The Egyptian security services announced high alert on Wednesday in the Sinai, in light of information that terrorists are planning to attack Egyptian soldiers stationed in the peninsula. Egyptian intelligence has warned of an “unprecedented assault” which the Global Jihad intends to launch in the next 48 hours against the security headquarters in the Sinai. Eight tanks have been sent into the area following the alert.
Posts Tagged ‘intelligence’
Iran has moved further along in its ability to build nuclear weapons, according to some diplomats.
The diplomats say intelligence provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitor of the United Nations, shows that Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of an atomic warhead through a series of computer models that it ran sometime within the past three years, The Associated Press reported.
The information comes from Israel, the United States and at least two other Western countries, according to the diplomats.
Iran denies it is working on a nuclear weapon.
The IAEA would not comment, but four of the six diplomats who spoke to the AP on the issue said an oblique passage in its August report on Iran saying that “the agency has obtained more information which further corroborates’’ its suspicions alludes to the new intelligence.
The information, if credible, could provide added fuel for the Israeli officials who want a preemptive military strike on Iran.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for “red lines” to be set for Iran, and said sanctions have not worked.
“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said Tuesday at a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borisov.
He added, “Every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs. If Iran knows that there is no red line, if Iran knows that there’s no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing: It’s continuing without any interference towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there nuclear bombs.”
The U.S. and Israel don’t agree on the meaning of the same intelligence reports on Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. top general argued at the beginning of a visit to Afghanistan and Iraq, AFP reports.
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said on Sunday that Israel sees the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions as something that could endanger Israel’s very existence.
Dempsey said he and his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantz “compare intelligence, we discuss regional implications. And we’ve admitted to each other that our clocks are turning at different rates.”
“They are living with an existential concern that we are not living with.”
What a relief.
And if Israel were to launch a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear sites, Dempsey said the U.S. military is under no obligation to back those bombing raids, nor would Israel expect it.
Speaking to reporters aboard his plane before landing Sunday night at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, Dempsey warned that air strikes by Israel would at best delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear project.
“You can take two countries and interpret the same intelligence and come out with two different conclusions. I’d suggest to you that’s what’s really happening here,” he said.
The four-star general is also not eager to intervene against the Syrian regime.
Asked if the U.S. will enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, Dempsey insisted such a move would tax military resources which are better used to deter Iran in the Gulf.
“I am helping shape the discussion (on potential military options for Syria),” he said.
“And I’ll tell you we have to clearly define our national interest. What you do in one place, whether it’s Syria or the Strait of Hormuz, there are trade offs. It’s a conversation that we should proceed with cautiously,” he concluded.
In a press briefing White House Spokesman James “Jay” Carney conducted aboard Air Force One en route to Colorado Springs, CO on Thursday, a reporter mentioned the scoop in Ha’aretz, citing Western diplomats and high level Israeli officials, that the special National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s nuclear program submitted recently to President Obama is almost a word for word copy of the Israeli intelligence assessment.
Q: Jay, did the President receive a new National Intelligence Estimate, and does it show that Iran has advanced its progress toward a nuclear weapon?
Carney: Well, you know I don’t comment on intelligence matters or intelligence reports the President may or may not have received. I can tell you that the President remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and that we are leading an international effort to impose upon Iran what even the Iranian President has identified as the most stringent sanctions ever imposed on any country. And that effort is designed to take advantage of what we believe remains to be a window of opportunity to persuade Iran through these sanctions and through diplomatic efforts to forego its nuclear weapons ambitions and live up to its international obligations.
In a separate press briefing on Thursday with acting deputy State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell, he was asked about the U.S. offering missile protection to Iran’s neighbors:
Q: There’s a report out today that the U.S. is pushing Gulf countries to create a missile shield around that area, and I wondered if you could comment on that and update us on any efforts – the Secretary has mentioned this in the past – on any efforts to work with Gulf nations to build a missile shield against Iran.
Ventrell: Well, what I would say is that the threat from ballistic missiles to our deployed forces, allies, and partners in the region is growing, and this threat is likely to increase in both volume and complexity in the coming years. The U.S. has a robust security partnership, including missile defense with our allies and partners in the Gulf and is committed to their security. The U.S. will continue to work with our partners in the Middle East to strengthen missile defense in the Persian Gulf. But of course, for any other details, I would refer you to the Department of Defense principally on this matter.
The flying White House briefing touched on Israel’s indelicate approach to news that affect the Jewish state’s life and death issues:
Q: Is the White House at all irked that what appears to be some kind of intelligence is being discussed by the Israelis publicly?
Carney: I would simply say that I won’t discuss intelligence assessments or intelligence matters. But I will discuss the fact that this President has led an effort to isolate and pressure Iran that is unprecedented, that we absolutely share Israel’s, as well as other countries’ concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. And that is why we are engaged in this concerted and unprecedented effort to bring about the change in behavior that must occur by Iran.
