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The IDF must cut short tunnel operation, get set for repercussions from Trump’s stunning Syria withdrawal

Israel’s leaders – government, military and intelligence – were dumbfounded by US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria as part of its withdrawal from the Mid-East at large. Senior ministers received no answers to their urgent calls to the prime minister’s office and Military Intelligence (AMAN) officers for confirmation of the news. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, himself, only received word of the decision just five minutes before it hit Twitter, DEBKAfile sources have learned, although he talked to the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo some days ago. In recent conversations with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, as well as Pompeo, about the IDF operation against Hizballah tunnels, both US officials assured Netanyahu that he had nothing to worry about. US troops were present in eastern and northern Syria, they said, and they would not let pro-Iranian Iraqi militias come through from western Iraq to the aid of Hizballah.
Israeli officials were further dismayed early Thursday, Dec. 20, when they understood that the only leaders to receive prior notice of Trump’s decision were Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. This was inferred from intelligence of a secret deal, which the president’s adviser on Syrian affairs James Jeffrey had reached with Erdogan and which opened the way for Turkish military movements in Syria in the wake of the US pullout.  
As recently as Monday, Dec. 17, Jeffrey told the Atlantic Council in Washington in a speech: “The eventual goal of the mainly-Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) should be to become part of the fabric of a changed Syrian society. We do not have permanent relationships with sub-state entities.” This was taken as a clear repudiation of US responsibility for the fate of its Kurdish allies.
The coming issue of DEBKA Weekly (for subscribers), out on Friday, Dec.21, uncovers the secret decision-making process at the White House which led up to the Trump decision without Israel picking up a hint of its purpose. (Click here to subscribe.)

Some clues could have been picked up, for instance, from Russia’s deployment in early December of an S-300 air defense battalion in the Deir ez-Zour province of eastern Syria, without demur from Washington, although US troops were nearby. DEBKAfile alone reported the Russian move at the time.
Israel is also discovering in the last few hours that Tehran and Hizballah stayed silent when Israel launched its operation to uncover Hizballah tunnels last week – not because they were taken aback, as some Israeli officials claimed – but because they had advance notice of the US withdrawal – either from Moscow or from Ankara – and saw it being totally eclipsed in importance by the sensation about to be landed by President Trump.
DEBKAfile’s military sources stress that the IDF must wrap up this operation with all possible speed and lose no time in getting set for the major repercussions about to roll in on Israel’s northern front as soon as the 2,200 US forces depart Syria. The reorganization required could take months of intense work.

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58 thoughts on “The IDF must cut short tunnel operation, get set for repercussions from Trump’s stunning Syria withdrawal

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 9:34 at 9:34
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    The second when every single country will have a Netanyahu, or at least a PM/President/King with some degree of nethaniosity, in that very second the Earth will become a better place, peaceful, enlightened, purposeful.

    • Dec 20, 2018 @ 10:37 at 10:37
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      And what about UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday which was supposed to deal with Hizballah tunnels?

    • Dec 20, 2018 @ 15:28 at 15:28
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      There’s no home for a leader that fears and fails his own people to follow a crooked path due to his own blind ambitions that cannot travel by the stars such as Assad. The Syrian Kurds will someday soon join together and guide parts of Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey with many Kurdish voices into one uprising for a Kurdish Enlightenment.

      What few have yet to figure out is that the Kurds are no longer helpless after fighting ISIS. Can no longer remain in Harm’s Way by anyone proved too weak to do it themselves. The Kurds have not lost everything because both young men and young women will fight together for the love of all Kurdish People in regions they dominate as a culture and people.

      All of Asia will learn to Admire the Syrian Kurds for their strength of persistence. The Turks, Syrians, Iraqis and Iranians will attempt to punish the Kurds for their revolts. The Middle East will come to envy the Kurds for how they fight to love and protect one another. The World will learn from the Kurds how the weak always band together to pull down the strong, turning brutal boasting Dictators from Lion into becoming a quiet mouse. No Syrian whip will break Kurdish’s spirit, nor any Turkish edge of a sword will bend Kurdish knees, no Iraqi will call Kurds clowns, and no Iranian Mullah can diminish the strength within Kurdish’s eyes of glory as they stood and die against enemies such as ISIS.

      This move by President Trump is not going to turn one Kurd into a Victim, but only resolve Kurdish commitment to greater resistance against Assad, Al-Sadr, Khamenei, and Erdoğan.

