DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 28, 2008
Speaking to reporters in London, Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem accused the United States of carrying out "criminal terrorist aggression" in its helicopter-borne raid of an alleged al Qaeda haven in northern Syria Sunday, Oct. 27. He declared: "If attacked again, we will defend our territory." Iraq too must answer questions.
Earlier, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh Monday, Oct. 27, described the Syria site attacked the day before as the scene of activities of "terrorist groups operating from Syria against Iraq."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 26, 2008
Eye witnesses are quoted by Syrian state TV as describing four US helicopters striking a house in Al-Sukkariya near the Iraqi border killing 9 people and injuring four. Two landed and 8 US soldiers disembarked for the attack before the helicopters took off with all the troops aboard. The targets were reportedly Islamic extremists, al Qaeda. There has been no US comment on the incident. If confirmed, it would be the first time that US forces had operated on Syrian soil.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 18, 2008
debkafile's military sources disclose that Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps have created a separate missile command, in which Syria's missile force is to be integrated. The joint command was formalized in a new mutual defense treaty signed by the Syrian defense minister, Gen. Hassan Turkmani in Tehran last week.
Israeli military sources judge the operational merger of Iranian and Syrian missile corps to be a major strategic hazard to the Jewish state.
Western and Israeli military experts connect it with other indications that Iran's program for developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads has gone into high gear and reached an advanced stage. They believe the Iranians have beaten most of the technical difficulties holding it up.
On May 26, the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, which often goes easy on Iran, released a harsh report confirming Iran's progress in "missile warhead design."
Military experts comment that Tehran's centralized control of four hostile missile fronts will virtually neutralize the American and Israeli anti-missile defense systems in the region.
In a related development, debkafile's Gulf sources report that next week, Iran's supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Syrian president Bashar Assad launch a major campaign to further isolate American influence and bludgeon moderate Arab governments into alignment with their extreme anti-US, anti-Israel line.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 14, 2008
After Syria moved tank units up to the Lebanese Beqaa Valley border Tuesday, Oct. 7, Israel raised the alert level on its borders with Syria and Lebanon and placed its Air Force and emergency first aid teams on standby in the event of Syrian or/and Hizballah attacks. Israeli embassies and Jewish institutions worldwide are also on high terror alert. Hizballah's leader Hassan Nasrallah said recently that his promised retaliation for the death of Imad Mughniyeh "is coming."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 9, 2008
The melee erupted between Syrian special forces and suicide fighters of the Palestinian radical Fatah al-Islam in the Yarmoukh refugee camp in South Damascus. According to debkafile's counter-terror sources, it was prompted by the arrest in Syria some weeks ago of the Palestinian group's leader Shaker al Abassi, who is associated with al Qaeda in Iraq.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 6, 2008
Washington accompanied this warning to Damascus, debkafile has learned, with its first explicit threat of military intervention to aid Lebanon should Syria go through with its planned incursion of the North.
debkafile first revealed the concentration of 10,000 Syrian troops on the Lebanese border on Sept. 20 and again on Sept. 27.
The warning, according to our sources, was delivered on Sept. 28 by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 5, 2008
debkafile's intelligence sources report that the nuclear scientists and technicians who were to have been employed at the destroyed Syrian reactor there have been hired for new projects. This time the installations are scattered in different parts of the country. North Korean nuclear experts are back too.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 29, 2008
Syrian TV interrupted its broadcasts Saturday, Sept 27, to report that a car rigged with a 200 kg bomb had killed 17 people, injuring 14, when it exploded on the Damascus airport road. The blast occurred near a security forces or intelligence post at Sidi Kadad, at an intersection leading to the Shiite Sit Zeinab shrine. debkafile adds: The car bomb attack may have been aimed at some senior Iranian general or Revolutionary Guards officer or group involved in Tehran's nuclear program - or a Hizballah operative - on their way to the shrine.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 27, 2008
Damascus is pressing forward with its plan to occupy Greater Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city and port, debkafile's military sources report. To this end, 10,000 Syrian commando troops have massed at Abboudieh on the Lebanese border ready to follow an advance force which occupied seven villages around the northern city earlier this month, as first disclosed by debkafile on Sept. 20. To read the article click HERE.
Syrian occupation of northern Lebanon will make profound inroads on the strategic position of the United States and Israel in this part of the Middle East, yet Washington and Jerusalem are turning a blind eye.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 20, 2008
Two Syrian commando battalions accompanied by reconnaissance and engineering corps units have crossed into Lebanon in the last 48 hours and taken up positions in seven villages, most of them Allawite Muslim, outside Tripoli, debkafile's military sources reported Saturday, Sept. 13. Damascus has signaled to Washington and Paris: Don't interfere.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 5, 2008
French president Nicolas Sarkozy's talks with Bashar Assad in Damascus will be joined Thursday, Sept. 4, by Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar ruler Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar.
