Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday, March 10, that because the world chooses to slide over Iran’s concealed nuclear program, the next Klos C ship may not carry missiles but “nuclear suitcases.” They would not only reach an Israeli port, he said, but any port in the world.
He spoke at Israel’s naval base in Eilat at the presentation of the 60 missiles, 181 mortar shells and hundreds of bullets unloaded from the Klos C that was apprehended by Israeli commandos on the Red Sea opposite Sudan last week. Present too were defense minister Moshe Ya’alan, chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and top generals.
Netanyahu did not elaborate on his reference to nuclear suitcases.DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources link it to a shipment of 6-10 “nuclear suitcases” that were part of an illegal Ukraine delivery to Iran in 2003 or 2004 of half a dozen nuclear-capable X-55 cruise missiles (NATO codenamed AS-15) whose 2000-km range covers every part of Israel.
These nuclear suitcases were believed at the time by Western and Middle East intelligence sources to be an original development of Russian nuclear agencies.
In 2005, Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko confirmed the sale of the X-55 missiles to Iran and China – by his predecessor. But never referred to the nuclear suitcases; nor were they confirmed by Russia or the US.
Nuclear suitcases were designed as a mobile weapon of mass destruction for the easy transfer of tactical nuclear weapons or dirty bombs from place to place. It was therefore perfect for terrorists.
As for the missiles, Israel intelligence estimated that they were sold to Iran without nuclear warheads but with attached diagrams and specifications, so providing the technology whichr jumped Iran forward in its quest for a nuclear weapon.
The nuclear suitcases, too, were apparently sold without nuclear explosives.
All this means that Iran secretly possessed nuclear-capable, long-range missiles almost a decade ago.
The illicit Ukrainian transaction, hinted at by the prime minister, had additional murky and serpentine features. It is presumed that China which bought the same number of missiles as Iran footed the bill for both. To disguise the sale, Ukraine and Iran cooked the sales and shipping documents to show that the end-users of the weapons were Russian.
The forging of documents is clearly a common Iranian trick of concealment up to the present day. Along with the inventory of weapons unloaded from the Klos C, Israel displayed Monday fake Iranian shipping manifests designed to conceal the ship’s route from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Port Sudan en route for Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
The Prime minister implicitly rebuked EU Foreign Police Executive Catherine Ashton for failing to raise the Iranian weapons ship in her talks in Tehran Monday, when he said, “There is a shrill chorus of international condemnation when we build a balcony in Jerusalem, but scarcely a word when Iran tries to smuggle missiles into Gaza.”
IDF officers at the Eilat presentation pointed to four types of M-302 missiles shipped from Iran with ranges of 90, 120, 140 and 160 km, which could cover the distance from the Gaza Strip to Haifa. Invited to the presentation were also foreign diplomats and correspondents, although few of the latter attended.
In an unusually frank disclosure, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday night, March 5, that US intelligence services and military had worked with Israel to track the Iranian Panama-flagged ship KLOS C, which was apprehended by Israeli naval commandos on the Red Sea earlier that day carrying missiles for Gaza via Sudan. The ship was boarded by the Israeli elite Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13) and found to be carrying dozens of 302mm rockets made in Syria with a range of 150 km made in Syria. It is now on its way to Eilat.
The White House spokesman said that Washington worked with Israeli through intelligence and military channels, and at the national security adviser level, as soon as it knew the shipment was on the move. He said that President Barack Obama also directed the US military to work out contingencies in case it became necessary to intercept the vessel (thereby sanctioning military action).
“Our Israeli counterparts ultimately chose to take the lead in interdicting the shipment of illicit arms,” Jay Carney said.
DEBKAfile reports that this was the first time in four years that the US and Israel have collaborated in an operation against Iran – ever since the Stuxnet virus attack in 2010 on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Until now, the Obama administration steadfastly refused to act against Iran for fear of jeopardizing the international diplomatic track for curbing its nuclear program.
The unusual frankness with which the Obama administration announced its coordination with Israel is both dramatic in itself and a road sign pointing the way to a radical change in its Iran policy. The US and Israel appear to be lining up – in their military policies as well – against the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah bloc.
This radical turnabout was most probably the high point of the conversation between the US president and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House Monday, March 3, after which Netanyahu raised comment by showering Obama with praise during his speech to the AIPAC conference in Washington the next day.