      • Dec 23, 2018 @ 20:47 at 20:47
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        Amen to that. Long live a free Kurdistan.

    • Dec 20, 2018 @ 17:24 at 17:24
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      Israel must now reject any deal Trump / Kushner propose.

      USA pulling out of Syria after the disasterous Iraq withdrawal in Obama’s time should have been enough to tell Trump he is making a mistake.

      Trumps Halo will disappear quickly , as the Dow Jones gave up its gains if he does not build the wall, win the China trade war, or settle the Iran & Middle East issue.

      • Dec 21, 2018 @ 2:31 at 2:31
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        YOU SEEM SO SURPRISED AT TRUMP’S DUPLICITY. THAT IS HIS MIDDLE NAME.

        • Dec 21, 2018 @ 8:29 at 8:29
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          Meanwhile, the USS Harry Truman, our most sophisticated aircraft carrier with 80 military jets on board, and its task force of destroyers, missile ships and submarines and 4,000 plus men, sits quietly off the coast of Lebanon.

      • Dec 21, 2018 @ 20:42 at 20:42
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        He cannot win a trade war with China and there is not going to be a wall built.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 9:46 at 9:46
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    Who cares? These days nobody can’t be trusted.Neither Putin or loose canon Trump (beware of his peaceplan).Fortunaly we have nukes. At the end we stand alone so it be.We can take our future better in our own hands than depend on ….. +/- 2200 US troops?? We must and will take care of ourselves, should things get out of control we will see who are the real and truly friends of Israel.

    • Dec 20, 2018 @ 9:55 at 9:55
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      Tunnels in the demilitarized area and any tunnel under the borders are acts of war.

      As long as the Government of Lebanon in complicity with the Hezbollah forces pledges destruction of Israel by helping rising the Hezbollah readiness and weapons capabilities, every day of delay of a strong strike against Lebanon is a lost day.

      Bomb Lebanon, then bomb it hard, then bomb it some more. If they do not let down the sneak attack stance, bomb again! Only one thing is important: is or is not Lebanon a cool neighbor?

      Today is obviously not, they must come up with hard evidence to prove that. Until that time, bomb them, then bomb them hard, then bomb them a lot more! Tunnels are acts of war, the deserved punishment must be quick, must be decisive, and must be painful.

      There are 12 good years since 2006, it follows that with a only 3 times more intense bombing, for a total of 6 (with the due safety margin) the armistice could go beyond 2050.

      • Dec 20, 2018 @ 13:38 at 13:38
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        And constantly bombing Syria and violating Lebanese airspace on a weekly basis, aren’t acts of war? You fake jews just never stop, do your?

        • Dec 21, 2018 @ 2:33 at 2:33
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          YOUR SHARMOUTA MOTHER CONSIDERS OUR SHEKELS TO BE REAL WHEN WE PAY HER.

    • Dec 20, 2018 @ 9:57 at 9:57
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      turkey, iran and saudis also have nukes, even more… Harder days are coming for Israel.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 9:54 at 9:54
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    Today is beginning of the Iran-Persian Empire in middle east. I also assume Russia will be main destination to deal and solve the problems for MiddleEastern countries. Bye bye America.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 9:58 at 9:58
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    The international community seems to be bored of a lack of a major war to whinge about.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 10:24 at 10:24
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    BiBi said we should not involve ourselves in Syrian civil war.
    But when so many are involved such as Russia, Turkey, Iran, Hizbala, Iraq, USA, kurds… The last thing you say about this war that its Civil.
    We should have taken down Hasad 5 years ago as Barack said

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 11:10 at 11:10
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    o bo-ho now you have to fight your own battles better order more diapers for you big heroes that are only used to killing unarmed women and children. some one get the pop corn

    • Dec 21, 2018 @ 4:28 at 4:28
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      Israel has always fought her own battles. the USA was in Syria to protect the Kurds.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 11:27 at 11:27
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    “We do not have permanent relationships with sub-state entities.”

    So long as this policy applies equally to the PLO, I could care less if the U.S. is in Syria. The only true existential threat to Israel, is the prospect of a PLO state in Judea & Samaria.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 11:33 at 11:33
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    Trump changes like the wind. First he was pulling out of Syria, then staying to counter Iran, now pulling out. He seems to follow no long term plan, just his mood swings. No trusting such a person.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 11:37 at 11:37
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    Debka offers no facts to back up its claim that Israel was caught off guard.

