Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 28, 2010, 10:45 PM (GMT+02:00)

Image: USS Nassau: More US naval-air-marine muscle off Iran. (Wikipedia: The second USS Nassau (LHA-4) is a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship, capable of transporting over 3,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.)

Debkafile’s military sources report that Washington has posted a third carrier opposite Iran’s shores.

It is supported by amphibious assault ships and up to 4,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, bringing the total US strength in these waters to three carriers and 10,000 combat personnel.

The USS Nassau (LHA-4) Amphibious Ready Group 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, tasked with supporting the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet area of operations, is cruising around the Bab al-Mandeb Straits where the Gulf of Aden flows into the Red Sea.

Its presence there accounts for Tehran announcing Sunday, June 27 that its “aid ship for Gaza” had been called off, for fear an American military boarding party would intercept the vessel and search it. This would be permissible under the latest UN sanctions punishing the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program.

The third US carrier group to reach waters around Iran consists of three vessels:

1. The USS Nassau Amphibious Assault ship is not just an enormous landing craft for the 3,000 Marines aboard; its decks carry 6 vertical take-off AV-HB Harrier attack planes; four AH-1W Super Cobra, twelve CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, as well as choppers that are convertible to fast V-22 Osprey airplanes capable of landing in any conditions. This vast warship has 1,400 cabinets for sleeping the entire Marine-24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard.

2. The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde which carries 800 Marines equipped for instantaneous landing.

3. The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland which carries 400 Marines and 102 commandos trained for special operations behind enemy lines.

Debkafile adds: The USS Ashland was the target of an al Qaeda Katyusha rocket attack in 2005 when it was docked in Jordan’s Aqaba port next door to the Israeli port of Eilat. One of the rockets exploded in Eilat airport. The ship exited harbor in time to escape harm.

These new arrivals are a massive injection of naval, air and marine muscle to the strength Washington has deployed in the Persian Gulf-Red Sea-Indian Ocean arena in recent months.

The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group consisting of twelve warships is cruising in the Arabian Sea opposite Chah Bahar, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards biggest naval base not far from the Iranian-Pakistan border. It is there that most of Iran’s special commando units are housed.

Also posted in the Arabian Sea, further to the west, is the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group.

http://www.debka.com/article/8879/

The Saudis have facilitated the construction of a secret IAF forward base, five miles outside the city of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis and Israelis, as usual, pretend not to know each other. The Saudis have closed Tabuk airport for civilian flights for several days as the Israeli Air Force landed jet fighter aircraft and military supplies. Civilians were not told of the purpose of the closure, but were accommodated by the Saudi government elsewhere.

The base outside Tabuk, according to unconfirmed sources, is a ‘forward’ operating base for combat assault helicopters along the ‘corridor’ that has been created for the free passage of IAF combat assets on their way into Iran… greatly reducing the distance that Israeli aircraft would have to travel to reach their targets in Iran…

Israel’s recent additions to its defensive/offensive capability include a new secret combat satellite system launched into low earth orbit on June 24. The Israeli military would only say that the new satellite, Ofek 9, has unprecedented military capabilities. Ofek joins two other Israeli satellites presently in orbit and has Tehran in a quandary, as the resolution from the orbiting satellites is said to be less than a meter. You can run but you can’t hide, seems to be the message. Video about Israel’s new satellite system:

The United States has several naval carrier strike forces including an anti-submarine strike group and amphibious landing ‘Expeditionary Strike Group 5′, which includes elements of the United States Marine Corps 15th Expeditionary Brigade from Camp Pendleton, California, said to number some 6,000 Marines and sailors.

With American, German, Israeli and Canadian Naval assets now in position and Israeli land air and sea assets at the ready, it would seem that hostilities are imminent. Click the link for the complete story.

http://thenextright.com/skip-maclure/israel-on-the-brink-reported-secret-base-near-tabuk-saudi-arabia

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Related articles:

Reports: IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
23 June 2010

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/138231

IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
By: Various on: 23.06.2010 [15:29 ]

http://www.iraq-war.ru/article/227933

Israel Air Force Planes Land in Saudi Arabian Military Base, Unload Military Equipment
Posted by RafiF on Jun 23, 2010 |

http://www.worldofjudaica.com/jewish-news/israel/report-israel-air-force-planes-land-in-saudi-arabian-military-base-unload-military-equipment/246/45/

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 23, 2010, 1:23 PM (GMT+02:00)

In a rare move, Iran has declared a state of war on its northwestern border, Debkafile’s military and Iranian sources report. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps men and equipment units are being massed in the Caspian Sea region against what Tehran claims are US and Israeli forces concentrated on army and air bases in Azerbaijan ready to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The announcement came on Tuesday, June 22 from Brig.-Gen Mehdi Moini of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), commander of the forces tasked with “repelling” this American-Israeli offensive. He said: “The mobilization is due to the presence of American and Israeli forces on the western border,” adding, “Reinforcements are being dispatched to West Azerbaijan Province because some western countries are fueling ethnic conflicts to destabilize the situation in the region.”

