DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 29, 2009
It is up to the pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen of the international tribunal seeking the murderers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri to decide whether the four Lebanese generals should stay in custody. They have been held for four years on suspicion of a hand in the Hariri murder in 2005 on the orders of Syrian military intelligence. STL's prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's recommendations have not been published.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 27, 2009
The rocket attack which slightly injured three Israelis in the Arab Christian village of Mailiyeh early Saturday, Feb. 21 is attributed by debkafile's counter-terror sources to the "Jihad Movement for Gaza" - a new terrorist organization operating out of the Ain Hilwa refugee camp near Sidon. No organization has taken responsibility for the attack.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2009
The United States and Russia are bidding hard against each other to give the Lebanese army heavy weapons, a contest which Israeli diplomacy has failed to deter, debkafile's military sources report.
Defense ministry official Amos Gilead arrived in Moscow Friday, Dec. 19 too late to stop sophisticated Russian S-300 air defense systems from speeding toward Tehran to guard its nuclear sites and the pledge of MiG-29 fighter jets to Lebanon.
In Washington, too, Israeli diplomats pleaded in vain with Bush administration leaders to refrain from giving Lebanon tanks and a fleet of combat helicopters, lest American hardware fall into the hands of the Lebanese terrorist Hizballah, whose leaders vowed again Friday to destroy the Jewish state by launching a regional conflagration.
Russia's strategic orbit, focused earlier on establishing naval bases in Syria's Mediterranean ports of Latakia and Tartous, is now extended to a military foothold 250 km to the south, right up to Israel's back door from Lebanon.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 28, 2008
The rockets were disarmed shortly before their timing devices would have launched them against Nahariya and Maalot.
Israeli military sources are certain that Hizballah handed the rockets to Hamas terrorists at the Ain Hilwa camp in south Lebanon and guided them to the exact launching site for hitting the two Israeli towns. Their point was to demonstrate that Hamas could hit Israel with rockets not just from Gaza but also from a second front in Lebanon in the event of an Israeli military operation against Hamas.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 24, 2008
In their contest to arm the Lebanese army with heavy weapons, the United States and Russia have no way of keeping them out of Hizballah hands; Shiite soldiers make up nearly half the force and Hizballah's hands are on the levers of the Beirut government. Israel's tardy diplomatic efforts to forestall the flow fell on deaf ears in Moscow and Washington. Russia's military foothold in the Middle East begins to extend to Israel's back door.
Read more about this development in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 5, 2008
The Lebanese army confirms media report Saturday, Nov. 1, that the suspected head of a Mossad spy ring was picked up at his home in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley W. Lebanon, with several family members, after lengthy surveillance in Lebanon and Syria. He is not named in the report.
Investigators are digging for a connection between the alleged Mossad spy ring and the assassination of Hizballah military chief Imad Mughniyeh.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 1, 2008
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In the past few weeks, Hizballah at the behest of Iran and Syria has commandeered the 7,800-foot Mt. Sannine, a strategic asset capable of determining the outcome of the next war, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly 356 revealed.
Radar-guided missile positions and an early warning station have since been deployed on its summit, which are capable of monitoring and threatening US Sixth Fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean and Israel Air Force flights.
This development was serious enough for Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak to repeat three times in as many days that the IDF is keeping a close watch on events in the northern front, especially the deepening ties between Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah. Barak travels to Washington this week.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 18, 2008
It would have been unthinkable for any Middle East Christian leader to pay his respects to the ayatollahs in Tehran before the indecisive Israel-Hizballah war of 2006 and the subsequent collapse of US and Israeli positions. But now, the once pro-West Lebanese Christian strognman, Gen. Michel Aoun, who has become a close ally of the Iranian surrogate Hizballah and Syria, is leading the way.
He drew encouragement from two developments:
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 11, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that the US decided to withdraw Cobra military helicopters for the Lebanese army from emergency stores in Jordan after Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora alerted Washington to Damascus' plot for a large-scale terror attack or assassination to drum up a pretext for invading northern Lebanon.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 19, 2008
The fervently pro-US, pro-Israeli Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, has decided to hold out no longer. He has thrown in his lot with the most extreme pro-Syrian, pro-Iranian, anti-Israel force in Lebanon, the Shiite Hizballah, which has gained veto power over the government in Beirut unopposed.
debkafile's Middle East sources disclose that over last weekend, Jumblatt quietly signed a "defense cooperation pact" with Hassan Nasrallah, affording Hizballah a strong foothold in the Lebanese Druze bastion of Mt. Chouf.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 1, 2008
Fierce sectarian clashes left six dead and 33 injured, most caught in crossfire in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli Friday. The figure rose to nine after a night of heavy fighting.
debkafile's military sources report that rocket-propelled grenade and sniper fire was exchanged all day between the largely Alawite Baal Mohsen and the Sunni Bab Tabbaneh districts. The Alawites fought under Syrian military intelligence officers who ordered them to drive Hizballah militiamen out.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 22, 2008
Our exclusive sources report that Lebanon's pro-Western Sunni majority leader Saad Hariri resorted to the unheard-of step of a secret visit to the Iraqi town of Najef to seek the help of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. He was desperate to check the Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah's meteoric rise to power in Beirut.