    Perhaps Israel knew before everyone, and launched Operation Northern Shield to contain the fallout.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 12:11 at 12:11
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    Bombing Iranians in their home , will be a stop on their ambicions

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 12:15 at 12:15
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    The betrayal of the US’s ally in the fight against ISIS, the Kurds, is so utterly immoral and repugnant that no words suffice.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 12:40 at 12:40
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    OK, I don’t know what is being planned by all the different players but I think it might be worth considering the possibility that this will play out differently than the way(s) some people expect.

    This may not be so much a withdrawal by the USA as it is setting the stage for some other event or events.

    To some degree this might be viewed as allowing Turkey free rein to operate in Syria and to thus do things that the USA would not do. It might also be viewed as a strategic move at a time when things might be about to go quite hot and the USA troops in Syria may not be in a defensible situation.

    It could also potentially be viewed as abandoning the Kurds and the Yazidis and that is a tough thing to accept.

    But you could have Turkey going into Syria in a major way. This could be a big problem for Iran, Syria, and possibly Russian.

    The USA still maintains the ability to control the skies.

    And it may be that we expect Iran to enter into open conflict as sanctions bite deeper and may threaten the stability of that Iranian government. Moving our soldiers may mean we are consolidating forces, choosing the terrain for anticipated battle, and otherwise prepping the battlefield. A force of 2,200 would not be self-sustaining and they would be pretty vulnerable if the conflict went to a bigger scale.

    Oh, and there have long been reports that the Saudis and Iranians have nukes. The Iranians from the break-up of the Soviet Union and clandestine operations to obtain Soviet nukes. The reports on the Saudis mostly center around the idea that they financed the Pakistani nuke program and either received nukes in return or can demand delivery from Pakistan when strategically needed.

    Note that I do not know if the reports on Saudi or Iranian nukes are true, but there is at least some reason to suspect they may be true.

    I’ve heard effectively nothing about Turkey having nukes. Some speculation, however, that their effectively holding USA personnel hostage for a while at the Incirlik air base may have been intended to result in their obtaining USA nukes.

    Anyway, I’ve moral problems with the USA withdrawal if it turns out to be an abandonment of the Kurds. That would be a really difficult problem both morally and probably strategically.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 13:31 at 13:31
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    If what Debka is saying is not just made up waffle then its very interesting.

    1. It shows that Israelis intelligence agencies have dropped the ball in a very public and spectacular scale. Why if Iran, Hezbollah, Russia, Turkey, Irán and one would hace to say Syria and others in both the US and elsewhere knew could they not receive any indications or piece together any of the movements taking place.

    2. Israel is not trusted to be able to act responsibly and / or to maintain operational secrecy. No doubt the fear was that Israel would launch a false flag or other provocation to try to change facts on the ground.

    3. Turkey / Syria / Iran / Russia are of greater long term importance to the US. Which makes sence as these are undeveloped areas with massive potential for not just economic growth but also strategic benefits as the US pivots towards Asia.

    4. I expect that we will see moves to heal the rift between Iran and also Russia. Iran used to be the US’s most important allie in the region so it makes sence to try and mend the fence. America likewise would be wise to only fight a single major war at a time. If relationships with Iran and Russia can be mended enough for them to not hinder the US efforts and potentially even cease oil delivery to China in a time of war that would provide massive American leverage in the conflict.

    4. As Mr Grey pointed out yesterday War is coming and as Rival said karma will be paid and you will soon reap what you have sown.

    5. The Zionist / AIPAC influence within the Whitehouse is far less than expected. So happy days and a awesome pre-christmas gift to the region and the people of Syria.

    So you Goyi Jews have an awesome holiday season and a happy New Year drinking your national drink that nasty fermented male camel juice beverage that you all seem to enjoy so much while your influence slowly fades away…. as we move towards a one state solution with a Palestine majority 😉

    • Dec 21, 2018 @ 10:04 at 10:04
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      The US is moving out of Syria so that our troops will not be affected by the fallout after we drop bunker busters on Iran.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 14:17 at 14:17
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    The truth is Jews hate nobody and just want to be left alone and in peace.
    I am a Jewish Nationalist, a Zionist, and ex-military and I have friends from all religions, cultures and countries – I will fight to survive and protect my homeland, but truly, I have no hate nor fear.
    HATE = FEAR = WEAK.
    It would seem that you the hater over here.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 14:21 at 14:21
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    Some thoughts are best unspoken when trying to see through cobwebs of the misplaced wisdom of a forked-tongue adder wasted years chasing half lies and ballooning rumors. However, from better canyons of the mind seeking to end blind wandering stumble through often-tangled maze of just more starless nights, sunless days looking for a clue to lead Middle East to higher truth. Sometimes share secrets have been trapped by more smiles than more rope.

