DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 17, 2011
Lebanon has a new government headed by Najib Mikati, ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hizballah. Formed suddenly on June 13, the 30-minister lineup has earmarked an unprecedented 18 portfolios – including defense and interior – to Hizballah loyalists and pro-Syrian politicians. While fighting the uprising against his rule, Bashar Assad has recaptured Beirut. The appointment of friendly Fayez Ghosn as defense minister places the army at the service of Damascus and portends trouble on the Lebanese-Israeli border.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 16, 2011
Turkey considers giving Bashar Assad a last chance before resorting to military action after receiving the promise of a US shield against Iranian or Syrian missile retaliation. Assad, for his part, is rigidly fixated on his harsh crackdown and a victory over the rebels against his regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 16, 2011
Assad's decision to bank on the army to extinguish the revolt against him is paying off. The US and the West could have starved him of funds for his crackdown by an embargo on Syrian oil experts – but refrained from doing so. In any case, the Syrian economy is about to crash
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis June 12, 2011
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is championing the Sunni Muslims of Jisr a-Shughour against the tanks and helicopters of his erstwhile allies Bashar Assad, Iran and Hizballah, to promote his ambition as a leading Muslim power. Sunni Muslims outside are avidly watching the Muslim Brotherhood's first challenge in any Arab uprising to an Arab army in battle, hoping for large-scale Syrian army defections in defiance of the ongoing massive purge of the rebellious town.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 10, 2011
The Syrian crisis has taken a dramatic turn: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday night, June 10, decided to move his army into northern Syria where battles were blazing in Idlib, Maarat al-Numaan and Jisr al-Shuhour, debkafile's sources report. His government is considering defining its mission as the protection of civilian lives against a barbaric ruler citing the UN Security Council resolution on Libya. Refugee camps will also go up on the Syrian side of the border to stem the flow into Turkey.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 10, 2011
The Arab revolts are resolving themselves into bids for getting rid of three rulers who refuse to step down, Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh, who survived an assassination bid and promises to return as good as new; Syria's Bashar Assad, whom the West allows to survive, and Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, who promises to outlive NATO's attempts on his life.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 6, 2011
Thousands of paramilitary rebels wielding guns and explosives have seized the northwestern Syrian region between the towns of Homs, Hama and Latakiya. Syrian State TV interrupted its broadcasts Monday, June 6, to announce that "terrorist gangs" had killed at least 120 troops and security officers, most of them in the embattled town of Jisr al-Shughour. debkafile reports: Syrian President Bashar Assad has dispatched strategic reserve Brigade 555 and the army's 85th Brigade to regain control of the area.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 5, 2011
Syrian President Bashar Assad's security machine is creaking judging by its failure to raise thousands of Palestinian and Syrian volunteers to brave the Israeli troops manning the Golan Sunday, June 5. debkafile's intelligence sources reveal that even the few hundred willing to turn out demanded an exorbitant fee: $1,000 for every demonstrator who cut a piece of razor wire from the Israeli border fence and $10,000 for the families of volunteers shot by Israeli troops before they reached their goal.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 4, 2011
Two unforeseen events Friday, June 3 rekindled Syrian protests with full force - just as Syrian President Bashar Assad was preparing to celebrate the suppression of the uprising against his regime with active Iranian and Hizballah help: The leaders of the Syrian opposition-in-exile meeting in Antalya under Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's aegis struck a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood which brought 100,000 Brotherhood loyalists back on the streets in Hama and evoked a fresh bloodbath.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 2, 2011
Bashar Assad's survival unscratched from the uprising against him would have been impossible without expert and active aid from Iran and Hizballah. It has left the radical Iran-led axis alive and kicking. And the Syrian experience has honed the Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah collaboration into a formidable pro-Shiite combined fighting force. Assad will now seek revenge on his foes.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 31, 2011
Damascus is humming in anticipation of a speech in the coming hours by Syrian President Bashar Assad declaring victory over the 10-week uprising against his regime, debkafile reports. Two pockets of resistance still hold out around Homs, but the protest ringleaders fled briefly to the Lebanese port of Tripoli and will soon be on their way to a West European safe haven. It is not clear how many of the 10,000 protesters arrested will benefit from the amnesty announced Tuesday.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 29, 2011
Bashar Assad and Muammar Qaddafi look like surviving the "Arab Spring" revolts against them. Neither is buckling under the various batteries of US and Western pressure. Assad has begun regaining control of his country, while all five of Qaddafi's brigades have survived NATO pounding intact. To break the impasse, debkafile sources reveal that on the G8 sidelines, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev closed a secret deal: Assad would stay and Qaddafi must go.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 26, 2011
The military and intelligence cliques of Assad's inner circle are sharply divided among themselves over the handling of the Syrian uprising: One group calls for a letup and compromise, while the other threatens to resist any easing of the crackdown by force.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 25, 2011
debkafile's intelligence sources report that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has secretly ordered his government officials to dump Ankara's ties with Damascus with all speed and allowed Syrian opposition leaders to meet in Antalya on May 31-June 2 on ways to topple Bashar Assad. He is also thinking twice about a Turkish role in the June flotilla for breaking the Gaza blockade for fear Assad might seize on a clash at sea as a pretext for attacking Israel in an undesirable show of Syrian-Turkish solidarity.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 17, 2011
debkafile reports exclusively that President Barack Obama is ready to stamp down hard on Syrian President Bashar Assad in person for his inhuman crackdown on protest and the massacre of hundreds of dissenters. After five mass graves were found near Deraa, Obama may announce sanctions against the Syrian president even before his May 19 speech on US relations with Middle East Muslim nations, as well as recalling Ambassador Robert Ford from Damascus. Syria has threatened to hit back at Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 13, 2011
Assad's harsh crackdown appears to be working. Unless he is explicitly condemned by the US president, the main cities of Damascus and Aleppo will continue to hold back from the popular anti-regime uprising. Syrian security chiefs have begun celebrating victory and preparing a massive purge of the opposition.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 11, 2011
Egypt's military rulers are letting Hamas' political leader Khaled Meshaal move his base out of troubled Damascus to the Gaza Strip. The pledge came as an inducement for his signing the Palestinian unity pact with Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah on May 4, as disclosed for the first time by debkafile's intelligence sources. In Damascus, Bashar Assad's cousin Rami Makhlouf threatened Syria would go to war against Israel if the US and Europe did not back off from supporting the anti-regime uprising.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 6, 2011
With every passing day Bashar Assad loses ground. His army is increasingly insubordinate, refusing orders to shoot protesters and his ruling Baath party elite drawing away in disgust at his brutal methods.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 5, 2011
Thursday, May 5, Israel augmented the units deployed on its border with Syria and the intersection of the Israel-Syria-Jordan frontiers in the Har Dov area against the spate of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in flight from President Bashar Assad's bloody crackdown in Damascus and the Daraa region. The UN force on the Golan Heights – UNDOF – is likewise beefing up the contingents policing Israeli-Syrian ceasefire lines. Some, turned away at Turkish, Jordanian and Lebanese borders, are heading for Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 1, 2011
The Lebanese Shiite Hizballah has decided the Assad regime is sinking. debkafile's military sources report the organization is preparing to pull its heavy, long-range weapons out of storage in Syrian military facilities – no longer sure they are safe there – and transport them to Lebanon. Hizballah may even risk Israel making good on its threat to destroy the Iran-made Fatah-110 surface missiles, its Syrian equivalent M-600 and mobile SA-8 (Gecko) anti-air battery - if they cross the border.