DEBKAfile’s US and Israeli intelligence sources report that both countries are braced for a swift and stinging response from Tehran to the capture of the missile ship and its condemnation by the White House. As Carney put it: “We will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region in coordination with our partners and allies.These illicit acts are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s Security Council obligations.”
Read DEBKAfile’s mearlier report on the interception and capture of the Iranian missile boat in Red Sea waters.
Israel’s elite Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13) early Wednesday, March 5, boarded an Iranian Panama-registered cargo vessel KLOS C. Concealed in its hold under sacks of cement were dozens of 302mm rockets with a range of 150 kms, manufactured in Syria and destined by Iran for the Gaza Strip after being offloaded in Sudan.
The Israeli commandos seized the vessel in open sea on the maritime border of Sudan and Eritrea, 1500 south of Israel, and have set it on course for Eilat.
Sudan has been revealed by DEBKAfile’s military sources as having been transformed in the last two years into a major Iranian weapons manufacturing and logistic depot, which supplies Syria, HIzballah and Hamas. Port Sudan is also the hub for the smuggling of Iranian arms to various Middle East locations.
The IDF said the Iranian missile cargo was destined for the Palestinian Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip. If this is so, it would mean that Iran had gone back to arming Hamas with missiles and rockets after a two-year pause during which the Palestinian extremists were cold-shouldered by Tehran for their animosity to Syria’s Bashar Assad.
By the same token, it is hard to believe the Assad would consent to relay Syrian-made missiles to this antagonist. Some Middle East military sources believe the shipment as not destined for Palestinian terrorists for use against Israel, but rather for Muslim Brotherhood activists fighting the Egyptian army from their forward base in the Gaza Strip. They don’t rule out the possibility of Al Qaeda affiliates fighting in Sinai as being the address. Western intelligence has recorded instances of Iran entering into ad hoc operational collaboration with al Qaeda elements when it suits Tehran’s book.
The operation was carried out under an air umbrella by hundreds of naval commandos without casualties. It was directly commanded by the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz from high command headquarters and the Navy Chief Maj. Gen Ram Rottberg from a floating command post at sea.
The rockets were flown from Syria to Iran, then loaded on a ship where they were concealed under sacks of cement inside containers. From the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, the ship headed into the Red Sea bound for Sudan where it was intercepted by Israeli commandos.
The Iranian arms ship’s progress was tracked all the way.
In congratulating the forces which seized the shipment, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented that this episode showed Iran’s true colors – in contrast to its diplomatic posture in nuclear negotiations with the West. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Iran is again exposed as the biggest arms exporter in the world to terrorist organizations.
Benghazi Critique by USAF Pilot
|Assets available to respond to Benghazi – Ordered to STAND DOWN! [PhiBetaIota.net]|
We’re posting this commentary by Phil “Hands” Handley [Colonel, USAF, (Ret)] who wrote this commentary in response to the announcements by Secretary of Defense Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the closest rescue assets were 18 hours away in Fort Bragg, NC! Colonel Handley, with considerable knowledge of the Air Force assets available, provides details of precisely what support the Air Force could have rendered.
[We've taken the liberty of adding to the map above many of the assets available in the area from the US 6th Fleet -- all the Secretary of the Navy denies any US Navy craft were in the area -- they were "deployed elsewhere"!]
He flew 275 combat missions, and flew operationally all but 11 months of his 26 year career in fighters such as the F-86 Sabre, F-4D, F4E, F15 Eagle, and even drove the C-130A workhorse into hazardous areas.
Unlike most of the obsequious, pusillanimous popinjays strutting the halls of the Pentagon today, his medals are real, and earned in actual combat; they include 21 Air Medals, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and the Silver Star — so this man has credibility, more than we can say for any flag rank officer in the Pentagon today!
Consider the following scenario (all times Benghazi local): When Hicks in Tripoli receives a call at 9:40 PM from Ambassador Stevens informing him
“Greg, we are under attack!“
(his last words),
Hicks immediately notifies all agencies and prepares for the immediate initiation of an existing “Emergency Response Plan.”
By 11:30 PM, two F-16Cs with drop tanks and each armed with five hundred 20 MM rounds are airborne. Flying at 0.92 mach they will cover the 522 nautical miles directly to NAS Sigonella in 1.08 hours.
While in-route, the flight lead is informed of the tactical situation, rules of engagement, and radio frequencies to use.
|Setting Priorities [Politifake.org]|
Of course all this depends upon a Commander In Chief more concerned with saving the lives of those he put in harm’s way than getting his crew rested for a campaign fund raising event in Las Vegas the next day.