    Debka World Readers need a refreshing course in the Syrian War impact upon the Middle East. The Syrian Civil War started on the Ides of 15 March 2011. It has been an ongoing Multi-Sided Armed Conflict in Syria fought between the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic led by Assad Family took power through the Syrian Military and the Alawite Political Party since 1970. Assad Son needed help like a dimpled dragon flashing fire and smoke and then came along Allies such as Russia, Shia of Iran and Iraq, combined with Alawites and other Sunni forces.

    The Opposition is Free Syrian Army a loose faction in the Syrian Civil War founded on 29 July 2011 by Officers of the Syrian Armed Forces to bring down Assad Government and unfortunately each other in varying degrees and methods and now near defeat. The Syrian conflict has created the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. The country’s Pre-War 22 million population have estimates of deaths in the varying between 364,792 and 522,000. The UN has identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and around 5 million are refugees outside of Syria.

    When one fails by using the sword they always ask for more swords. Still, the smarter move in Syria is the study the Zerbabu or Nemalah also call Master Ants Tax Collectors, one tax collector is worth a 1,000 Soldiers because they provide the funding to Win Wars. Isil still exists in few pockets and only the Kurds have truly beaten them back as they protect their own Neighborhoods. Still, the the Kurdish leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces have refrained from reacting to the announced withdrawal. Turkey thinks this is the time to remove Kurds in Eastern Turkey, as if Arabs will welcome the Turks Masters back to the Ottoman Empire?

    As I see it, When the minds are baffled when the rules don’t fit the game. Especially when the world revolves in apathy as Overhead Smiles about America’s Exit will be turning into Frowns not just as we see in Washington Today, but in Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Russia more likely tomorrow. While Saudi Arabia, Israel and America Tax Collectors can still supply the Kurds with more funding and weapons for a prolonged battle inside Syria between the Kurds and the Turks. Keeping the Kurds still protective and more formidable than ever, not just in Syria, but in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. We shall see?

    • Dec 20, 2018 @ 18:19 at 18:19
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      O Ginger of the Horoscope…

      What say the stars about Erdogan the Magnificent bringing forth the new Ottoman Empire (in his dreams).

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 15:58 at 15:58
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    I suspect this decision is related to the failure of Iraqi kurds and syrian kurds to reach a mutual defense agreement. Or maybe they did reach a secret agreement, so the USA no longer needs to support them overtly? Let Yahweh’s will be done, the mid east is a hornet’s nest, and best left to itself to cool off a bit. If all jews could get along, they would have no danger. Same with kurds.

    Better the USA had kept out of the gulf wars, and just let them all duke it out. Daesh is a direct result of Saddam’s ouster. We exchanged a despot family for an entire despot caliphate.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 17:44 at 17:44
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    Bolton personally ‘furious at Trump’ – this is the end of end of the infamous Netanyahu-Neocon Clean Break War plan on Iran, the follow on to the infamous Netanyahu-Neocon Clean Break War plan on Iraq

    Bolton is furious at Trump but the end of the infamous Clean Break Plan of Netanyahu and his Neocons is a Festivus for the rest of us

    The Netanyahu-Neocon Clean Break War plan on Iran is of course underway currently as Netanyahu’s rolling operation on Iran, botched at kickoff with the smell test-failing diversionary operation against the Lebanon/Hezbollah old tunnels diversion.