In the past, Iranian officials have spoken of US and Israel attacks in general terms. Debkafile’s Iranian sources note that this is the first time that a specific location was mentioned and large reinforcements dispatched to give the threat substance.

Other Iranian sources report that in the last few days, Israel has secretly transferred a large number of bomber jets to bases in Azerbaijan, via Georgia, and that American special forces are also concentrated in Azerbaijan in preparation for a strike.

No comment has come from Azerbaijan about any of these reports. Iranian Azerbaijan, the destination of the Revolutionary Guards forces reinforcements, borders on Turkey, Iran and Armenia. Witnesses say long IRGC convoys of tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft units and infantry are seen heading up the main highways to Azerbaijan and then further north to the Caspian Sea.

On Tuesday, June 22, Dr. Uzi Arad, head of Israel’s National Security Council and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest adviser, said “The latest round of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran is inadequate for thwarting its nuclear progress. A preemptive military strike might eventually be necessary.”

Debkafile’s intelligence and Iranian sources point to three other developments as setting off Iran’s war alert:

1. A certain (limited) reinforcement of American and Israeli forces has taken place in Azerbaijan. Neither Washington nor Jerusalem has ever acknowledged a military presence in this country that borders on Iran, but Western intelligence sources say that both keep a wary eye on the goings-on inside Iran from electronic surveillance bases in that country.

2. Iran feels moved to respond to certain US steps: The arrival of the USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea and its war games with France and Israel, which included live-fire bombing practices against targets in Iran.

3. The execution of Abdolmalek Rigi, head of the Sunni Baluchi rebel organization (including the Iranian Baluchis), on June 20 was intended as a deterrent for Iran’s other minorities. Instead, they are more restive than ever. Several Azeri breakaway movements operate in Iranian Azerbaijan in combination with their brethren across the border. Tehran decided a substantial buildup in the province would serve as a timely measure against possible upheavals.

http://www.debka.com/article/8868/

Egypt opposition angered at government for allowing the fleet of more than 12 ships to cross Egyptian manned waterway, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports.
By Jack Khoury http://www.haaretz.com news online 6/19/2010

(Note: The USS Truman Carrier Strike Group deployed May 2010 to join the area of operations of the US 5th Fleet and 6th Fleet, the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf Regions. These are the ships that traversed the Suez Canal.)

More than twelve United States Naval warships and at least one Israeli ship crossed the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea on Friday, British Arabic Language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Saturday.

According to the report, thousands of Egyptian soldiers were deployed along the Suez Canal guarding the ships’ passage, which included a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The Suez Canal is a strategic Egyptian waterway which connects between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

According to eyewitnesses, the U.S. battleships (warships) were the largest to have crossed the Canal in many years, Al-Quds reported.

Egyptian opposition members have criticized the government for cooperating with the U.S. and Israeli forces and allowing the ships’ passage through Egyptian territorial waters.

They said they viewed the event as Egyptian participation in an international scandal, and added that the opposition would not sit with its arms crossed while the country allowed a fleet of U.S. and Israeli military ships to cross.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-u-s-israeli-warships-cross-suez-canal-toward-red-sea-1.297068

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This information was also reported on the following sites:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3907387,00.html
http://www.infowars.com/armada-of-u-s-and-israeli-warships-head-for-iran/

For details about the composition of the USS H.S. Truman carrier strike group, see
http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=53495

by JPOST.COM STAFF
06/12/2010 08:03

Israeli jets ok’d to fly over Saudi Arabia reports ‘The Times’.

(Bette: Iran has made alliances with most of the Persian Gulf nations to prevent such flights; guess they couldn’t get to Saudi Arabia.)

Saudi Arabia will allow Israeli jets to use its airspace to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, reported The Times of London on Saturday.

The report cited a US defense source as saying the Saudis have already done tests to ensure no jet is shot down in the event of an Israeli attack. The source added that the US State Department is aware of the action and agrees with it.

A Saudi government source confirmed that a blind eye would be turned to Israeli jets attacking Iran, according to the report.

An Israeli attempt to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities would target uranium enrichment facilities at Qom and Natanz as well as a heavy water reactor at Arak and a gas storage development at Isfahan.

The UN Security Council passed a fourth set of sanctions against Iran on Wednesday in the hopes of diplomatically stopping Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry released a statement following the passing of the sanctions which said that the resolution was “not enough,” and that what was necessary now was for additional “significant steps” to be taken by various countries and international groupings.

