The current military state of play in Iraq is being fought bizarrely on three more or less disconnected levels, debkafile reports. A combined Iraqi-Kurdish force captured Mt. Sinjar and, accompanied by US advisers, is poised to attack the northern town of Tal Afar, 50 km west of Mosul. ISIS has meanwhile focused on grabbing the oil regions of Syria and Iraq and renewed its siege of the Iraqi refinery town of Baiji, so pumping up its revenues from $2 to 2.5 billion, despite falling crude prices – and even dumping looted oil for $25-30 per barrel.More>
The red alert for the incoming rocket from Gaza which hit the Eshkol District Friday morning Dec.19, followed dull thumps in parts of Beersheba Thursday. DEBKAfile: They were an omen of Hamas’ return to Tehran’s sway.More>
The Syrian rebel Yarmouk Shuhada Brigades, backed and trained in Jordan for two years by US officers and supported by the Israeli army, has abruptly dumped them and switched to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources reveal.More>
The 17-hour cycle of Australia’s first major Islamist terrorist experience at home, which began early Monday, Dec. 16, with a hostage siege at the Lindt chocolate café in Sydney’s bustling central business district, will have afforded Australia’s counter-terror services more operational lessons than any studiesMore>
Unconfirmed reports swirled around Arab capitals Sunday, Dec. 14, that President Barack Obama, in league with Moscow and Tehran, had turned his Syrian policy on its head to recognize Bashar Assad’s rule.More>
Five major blocs are emerging at the outset of Israel’s election campaign: right, left, center, religious and Arab. Yitzhak Herzog of Labor promises to form the next government after hitching up with former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnuah. But private party polls place the couple only third or fourth in the coming election. The only fresh face in the race is Moshe Kahlan, late of Likud, who this week established his Kulanu (All of Us) party. The ultra-religious Shas is about to split with Ellie Yishay quitting to form a new religious party.
A group of at least ten ISIS operations and intelligence officers, led by a senior commander, has arrived in Sinai and taken charge of the local Ansar Beit al-Maqdas jihadis, thereby opening up a dangerous new front against Egypt and Israel, in proximity to the Suez Canal, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, debkafile reports. Since Ansar pledged allegiance to IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdad considers Sinai a province of his Islamic caliphate. His forward command in Sinai is directed to move from targeting Egypt to fighting the “Egyptian-Zionist alliance.”
US military sources revealed Monday, Dec. 8, that Israel’s air strikes near Damascus the day before wiped out Russian hardware including missiles dispatched post haste to help Syria and Hizballah frustrate a US no-fly zone plan for northern Syria. The Kremlin has warned that any no-fly zone over Syria would be treated as direct US intervention in the Syria war, and incur Russian military intervention. The advanced anti-air missiles and radar Moscow sent Syria and Hizballah to back up this warning were destroyed by Israel. Damascus threatens Israel with “unimaginable harm.”
The Saudi, UAE and Egyptian rulers are acting to finally unravel the effects of Barack Obama’s “Arab Spring” and extinguish the Muslim Brotherhood and other elements he supported for overturning conservative regimes. debkafile: These Arab rulers have found a key ally in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who used the chance of an epic breakthrough in relations with leading Arab nations, with immediate and far-reaching effect on Israel’s security and standing in the region. He has not so far exposed this feat in campaigning for re-election.