|Southwest Asia News Digest
Israel Offered Nuclear-Tipped Missiles to South Africa
May 24 (EIRNS)Official South African documents from the 1970s have surfaced revealing Israel's offer to sell what was then the Apartheid regime of South Africa, nuclear-tipped Jericho missiles, with a range of up to 6,000 kilometers. The revelations mock Israel's claim that unlike the "insane" Iranians, they would act "responsibly" with respect to nuclear proliferation. The documents show Israel as one of the worst proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and nuclear weapons, and missile technology
The documents, which are available on the website of the British Guardian newspaper, were released to American academic Sasha Polakow Suransky, who has just finished a book entitled, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. The documents date back to 1975 when Shimon Peres, who is now President of Israel, was defense minister.
The first meeting between Israeli and South African military officials, including South African Chief of Staff Gen. R.F. Armstrong, took place on March 31, 1975. The South African minutes of the meeting stated, "in considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in Republic of South Africa or acquired elsewhere." Then two months later, on June 4, 1977, Peres met with South African Minister of Defense P.W. Botha in Zurich to discuss the Jericho project, then code-named Chalet. The minutes of the meeting read, "Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available. Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes."
The three sizes referred to conventional, chemical, and nuclear warheads. Since South Africa had at the time the capability to manufacture the first two, it was clear that they were interested in the last, nuclear warheads. Botha apparently did not go ahead with the deal because of the cost. Just prior to the June 4 meeting, Botha and Peres signed a secret military alliance known as Secment, whose very existence was kept secret until now.
South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, which it declared and surrendered after Apartheid was dismantled. South Africa is believed to have provided yellow-cake uranium to Israel for its nuclear weapons program.
One senior South African military source told EIR that the South African nuclear bomb was not directed at any African country, but was developed as a means of blackmailing the world powers into supporting South Africa's Apartheid regime. It should also be noted that by the time it acquired nuclear weapons, its biggest international supporter was the government of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Israel's nuclear weapons capability could be called the "Sykes-Picot bomb," since it was the result of the alliance among France, Great Britain, and Israel when those three attacked Egypt in the 1956 Suez Crisisan attack that also targeted President Dwight D Eisenhower, who stopped the war. Both the Eisenhower and the Kennedy administrations knew that both France and Britain were aiding Israel, and tried to stop it.
France Releases Assassin of Former Iranian Prime Minister Bakhtiar
May 25 (EIRNS)The French authorities have released Ali Vakili Rad, who in 1994 was convicted of having murdered Shapour Bakhtiar, the last Iranian Prime Minister under the Shah, who had been living in exile in Paris. Bakhtiar was assassinated in Paris in August 1991.
French Interior Minister Brice Horefeux signed the order for Rad's expulsion to Iran, where he will most likely be given a hero's welcome. While Horefeux claimed this was merely an "administrative" decision, it is believed the move was made to secure the release of Clotilde Reiss, a Frenchwoman who has been accused of spying. Reiss, who had been working in Iran as a teacher's assistant, was arrested during last year's post-election protest demonstrations. She has now returned to France.
Obama Reportedly Starts Massive U.S. Build-Up Opposite Iran
May 20 (EIRNS)The Israeli Mossad leak-sheet, DEBKAa not-necessarily reliable sourcetoday writes of a U.S. carrier build-up in the Persian Gulf and around Iran. Carrier Strike Group 10, led by the USS Truman, has been deployed to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, along with 6,000 combatants. It leaves Virginia on May 21, and will join the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Arabian Sea. For the first time, the U.S. forces opposite Iran will be joined by a German warship, the frigate FGS Hessen, operating under American command. Debka's military sources claim that the USS Truman is just the first element of the new build-up around Iran that 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 4-5 U.S. aircraft carriers visible from Iranian shores.
According to the article: "The USS Truman's accompanying Strike Group includes Carrier Air Wing Three (Battle Axe)which has 7 squadrons4 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 U.S. aircraft carriers and Israel warships from Iranian submarines.)
Another four U.S. 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."