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?ID=178190

This morning I did a search for “Turkey” from within Fars News online (Iranian news site). The results beg the question, Who is doing what with the Gaza Flotilla? Notice the date on the following article. FYI, Turkey is working closely with Iran to further Iran’s nuclear ambitions. There are quite a lot of Fars News articles on that.
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Iran Seeking to Maximize Cooperation with Turkey
Farsnews online 25 May 2010

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi hailed the brotherly ties between Tehran and Ankara, stressing that the ground is ready for a stride in the expansion of the two countries’ joint cooperation.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran pursues expansion of ties and joint cooperation with Turkey in a brotherly and full-scale manner,” Rahimi said on Monday in a meeting with Turkish Ambassador to Tehran Umit Yardim.

He … reiterated that Iran and Turkey should strive to promote their cooperation as fast as possible, cautioning that paused movement on this course would lead to the delayed attainment of the desired results(emphasis added).

Rahimi also pointed to the Tehran-Ankara agreement on increasing the volume of trade exchanges to $30bln….

In March, Iranian and Turkish officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand mutual cooperation in different industrial fields, specially in textile, auto-manufacturing and power industries.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8903040861

Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet
Excerpts from Aljazeera online news article 31 May 2010

Photo: Israel commandos board boat in pro-Palestinian flotilla.

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza. At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The Israeli military said four soldiers had been wounded and claimed troops opened fire after “demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs”.

Condemnation has been quick to pour in after the Israeli action. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, officially declared a three-day state of mourning over Monday’s deaths.

Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Sweden have all summoned the Israeli ambassador’s in their respective countries to protest against the deadly assault.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted “Damn Israel” as police blocked them.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/05/201053133047995359.html
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Israel braces for Turkish, Hizballah, Hamas reprisals. Greece halts joint drill.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 31, 2010, 1:45 PM (GMT+02:00)

“Far from being a humanitarian mission, the flotilla was sponsored personally by Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and permit arms supplies and terrorist to reach the Strip unrestricted.”

Debkafile’s military sources report Israeli concerns that Turkey may not confine itself to strong diplomatic retaliation for the Israel Navy’s seizure Monday, May 31, of the Marmora, the Turkish vessel leading the flotilla for breaking the Gaza blockade and resort to military action along with the Iranian-backed Hizballah and Hamas.

A statement from Ankara threatened “unprecedented and incalculable” reprisals, following which the Turkish chief of staff Gen. Ilker Basbug was recalled urgently to Ankara from a visit to Egypt. Greece has since halted its joint exercise with Israel in protest against the naval action.

Debkafile reports from Ankara that the Turkish government is planning to continue pounding the Israeli blockade with more flotillas and have them escorted by Turkish warships and fighter jets. Israel merchant vessels moored outside Ashdod port have been instructed to sail into port and take shelter in case of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip against Ashdod and Ashkelon.

Monday morning, Israeli warplanes headed west over the Mediterranean in support of the still ongoing Israeli commando operation aboard the Turkish Marmora, the scene of violent clashes between Israeli troops and the 600 “peace activists,” some of them armed. Ankara later reported 15 dead aboard the vessel.

Israeli army spokesman, Col. Avi Beneyahu, called the incident “an act of terror on the high seas.” Far from being a humanitarian mission, the flotilla was sponsored personally by Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and permit arms supplies and terrorist to reach the Strip unrestricted.

It aimed at provoking a widely publicized international incident with fatalities and showing Israel using strong-arm tactics against unarmed peace-lovers.

Its leaders and the nations involved therefore refused to heed warnings that the vessels would be prevented from entering Gaza Port and rejected Israeli offers to ferry their aid cargo overland to the Gaza Strip. Population within missile range of Gaza advised to take shelter in secured areas.

The pro-Hamas passengers were described as mobbing the Israeli commandos as they were dropped onto the Marmara’s deck, using knives and iron bars to beat them and shooting with a sidearm snatched from a soldier and at least two other pistols recovered empty from two of the bodies.

Israeli security forces are preparing for the Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian Hamas to go back to shooting missiles and rockets against Israeli towns, in support of the seaborne attack on Israeli commandos.

The police are also on special alert in and around Israeli Arab communities, after Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyah called them out on a general strike, and the Holy Places, especially in Jerusalem.

Egypt will face pressure to end its joint embargo on Gaza with Israel at the Arab League Council meeting urgently Tuesday, June 1. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas demanded the session.

Demonstrations against Israel were staged in Syrian and Lebanese towns. Jordan hands stiff complaint to head of Israeli diplomatic mission in Amman.

http://www.debka.com/article/8823/

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 20, 2010, 2:20 PM (GMT+02:00)

By then (July-August), the Pentagon plans to have at least 4 or 5 US aircraft carriers visible from Iranian shores.

