DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2013
As Syrian rebels advance on the heart of Damascus, Assad arms the 4th Division with chemical weapons for use if necessary to halt the advance. Al Qaeda has moved shop to Lebanon and is harassing Hizballah with nightly raids.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2013
Iran is squeezing Assad hard to push Hizballah’s weapons out of Syrian stores across the border into Lebanon. He is too heavily dependent on Tehran to refuse. Assad is also waiting for the weather to clear to settle his accounts with Israel with a limited military strike.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 5, 2013
As Israeli parties haggle over a new government coalition, Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Moscow, sits firmly in the saddle and plays hardball with the Syrian opposition. Former military intelligence chief Asher Yadlin says Iran can “achieve nuclear breakout in four to six months.” Ahmadinejad invites Egypt to join Syria, Hizballah and a nuclear Iran for an unbeatable coalition to “solve the Palestinian question” and wipe Israel off the map so that he can pray on Temple Mount, Jerusalem.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 4, 2013
Syrian ruler Bashar Assad has ordered the resumption of weapons transfers to the Lebanese Hizballah, debkafile reports exclusively. He gave this assurance to Iran’s National Security Director Saeed Jalilee when they met Sunday, Feb. 3, four days after Israel’s reported air strike on the Jamraya military complex near Damascus. Israel is anticipating tricks for smuggling the hardware across to Hizballah by sending round-the-clock air force patrols over the Lebanese-Syrian border for monitoring traffic and exercising control.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 3, 2013
After talks with Iran’s security director Saeed Jalili, Bashar Assad said Sunday, Feb. 3 that Syria was able to confront "current threats... and aggression.” debkafile: They discussed activating the secret mutual defense pact binding Iran, Syria and Hizballah in retaliation for Israel’s reported attack on a Syrian military complex. They took into account a harsh Israeli counter-response in the light of Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s tough warning in Munich that Assad’s fall was imminent and would be a major blow for Iran and Hizballah.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 30, 2013
The Syrian government stated Wednesday night, Jan. 30 that the Israeli Air Force planes had struck an arms depot at Jamaraya near Damascus leaving dead and wounded and damaging military vehicles. There was no Israeli air strike on a Hizballah arms convoy, said the statement from Damascus in response to earlier reports that Israeli air sorties Wednesday had destroyed Hizballah missile and arms convoys ready to cross from Syria into Lebanon. No comment from Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013
Middle East leaders note the absence of an American military foothold in any of the region’s trouble spots, be they Syria, Mali, Algeria or Yemen. Obama is seen to have stepped back from the Middle East and turned his face toward the Pacific.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013
Moscow and Tehran are capitalizing on President Barack Obama's withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East and his maneuvers for avoiding military involvement in its trouble spots. Russia is quietly riding piggy-back on Iran's overt drive for influence in Cairo, hoping to recover the high standing enjoyed by the Soviet Union up until 1972. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have sent their aides to Cairo to coordinate their moves.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 21, 2013
Moscow Monday, Jan. 21 said two Russian planes would land in Beirut Tuesday to evacuate 100 Russians from Syria, and contingency plans were in hand to lift 30,000 Russians from the embattled country. debkafile: This was decided after Bashar Assad told his high command to organize mobile armored strike groups for a big push to evict rebel forces from the places they captured. Russia and Iran have stepped up their arms deliveries to Assad’s army by sea and by air in support of Assad's coming offensive.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 9, 2013
The three-way prisoner exchange of thousands of Syrian, Turkish and Iranian prisoners Wednesday, Jan. 9, was the first deal between Bashar Assad and the rebels. This turning-point in the 22-month Syrian conflict was made possible by the Syrian ruler’s confidence in his survival and the rebels’ realization that it was their only chance to save some of their war gains. The POW swap may lead to a lull in the fighting as both sides build up their resources – either to win the war or improve their future bargaining position.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 8, 2013
“Syria’s chemical weapons are under control for now, but no one can tell what the situation will be five minutes from now,” a senior Israeli defense official told debkafile Tuesday, Jan.8. “The situation is dangerously fluid because there is no certainty about who is in control at any moment.” In late November, Israel sent the US satellite imagery showing a secret Syrian unit mixing sarin and filling 500-pound bombs for airplanes. debkafile: Those bombs are still active and ready for use at two hours' notice.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 6, 2013
With a buildup of 16 Russian warships carrying thousands of marines on the Syrian coast “to deter the West from deploying ground forces in Syria” - and remain until Easter, Syrian Bashar Assad could afford to brazen it out Sunday, Jan. 6, in his first public speech in seven months. Syria no longer takes dictation from anyone, he said. Citizens must defend their country against “a war fought by a handful of Syrians and many foreigners.” He rejected dialogue with the opposition as “puppets fabricated by the West.”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2013
Obama again warns Assad not to use chemical weapons, but instead the Syria ruler starts moving them north and getting them ready for operations. US Congressman Mike Rogers says they are in condition use at a moment's notice.
DEBKAfile Video December 19, 2012
debkafile Exclusive: The Russians have given Bashar Assad his most sophisticated weapon thus far – the Iskander cruise missile which has a hypersonic speed of 1.3 miles per second. The Syrian ruler now has at his disposal a fearsome armory of chemical weapons and a top-line missile.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2012
Amid another peak wave of violence in Syria, Washington has quietly withdrawn from its waters the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its Strike Group and the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group with 2,000 Marines aboard. Russian vessels have meanwhile unloaded at Tartus a large consignment of arms for Assad’s army. Adding to stresses around Syria, Ahmadinejad cancelled a scheduled trip to Turkey, citing the warning by Iran’s military chief that the deployment of Patriots in Turkey heralded world war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 10, 2012
Some of the chemical weapons pushed north by the Assad regime may have been sent from Syrian bases at Jabal Kalamon to Hizballah’s Lebanese Beqaa Valley strongholds, to keep them out of rebel hands, including al Qaeda, debkafile reports. Hizballah is thought to have split up the consignment among different bases to make them harder to attack. Assad is believed to have directed his troops to use chemical weapons if the rebels are near to seizing part of Damascus international airport.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 9, 2012
US, Israeli, Jordanian and Turkish special forces are on the ground in Syria, armed with special gear for combating chemical arms. They are close enough to count the convoys carrying poison gas weapons, augmented by US military surveillance satellites and drones able to pinpoint their position at any moment. But it is feared that Bashar Assad has moved the chemical arms to secret caches and so US and other Western forces are poised opposite Syria’s borders ready to strike for any unforeseen move.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 8, 2012
US, Turkish, British, Jordanian and French forces stand ready around Syrian borders awaiting the order to go forward still to come from US President Barack Obama. debkafile: President Bashar Assad is regrouping his army in defense array in strategic parts of Damascus, while planting mines and bomb traps in abandoned bases. Convoys carrying missiles, shells and canisters armed with chemical weapons continue to ply roads to the north, while the airlift of Iranian arms is rerouted to Palmyra.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 7, 2012
Sources close to the French Defense Ministry reported Friday, Dec. 7, that a Western-Arab military intervention against the Assad regime will begin shortly with the participation of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan and other anti-Assad Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. debkafile: French and British warships have joined the USS Eisenhower carrier off Syria. The mission would combine an air blitz and special operations forces on the ground for wiping out Assad’s chemical arms stocks, air force and air defense batteries.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2012
President Barack Obama is holding back from ordering an attack on the Syrian army’s chemical units – just as the Syrian ruler is abstaining from issuing the “go” order to use those weapons. It seems that neither wants to go first. Stormy weather is a complicating factor which plays to Assad’s advantage.