Friday, March 13, 2009

Geopolitical Watch


Pakistani police link Lahore attack to internal al Qaeda-linked groups

06 Mar.: Pakistani police now suspect homegrown groups with links to al Qaeda and Taliban of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team on March 10, which killed 8 members of the police escort and injured 6 players on their way to play Pakistan in the eastern town of Lahore.

Officials in Islamabad have stopped blaming India, where a similar attack was staged in Mumbai last November killing 170, or Punjabis, over president Ali Zardari's feud with their leader, former prime minister Nawaf Sharif.

Groups like Lashkar e-Jhangvi and Lashkar e-Taibe are now high on the list of suspects.

Palestinian PM Fayyad's Exit Ushers in Hamas' West Bank takeover (DEBKAfile Exclusive Report)

7 Mar.: By submitting his resignation as Palestinian prime minister Saturday, March 7, the pro-American Salam Fayyad removes a major roadblock to a power-sharing accord between the extremist Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah, which governs the West Bank.

The unity talks have still a way to go. They may fail as they have before. And Fayyad's resignation may not be final. This accord would open the door to Hamas domination of the West Bank in the same way as the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamists threw the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority out of Gaza two years ago.

Fayyad's resignation, three days after US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's talks with him and Abbas in Ramallah, is a serious blow to America prestige and one up for Iran and its Palestinian proxy.

If Israel had toppled the Hamas regime in Gaza and not held back, the Palestinian power-sharing deal would have continued to stutter along and the radical fundamentalists continue to be denied a foothold on the West Bank.

Washington experts: Iran possesses fissile material for 50 nuclear bombs

8 Mar.: DEBKAfile's Washington sources quote experts familiar with the Iranian program maintain that it is far more advanced than the US and Israeli governments are willing to admit.

On March 4, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy disclosed:

Iran has enough fissile material available for up to 50 nuclear bombs and can go from low enriched uranium to weapons-grade uranium in a year or so.

Israel will face the moment of no-return for action against a nuclear-armed Iran when Russia begins delivering sophisticated S-300 missile interceptors to Tehran.

Israel's current leaders, while evading action to curb a nuclear-armed Iran, now go about saying that the Jewish state can live in its shadow. They argue that Israel is not the Islamic Republic primary objective but the subjugation of the Sunni Muslim world. They also maintain that Tehran will not go into production of single bombs but wait until it can produce batches of 10-15 bombs or nuclear warheads.

This proposition was knocked over by the Washington think tank's report and the briefing delivered to the Israeli cabinet by Israel's intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, Sunday, March 8.

Israeli military intelligence chief: Iran has crossed technological threshold in drive for nuclear bomb

08 Mar.: Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, head of Israeli military intelligence AMAN, confirmed at the weekly government session in Jerusalem Sunday, March 8, that Iran had crossed the technological threshold to a nuclear bomb capability and could decide at any time to go into production.

The Israeli intelligence chief said Iran continues to accumulate hundreds of kilos of low-grade enriched uranium and buying time with diplomacy with the West for consummating its military nuclear program.

Tehran TV disclosed Sunday that Iran had test fired a new long-range missile.

Yadlin's evaluation matched that of Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, who said last week: "Iran likely has enough nuclear fuel stockpiled to make a bomb."

Yadlin warned that the Palestinian unity talks resuming in Cairo Tuesday, March 10, were a vehicle for Hamas to break out of international isolation.

Egyptians turn away far-left UK MPGalloway's convoy but let him into Gaza through Rafah

09 Mar.: The aid-for-Gaza convoy from London led by far-left British lawmaker George Galloway started out on the wrong foot in mid-February, when three activists were arrested by British police on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks overseas. Sunday, March 8, it was stranded at the northern Sinai town of El-Arish by 1,000 Egyptian police who refused to grant them entry to Gaza. Clashes left 24 members of his pro-Palestinian group injured.

Monday, the Egyptians finally gave the fiercely anti-Israeli British MP permission to enter Gaza through Rafah, but sent his "Viva Palestina" convoy of 12 ambulances, a fire engine, and $1.4 million dollars, to try and enter Gaza through the Israeli crossing at Nitzana.