DEBKAfile Special Report March 20, 2013
President Barack Obama was greeted on his arrival in Israel midday Wednesday, March 20 with unprecedented ceremonial honors and fanfare. However, the omens augured major differences with his hosts. In the 48 hours before his arrival, Syria for the first time bombed targets inside Lebanon and fired a chemical warhead at Aleppo. While Israel is acutely concerned by this escalation just across its frontiers, the Obama administration withheld a practical response. The two governments are also divided on the handling of Iran’s nuclear program.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 20, 2013
debkafile reports from western military sources that present in the rocket which exploded in the Aleppo neighborhood of Khan al-Assal Tuesday March 19 were phosphorus, chlorine and Agent 15 or BZ. Although the Assad regime and the Syrian rebels charged each other with firing the rocket, which killed 15-31 people and injured more than a hundred, it was not possible to verify which side was responsible. The White House denied it was the rebels, while Moscow backed Damascus by insisting that it was.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 14, 2013
Shiite forces, Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi, are mustering their strength in Syria to head off al Qaeda’s Syrian momentum carrying over into Iraq and Lebanon.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 14, 2013
Assad has asked Moscow for large numbers of attack helicopters to compensate for his lack of loyal troops. Washington has advised the Russians to think twice before assenting since he may not last beyond summer.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 12, 2013
By beating the Syrian army 17th reserve division for control of the Euphrates, Islamist militias have removed the last gap in al Qaeda’s 1,000-km chain of command from northern Baghdad to eastern Damascus, including Syrian Golan on Israel’s border. Any “conflagration” in Syria could quickly spread to Lebanon, Iraq or the Golan; a violent incident in Egypt could spill back and forth into Libya, Israel or Algeria. “The threats have not gone, only assumed new shapes,” said IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 7, 2013
For the first time, two terrorist organizations, al Qaeda and Hizballah, have acquired unconventional arms. Al Qaeda and affiliates are in position for bio-chemical strikes from Syria on five Middle East countries.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 7, 2013
Obama pins his hopes on a free hand for Moscow and Tehran on Syria paying off in a recipe for Iran’s nuclear program. Jerusalem, Dubai and Riyadh see more dangerous US castles in the air.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 6, 2013
When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 5, he heard for the first time in years American criticism of the Israeli army for under-reacting – in this case to the chemical weapons threat emanating from Syria. Israel was also berated for under-estimating this menace and failing to take into account the likely need to send troops into Syria. Barak received official US confirmation that chemical weapons had reached HIzballah.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 2, 2013
debkafile reports: The collapse of Bashar Assad’s defense lines on the Israeli and Jordanian borders has left a large Syrian expanse of no-man’s land and generated a new strategic situation of major import for both Israel and Jordan. Defense Minister Ehud Barak hopes to align positions with the US on this matter when he meets Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon next Tuesday. Most observers doubt this outcome, given the Obama administration’s decision to pass the Syrian question to Moscow.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2013
John Kerry begins his stint as US Secretary of State with the recognition that there is only one way to prevent Islamist groups from taking over the Syrian rebel movement while also preserving US influence in the rebel camp: and that is by working with the Russian plan for Syria. debkafile reveals that this plan is based on drawing armistice lines for dividing Syria up into sectors controlled variously by Syrian opposition groups and Assad loyalists. Russia and America will jointly oversee those sectors.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 27, 2013
UK Premier David Cameron has been pushing US, French and Israeli leaders to accept that an Iranian nuclear bomb capacity is too real to stop and sanctions are futile. Publication of an active Iranian plutonium bomb plan Tuesday, Feb. 26, was aimed at selling the Cameron contention to incoming US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the day of his endorsement. Equally, rumors of Hassan Nasrallah’s terminal cancer – vehemently denied by Hizballah – will not put a spoke in Russian-Iranian plans for Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 22, 2013
If Russian personnel pushed the button of the anti-air missile that allegedly downed an Israeli done over the Lebanese Beqaa Valley, it carried a message from Moscow to Jerusalem to that Lebanon as well as Syria is under its protection.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 21, 2013
Hizballah forces went on alert Thursday, Feb. 21, upon the expiry of a 48-hour ultimatum slapped down by Syrian rebels to halt the Lebanese group’s military support for Bashar Assad - or else. debkafile: Relevant to this chain of events is the Syrian claim that its anti-aircraft missiles downed an Israeli drone Wednesday over the Lebanese village of Deir al-Aachayer. Those events were touched off by the initial preparations in Moscow for a political process between Syria’s warring parties for determining the country’s future.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 18, 2013
Contrary to reports of Hizballah attacks on Syrian villages in the Homs region, a thousand Hizballah militiamen have moved in to defend those Shiite, pro-Assad villages against rebel attack. debkafile reveals: Syrian rebel Islamists are receiving anti-tank missiles from Kosovo and Bosnia. They give the rebels an edge in battle with Syrian troops, but also arm Jabhat al-Nusra for a push into Lebanon to strike Hizballah in its Beqaa Valley strongholds. The Syrian conflict now confronts the Sunni Jabhat al-Nusra head-on with the Shiite Hizballah.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 15, 2013
Tehran believes the precision of the attack which killed IRGC General Hassan Shateri is evidence of deep intelligence penetration, and has placed Israel in its sights for payback. DEBKAfile: The general's last assignment was the formation of a guerrilla army of 5,000 Revolutionary Guardsmen and 5,000 Hizballlah operatives to fortify the defenses of Bashar Assad’s governing institutions and secure the main Syria-Lebanon route. Iran is determined to get Hizballah’s advanced weapons transferred from Syria to Lebanon, whatever it takes.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 6, 2013
President Barack Obama is not coming to Israel to advance new proposals or break the peace talks deadlock with the Palestinians, the White House said Wednesday night, Feb. 6. US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said earlier he was coming for consultation on major issues: preventing a nuclear Iran and the collapse of the Assad regime in Syria. debkafile: The visit strengthens Netanyahu’s hand in coalition negotiations, especially after the close rapport between Washington and Jerusalem on Israel’s military action in Syria.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 1, 2013
Turkish interior minister Moammer Guler identified the suicide bomber who detonated an explosive Friday, Feb. 1 at the US embassy in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard, as Ecevit Sanli, 31, a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), an outlawed left-wing terrorist group. He was released from Turkish jail eight months ago. debkafile: The DHKP/C, which is associated with Lebanese terrorist groups and Syrian left-wing factions, was suspected of the attack killing five Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria last July.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 1, 2013
Obama was convinced that by sundering Assad’s military links with Hizballah, Iran would be isolated and Assad bereft of his regime’s most active support and shield.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 31, 2013
The Israeli air strike on a military site near Damascus announced by Syria Wednesday, Jan. 30, was strongly condemned by Moscow as “blatantly violating the UN Charter and unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it.“ debkafile: High military alerts declared across the region including Syrian Golan units, the Turkish, Jordanian, Lebanese and Israeli armies, US units in Turkey and Jordan and Russian warships off Syria. Western intelligence agencies predict more military action between Israel, Syria, Hizballah and possibly Iran.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 30, 2013
The Syrian government stated Wednesday night, Jan. 30 that the Israeli Air Force planes had struck an arms depot at Jamaraya near Damascus leaving dead and wounded and damaging military vehicles. There was no Israeli air strike on a Hizballah arms convoy, said the statement from Damascus in response to earlier reports that Israeli air sorties Wednesday had destroyed Hizballah missile and arms convoys ready to cross from Syria into Lebanon. No comment from Israel.