Q: Is there any mood to increase or step up sanctions?
Carney: Well, I think, as you know, this is a process that is ongoing and hardly a week goes by where there isn’t some development that has the effect of increasing sanctions on Iran. I think it was just last week where we announced a new round of sanctions, including of a third country bank. And we are continuing in that effort both unilaterally as the United States, but collectively with our partners.
Q: Jay, does the White House feel like the meetings that Iran is holding with Syrian allies to talk about any of the violence there are credible and a helpful part of the process of trying to seek a resolution?
Carney: No. I think there is no evidence that Iran has been playing a constructive role in Syria — in fact, quite to the contrary. There’s vast evidence that demonstrates that Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people.
US President Barack Obama has in recent days received an National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which upgrades the current view of the progress achieved by Iran’s nuclear program to more critical, according to Western diplomats and high level Israeli officials who spoke to Ha’aretz.
The new evaluation was conducted because of concern within the Administration that Israel would unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are the authoritative assessment by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on intelligence related to particular national security issues. NIEs are produced by the National Intelligence Council and express the coordinated judgments of the United States Intelligence Community, the group of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. NIEs are classified documents prepared for policymakers.
This NIE was initially planned to be submitted a few weeks ago, but based on fresh intelligence regarding the military components of Iran’s nuclear program its level of urgency upgraded. It turns out that the report’s findings are nearly identical to the finding’s of Israel’s intelligence community, pointing to Iran’s surprising and significant progress in research and development of several components of its military nuclear program.
Back in July, the Telegraph quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who boasted that “there are currently 11,000 centrifuges active in enrichment facilities” in Iran’s two enrichment sites: Natanz, and the heavily fortified underground bunker of Fordo.
That’s more than the 10,000 centrifuges Iran was supposed to be operating according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Fordo facility was the most contentious point in the tine-wasting negotiations between Iran and the top UN Security Council powers: the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China, plus Germany.
Iran has also been stonewalling on repeated attempts by the IAEA to expand its ongoing surveillance and inspections to include a suspect sprawling military facility in Parchin, outside Tehran.
Sheldon Adelson, a major contributor to Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has asked Romney to speak out publicly for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, has said he needs to see the relevant intelligence material accessible to a president before deciding whether to grant Pollard clemency, sources told the Daily Beast website.
Pollard was working as an American civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he passed classified information to Israel. He was convicted and received a life sentence in 1987.
Adelson also has asked Romney to state publicly that the Palestinians are not willing to make peace and that the peace talks are a waste of time, according to the Daily Beast article. The billionaire casino owner also wants Romney to come out more firmly and commit to moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Romney has not come out against the peace talks and has said that he favors moving the embassy, but would do so only after consultation with the Israel government.
Adelson is considered to be close with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz toured the Kerem Shalom area early Monday morning, along with Southern Command Chief Maj. Gen. Tal Russo and Gaza Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Yossi Bachar.
“Even before investigations of the attack are complete, I estimate we prevented a large-scale disaster, an extremely complex attack by terrorists operating between Sinai and the Gaza Strip,” said Lt. Gen. Gantz.
On Sunday night, Global Jihad terrorists and Egyptian soldiers exchange fire near Rafah: Terrorists in the Sinai region captured an Egyptian military post new Rafah, killed over ten Egyptian soldiers and took over two armored personnel carriers (APC).
“This was an extremely successful joint operation of the IAF and Armored Corps,” said Lt. Gen. Gantz. He added, “The speed of the cooperation between the various forces enabled us to thwart a terror attack within 15 minutes, according to the searches. I would like to express my appreciation for the alertness of the forces, specifically the alertness of the intelligence, and the determination of the soldiers operating in the field.”
Maj. Gen. Tal Russo said that “the soldiers operated at every spot through which the vehicle attempted to enter. There were many clashes till the vehicle was destroyed, while it was tracked and surrounded by IAF and Armored Corps forces along with regional infantry soldiers. The vehicle was destroyed from attacks both in the air and on ground. The terrorists who attempted to fire at the soldiers even after the vehicle was destroyed were targeted as well. The operation featured great cooperation between the forces.”
IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai said on Sunday night that the IDF Intelligence Branch and the Israel Security Agency (the Shin Bet) had obtained concrete intelligence prior to last night’s terror attack. He added that this information had enabled the IDF to prevent the Global Jihad terrorists from infiltrating from Egypt into Israel.
“This is an extremely serious incident,” emphasized Mordechai, adding that the IDF “is in contact with the Egyptians and we will study this event, which is a product of the terror infrastructure in Sinai.”
“We were prepared for this attack, and we relied on an intelligence warning from the Intelligence Branch and the Israel Security Agency,” he continued. “We tracked this attempted attack, and fortunately there are no injuries among IDF forces or residents of the area.”