US reports Israeli air strike in Latakia. Other foreign sources: Israel also struck target in Damascus
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 31, 2013, 10:59 PM (GMT+02:00)
A US official Thursday night, Oct. 31, confirmed Arab reports that Wednesday night, the Israeli Air Force attacked a consignment of Russian-made SA-8 Gecko Dgreen mobile missiles in the Syrian port of Latakia to prevent its delivery to Hizballah. Other foreign sources said Israel also struck a similar consignment in Damascus. DEBKA: The leak from Washington to US media angered Israeli officials. US sources explained that the administration, immersed in joint diplomacy on Syria with Moscow, had to demonstrate it was not involved in the Israeli operation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 24, 2013, 11:31 PM (GMT+02:00)
The largest al Qaeda fighting concentration in the world is overrunning Syria, providing Bashar Assad for claiming support for his rule as the only figure capable of stemming the jihadi tide.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2013, 10:20 AM (GMT+02:00)
Hizballah is surreptitiously withdrawing thousands of fighting men from Syria after an intervention for saving the Assad regime. debkafile: This withdrawal closes Tehran’s first successful experiment in fielding a surrogate force for determining the outcome of a war in an important strategic arena. Despite heavy losses, Hizballah comes out toughened by combat experience and seasoned in running regular military units in battle under combined Iranian-Syrian command. The Lebanese Shiites have won a tactical advantage over the IDF which has not faced real combat since 2006.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 29, 2013, 9:08 AM (GMT+02:00)
Western military sources predict an upsurge of tension this week along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon, timed for Binyamin Netanyahu’s White House meeting with President Barack Obama Monday, Sept. 30, and his address to the UN General Assembly the next day, Oct. 1. Moscow, Tehran and Damascus may exploit Israel’s weak moment after being pushed out in the cold by the Obama administration’s pursuit of new relations with Tehran, by provoking Israel into a military response and presenting it as the neighborhood warmonger and disrupter of US-Russian diplomacy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis September 25, 2013, 10:05 AM (GMT+02:00)
Iranian President Rouhani avoided shaking President Barack Obama's hand at the UN Tuesday, Sept. 24 – not to rebuff diplomacy with the US but to underscore Iran’s demand for respect as an equal. In secret contacts with Tehran, Obama had already agreed to Iran keeping its enriched uranium stocks. This and other concessions give US Secretary of State John Kerry a flying start for his mission to lead diplomacy with Iran, at the same time as the Israeli-Palestinian track. The US president’s linkage of the two places Israel at a disadvantage.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 20, 2013, 9:20 AM (GMT+02:00)
Russian leaders have picked apart the Kerry-Lavrov understanding for Syria’s chemical disarmament - less than a week after it was unveiled in Geneva. Thursday, Sept. 19, Vladimir Putin said he was not 100 percent certain the plan would succeed. His Defense minister Sergey Shoigu denied Russian plans to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpiles on its territory, while Bashar Assad mocked the option of their destruction in America. At the Security Council, Russia’s UN delegate blocked the measure for underpinning the deal, as Secretary of State John Kerry fought to retrieve it.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2013, 10:44 PM (GMT+02:00)
Netanyahu has reduced Israel to a non-player in US Mid East policies and considerations by sticking to a policy of non-intervention in regional conflicts and shunning military initiatives.
The Syrian helicopter flight over Turkey fabricated first Assad obstacle to chemical weapons handover
DEBKAfile Special Report September 17, 2013, 12:12 PM (GMT+02:00)
Bashar Assad’ sent a Syrian M-17 helicopter into Turkish air space Monday, Sept. 16, with deliberate intent. Ankara fell into the trap by sending the Turkish Air Force to down the intruder after it failed to heed several warnings, instead of chasing it back to Syria. The incident sent border tensions spiraling and gave Damascus and Moscow the pretext for backing out of the chemical weapons deal under the oversight of the Organizaton for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, so long as the OPCW was headed by a Turkish official.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 14, 2013, 7:23 PM (GMT+02:00)
The accord for destroying Syria’s chemical stockpiles, which US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented in Geneva Saturday, Sept 14, leaves important issues unaddressed. Assad stays in power long term with responsibility for its implementation while waging war – a highly dubious prospect. Kerry will not find it easy to convince Israel leaders when he arrives Sunday that Syria won’t divert some its chemical weapons to Hizballah, away from international control, or that the Syrian chemical deal is not a template for Iran’s nuclear program.
