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.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 8, 2011
Targeted assassinations now dominate Bashar Assad's savage confrontation with the popular opposition to his rule. The White House finally told the Syrian ruler to step down for the first time as 50,000 Syrian Kurds clashed with security forces at the funeral of the popular Kurdish leader Mashaal Tammo, 53, slain by masked men at his home in Qamishli, northern Syria Friday, Oct. 7. debkafile: The killers were members of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate acting on direct orders from Assad.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 7, 2011
Israel and Turkey embarked on large-scale mobilization maneuvers near Syrian borders Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 5-6 and the Jordanian armed forces were urged by the US and Turkey to follow suit. But Bashar Assad decided that having to build up his forces on two Syrian borders was enough. He sent a messenger to threaten Jordan's King Abdullah that if he staged an exercise, the Syrian air force would bomb Jordanian towns and if Israel intervened, he would attack them with missiles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2011
The consensus of US and Western intelligence chiefs at their closed door meeting in Langley was that NATO should count itself out of further military interventions in Arab uprisings in the coming year – especially in Syria - after its mistakes in Libya. Reliance on Turkey was seen as a letdown. The Yemeni crisis was judged more dangerous to broader regions of the Middle East and East Africa than the Syrian conflict.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2011
The new US Intelligence estimate for Iran to attain a nuclear bomb is now 2015-2016. Tehran is years behind schedule due to its technical inability to construct a containment shell for a bomb and get its new, advanced centrifuges working properly for enriching uranium to 60 percent at Fordo. However, US spymasters confirm that Iran had made progress in ballistics, building missiles with more powerful engines capable of longer ranges and greater accuracy than ever before.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 4, 2011
War tensions between Turkey, NATO and Syria shot up again Tuesday, Oct. 4, with the announcement from Ankara that Turkey embarks Wednesday on a 10-day "mobilization" exercise in the southern province of Hatay along the Syrian borderwhere 7,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering. A visit by the Turkish prime minister is also expected. Earlier, debkafile reported exclusively that Bashar Assad had been threatening for three months to destroy Tel Aviv within six hours of an attack on Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 3, 2011
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Israel of increasing isolation in the Middle East and said "Israeli leaders must restart negotiations with the Palestinians and work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey." Before landing in Israel Monday, Oct. 3, he also said:“Real security can only be achieved by both a strong diplomatic effort as well as a strong effort to project your military strength.”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 2, 2011
Turkey's assertiveness has raised the concern of NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and its fellow allies. Since Thursday, Sept. 29, Turkish warships have been harassing Israeli merchant vessels in waters off Cyprus, debkafile's military sources report, ordering them to change course in a bid to assert Turkish mastery in the eastern Mediterranean. Israel has sent warplanes to fly over the areas of the incidents.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2011
The US National Intelligence Director James Clapper began a surprise visit to Ankara Sunday Sept. 18, prompted by Turkish saber-rattling against key US interests: Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the information gathered by the US radar system planned for Turkey as part of the NATO missile-shield must not be shared with Israel; Monday, US Noble Energy began drilling gas off Cyprus in defiance of Turkey; and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, egged on by Ankara, headed for the UN to bid for membership.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2011
"We sided with the Syrian people because regimes will go but the people always stay," said Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu Sunday, Sept. 18 in a bid to vindicate the "zero conflict" doctrine against its many critics. In fact, debkafile reports, most of "the Syrian people" had gone to their graves when Davutoglu made his remark: Bashar Assad and his army had virtually smashed their six-month protest, aided substantially by Turkey reneging on its pledge of military backing for "the people."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 17, 2011
Military tension is building up among Greece, Turkey and Israel as Cyprus prepares to start exploratory drilling for gas Monday, Sept. 19 in the face of Turkish threats. All three have placed their air and sea forces in a state of preparedness. Turkish warplanes and fighters kept watch on the rig belonging to Houston-based Noble Energy as it moved from Israel's offshore field Noa opposite Ashdod to Cyprus's Aphrodite field. US Noble Energy and Israel's Delek are staked in both fields.