The military court headed by Col. Maya Heller, handed down an 18-month jail sentence for Elor Azaria after convicting him of manslaughter for shooting dead a Palestinian terrorist he was wounded during a stabbing attack in Hebron. This was the most lenient possible sentence, starting in 12 days. It was clearly the outcome of mitigating factors, the clamorous controversy raised by his case, and the improper intervention of high officers and the defense minister.More>
Donald Trump marked his first month as US President with two major military gambits in the Middle East, Asia and the South China Sea. Sunday, Feb. 19, the US Navy said that the Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and strike group had begun patrols in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The US Navy also expanded its presence in the Red Sea, especially around the Strait of Bab El-Mandeb with the large 11th Marine Expeditionary Combat Unit.
Overlaying US President Donald Trump’s extraordinary, hour-long skirmish with reporters Thursday, Feb. 16, was bitter frustration over the domestic obstacles locking him out from his top security and foreign policy goals. DEBKAfile’s sources report that his relations with Putin will quickly roll downhill without a strong hand to haul them back and Trump will miss the chance of a joint war on ISIS and getting Iran thrown out of Syria.More>
Trump reacted positively to Netanyahu’s proposal to broaden the Israeli-Palestinian peace process into a regional effort as a “very important” new idea “on a broader canvas” which he believed could succeed. “I believe we will have a deal that is better than many Israelis think.” DEBKAfile reports their agreement in principle to seek an Israeli peace accord with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates as the lead-in to talks with the PalestiniansMore>
Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Adviser Monday night, Feb. 13, was a crippling blow to Donald Trump’s foreign policy strategy. As architect and prime mover of the president’s plans for close cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his exit causes havoc in the Trump administration. But for the Middle East, it is a catastrophe, because a core objective of the US-Russian partnership was to clip Iran’s wings as premier Middle East power conferred by Barack Obama. More on the fallout from the Flynn exit in the coming DEBKA Weekly.More...
EXCLUSIVE: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas pivots towards Iran in a move to pre-empt a US embassy move to Jerusalem, and the friendly talks between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.More...
Trump is determined to knock Iran off its pedestal, but will tax the Israeli prime minister with a demand for the IDF to take part in the war on ISIS, alongside Arab armies, as an opening for peace diplomacy.More...
Eight armies are fighting for dominance in Yemen. Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) elements, most acting as advisers to the Houthi rebels, intervene actively from time to time. A US special forces intervention cannot be ruled out.
A fresh round of sanctions was followed by the posting of the USS Cole to the Red Sea. Tehran or its Middle East proxies, such as the Lebanese Hizballah, may well hit back in Syria or by limited military strikes against US allies, Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
The 3,000 Israeli cops dragging people out of 42 family homes in Amona was an agonizing sight for every Israeli who awarded a failed grade to the country’s ruling institutions, without contributing an iota toward solving the dispute with the Palestinians.