Obama promised Putin not to strike Syria after scrapping its chemical arsenal. Russian arms for Assad
DEBKAfile Special Report September 10, 2013, 10:20 PM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama’s two climb-downs on a US strike against Syria are turning out to be part of a secret deal with Vladimir Putin, presented by the former as an accord for stripping Bashar Assad of his chemical arsenal, and used by the latter as an expedient for saving the Assad regime. Both were ready to sacrifice the Syrian rebel movement to their détente. But when Moscow insisted on pulling the teeth of a tough French-US-British draft resolution at the Security Council, the session scheduled for Tuesday was postponed indefinitely.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 10, 2013, 2:23 AM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama contradicted his advisers, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, in a series of TV interviews early Tuesday, Sept. 10. He said he would put on hold military action against Syria, and delay the vote in Congress “for weeks,” to verify the Russian proposal for Assad to hand over his chemical arsenal to international control, and see if the Syrian issue can’t be solved without military action. “We know the capabilities of the Syrian army and that is no big problem for us,” Obama said.
US Air Force will also target Syria’s air force, ballistic missiles and sections of its air defenses
DEBKAfile Special Report September 7, 2013, 8:41 AM (GMT+02:00)
The reports coming out of Washington in the last 24 hours indicate that US President Barack Obama has resolved not just to degrade Syria’s chemical capabilities but also to take down Bashar Assad’s air force, destroy his air bases and knock out his ground-to-ground ballistic missiles, using giant B-52 bombers and B-2 stealth bombers. debkafile: Since the Syrian ruler’s chemical stocks can’t be destroyed by air strikes - only by ground forces, Washington is considering taking down his ballistic missiles, depriving him of the delivery vehicles for his poison gas.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 6, 2013, 4:59 PM (GMT+02:00)
The US Friday, Sept. 6, ordered the withdrawal of non-emergency workers from the embassy in Beirut and the consulate general in Adana, southeast Turkey, and warned Americans against traveling to those areas. The State Department acted after an unscheduled 20-minute one-on-one meeting between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin on the G20 sidelines at St. Petersburg apparently ended in discord on the Syrian crisis. Another Russian landing craft is headed for the Mediterranean carrying a “special cargo” thought to contain S-300 batteries against a US attack.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 3, 2013, 2:37 PM (GMT+02:00)
The US and Israeli Tuesday, Sept. 3, carried out a joint anti-missile missile test in the Mediterranean ahead of possible Syrian-Hizballah reprisals against Israel and Jordan for a US military strike on Syria. The Israeli Ankor (Sparrow) served as the target missile. debkafile: The test indicated that President Barack Obama has upped his plans from “a narrow, limited” attack to a broader offensive for degrading the Assad regime. It also pointed to US-Israeli concurrence that Iran, Syrian and Hizballah were serious about their threats of retaliation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2013, 9:59 AM (GMT+02:00)
The Iranian parliamentarians visiting Damascus Sunday, Sept. 1, advised Bashar Assad to move his chemical stockpile out of Syria for temporary storage in Tehran under Iranian and Russian military supervision, so as to ward off an American military strike, debkafile reveals. Chairman of the Majlis Foreign Affairs Committee Ala-Eddin Borujerdi suggested destroying the chemical arsenal as an alternative. Tehran wants to prevent a US attack on Syria – both to conceal the Iranian provenance of the nerve agents and to avoid any precedent for a strike against Iran.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 1, 2013, 11:48 AM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama’s about-turn Saturday night, Aug. 31 on the planned US military operation against Syria’s chemical weapons has shaken up the volatile Middle East balance of strength, giving Israel, Jordan and Turkey “a military nightmare.” By suspending the US military threat, Obama has given Iran, Syria and Hizballah the time and freedom to stage a pre-emptive strike against America and its regional allies. Israel’s authorities are taking no chances and keeping in place the military and security preparedness on the country’s Syrian and Lebanese borders.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 31, 2013, 10:04 PM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama shocked a tense world Saturday, Aug. 31, when he dodged a decision on a US strike on Syria by referring it to Congress. In a speech to the American people, he said the use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad must be “confronted not just investigated,” but then said, “We are ready to strike whenever we choose. This operation could take place tomorrow, next week, or next month. In so saying, Obama granted Assad and Co. time galore for counter-moves and put Israel in a tight spot.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 30, 2013, 9:33 PM (GMT+02:00)
Friday, Aug. 30, US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Bashar Assad of responsibility for poison gas attack on 11 Damascus sites on Aug. 21, causing 1,429 deaths, including 426 children. His words signaled the start of the countdown for the US military strike on Syria, which debkafile’s military sources estimate could be launched from this moment until US Labor Day on Sept. 2. America cannot look the other way, he said. He also cited US concern for the proximity to Syria of US friends Israel, Jordan and Turkey.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 30, 2013, 12:44 AM (GMT+02:00)
By promising to pull his punches, President Barack Obama gave America’s rivals, Russia, Iran and Syria the advantage in their bout over Syria – even before the punches were delivered.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 30, 2013, 12:44 AM (GMT+02:00)
By sticking to Tomahawks as the only weapon for attacking Syria, Barack Obama reduces the list of targets and leaves Assad’s chemical arsenal, missiles, air force and regime unharmed.