DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013
Middle East leaders note the absence of an American military foothold in any of the region’s trouble spots, be they Syria, Mali, Algeria or Yemen. Obama is seen to have stepped back from the Middle East and turned his face toward the Pacific.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013
Moscow and Tehran are capitalizing on President Barack Obama's withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East and his maneuvers for avoiding military involvement in its trouble spots. Russia is quietly riding piggy-back on Iran's overt drive for influence in Cairo, hoping to recover the high standing enjoyed by the Soviet Union up until 1972. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have sent their aides to Cairo to coordinate their moves.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 21, 2013
Moscow Monday, Jan. 21 said two Russian planes would land in Beirut Tuesday to evacuate 100 Russians from Syria, and contingency plans were in hand to lift 30,000 Russians from the embattled country. debkafile: This was decided after Bashar Assad told his high command to organize mobile armored strike groups for a big push to evict rebel forces from the places they captured. Russia and Iran have stepped up their arms deliveries to Assad’s army by sea and by air in support of Assad's coming offensive.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 9, 2013
The three-way prisoner exchange of thousands of Syrian, Turkish and Iranian prisoners Wednesday, Jan. 9, was the first deal between Bashar Assad and the rebels. This turning-point in the 22-month Syrian conflict was made possible by the Syrian ruler’s confidence in his survival and the rebels’ realization that it was their only chance to save some of their war gains. The POW swap may lead to a lull in the fighting as both sides build up their resources – either to win the war or improve their future bargaining position.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 8, 2013
“Syria’s chemical weapons are under control for now, but no one can tell what the situation will be five minutes from now,” a senior Israeli defense official told debkafile Tuesday, Jan.8. “The situation is dangerously fluid because there is no certainty about who is in control at any moment.” In late November, Israel sent the US satellite imagery showing a secret Syrian unit mixing sarin and filling 500-pound bombs for airplanes. debkafile: Those bombs are still active and ready for use at two hours' notice.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 6, 2013
With a buildup of 16 Russian warships carrying thousands of marines on the Syrian coast “to deter the West from deploying ground forces in Syria” - and remain until Easter, Syrian Bashar Assad could afford to brazen it out Sunday, Jan. 6, in his first public speech in seven months. Syria no longer takes dictation from anyone, he said. Citizens must defend their country against “a war fought by a handful of Syrians and many foreigners.” He rejected dialogue with the opposition as “puppets fabricated by the West.”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2013
Obama again warns Assad not to use chemical weapons, but instead the Syria ruler starts moving them north and getting them ready for operations. US Congressman Mike Rogers says they are in condition use at a moment's notice.
DEBKAfile Video December 19, 2012
debkafile Exclusive: The Russians have given Bashar Assad his most sophisticated weapon thus far – the Iskander cruise missile which has a hypersonic speed of 1.3 miles per second. The Syrian ruler now has at his disposal a fearsome armory of chemical weapons and a top-line missile.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2012
Amid another peak wave of violence in Syria, Washington has quietly withdrawn from its waters the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its Strike Group and the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group with 2,000 Marines aboard. Russian vessels have meanwhile unloaded at Tartus a large consignment of arms for Assad’s army. Adding to stresses around Syria, Ahmadinejad cancelled a scheduled trip to Turkey, citing the warning by Iran’s military chief that the deployment of Patriots in Turkey heralded world war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 10, 2012
Some of the chemical weapons pushed north by the Assad regime may have been sent from Syrian bases at Jabal Kalamon to Hizballah’s Lebanese Beqaa Valley strongholds, to keep them out of rebel hands, including al Qaeda, debkafile reports. Hizballah is thought to have split up the consignment among different bases to make them harder to attack. Assad is believed to have directed his troops to use chemical weapons if the rebels are near to seizing part of Damascus international airport.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 9, 2012
US, Israeli, Jordanian and Turkish special forces are on the ground in Syria, armed with special gear for combating chemical arms. They are close enough to count the convoys carrying poison gas weapons, augmented by US military surveillance satellites and drones able to pinpoint their position at any moment. But it is feared that Bashar Assad has moved the chemical arms to secret caches and so US and other Western forces are poised opposite Syria’s borders ready to strike for any unforeseen move.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 8, 2012
US, Turkish, British, Jordanian and French forces stand ready around Syrian borders awaiting the order to go forward still to come from US President Barack Obama. debkafile: President Bashar Assad is regrouping his army in defense array in strategic parts of Damascus, while planting mines and bomb traps in abandoned bases. Convoys carrying missiles, shells and canisters armed with chemical weapons continue to ply roads to the north, while the airlift of Iranian arms is rerouted to Palmyra.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 7, 2012
Sources close to the French Defense Ministry reported Friday, Dec. 7, that a Western-Arab military intervention against the Assad regime will begin shortly with the participation of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan and other anti-Assad Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. debkafile: French and British warships have joined the USS Eisenhower carrier off Syria. The mission would combine an air blitz and special operations forces on the ground for wiping out Assad’s chemical arms stocks, air force and air defense batteries.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2012
President Barack Obama is holding back from ordering an attack on the Syrian army’s chemical units – just as the Syrian ruler is abstaining from issuing the “go” order to use those weapons. It seems that neither wants to go first. Stormy weather is a complicating factor which plays to Assad’s advantage.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 6, 2012
American officials said Wednesday, Dec. 4, that they believed bombs had been made ready with sarin gas, but not yet loaded onto fighter planes and Assad had not issued the “go” order. The USS Eisenhower Strike Group has reached the Syrian coast with 8 fighter bomber squadrons and 8,000 servicemen. With the USS Iwo Jima, the US has posted opposite Syria 70 fighter-bombers, 17 warships and 10,000 American fighting men – all in apparent readiness for US intervention in the Syrian conflict.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 2, 2012
Western intelligence officers have seen new and different types of activity at Syrian chemical weapons sites, the New York Times reported Sunday, Dec. 2. “It’s not just moving stuff around,” they said. debkafile’s Middle East sources add rumors were flying around the region Saturday night and Sunday morning that President Assad had been killed or had fled Syria. Neither is confirmed. Those rumors tie in with the suggestive movements of chemical weapons picked up by Western intelligence.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 30, 2012
Since the US has taken the lead in the coalition backing the Syrian rebellion, the rebels are going for strategic targets, including anti-air missiles for knocking Assad’s bombers out of the sky.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 12, 2012
Another shell landed near an Israeli position on the Golan Monday, Nov. 12, less than 24 hours after Damascus promised to silence the mortar battery responsible for “stray shells.” The promise came after Israel fired a Tamuz guided missile into Syria as a warning shot. Monday, Israeli tank fire knocked out the Syrian mortar battery. debkafile: Bashar Assad is provoking the Netanyahu government in the light of its restraint against heavy Palestinian missile fire from Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 1, 2012
Bashar Assad is running a smoothly operating war machine while the rebels are running out of manpower and steam. The population is adapting to the hardships of a long-term war with increasing resilience.