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 Analysis August 30, 2013, 11:00 AM (GMT+02:00)
The shock Thursday, Aug. 29, of David Cameron’s parliamentary defeat, knocking America’s foremost partner, Britain, out of the coming strike against Syria, highlighted American public opposition to the operation and criticism in the top US military command. The White House stressed the US would act unilaterally. Nonetheless, the Syrian conflict continues to be covered in confusion, much of it generated by the Obama administration’s conflicting policies. The breakdown of Obama’s coalition for Syria strikes at the heart of NATO and undermines US prestige in the Middle East.
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.
Obama says no decision yet on strike on Syria. DEBKA: He stalls for deal with Putin on softened strike
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 29, 2013, 8:35 AM (GMT+02:00)
Although Barack Obama had decided to attack Syria over its use of chemical weapons – either Friday-Saturday, Aug. 31, or after Labor Day of Sept. 2 - he now says there is no decision yet. debkafile: Obama is stalling in order to buy time for Secretary of State John Kerry to strike a secret deal with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: the US would soften its strike on Syria, reducing it to a token blow, following which the US and Russian presidents would announce the convening of Geneva-2 for ending the civil war.
Assad may hit back at Israel for US strike, trusting Obama to tie Israel’s hands against major reprisal
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 27, 2013, 3:24 PM (GMT+02:00)
There is little logic in the Netanyahu government’s public assurances that the Syrian ruler Bashar Assad would not risk a major showdown with Israel for fear of an IDF response powerful enough to overthrow his regime. debkafile: President Barack Obama would not countenance an Israeli military strike against Syria disproportionate to a US operation, or capable of endangering Assad’s rule. Assad's Russian advisers have undoubtedly briefed him on Israel’s tied hands. However, even a limited US strike is likely to spread since Syria’s allies will not stand by idly.
Mid-East including Israel on high alert after Obama’s failed last-ditch bid for Syria deal with Iran
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 26, 2013, 11:16 PM (GMT+02:00)
Monday night, Aug. 25, saw Middle East countries, including Israel, on high military alert after learning of US President Barack Obama’s failure to reach an understanding with Tehran to avert a US-led operation against Syria over its chemical attacks. debkafile: Obama’s two emissaries were Deputy UN Secretary Jeffrey Feltman and Sultan Qaboos of Oman. Tehran’s rebuff signaled orders to US military assets in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf to go on high preparedness. Iran, Russia and Syria redeployed in readiness for Syria to face attack.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 26, 2013, 9:51 AM (GMT+02:00)
Five days late, UN team of experts Monday, Aug. 26, start scouring a site in eastern Damascus for shrapnel from the poison gas shells or rockets fired by the Syrian army’s 155th Brigade last Wednesday. debkafile: This was decided between the UN Secretariat and the White House Sunday night. They agreed that the only chance of finding evidence was to examine a targeted site or injured victims. Since, the latter are unavailable, the experts hope that even after a Syrian cleanup they may turn up shell fragments however microscopic.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 25, 2013, 7:46 PM (GMT+02:00)
The US has little doubt the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, a senior US official said Sunday, Aug. 25. "At this juncture, any belated regime decision to grant access to the UN team would be considered too late to be credible, including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted.,” he said. This reaction indicated the White House had not backed away from military intervention, even after Tehran warned the US not to “cross red lines” in Syria and Moscow advised Washington to “avoid tragic mistakes.”
The sarin shells fired on Damascus - by Syrian 4th Division’s 155th Brigade - were followed by rockets on Israel and car bombings in Lebanon
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 24, 2013, 11:32 AM (GMT+02:00)
Within 48 hours, Assad and Iran launched a three-point punitive offensive for foreign intervention in the Syrian war, debkafile reports. The facts: The sarin nerve gas shells which claimed more than 1,000 Syrian lives Wednesday, Aug. 21, were fired by the 155th Brigade of the Syrian army’s 4th Division commanded by Gen. Maher Assad from Mount Kalmun. This atrocity was followed by a rocket attack on Israel from Lebanon and deadly blasts in Tripoli. The price for not stopping Assad and Tehran now is likely to become even grimmer.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 22, 2013, 9:53 AM (GMT+02:00)
By two comments, Israel confirmed Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 21 and 22, that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons on civilians in the region of Damascus – the first came from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who said "The use of chemical weapons by the regime is not a first,” and the second from Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who reported corroborative intelligence. Yet no one anywhere admits that Syria, any more than Iran, has crossed US and Israeli red lines and that this necessitates direct action.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 21, 2013, 12:41 PM (GMT+02:00)
Syrian opposition activists reported between 200 and 650 dead in a poison gas air strike by government forces on rebel-held areas of eastern Damascus Tuesday, Aug. 21. This has not been verified. The regime denied the accusation. debkafile reports the first major incursion Saturday, Aug. 17 of Syrian rebels from Jordan into southern Syria, after receiving US training in special operations. Bashar Assad has said that if Damascus was in danger, he would resort to chemical warfare and the entire Middle East including Israel would go up in flames.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 15, 2013, 2:41 PM (GMT+02:00)
The Obama administration and Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on a visit to Washington backed away Friday, June 14, from any effective response to the Syrian ruler’s proven use of chemical weapons against rebel forces. On the ground, debkafile’s military sources reported Hizballah and Syrian army movements were detected heading toward the Golan and the Jordanian border from the military concentrations building up in the last two weeks around the nearby town of Deraa. Those sources also concluded that Hizballah has been awarded “limited-use” chemical weapons
DEBKAfile Special Report June 14, 2013, 5:53 AM (GMT+02:00)
The White House said Friday that the US would provide “direct military support” for the first time to the Syrian opposition after obtaining proof that the Syrian government had used the chemical weapon sarin against rebel forces. The nature of the package was not specified. The rebels responded to this apparent evasion by demanding anti-aircraft and other advanced arms against deadly Syrian air bombardments. An earlier White House statement amounted to President Barack Obama’s refusal to step in to save Aleppo and Idlib from a decisive Syrian army defeat.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 29, 2013, 1:23 PM (GMT+02:00)
The widening military intervention by Russia, Iran, Hizballah and latterly Iraq has turned Syria’s civil war into a Russian-West contest and is propelling Iran up to the top regional power spot. All four are winning by default against an unresisting US-led West and Israel.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 30, 2013, 10:37 PM (GMT+02:00)
The Israeli reserves call-up for the Syrian and Lebanese borders will continue until the end of the week, ready for a "military maneuver" next Sunday, May 5, debkafile reports.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 26, 2013, 7:04 PM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama faced a tough decision Friday, April 26, after warning that Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons would be “game changer.” His failure to take firm action would render the US president’s red lines meaningless. Israel is concerned by the application of this loss of credibility to a nuclear Iran.
White House to Congress: Assad has used chemical weapons. Israeli jets down Hizballah drone opposite Haifa
DEBKAfile Special Report April 25, 2013, 6:56 PM (GMT+02:00)
In a striking reversal, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in Abdu Dhabi Thursday, April 25, that US intelligence now believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 23, 2013, 7:13 PM (GMT+02:00)
Red lines have been flattened by Iran’s rapid progress toward a nuclear weapon and by Bashar Assad’s mockery, backed by Tehran, of US President Barack Obama’s warning that “proof of chemical weapons use would be a game changer.” Two Israeli ex-intelligence chiefs Tuesday, April 23 underlined Israel-US differences.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 13, 2013, 1:42 PM (GMT+02:00)
After the Damascus units, the Syrian army has distributed protective suits to units in southern