DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 2, 2010
If Iyad Allawi manages to form a coalition government in Baghdad, he may disappoint his Saudi and Syrian sponsors and become the strongman they feared Nouri al-Maliki would be. On the plus side he will keep government control of Iraqi oil and allow US bases to stay.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 15, 2010
Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was injured in an attempt on his life last Thursday, March 11, debkafile discloses. His armored convoy came under an RPG-automatic fire attack after a bomb hit his car. US and Iraqi authorities have blacked out the incident, but our sources learn he is being treated at the American military hospital for moderate-to-serious injuries, lifting the chances of his main rival Iyad Allawi to become
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 8, 2007
Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden presented a brushed up new image in his first video speech in three years on September 8. His style had changed too as he bid to challenge President George W. Bush's recent assertions that the West is engaged in a long ideological war with Islamist extremism.
Certainly his neatly trimmed and fashionably darkened beard, his immaculate silken robes and sophisticated oratory were in sharp contrast to the harsh, out-of-the-desert, Koran-thumping Osama bin Laden, who inflamed Muslim masses seven years ago when he gloated over his mass murder of Americans.
Has the repackaged bin Laden lost his Islamist charisma?
debkafile's al Qaeda experts say that, while polishing his public persona for Western consumption, Osama bin Laden has also adopted a new style for his jihadist following, that of religious guide, supreme mentor, the great ideologue and imam, who leaves crude threats to others.
Many Western pundits claimed that the new speech contained no threats. Our sources caution against falling into this error. They note that al Qaeda's leader may have changed his marketing tactics, but not his spots: His diatribe starts with the words: "Praise to Allah and his law of retaliation - 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed.'"
Despite its lack of specific warnings, several security analysts said bin Laden's video could be a signal to his followers to launch new strikes.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 14, 2005
For the first since the US-led invasion of March 2003, post-Saddam Iraq stands on the threshold of a genuine tipping point. This is because the Sunni Arabs have finally made up their minds to vote in the Dec. 15 election for the 275-seat National Assembly that will determine the shape of Iraq's regime.
Despite the many tribulations, debkafile points to some hopeful signs.
1. The expected Sunni Muslim voter turnout is the brightest prospect. They have come to acknowledge that their earlier boycotts cost them missed chances. Had they voted en masse, they might have thrown out the constitution devised by the Shiite-Kurdish coalition. Now they are going after a solid Sunni share in the institutions that govern the country.
2. The National Reconciliation Conference that took place in Cairo in October at the initiative of the Arab League and behind-the-scenes US blessing, opened up a quiet diplomatic channel for American diplomats in Iraq led by ambassador Khalilzad to talk with a group of Iraqi Baathist Sunni insurgent leaders.
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