DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 2, 2012
At the Friends of Syria 2 in Istanbul, opposition representative Prof. George Sabra failed to convince US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that a US-protected token safe haven village near Idlib would start splintering the hard face of army loyalty to Bashar Assad. The meeting ended as it began with a US commitment of funding for humanitarian aid and “communications gear for opposition forces” (to fight Assad’s tanks?), leaving Assad under no compulsion to implement any part of the Annan peace plan.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 31, 2012
Iran, Syria and Hizballah are celebrating Assad’s victory over the 12-month uprising against him and counting the advantages it confers on Tehran against the US and Saudi Arabia. The Iran-Syria-Hizballlah axis is now successfully shored up against the Obama administration’s strategy of isolation and sanctions for squeezing Iran into making concessions at the nuclear negotiations in two weeks. Both are fading. It also serves as a warning to those Israelis who advocate passing the buck for preempting a nuclear Iran to Washington.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 19, 2012
The Middle East has unknowingly been living for ten days under threat of a regional war, which debkafile’s military sources disclose was delivered by Syrian president Bashar Assad to UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan Saturday, March 10. Assad warned him that Syrian missiles would reach any countries preparing for military intervention in Syria before they moved. debkafile: Four European naval and air forces stand ready to seal off security zones in Syria against Assad’s troops and planes.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 16, 2012
Russia like Iran was the prime helper and is the prime beneficiary of Bashar Assad’s success in crushing the armed revolt against him and gives Vladimir kudos at the start of his presidency. His foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was enabled to call the shots for the 22-member Arab League.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 16, 2012
Iran and Russia poured out every kind of assistance to shore Assad up – military, intelligence, financial, diplomatic and strategic as well as a supply of arms for crushing the opposition. Iran’s reward is the substantial strengthening of its alliance with Syria, Hizballah and Palestinian extremists. Hamas too is staying in the Iranian fold.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 7, 2012
US military officials said Wednesday, March 7, that President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke away from their dispute over an attack on Iran on March 5 for a serious discussion of the Syrian crisis and Bashar Assad's, hundreds of surface-to-surface missiles armed with chemical and biological warheads. Because this peril has risen to the top of America’s chart of the threats looming over Israel and Turkey, Obama advised Netanyahu to hurry up and mend ties with Ankara.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 2, 2012
Opposite the fragmented Free Syrian Army rebels, Assad’s army is suffering from the spreading malaise of “defections in place,” a mutiny of complete units with their officers who defy orders but refrain from crossing to the opposition. Why did the Syrian ruler prevent two Iranian warships from entering Tartus port?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 29, 2012
US President Barack Obama Tuesday, Feb. 28, vetoed plans submitted to him last week for Western-Arab military intervention in the Syrian crisis, debkafile reports. He is weighing an alternative plan for setting up “humanitarian corridors” in the most embattled areas. That too would be contingent on Russian endorsement, because Obama believes Moscow holds the key to Assad’s consent - or at least abstention from sending his army to attack the aid routes. No Russian response as yet to feelers from Washington.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 23, 2012
The Sarkozy plan for Syria is based on reserving a quarter of Syrian territory as a safe haven protecting a quarter of its population under a coalition air shield. No foreign boots will touch the ground. After rounding up the UK, Italy, Turkey and Qatar, the French president is waiting for Obama’s nod because with the Americans the operation is not feasible.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 19, 2012
Iran continues to behave as though it is calling the shots. The first formal announcement of the resumption of Iran-world powers nuclear talks (confirming debkafile’s exclusive) came from its Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Selahi who Sunday, Feb. 19, named the venue as Istanbul, Turkey. Saturday, two Iranian warships got away with delivering arms for Bashar Assad’s crackdown without US or Israeli interference. They docked at Tartus port Saturday alongside a Russian naval flotilla, symbolizing their joint effort to preserve Assad.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 17, 2012
Tehran was always willing to talk, less to listen. This time, Iran is preparing to enter into negotiations from a position of strength after demonstrating that US and European sanctions have not had the effect of blocking the bulk of its oil exports.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly February 14, 2012
Bent on Bashar Assad’s ouster, the US and the Gulf Arab powers are swinging around an array of options – all of them military. The coming DEBKA-Net-Weekly out Friday weighs the chances of, say, an international militia, protected zones, a Western-Arab air umbrella for the Syrian resistance or, most probably, arming the Syrian Free Army with heavy weapons.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 13, 2012
Saudi rulers, to save the Syrian opposition from defeat at Bashar Assad’s hands, are reported by debkafile’s intelligence sources as taking a hand in turning al Qaeda Iraqi cells loose against him. Saudi agents used their pull with Iraqi Sunnis to persuade al Qaeda leaders that Assad and his Alawite regime were their most dangerous foe and their overthrow the first Sunni priority. Al Qaeda’s Pakistan headquarters broadcast the same call-up. Up 1,000 al Qaeda jihadis reported now in Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 11, 2012
Western intelligence sources reporting in real time concluded Saturday night, Feb. 11 that Bashar Assad's loyal forces had by and large managed to subdue the rebellion against the regime, even though flare-ups are still to come. They are now purging the last pockets of resistance, especially in Syria's third largest city, Homs. The Syrian ruler will go on record as crushing his own people with the help of non-Arab Iran and Russia. For the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia this is a contretemps.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 10, 2012
Russia has a comprehensive long-term plan to overtake - or at least match - America as a world superpower and it therefore extends a helping hand to any Middle East and Arab power, principally Syria and Iran, willing to defy Washington. Moscow is also betting on Bashar Assad winning the Syrian conflict.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2012
British and Qatari special operations units are operating under cover with rebel forces in the Syrian city of Homs, debkafile’s exclusive sources report. They are not engaged in direct combat with the Syrian forces bombarding Syria's third largest city, but serve as tactical advisers and logistical aides. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is using this foreign military presence in Homs, revealed here for the first time, as grist for his own Syrian initiative.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 6, 2012
US President Barack Obama, by asserting Sunday, Feb. 5, he doesn't think Israel has decided whether to attack Iran, sought to keep Israel away from military action and set aside as a strategic reserve, while using its threat of attack to bring Iran to the table. Monday, Feb. 6, Bashar Assad reportedly redoubled his deadly assault on Homs and, for the first time, Aleppo, taking advantage of the respite granted him by the Russian-Chinese veto. Syria is now a hub of the US-Iranian confrontation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 5, 2012
Syrian President Bashar Assad has hired hit squads to kill top Lebanese government, intelligence and security officials whom he suspects of helping insurrectionists and Saudi and Qatari agents smuggle fighters and weapons into the country to fight his regime. debkafile's counter-terror sources report that one Lebanese hit squad was captured and confessed to being armed and assigned by Syrian Military Intelligence to murder the two heads of Lebanese Internal Security by rigging bomb cars in Beirut. A second plot targeted a Lebanese lawmaker.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 4, 2012
The West and Russia had a major showdown Saturday Feb. 5 over the Arab League resolution calling on Bashar Assad to step down. US President Barack Obama said the UN must take a stand against his "relentless brutality" and hold a vote before the end of the day. The vote was defeated by Russian and China vetoes. debkafile: Moscow backed its hard line against the West by putting Rapid Reaction Force (aka Spetsnaz) units on the ready to set out for Syria.