DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 26, 2002
The construction of a new ring road around Damascus was the pretext for an outbreak of popular anti-government fury in the Syrian capital this week. Until now, stringent measures by the Syrian authorities have kept any hint of the unrest from leaking out.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 3, 2002
Iran has drawn up an elaborate war plan of its own to counter the approaching US campaign against Iraq. Syria, Lebanon, the Hizballah and the Palestinians have been enlisted to provoke a massive confrontation with Israel that will serve as a second front and hamstring the US offensive. This is revealed exclusively by debkafile's Iranian and Middle East sources, in the wake of a secret visit that Iran's deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, Mohammad Sadr, paid to Syria and Lebanon this week.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2002
Informed Arab circles, including high Saudi and Egyptian officials, are wondering what lies behind an order the Syrian president Bashar Assad has just issued to the radical Damascus-based Palestinian "Fronts" to break off all operational ties with Yasser Arafat. debkafile's Middle East sources say the directive applies to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front from the Liberation of Palestine; the Hamas and Jihad Islami, both of whom maintain headquarters in the Syrian capital, turned their backs on Arafat some time ago. The Palestinian leader finds himself ostracized, therefore, not only by the Americans and Israelis, but also by Syria and its Palestinian proteges.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2002
In a pivotal through unannounced development last week, 300 troops of the Jordanian Army's Palestinian Al Bader Brigade crossed the Allenby Bridge into the West Bank as the harbingers of the US program for displacing the Palestinian Authority's terror-tainted security force operated by Yasser Arafat. According to debkafile's military and Palestinian sources, within 24 hours of its arrival, the vanguard Jordanian force took charge of security in the Bethlehem-Beit Jala-Beit Sahur area abutting south Jerusalem, deferring directly to the new Palestinian interior minister Gen. Abdel Razzek Yahya and collaborating with US CIA and Israeli liaison officers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2002
Notwithstanding official denials, the 4,000 US troops who began landing in Aqaba Monday, August 12, will be transferred to the northeast Jordanian desert region bordering on Iraq. Officially, they have come for a three-week joint exercise with the Jordanian army. But debkafile's military sources report that the American increment supplements the US force already stationed in Jordan, raising the total to close to 8,000 US troops.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 3, 2002
The economic promise presented by the new Middle East strategy stays firmly under wraps - no less than the covert start of military operations. Israeli's deep budget cutbacks, the spreading poverty and agonies of unemployment are profoundly demoralizing - and there is more to come. Critics of the Sharon government, like former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have been encouraged to look forward to is imminent demise.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 3, 2002
Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has quietly assembled a new, trusted team to assist in the charting of Israel's Middle East role in the post-Saddam, post-Arafat era. Sharon's planning, a closely guarded secret not shared with his own ministers, is tightly woven into the design for the defeat of global terror which President George W. Bush began plotting after America's September 11 shock.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 13, 2002
An assessment of the current Turkish political turmoil's potential for holding up the US campaign against Iraq, is the errand bringing US deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz to Ankara next week. Incirlik and Adana, where the US air force bases its F-15, F-16 and AWACS aircraft, are important launch pads for striking at northern Iraq and providing air cover for the pro-US Kurdish and Turkoman contingents recruited for the US offensive to topple the Saddam Hussein regime in Baghdad.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 15, 2002
On Wednesday, June 12, out of the blue, the Iraqi foreign ministry issued a far from routine communique: It vilified Israel's launch of a new spy satellite (Ofek-5 on May 28) as posing a "threat to Arab national security as a whole...providing additional evidence" of Israel's "hostile and aggressive intentions towards Arab states" and exposing its quest to expand its "alien" presence and spread its hegemony over the region. Arab states were urged to "take all necessary measures to face and contain the repercussions" of the missile launch.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 21, 2002
Jordan's King Abdullah II flew to Cairo Sunday, April 21 to confer with President Hosny Mubarak of Egypt on the current Middle East crisis and the rising ferment in their countries. The two leaders are in close coordination on the problem of Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 5, 2002
Friday, April 5, Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Arab states to enforce a one-month oil embargo against Western countries, to pressure them to stop supporting Israel. A similar call issued from Baghdad on Monday, April 1. This following passage comes from the DEBKA-Net-Weekly, Issue 55, which was published earlier: As oil prices soared to a six-month high, Iran and Iraq began muttering this week about a Muslim-Arab oil embargo for bending America to their will. Now, they are not thinking terms of the 1973-4 all-Arab oil embargo - but rather of combining in an Iranian-Iraqi-Saudi bloc to stand against the US-Russian partnership. This embargo would only target the United States, Russia and Israel, but not affect Japan, China and West Europe.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 29, 2002
In an all-night session, the full Israeli coalition government approved an all-out, extended military offensive against terrorists, its instigators and supporters in every part of Palestinian territory - though not to deport Palestinian leader Arafat, as prime minister Ariel Sharon demanded. Instead, for "formulating terror strategy and building a coalition of terrorist forces", he was sentenced to be totally isolated "at this stage".
