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.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 30, 2011
After shelling, tank assaults and siege left 100 protesters dead in the last 48 hours without quelling the unrest, Western intelligence sources believe the menace to the regime has careered too far for President Bashar Assad to hold it at bay - an assessment shared by Ankara. The protest is likely to keep on spreading and evolving into armed rebellion. Those sources estimate the uprising as already encompassing 6-7 million Syrians (out of a population of 26 million) and a third of its area.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 27, 2011
For the first time in the anti-Assad uprising, elements of Syria's popular protest movement are turning to armed revolt on lines similar to those marking the Libyan conflict, after discovering the regime's military crackdown is masterminded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers. Wednesday, April 27, armed civilians were seen for the first time, some carrying anti-tank weapons, in the Daraa district of the South and Banias and Jableh on the coast. Washington is preparing new sanctions against Damascus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 26, 2011
US President Barack Obama continues to avoid direct action against Bashar Assad's increasingly savage crackdown on dissidents by consolidating his partnership with Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After talking on the phone early Tuesday April 26, they voiced "deep concern over the unacceptable use of violence" in Syria – but no condemnation of the Syrian ruler or his tank charge against civilians. Assad has thus won another couple of days at least to finish off the brutal purge of his opponents.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 25, 2011
Bashar Assad has launched all-out war on his people. Tanks firing artillery, infantry units, commandoes and snipers were deployed for the first time in Syrian cities at daybreak Monday, April 25 for the most brutal assault on any anti-government protesters in the four-month Arab uprising. Hundreds are estimated to have been massacred and thousands injured and left to die in the streets. Syria hopes to conceal the scale of the carnage in Daraa by shutting its borders with Jordan.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 23, 2011
Security forces and demonstrators continued to clash Saturday, April 23 in Damascus, Hama, Daraa and nearby Izraa after Friday's bloodbath left more than 100 dead and hundreds injured. Syrian snipers shot dead at least 15 mourners, injured dozens, at the funerals. Two Syrian lawmakers resigned their seats in protest at security police brutality against civilians. Damascus rejected President Barack Obama's charge of Iranian help to repress citizens. France warned regime leaders they could face international prosecution.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 20, 2011
President Bashar Assad, while abrogating Syria's 48-year old emergency laws Tuesday, April 19, immediately replaced them with new draconian measures banning any public protest against his regime and permitting midnight arrests. His bloody showdown with widening circles of protesters is in its final act, debkafile's Middle East sources report. It now threatens to explode into a sectarian war. Assad has asked neighboring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq to seal their borders with Syria against arms smuggling and a refugee exodus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 17, 2011
Syrian troops were fanned out along the country's borders Sunday, April 17 to choke off the smuggling of arms, funds and foreign agents to the opposition, whose uprising has spread to every corner of the country. More than 5,000 supply trucks are backed up on the Lebanese, Jordanian and Iraqi borders, starving the Syrian economy of essentials. Damascus suspects Saudi Arabia of commandeering the smuggling ring which armed Hizballah and Hamas for arming the Syrian opposition.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 14, 2011
Assad looks for scapegoat for his troubles after his fights against the burgeoning uprising against him reaches a stalemate. Tehran found a ready ear in pinning the blame on Saudi Arabia.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 14, 2011
In an unexpected turn in the month-long popular revolt against Bashar Assad's rule, Syrian TV alleged Thursday night, April 14 that the man behind the uprisings is an American whom they promised to parade soon. No more information was offered about the man's identity or how or when he was apprehended. debkafile: This is yet another sign of the depth of the authorities' desperation after failing by the most brutal methods to suppress the anti-Assad marches.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 14, 2011
Damascus was alive with rumors Thursday, April 14 that President Bashar Assad and his family were preparing to flee to Saudi Arabia. They were, sparked by the discovery that several high-ranking Syrian officials and army officers were evacuating their families to Persian Gulf emirates. US officials also disclosed Iran was secretly helping Assad crack down on his own people. Syrian authorities and opposition are bracing for their next test of strength Friday, April 15, amid signs of panic in Assad regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2011
The pro-democracy, anti-Assad days of rage spread dramatically across Syria Friday, April 8, seriously shaking Bashar Assad's 11-year old grip on power for the first time since the movement began three weeks ago. At least 50 people were killed – 30 demonstrators and 20 security officers - and hundreds injured - many of them in the southern town of Daraa, the epicenter of the opposition movement. In some places Syrian officers disguised as protesters opened fire from inside the crowds.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2011
Assad, though helped by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even the US, is in a panic because his domestic support is crumbling and he is running out of loyal troops to defend his regime . The Syrian ruler knows better than most how fickle external support can be. When the chips are down, no foreign power will help him outgun or outrun his own people - and they refused to be pacified by the bones he tries throwing them.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 26, 2011
The Syrian ruler faces an unexpected Sunni revolt against his minority Allawite regime which is spreading fast and cannot be suppressed without using his Sunni-dominated military. Will Assad call on Tehran for help? Or Hizballah? Or the pro-Iranian radical Palestinian organizations? Or focus on saving Damascus? Those are the dilemmas facing him this week unless he stages a diversion by heating up the border with Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 21, 2011
In an effort to contain spreading popular disorders against his regime, Syrian President Bashar Assad Monday, March 21, sent the 4th Armored Division commanded by his younger brother Maher Assad to suppress the three-day uprising in Darra (Deraa). The troops have also severed the South from Damascus and Jabal ad-Duruz where a demonstration is planned for March 26.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 18, 2011
By stepping into Bahrain, the Saudis took the calculated risk of accelerating Sunni-Shiite discord across the region. Because of the challenge to its religious supremacy from Iraq, Tehran is re-thinking the wisdom of its decision to hijack the Arab uprisings.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 13, 2011
As Washington commended the Arab League for approving a proposed no-fly zone over Libya and European powers drew up plans for saving the anti-Qaddafi movement from defeat, Syria began sending Muammar Qaddafi supplies of arms, ammunition and weapons spare parts to sustain his effort to crush the uprising. In the last 24 hours, rebel militias were pushed out of the two key oil towns of Ras Lanuf and Brega in eastern Libya by pro-Qaddafi troops landed by sea.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 4, 2011
Most worrisome question for Middle East rulers is this: How come that all the revolts in Arab countries have somehow benefited Tehran and its allies? Unease is growing in Israel over US policy the uprisings and the changing regional landscape in favor of its enemies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 18, 2011
The Obama administration prepares to approach Track II of its Syrian dialogue led by ex-President Jimmy Carter and a flock of senior Syrian figures. Their first task is to shore Bashar Assad up against his own opposition which is gearing up for street protests. Opponents in Washington warn them that Assad has fooled US diplomats countless times and will do so again.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 4, 2011
Arab rulers have come up with three theories to account for Barack Obama's inexplicable policy of removing one friendly Middle East leader, Mubarak and abandoning another, Saad Hariri. Above all, they are scared of joining hands with Washington for any joint endeavor and petrified with fear of the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power. To pacify their disaffected peoples, they are pledging reforms and promising benefits.