DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 21, 2015
A mighty explosion struck the Iranian embassy in Damascus Wednesday night, May 20, debkafile reveals exclusively. First reports are of “heavy casualties” and serious damage to the embassy compound. Tehran and Damascus have clamped a curtain of secrecy down on the disaster, although the thunder of the explosion was widely heard. The embassy explosion came on the heels Wednesday of the fall of the ancient city of Palmyra to the Islamic State, which also entailed the loss of the main Syrian air base for the delivery by air of military equipment for Assad’s army.
Next challenge for US after Ramadi defeat is averted: Iranian ship nearing Yemen is redirected to Djibouti
DEBKAfile Special Report May 20, 2015
Two days after the blow to US strategy in the region landed by Ramadi’s fall to the Islamic State, the Obama administration faces its next test in the region: An Iranian cargo vessel accompanied by two warships plans to break the US-Saudi-Egyptian blockade of Yemen by docking at Hodeida and refusing to submit to a search for illicit weapons. debkafile: After warning that a search would be deemed an act of war, Iran climbed down Wednesday, May 20, and accepted a UN search in Djibouti, as demanded by Washington.
Ramadi’s fall opens ISIS road to Baghdad. Jordan warns US air strikes won’t stop the terrorists’ advance
DEBKAfile Special Report May 18, 2015
Jordan’s King Abdullah has warned Washington that US air strikes alone can’t stop the Islamic State’s advances in Iraq and Syria. What is more, they leave his kingdom next door exposed to an Islamist incursion in the south that would also put Saudi Arabia in peril. Abdullah offered the view that the US Delta Special Forces operation in eastern Syria Saturday was designed less to be an effective assault on ISIS’s core strength and more to play down the real Islamist threat facing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf emirates. Washington did not heed him.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 17, 2015
The US Delta Special Operations raid that killed ISIS oil chief Abu Sayyaf Saturday, May 16, could not have taken place without prior US coordination with Damascus and Moscow. debkafile: Washington’s denial of coordination did not preclude a prior notice to Moscow, which then passed it on to Damascus. The operation therefore fixed another Middle East landmark: The US, Russia and the Assad regime pulled together for the first time against the Islamic State, for an operation that was more extensive than reported. Not one, but five top ISIS commanders, were killed
DEBKAfile Special Report May 16, 2015
America’s first ground operation in the Syrian war targeted the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. On Saturday, May 16, Special Operations forces attacked an ISIS house in the Deir a-Zour district of eastern Syria, and killed the high-value Islamist commander and oil and gas chief, Abu Sayyaf, when he resisted capture. debkafile: Catching him alive was preferable in view of his importance to the Islamist group as overseer of the Syrian and Iraqi oil fields they have commandeered, and energy sales which net the group's war chest an estimated $5million a day.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 15, 2015
Ramadi, provincial capital of western Iraqi Anbar, fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Friday, May 15. The town, 110 km west of Baghdad, controls the traffic on the Euphrates River. Small pockets of Iraqi troops are still stranded there after taking hundreds of casualties. debkafile: ISIS’s new fighting momentum has carried it across Anbar province to capture Jubba, next door to Iraq’s biggest air base at Al-Ansar where US officers are training Iraqi troops. The jihadis are also moving in on the oil town of Baiji.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 14, 2015
The B-52H bomber which flew directly from the US to join a multilateral anti-terror exercise in Jordan was hardly the right weapon for swatting ISIS, but better suited for a strong message to Tehran and Damascus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 7, 2015
Obama is dead against army the Kurds lest it upset his Iranian applecart. But Barzani warned him that without the peshmerga he had better forget about a campaign for Mosul.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 5, 2015
The two gunmen who Sunday, May 3, tried - and failed - to shoot up an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, northeast of Dallas, sounded a wakeup call for US counter-terrorism agencies. Both homegrown Islamists were shot dead. The incident betrayed the “human intelligence” weakness of US and Western agencies – a shortage of undercover agents to mingle in communities which may produce terrorists.
First ISIS Shooting Attack into Israeli Golan, First Ambush of US-Backed Syrian Rebels near Quneitra
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 30, 2015
ISIS has pushed down from eastern Syria into the South reaching to within a stone’s throw of Israel’s Golan border. The jihadis conducted their first ambush against US-backed Syrian rebels near Quneitra, killing six officers and men.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 26, 2015
The Middle East is on the brink of its fourth war. debkafile reports. Egypt has massed large-scale ground and air forces in the Western Desert, preparing to capture eastern Libya – Cyrenaica - from ISIS occupation. The offensive may be launched by dropping Egyptian marines from the sea on the Libyan coast around Derna (pop: 100,000), which ISIS has made its provincial capital. ISIS is rushing reinforcements to Libya from Syria and Iraq. The Obama administration objects to a direct Egyptian military operation, as CIA chief John Brennan informed President Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 23, 2015
By every military parameter, the Pentagon report finds ISIS superior to any Arab elite force – not just terrorists. Its 30,000 troops fall into three groups, the largest led by seasoned Iraqi field officers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 17, 2015
Thursday and Friday, April 16-17, two branches of Al Qaeda took the lead in violent conflicts, catapulting key areas of the Middle East into more peril. In Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and in Iraq, the Islamic State (ISIS), launched new offensives 3.050 kilometer apart. debkafile: Both branches of the Islamist terror movement used the absence of competent adversarial troops on the ground – American and Saudi - to push forward in the two arenas. They also exploited the contradictions in Washington’s attitude towards their foe, Tehran.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 16, 2015
ISIS never tried to capture wide, open swathes of territory, only the main cities from which the Islamists have scarcely been dislodged. Rather than experiencing setbacks, they are still on the offensive, not going after Ramadi.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2015
Obama’s detente with Iran and recognition of Bashar Assad’s key role in Syria has produced an incredibly sinister new twist in the Syrian war. debkafile reveals: The Yarmouk refugee camp and its 16,000 occupants face not one enemy, but two: the Islamic State and Assad’s army, which opened the way for the ISIS attack. Assad first agreed to split energy revenues with ISIS and went on to outsource the terrorists for a demonstration in Yarmouk to allies and foes alike that he holds the whip hand in the Syrian war and the fate of the Palestinians.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 26, 2015
In the Yemen operation, the Sunni camp led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the GCC cuts short Iran’s supplies to the Houthi rebels and advance on Aden.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 26, 2015
Obama rushed to Iran’s aid with air and intelligence support when the Iraqi forces led by Revolutionary Guards officers were stuck in their offensive to root ISIS out of Tikrit.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 25, 2015
The offensive launched by the Iraqi army and Iranian-led Shiite militias to capture Sunni Tikrit from the Islamic State has been thrown back - despite rosy coalition assessments. The fighting died down because the casualties ISIS inflicted on the mixed force and its Iranian officers were too heavy to bear and continue fighting. Complete Iraqi units fled in disarray. This outcome hangs a big question mark over the US tactic of relying for ground warfare against ISIS on local forces under Iranian command. Legendary Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani faces hard questions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 19, 2015
The Saudis and Gulf are pulling the financial rug from under Amman for playing ball with Tehran at US instigation. Israel may also withdraw its shield from the royal family.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 19, 2015
To overcome ISIS, which is fighting with sophisticated electronic and cyber weapons as well as terrorist tactics, Iran will need to deploy its air force and the West will have to raise a force of 100,000 professional soldiers.