DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2012
Military tensions are building up around Syria's borders. Wednesday, Jan. 4, Turkish military sources reported an Israeli Eitan drone hovering for four hours over the Turkish Hawk Brigade 14 stationed on the Syrian border at Kirikhan in the Hatay district – the expected jumping-off point for any foreign military intervention in Syria. In the south, fierce battles raged Tuesday, Jan. 3 between Syrian troops and the mutinous 38th Mechanized Brigade in the Syrian-Jordanian-Israeli border triangle. Sounds of gunfire were heard in Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 24, 2011
Cypriot President Demetris Christofias has warned Turkey to stop its warships shelling the strip of water dividing the Cypriot and Israeli gas exploration zones in the eastern Mediterranean.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 22, 2011
As news of Erdogan's grave illness trickles out, will Obama find a new Middle East partner to replace the pro-Western democratic Islamic ruler he chose as a model for Muslim rulers in the Arab world?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 22, 2011
As NATO cargo planes airlifted Libyan fighters to join the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army units in Turkey, Syrian forces armed with Russian spy satellite intelligence waylaid FSA rebels and deserters, killing them where they stood. A large-scale exercise prepares Syrian army to repel a combined offensive.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 20, 2011
"Despite the efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, they have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less," said US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in a CBS interview Tuesday, Dec. 20 marking a radical change in US administration policy. "That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis," he said. Instead of warning Israel against striking Iran, Panetta said: "If we have to do it we will deal with it."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2011
Extreme concern was quietly voiced Sunday, Dec. 18, by American and European official circles over the state of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's health – and especially its impact on present and impending events in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, including Iran, debkafile's Western intelligence sources report. Those sources say Erdogan is suffering from Rectosigmoid cancer. The prolonged treatment he needs is already affecting policy-making and has sparked the first signs of a power struggle within his ruling AKP party.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2011
Expanded Russian military support for the Assad regime was underscored by the deployment Friday, Dec. 16, of advanced Moscow-supplied Yakhont (SSN-26) shore-to-sea missiles along Syria's Mediterranean shore to fend off a potential invasion by sea. Last week, Russia airlifted to Syria 3 million face masks against chemical and biological weapons; and the Admiral Kutznetsov strike group headed out to Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Ankara; Syrian Vice President Farouk a-Shara in Moscow.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2011
Syria has moved Scud missiles, some tipped with chemical warheads, to its border with Turkey, reinforced its tank units on the Jordanian border and airlifted from Russia three million face masks against chemical and biological weapons.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2011
President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan have developed relations of mutual trust which allowed the US to set up its headquarters for the campaign to oust Bashar Assad in southwest Turkey. The next US-inspired step is to foment a campaign of civil obedience against the Assad regime, starting in Aleppo.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly December 13, 2011
By deploying US troops on the Jordanian-Syrian border, the Obama administration played the last piece of its master game for Bashar Assad's ouster – in conjunction with Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's latest issue out Friday offers glimpses of covert US action in Syria alongside counter-steps pursued by Damascus, Tehran and Hizballah.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly, click here
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 1, 2011
Small Western special forces units have begun filtering into Syria to prepare the ground for a major military operation by the US, several more NATO members and Gulf emirates, to captured northern Syria and use it as a beachhead to eventually dominate the rest of the country.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 29, 2011
debkafile reports that the Katyusha rocket volley from S. Lebanon which hit Galilee in northern Israel in the small hours of Tuesday, Nov. 29, was initiated by Hizballah commanders in South Lebanon, although claimed by the al Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Hizballah activated a Palestinian cell it controls in the Ain Hilwa refugee camp on behalf of its Damascus ally, after a group of NATO and Arab officers quietly established a command in Turkey for intervention in the Syrian crisis.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 27, 2011
Twenty-four hours before the Arab League Sunday, Nov. 27, clamped down sanctions on the Assad regime, the first ever against a member state, the armies of Syria's seven neighbors were already scrambling into position on standby for retaliation. debkafile: Israeli armored brigades moved up to the Lebanese and Syrian borders; Ankara placed three armored brigades, its air force and navy on the ready, likewise Hizballah and the Lebanese and Jordanian armed forces. Russia is sending Bashar Assad siege-breaking missiles.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 26, 2011
The Syrian crisis assumed a big power dimension this week with the build-up of rival US and Russian air carrier armadas in Syrian waters – ranged against and in support of Bashar Assad, debkafile's military sources report. The USS George H.W. Bush arrived Wednesday, Nov. 23, with 70 fighter-bombers and 8 guided missile cruisers and destroyers. Russia's only air carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov is due in mid-week to boost the three Russian warships already anchored off the Syrian port of Tartus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2011
The Arab League was not first to make the Syrian crisis a regional concern. Big power rivalry got there first. The US and France, like the Sunni rulers, seek Bashar Assad's downfall, while Russia and China are propping him up as their firewall for the Islamic regime in Tehran.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 16, 2011
The Assad regime suffered a shock Wednesday Nov.16 when self-styled "Free Syrian Army" deserters firing shoulder-borne rockets and heavy machine guns struck its biggest security complex at Harasta west of Damascus. This was the first rebel attack on a major strategic target and a potential game-changer. debkafile: It was undoubtedly part of a well-laid plan drawn up by Turkey, the Persian Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Jordan to topple Iran's closest ally, Bashar Assad.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 28, 2011
In the last 48 hours, the Syrian engineering corps has laid minefields along the Jordanian, Turkish borders to cut down on the influx of weapons and armed manpower supporting the anti-Assad opposition and the outflow of army deserters. debkafile's military sources add: By this action, Syria also aims to seal itself off against foreign military intervention. Since Muammar Qaddafi's death, Bashar Assad fears he is facing Arab military incursions backed by NATO.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 28, 2011
Tehran has come around to deciding that Bashar Assad will have to be forced out of the Syrian presidency and may be willing to join forces with the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to accomplish this – provided the foursome can get past a whole thicket of animosities.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 25, 2011
Azerbaijan's election to a UN Security Council non-permanent seat brings to the world body a government with lively relations with Israel. It also highlights the rivalry between the Israeli and Turkish military industries for the Baku market. Russia, Iran and Armenia, too, are looking askance at the rapid arming of Azerbaijani armed forces with Israeli drones, 60 of which roll out of Azerbaijan factories in two months. The partners are now discussing the sale of Israeli missile-bearing drones and spy satellites.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 10, 2011
Five days after defeating a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution condemning Bashar Assad's savagery against his opposition, Moscow turned the heat on him by inviting an opposition delegation for a visit Monday, Oct. 10 and offering to host talks between the Syrian government and the opposition umbrella Syrian National Council. Syrian Foreign Minister Wallid Moallem threatened unspecified "tough measures" against any countries recognizing the council, fearing a repeat of the Libyan rebel NTC exercise which toppled Muammar Qaddafi.