In another development, debkafile's military sources disclose that Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak's visit to Washington, scheduled for this week, was indefinitely postponed.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 21, 2008
Our intelligence sources report that control of the 7,800-foot Mt. Sannine peak, one the most prized strategic assets in the region, provides Iran, Hizballah and Syria with the perfect vantage point for radar-guided anti-air missiles and an early warning station to cover US Sixth Fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean and menace Israeli Air Force operations.
Those missiles were recently emplaced.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources revealed on July 10 that Hizballah militiamen had seized control of Jabal Sannin.
Read more about this dramatic development in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
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DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 17, 2008
The majority bloc headed by the incumbent Fouad Siniora holds 16 portfolios in the new Lebanese government, the opposition led by Hizballah - 11. President Michel Sleiman exercised his prerogative to name three ministers.
The numbers, debkafile's Middle East sources note, add up to the radicalization of the new administration and its domination by two terrorist groups. Iran's and Syria's grip on the country is cemented by the Hizballah-led opposition's veto power and the new cabinet member, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party - the SSNP, which is dedicated to a Greater Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 1, 2008
Twenty-two ministers, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert voted for the deal, over objections from three. The prime minister disclosed that the two Israeli soldiers whose handover was covered by the deal, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, are believed to have died shortly after they were taken captive two years ago in a cross-border Hizballah raid. The three ministers who voted against the decision acted on the advice of heads of Israeli intelligence services who warned that it would open the door to more kidnaps of Israeli soldiers. Minutes after the decision was announced, Hizballah launched victory celebrations in Lebanon.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 13, 2008
Fresh fighting between Hizballah and pro-Western forces supporting prime minister Fouad Siniora flared in eastern Lebanon's Beqaa Valley and Alei in the Chouf hills east of Beirut Sunday. Government forces were deployed to restore order against Hizballah's anti-tank weapons and 60 mm in new president Michel Sleiman's first trial of strength since taking office last month.
debkafile's military sources report that the outbreak of violence shows that the Lebanese conflict was only partly addressed by the Doha accord the rival factions signed two weeks ago.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 6, 2008
The IDF notified five bereaved families June 2 that some of the remains handed to Israel by Hizballah on June 1 had been identified as belonging to soldiers who had died in the 2006 Lebanon War and were buried.
They are the four crew members of the Yasur helicopter shot down by Hizballah on August 13, 2006:
Major Nissan Shalev, 36, from Kibbutz Evron;
Capt. Daniel Gomez, 25, from Nahalim;
Master Sgt. Ron Mashiah, 33, from Gedera. His ID tag was handed to his parents;
Major Sammy Ben-Naim, 39, from Rehovot;
and Sgt. Gilead Sussman, 26, from Eili, elite unit combatant who died in battle at Debel village.
Exclusive: Hizballah hands over Israeli body parts to show visiting German FM a "humanitarian face"<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 5, 2008
debkafile's political sources report that the box of remains Hizballah sent to Israel on June 1 was a gesture made to impress the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who was visiting Beirut before leaving for Jerusalem. Listed by the US and European Union as a terrorist organization, Hizballah is anxious for European recognition of its new standing as the pre-eminent force in the new Lebanese government.
debkafile's Middle East sources stress that Hizballah has not changed its spots, only its tactics:
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 3, 2008
The claim appears to Al-Sapir.
The German Der Spiegel reports that a German agent has brokered a two-stage prisoner swap deal which awaits Israel's decision. debkafile's sources comment that the deal outlines Hizballah's demands which Israel has been rejecting for two years.
According to the German paper, Israel will receive the kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, "whose death is regarded as a fact," in the first stage.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 3, 2008
Hizballah's Al Manar television reported the handover of the remains of soldiers who fell in the 2006 war across the border to Israel on Sunday June 1, after the Israeli citizen Nasim Nisr convicted of spying for the Lebanese Shiite terrorists was deported to Lebanon at the end of his 6-year sentence. The IDF said the handover was an unsolicited, unilateral act by Hizballah and there is no agreement on a prisoner swap.