Control of the Red Sea Bab el-Mandeb Straits passed Tuesday, March 31 to pro-Iranian forces when the Yemeni Army’s 117th Brigade handed positions guarding the waterway to two Houthi commando battalions, debkafile reveals. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered two task forces to sail to the region to reinforce Houthi control of the strategic straits. Iran was involved in another development Tuesday, when unidentified aircraft bombed and destroyed a base in Burak, southwestern Libya, used by Iran to store arms purchased in Sudan for the Palestinian Hamas.More>
DEBKAfile: To clinch the nuclear framework deal in Lausanne, President Barack Obama authorized the US delegation to fall back again and cut the space granted the world powers for reaction to breakthrough from a year to six or seven months:
Iran’s top war commander, Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, landed in Sanaa Friday, March 27, DEBKAfile reports, to organize a counter-offensive for the Saudi-Gulf-Egyptian operations against Tehran-backed Houthi rebel advances.More>
Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies and Egypt underlined their breach with Washington over its Iran policy in the two separate air operations launched early Thursday, March 26, in Iraq and Yemen. Egypt followed with the takeover of the Bab el-Mandeb Straits.More>
The offensive launched by the Iraqi army and Iranian-led Shiite militias to capture Sunni Tikrit from the Islamic State has been thrown back, throwing into question the US tactic of leaving ground warfare against ISIS to local forces under Iranian command.More>
This report inaugurates debkafile’s new column which, under the heading The Cyber Dimension, will appear regularly and keep our readers abreast of novel events in this fast-developing field. The least appreciated potential cyber threat comes from toy drones in terrorist hands. No counter-measures have been developed against such UAV intrusions as those seen over the White House and Elysée.More...
DarkNet is the hidden bottom floor of the legal, public worldwide web. Extensively used by sophisticated criminal organizations and spooks, it conducts a lively trade in stolen official data, false identities, fake credit cards, firearms and ammo, human traffic and biological and chemical weapons. Also found there are hard porno, materials for pedophiles and snuff videos.More...
The crash of a drone in the White House grounds Sunday night, Jan. 25, pointed to the absence of an electromagnetic perimeter fence. Its jammers would emit “white noise” to block off the communications links and command and control capacities of the smartphones and unmanned aerial vehicles serving a would-be assailant planning an attack by a tiny, armed drone.More...
French intelligence failures over the Charlie Hebdo terror attack will not be gilded over. Contrary to a French police statement, Hayat Boumeddiene, wife of the terrorist Amedy Coulibaly who murdered four Jews in cold blood at the kosher supermarket. Friday, Jan. 9, was never in the store at all but had been able to skip from France to Syria a week earlier.
Yet another Obama administration thrust in its campaign to stigmatize Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel came Tuesday, March 24, as a pejorative leak to The Wall Street Journal, which reported: “Israeli intelligence was eavesdropping on closed-door nuclear negotiations between Iran and the US, then passing the classified information along to the US Congress." debkafile: The WSJ story means that the Obama administration failed to keep its promise to update Israel about the nuclear talks with Iran, and so Israel needed to activate spies to learn about US concessions.
President Barack Obama failed to shift French President France Hollande from his objections to the nuclear accord taking shape between the US and Iran in the call he put through to the Elysée Friday night, March 30. US Secretary of State John Kerry fared no better Saturday, when he met the British, French and German Foreign ministers in London to line the Europeans up behind the American position. Germany balked too. France wants Tehran first to account for evidence of past development work on a nuclear warhead design. Tehran will never admit this.
debkafile’s exclusive Iranian sources report that the delegation to the nuclear talks in Lausanne were ordered by Tehran Friday, March 20, to break off the deadlocked negotiations and return home for consultations. Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif used the funeral of President Hassan Rouhani's 90-year-old mother as a pretext for packing their bags and quitting. Russia’s Sergei Ryabkov said gaps remain on the length of an agreement, the pace of sanctions relief and international monitoring, with no chance of an accord before June 30.
Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party owed its March 17 election lead of 30 seats as much to its rivals’ myopia as to his stunning last-ditch campaign. Rivals and pollsters alike missed the writing on the wall. They ran a negative campaign, which rarely works, such as the “anyone but Bibi” slogan and charged the Likud government with running the health and education systems into the ground. Their tactics were boomerangs. The voter also credited Netanyahu with standing up to Obama in defense of national interests, rather than blaming him for souring relations with the White House.