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 25, 2002
Probably no one was more surprised than Saudi Arabia's virtual ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, by the furor - including Israel president Moshe Katsav's offer to fly to Riyadh - raised by a single sentence he uttered in an interview to the New York Times columnist Thomas L, Friedman, after it was published February 18: "...this is exactly the idea I had in mind - full withdrawal from all the occupied territories, in accordance with UN resolutions, including in Jerusalem, for full normalization of relations. I have drafted a speech along those lines [for the Arab League summit meeting in Beirut on March 28]."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 9, 2002
The Israeli government perceives the threat of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack as tangible enough to earmark a sizeable amount, the equivalent of US$50 million, for measures to protect the population. According to debkafile's intelligence sources, intelligence supporting this reading has reached Jerusalem from more than one source, including the United States, where the nuclear-bio-chemical terror alert first declared for a period running from mid-December to mid-January has been extended by a further three months until the end of April.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 4, 2001
The Israeli tanks that halted their progress into the West Bank Palestinian hub town of Ramallah early Tuesday just 200 meters short of Yasser Arafat's headquarters were carrying out their orders with fine precision. They were told to surround, hem in, pin down and ground the Palestinian Authority chairman and strike at the symbols of his authority - but not to touch him. That was the line drawn by US president George W. Bush and Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in their White House exchange Sunday, as debkafile reported December 3.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 4, 2001
As part of a fresh policy posture on the Middle East, President George W. Bush is reported to be preparing to receive Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for a long-awaited first encounter on the occasion of the UN General Assembly session next week.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 28, 2001
Arafat has no interest in ending his war against Israel; what he cares about is his place in Islamic history. When he launched his Al Aqsa intifada last September, he fought his holy war alone in the Arab and Muslim arena. Now he has powerful competition from the millionaire terrorist who despises him and has declared a global intifada. Arafat is not one to back down when faced with competition. Quite the opposite, he is stepping up the combat.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 22, 2001
US secretary of state Colin Powell did not get very far in his attempts from Shanghai to convince Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat that this time Israeli minister Ariel Sharon means business. He was no more successful in persuading Sharon to pull Israeli troops out of the seven Palestinian towns invaded after the assassination of Israeli tourism minister, Rehavam Zeevi last Wednesday, October 17 in Jerusalem.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2001
In the middle of his war of terror against Israel, the Palestinian leader was brought low and his violent methods fortuitously exposed and discredited worldwide by a savage terrorist attack against America. He came begging for a lifeline from... his victims. Inexplicably, Sharon extended it to him by accepting his promise to halt the violence. That promise predictably proved as worthless as the last three he proffered. Nonetheless, weary Israeli troops once again pulled out of Palestinian areas and were ordered to cease offensive action - the while Palestinian shooting attacks continued unabated, even as Arafat solemnly announced his latest "commitment".
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 16, 2001
According to debkafile's Palestinians sources, the imminent US strike against Iraq and its ultimatum to Syria are making the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat extremely jumpy. He is doing some hard thinking about his next steps and in what direction he should be steering his Palestinian Authority and his confrontation with Israel.