Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Moscow Arms Assad with a Top-Flight Surface Missile

From DEBKAfile October 10, 2005, 12:29 PM (GMT+02:00) ...

Two generals were in Moscow on ...September 26: the head of Israel's National Security Council Maj.-Gen (Res.) Giora Eiland and the Syrian chief of staff General Ali Habib. Both also called on the Russian chief of staff, Gen. Yuri Baluyevski. The Syrian general came out of his meeting with a brilliant contract for the sale of the advanced Iskander SS-26 surface missile. The Israeli general ran into a blank wall when he tried to persuade the Russian to withhold the missile from the Assad regime. Last January, when the deal was first broached, the Bush administration stepped in and obtained a promise from president Vladimir Putin to call off the sale, as did Israel's Ariel Sharon during the Russian president's visit in May.
Putin has broken those pledges.

For a speedy delivery in the first quarter of 2006, the Syrians paid cash.
The value of the transaction is unknown but it certainly runs into hundreds of million dollars, given that Syria has purchased 26 of the most advanced missile of its kind in use anywhere in the world.

The United States and NATO have code-named the Iskander SS-26 “Stone.” They have nothing in their missile arsenal to match its unique attributes. With a 400-km range and a 480-kilo warhead composed of 54 elements, the missile hits a target within a 20-meter radius. Two missiles with a range of 280km are mounted on each launch pad. The system can be used against small and large targets alike, easily overcoming air defenses. It is almost impossible for existing electronic weapons systems to prevent the Iskander’s launch because of its speed and high flexibility. Its targets are found in mid-flight by satellites, accompanying airplanes, conventional intelligence centers or a lone soldier directing artillery fire. Targets may also be found by feeding photos into the missile’s computer by means of a scanner.

...Israel raised the ceiling over this transaction as radically shifting the balance of strength between the Jewish state and Syria. Washington embarked on a quiet diplomatic dialogue to deter Damascus from acquiring the new hardware, maintaining it posed a threat to the US army in Iraq.
After weeks of palaver and pressure, president Vladimir Putin and defense minister Sergei Ivanov relented and promised Washington and Jerusalem to withhold the Iskander SS-26 from Syria....

It is now clear that Putin’s promise to the Americans and Israelis to withhold the missile’s sale was no more than a time-winning ploy until an opportunity presented itself to go through with the transaction....

Nobel winner: Conflict won't stop

From Jerusalem Post Oct. 10, 2005 14:58 Updated Oct. 11, 2005 3:54 By AVI KRAWITZ ...

Hebrew University Professor of Mathematics Robert J. Aumann, who on Monday won the Nobel prize in economics for his work on using game theory to understand conflict resolution, says he sees no end to the Middle East conflict that claimed the life of his eldest son 23 years ago.

"This conflict has been going on for 80 years and to my sorrow I believe it will last for at least another 80," Aumann said in a press conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Givat Ram campus, where he resides as a professor emeritus in the Institute of Mathematics and as a member of Center for Rationality....

Sasson Nuriel murderers caught

From DebkaFile, October 10, 2005, 7:46 PM (GMT+02:00)...

The Shin Bet has caught the Palestinian Hamas kidnappers who murdered Sasson Nuriel in Jerusalem Sept 21. Its leader is the Ramallah police chief`s son who is employed as Palestinian interior minister’s senior staffer.

Altogether, 117 members of three Hamas networks responsible for five Israeli murders in four years have been rounded up in the West Bank towns of Ramallah, Kafr Shewoich north of Hebron and Dahariya southwest of Hebron. As a student in Egypt, their leader, Yasser Salah of Ramallah was recruited by a Gazan Hamas operative. The son of the Ramallah police chief, he was hired as an aide to Palestinian interior minister Nasser Yousef.

A young Palestinian woman of 22 was sent from the Gaza Jebaliya camp to the West Bank as a bomb-maker, expert in explosive vests. Israel permitted her relocation to marry a man from Tulkarm. In Ramallah she ran courses in bomb-making for Hamas network members and trained her husband to take her place if she were captured.

Under questioning, the detained terrorists admitted to the murder of four Israelis. Two women, an officer and a soldier, were shot dead outside the southern command in Beersheba in February 2002. Eitan Kukoi and Rema Novkov were murdered south of Hebron two years later.

In August, 2005, they engineered the suicide bombing at the Beersheba central bus station in which two security guards were gravely injured chasing the bomber away from the buses. The kidnap of Sasson Nuriel was to have been the first in a series of abductions of Israelis. Two Palestinians who worked with him lured him to A-Ram village north of Jerusalem to buy a coffee machine. At their Ramallah hideout they videotaped him before his murder.
The network had manufactured a 20-kilo bomb ready to plant at the Israeli air force base in the Judean desert and plotted more terrorist attacks, but they were captured in time.

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