Debkafile’s military sources report a decision by the Obama administration to boost US military strength in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf regions in the short term with an extra air and naval strike forces and 6,000 Marine and sea combatants.

Carrier Strike Group 10, headed by the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, sails out of the US Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia Friday, May 21. On arrival, it will raise the number of US carriers off Iranian shores to two. Up until now, President Barack Obama kept just one aircraft carrier stationed off the coast of Iran, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Arabian Sea, in pursuit of his policy of diplomatic engagement with Tehran.

For the first time, too, the US force opposite Iran will be joined by a German warship, the frigate FGS Hessen, operating under American command.

It is also the first time that Obama, since taking office 14 months ago, is sending military reinforcements to the Persian Gulf. Our military sources have learned that the USS Truman is just the first element of the new buildup of US resources around Iran. It will take place over the next three months, reaching peak level in late July and early August. By then, the Pentagon plans to have at least 4 or 5 US aircraft carriers visible from Iranian shores.

The USS Truman’s accompanying Strike Group includes Carrier Air Wing Three (Battle Axe) – which has 7 squadrons – 4 of F/A-18 Super Hornet and F/A-18 Hornet bomber jets, as well as spy planes and early warning E-2 Hawkeyes that can operate in all weather conditions; the Electronic Attack Squadron 130 for disrupting enemy radar systems; and Squadron 7 of helicopters for anti-submarine combat (In its big naval exercise last week, Iran exhibited the Velayat 89 long-range missile for striking US aircraft carriers and Israel warships from Iranian submarines.)

Another four US warships will be making their way to the region to join the USS Truman and its Strike Group. They are the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and guided missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill, USS Oscar Austin and USS Ross.

Debkafile’s military sources disclose that the 6,000 Marines and sailors aboard the Truman Strike Group come from four months of extensive and thorough training to prepare them for anticipated missions in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

www.debka.com/article/8794/

Reuters 11 May 2010

Photo: Israeli soldiers carry their comrade on a stretcher as they run during a training session at their base near the southern city of Ashdod, October 29, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen.

Israel is primed for a war on Iran, a deputy to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, in a rare break with his government’s reticence as world powers try to talk Tehran into curbing its nuclear plans.

By spearheading assaults on guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon and Palestinian territories, the Israeli air force had gained the techniques necessary for any future strikes on Iranian sites, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said.

“There is no doubt that the technological capabilities, which improved in recent years, have improved range and aerial refueling capabilities, and have brought about a massive improvement in the accuracy of ordnance and intelligence,” he told a conference of military officers and experts.

“This capability can be used for a war on terror in Gaza, for a war in the face of rockets from Lebanon, for war on the conventional Syrian army, and also for war on a peripheral state like Iran,” said Yaalon, a former armed forces chief.

Israel, which is assumed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and launched a similar sortie in Syria in 2007.

But its veiled threats against foe Iran have been questioned by some independent analysts who see the potential targets as too distant, dispersed, numerous and well-defended for Israeli warplanes to take on alone.

Israel’s leaders rarely use the term “war” while publicly discussing how to deal with Iran, in whose often secretive uranium enrichment, long-range missile projects and hostile rhetoric the Jewish state sees a mortal threat.

Read the entire article: http://bit.ly/9EIRaq

DEBKAfile Special Report April 28, 2010, 1:31 PM (GMT+02:00)

Photo: Syrian Fateh A-110B for Hizballah

US defense secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday night, April 27: “Hizballah has far more rockets and missile than most governments in the world.” He and Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak were talking to reporters after their talks in the Pentagon. Military sources did not see this as high commendation for Barak’s achievements as defense minister. All he had to contribute on this occasion was: “We do not intend to provoke any kind of major collision in Lebanon or with Syria, but are watching closely these developments.”

Gates went on to accuse Syria and Iran of “providing Hizballah with rockets of ever-increasing capability,” adding, “This is obviously destabilizing for the whole region and we’re watching it very carefully.

Both defense chiefs seemed to think that careful watching would somehow erase the hostile buildup of deadly hardware. In fact, Barak’s comment told Iran, Syria and Hizballah they had nothing to fear from continuing their “carefully watched” buildup, even though Syria took it a step forward this month….

“Careful watch” – without corresponding action to interrupt the massive flow of weapons shipments constantly smuggled in from Syria to Hizballah – is a repeat of the misplaced self-restraint which invited the Hizballah to launch the last Lebanon conflict in the summer of 2006.

Dragging Israeli and its homeland into war in the summer of 2010 would serve the political and military interests of Iran, Syria and Hizballah well. It would generate a Middle East crisis overwhelming enough to focus international efforts on calming the situation, so distracting the world’s attention Iran’s arrival at the critical stages of its nuclear bomb program and its drive for sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

http://bit.ly/bdZqyi