It also depends upon a Secretary of State who actually understood “What difference did it make?”, and a Secretary of Defense who was watching the feed from the drone and understood what the attack consisted of instead of making an immediate response that “One of the military tenants is that you don’t commit assets until you fully understand the tactical situation.”
TO AVOID THIS HAPPENING AGAIN,
LYONS: Benghazi was a planned tragedy
The event was no surprise, and the massive cover-up appalls
By James A. Lyons
Monday, March 3, 2014
The recent reports by the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Armed Services Committee make clear that no organization in the chain of command, including the White House, should have been surprised by the tragic events that occurred at our Benghazi Special Mission Compound (SMC) on Sept. 11, 2012.
Clearly, there was both strategic and tactical warnings.
The security situation in eastern Libya, particularly Benghazi, was out of control. Trying to explain our failure to protect the SMC as a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the deteriorating security situation or incompetence does not pass muster. This was a planned event and explains the massive cover-up.
There were numerous hostile acts leading up to the attack on the compound. For example, on April 6, 2012, an attack with improvised explosive devices was conducted on the outer wall of the compound.
On May 22, the Benghazi International Red Cross office was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades. On June 1, a car bomb exploded outside the Benghazi hotel where the British ambassador was staying. On June 6, an IED blew a hole in the compound’s perimeter wall. On June 7, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens requested two mobile security teams for his protection but was denied by the State Department.
On June 11, the British ambassador’s convoy was hit by RPGs. On June 17, the U.K. closes its Benghazi consulate, and the International Red Cross closes its office. On June 19, the Tunisian Consulate is stormed by the rebel group Ansar al Shariah.
On Aug. 2, Stevens requests 11 additional personal-security bodyguards. He calls the security situation unpredictable and violent, but his requests are turned down by State. Stevens sent a cable to State on Aug, 16 stating that the compound cannot withstand a coordinated attack.
At this point, AFRICOM offers to provide additional security, but Stevens feels compelled to turn down the offer owing to State denying all his requests for increased security.
The State Department turning down all of Stevens‘ requests for increased security as well as drawing down security assets in country is more than puzzling, particularly since an internal State Department analysis completed two months after the compound opened stated that unless security was increased, the compound should be closed. This assessment is buried in the Accountability Review Board (ARB) report.
The question that needs to be answered is, with the out-of-control security situation in eastern Libya, why were there no contingency plans or forces pre-positioned ready to respond to potential attacks on the anniversary of 9/11?
According to one report, the administration was focused on Tunisia, not Libya. Mind-boggling. Nonetheless, if that were the case, where were the forces positioned to respond to an attack on Tunisia?
On the day of the attack, according to a report in The Guardian, the readiness of the ambassador’s five-member security detail raises questions. Three of the four agents with Stevens, according to the report, left their rifles, helmets and body armor in another area under orders by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, which was confirmed by the ARB report.
This makes no sense, given that standard operating procedures in a hostile environment require that weapon be kept at the ready all times. Another question that needs to be answered: Why would the secretary of state give such an order?
Based on numerous reports, the Obama administration and every organization in the chain of command knew almost instantly that this was a terrorist attack on the SMC.
Within hours, it was known that the attack was executed by Ansar al Shariah, which is a coalition of Islamic and Salafist rebel groups linked to al Qaeda, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the February 17th Martyrs Brigade.
It should not be overlooked that the February 17th Martyrs Brigade was tasked with supporting the U.K.-based Blue Mountain Security Group that had the contract from our State Department to provide security for the compound.
According to my source, who is a confidential informant for the FBI, the Blue Mountain Security Group is a cover company for MI-6. My source also told me that the February 17 Martyrs Brigade contract personnel were positioned near the compound the day of the attack and were ready to respond but never received orders to execute. Interesting.
My FBI confidential informant has also confirmed my assessment on the Lou Dobbs TV show in October 2012; namely, that this was an operation that went terribly wrong.
According to my source’s in-country contacts, there never was any intention to kill Stevens. He was supposed to be kidnapped and held as a hostage in exchange for the release of the blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman. It should be recalled that this was the No. 1 objective of then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in his Washington visit in 2012.
All the unanswered questions and the truth of what actually took place at our Benghazi compound that cost the lives of four Americans can only be resolved by the formation of a special committee with subpoena powers.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, appoint such a committee as called for by Resolution 36 put forth by Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, and restore integrity to the office of the speaker.
James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy retired Admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.