    This oh so clever and sly rolling operation on Iran called the ‘North by Northeast Cover/Shield Operation on Iran’, is now officially misfired, fizzled, abandoned by Trump, abandoned by MbS, already been done by Obama and America once before in 20212,

    Everybody has fled Netanyahu’s plan but Netanyahu and his Neocons – well, it’s their Clean Break Plan and i guess mama loves this ugly kid and besides their jobs let alone livestyle depend on it

    Netanyahu gave WWIII and nobody came

    The end of the beginning has clarified somewhat

    Obama and the First Israeli General’s Revolt stuffed Netanyahu’s 2012 first in motion ‘triggering raid’ attack on Iran, his Clean Break War triggering raid, just prior to Obama’s 2nd election. Checkmate

    Aleppo once again finished off Netanyahu’s Syrian sly backdoor Ahab-fixated devotion to his Moby Clean Break War on Iran for a few months. Another decisive strategic defeat for Netanyahu

    As clear as a Papal announcement, the smoke signals from Bolton’s ears are the sine qua non of the end of end of the infamous Netanyahu-Neocon Clean Break War plan on Iran

    =====
    Last month, Mr Bolton tied any US withdrawal from Syria to the departure of pro-Iran militias and proxies. He was reportedly furious at Mr Trump’s change of course in the country.

    But those same sources confirm that it is Mr Trump who pulled the final plug on imminent withdrawal after his call with Mr Erdogan. Mr Bolton, the US Central Command that oversees military operations in Syria strongly opposed Mr Trump’s decision, while diplomats who handle the Syria file at the State Department were caught off guard.

    • Dec 20, 2018 @ 17:46 at 17:46
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      As sure as a Papal announcement, the smoke signals from Bolton’s ears are the sine qua non of the end of end of the infamous Netanyahu-Neocon Clean Break War plan on Iran

      That goes for all further Netanyahu-Neocon Clean Break War plans as well, and exposes the infamous Netanyahu-Neocon Clean Break War plan on Iraq to boot

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 18:01 at 18:01
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    BY betraying Israel Trump for sure will lose his presidency. Too bad the US leftists are even more antisemitic.

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 18:10 at 18:10
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    Are we beginning to see why Russia helped Trump get the presidency?

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 19:10 at 19:10
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    No idea why Trump has decided this after promising to come to Israel’s aid. However, moving the troops out will not be finished overnight but will take several weeks at the very least if not several months. Might he not have planned to help Israel first?

  • Dec 20, 2018 @ 23:21 at 23:21
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    Don’t worry. Trump is no fool. He will not let Russia/Iran have their way.
    He is more of a match to Putin than Hussein Obama (what an insult that such an idiot and America hater could ever be president of the U.S.A.). Do you broadcast your military moves to your enemies?

    Don’t forget how we killed 200 Russian soldiers trying to do Iran’s work (for money given Iran by Hussein Obama) of bridging Iran-Iraq-Syria-Israel.

    America be strong, thanks to Trump. Israel will benefit. By the way, Bibi is also no fool.

    • Dec 21, 2018 @ 5:21 at 5:21
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      Defense Secretary Mattis is in full agreement. Wait… Oh.

  • Dec 21, 2018 @ 4:36 at 4:36
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    Those who would take over the earth
    And shape it to their will Never, I notice, succeed.
    The earth is like a vessel so sacred
    That at the mere approach of the profane
    It is marred
    And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.

    For a time in the world some force themselves ahead
    And some are left behind,
    For a time in the world some make a great noise
    And some are held silent,
    For a time in the world some are puffed fat
    And some are kept hungry,
    For a time in the world some push aboard
    And some are tipped out:

    At no time in the world will a man who is sane
    Over-reach himself,
    Over-spend himself,
    Over-rate himself.

    Lao Tzu’s Verse 29

  • Dec 21, 2018 @ 5:36 at 5:36
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    God the Debka forums are the best part of the site and the main reason that I visit most days. Jim Carroll is one funny guy & Mr Grey you guys are awesome.

    Riva, Tommy, Mr_ Jesus, Ginger great stuff and lots of laughs.

    Awesome insults

  • Dec 21, 2018 @ 10:43 at 10:43
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    This could be reversed if Trump gets the wall. Demonstrating Democrats hypocricy on security expenditure for Home V Abroad

  • Dec 21, 2018 @ 21:39 at 21:39
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    MAYBE A PEACE PLAN COMING. SEEMS THEY ARE PUTTING, PRESSURE ON ISRAEL. AS ALL OF ITS ENEMIES SIT ON THE BOARDERS.

  • Dec 22, 2018 @ 15:17 at 15:17
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    There are only 2000 US troops in Syria. Maybe it’s time Middle Eastern countries sent their own troops to fight rather than having the Western powers fight for them.

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