first time by a joint ISIS-Hamas force. The attack is ongoing. On July 17, the Islamic state of Sinai sank an Egyptian coast guard vessel with a sophisticated Kornet guided anti-tank missile – the first time ISIS is known to have sunk an adversary’s vessel at sea. On July 22, Hisham al-Ashmawy released an audio message calling on Egyptians to overthrow the Sisi regime.

24 July 2015

Jordan shuts only Iraqi border crossing “indefinitely”

In view of its war operations in Iraq, the Jordanian army Friday shut down the only border crossing between the kingdom and Iraq “indefinitely.” The Trebil terminal lies on the No.1 highway linking Amman and Baghdad. The surprise step left hundreds of trucks carrying merchandise between the two neighbors pilling up on both sides of the terminal. DEBKAfile: The Jordanian army cleared Trebil of civilian traffic to make way for reinforcements and supplies to reach the units battling ISIS in the Iraqi province of Anbar without delays.

US, Turkey impose partial no-fly zone over Syria

Turkish military sources reported Friday that the US and Turkish air forces had established a “partial no-fly zone” 40-50km deep inside Syria and 90km in length. It covers all of the Idlib province of northern Syria up to the Aleppo.

Jordan launches war on ISIS in Iraq, Turkish warplanes hit ISIS in Syria. US and Israel involved in both operations

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report: The Middle East woke up Friday, July 24, to two new fully-fledged wars launched by Jordan and Turkey for cutting down the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant whose forces advanced on their borders. The US and Israel are involved in both campaigns. Jordanian armored, commando and air forces are already operating deep inside Iraq, while Friday morning, for which Israel provided Cobra helicopters; Turkey conducted its first cross-border air strike against ISIS targets in Syria. Both governments also carried mass arrests of suspected Islamist terrorists.

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