The US has joined the battle for Qalamoun. debkafile discloses that a US special operations unit, stationed at the north Lebanese Hamat air base, is directing unarmed Aerosonde MK 4.7 intelligence-gathering flights over the Qalamoun Mt arena, 100 km to the west. Since Hizballah is also operating Ababil-3 surveillance drones over the same battlefield, US-Hizballah coordination became necessary. For the first time, the US military is working directly with an internationally-designated terrorist organization – with earthshaking ramifications for Israel’s security and strategic ties with the US.More>
Two days after the blow to US strategy in the region landed by Ramadi’s fall to the Islamic State, the Obama administration faces its next test in the region: An Iranian cargo vessel accompanied by two warships plans to break the US-Saudi-Egyptian blockade of Yemen by docking at Hodeida and refusing to submit to a search for illicit weapons.More>
Jordan’s King Abdullah has warned Washington that US air strikes alone can’t stop the Islamic State’s advances in Iraq and Syria. What is more, they leave his kingdom next door exposed to an Islamist incursion in the south that would also put Saudi Arabia in peril.More>
The US Delta Special Operations raid that killed ISIS oil chief Abu Sayyaf Saturday, May 16, could not have taken place without prior US coordination with Damascus and Moscow. It fixed another landmark: the first joint US-Russian-Syrian venture against ISIS.More>
On Saturday, May 16, Special Operations forces attacked an ISIS house in the Deir a-Zour district of eastern Syria, and killed high-value Islamist commander and oil and gas chief, Abu Sayyaf, when he resisted capture. DEBKAfile: Catching him alive was preferable.More>
The two gunmen who Sunday, May 3, tried - and failed - to shoot up an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, northeast of Dallas, sounded a wakeup call for US counter-terrorism agencies - even before the Islamic State warned that this first attack on US soil would not be its last. Both homegrown Islamist terrorists were shot dead. But the incident betrayed the “human intelligence” weakness of US and Western agencies – a shortage of undercover agents to mingle in communities which may produce terrorists.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.
Ramadi, provincial capital of western Iraqi Anbar, fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Friday, May 15. The town, 110 km west of Baghdad, controls the traffic on the Euphrates River. Small pockets of Iraqi troops are still stranded there after taking hundreds of casualties. debkafile: ISIS’s new fighting momentum has carried it across Anbar province to capture Jubba, next door to Iraq’s biggest air base at Al-Ansar where US officers are training Iraqi troops. The jihadis are also moving in on the oil town of Baiji.
Amid Hizballah’s rising war losses, its leader Hassan Nasrallah has strongly urged the Lebanese chief of staff Gen. Jean Kahwagi to send his troops into battle over the strategic Qalamoun Mountain, alongside Hizballah and the Syrian army, debkafile discloses. The Lebanese general gave him a flat no, saying the Lebanese army would not “slip” into any war inside Syria. Despite local gains by Syria and Hizballah, rebel jihadists have grasped that they can slip across into Lebanon unopposed. For now, this battle has no foreseeable resolution, while laying Lebanon open to jihadist spillover from Syria.
Saudi King Salman’s last-minute cancellation of his White House summit with US President Obama was seen as a calculated snub for the president’s Iran and Mid East policies. Two senior Gulf rulers then opted out of the Camp David summit Obama scheduled for Wednesday, May 13 at Camp David: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isaa Al Khalifa and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They meet after Secretary of State John Kerry failed to override Gulf resistance to the US nuclear deal with Iran.
The battle for Qalamoun has suddenly become a critical regional contest for the Iran-Syrian-Hizballah alliance at large and its three prime movers, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Hizballah leader Hassan Nastrallah, and Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Al Qods Brigades. The Obama administration has launched a new plan to drive a wedge in the Revolutionary Guards leadership by elevating its leader Gen. Jaafari to the regime’s “good guy” and denouncing Gen. Soleimani as the “bad guy" - hoping that degrading him causes Iran to pull in its horns in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.