Their meeting on Middle East issues will end by calling on Israel to clear the way for peace by agreeing to cede the Golan to Syria.
debkafile's Middle East sources note: In view of the Olmert government's paralysis in external affairs, the four leaders will be free to shunt Israel's interests aside and endorse the Syrian position - even as the French and Turkish leaders pose as friends of the Jewish state.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 11, 2008
Damascus Sunday broke its silence about the mysterious assassination of Gen. Muhammad Suleiman in Tartus early Saturday, Aug. 2 and confirmed debkafile's disclosure that the general played an important role in adminstering the al Kibar plutonium reactor. Officials in Damascus leaked to Middle East media that Suleiman was a member of the Syrian Research Commission, the government body in charge of missile, chemical and biological weapons and nuclear development.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 12, 2008
The accord signed secretly in Tehran June 27 belies the contention of French president Nicolas Sarkozy and prime minister Ehud Olmert, accepted also by Washington, that the Syrian regime is about to desert its close alliance with Tehran and embrace the West.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 9, 2008
debkafile intelligence sources report that Jamal Hassan Neba'a was sentenced to 20 years in jail this week by Syria's Supreme Court for State Security on the charge of spying for the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency. He was arrested in Damascus on July 23, 2006, eleven days into the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hizballah.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 8, 2008
No mention was made of casualties although the London-based human rights group reported that scores were killed Saturday, July 5, when military police opened fire on the rioters in the Sidnaya prison north of Damascus. The riots are said by the group to have continued into Sunday in the jail, most of whose 5,000 inmates are Islamist and political prisoners. Some officers were taken hostage. The violence was sparked by claims of brutal beatings and desecration of the Koran.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 8, 2008
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click DEBKA-Net-Weekly.com?ref=001">HERE.
When Damascus confirmed peace talks with Israel on May 21, a secret high-powered military purchasing delegation, headed by air force-air defenses commander Gen. Akhmad Ratyb, was already in Moscow. With a $5 billion allocation in hand from Tehran, the delegation was bidding for the most advanced products of Russia's munitions industry.
The six main categories of interest to Damascus are disclosed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources as -
1. The latest model of the Russian Iskander-E, a surface-to-surface tactical missile with a range of 280 km and a 480-kilo warhead. This missile is considered one of the most advanced of its type in the world today, partly because of its cruise attributes which enable it to home in on target undetected and with high precision. Iskander-E can be guided by pilot-less air vehicles or satellites.
2. Fifty of the latest MiG-29SMT fighter-bombers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 30, 2008
debkafile's military and intelligence sources report that the three-man International Atomic Energy Agency team which inspected the El Kibar site bombed by Israel last September, returned to Vienna Wednesday, June 25, with soil and building materials samples gathered secretly without Syrian knowledge.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 23, 2008
The offer came from Iran's ambassador to Syria, Sayyed Ahmed Moussavi. He cited July 7 as the date for their officials to meet.
debkafile's military sources say Iran's willingness to defy its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty by offering a nuclear capability to Syria across the border from Israel brings Tehran's threat to wipe Israel off the map much closer to home. It is a mark of contempt for Washington and the US-led Western sanctions.
The circumstances surrounding Tehran's brazen step are uncovered in the latest DEBKA-Net-Weekly out Friday.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click DEBKA-Net-Weekly.com?ref=001">HERE.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 9, 2008
In his interview in Dubai on June 2, president Bashar Assad raised his price for a peace deal with Israel, debkafile's political source note. The Golan, which Syria's invading army lost to Israel in the 1967 war, is not enough; Assad is also demanding a strip of the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which Damascus considers demilitarized territory held by Israel against international law.
The last round of peace talks eight years ago broke down over this very demand.
The strip Assad referred to is crowded with the Israeli kibbutzim, Ha'on, Tel Katzir, Shear Hagolan and Massada, which in the 1950s and 1960s lived under constant Syrian shelling from the Golan plateau overhead.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 7, 2008
Transport minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday, June 3, he was convinced that peace with Damascus is possible without this concession. In Dubai, Bashar Assad stated Israel must return "all Syrian lands occupied in the 1967 War as part of any peace deal." Briefing United Arab Emirates newspapers, the Syrian president said the 1967 borders must stretch to the Sea of Galilee - or else there will never be a "compromise."
The last peace talks broke down eight years ago over Damascus' demand for control of the lake shore.