DEBKAfile Special Report February 4, 2012
The West and Russia had a major showdown Saturday Feb. 5 over the Arab League resolution calling on Bashar Assad to step down. US President Barack Obama said the UN must take a stand against his "relentless brutality" and hold a vote before the end of the day. The vote was defeated by Russian and China vetoes. debkafile: Moscow backed its hard line against the West by putting Rapid Reaction Force (aka Spetsnaz) units on the ready to set out for Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 3, 2012
To pierce the layers of armor devised by Syrian, Russian and Iranian strategists to keep Assad afloat, the Western-Arab bloc is recruiting top Syrian generals to march on Damascus and unseat the dictator.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 31, 2012
Syrian President Bashar Assad is reported by Persian Gulf sources Tuesday, Jan. 31 to have confided to his advisers that he will start up a regional conflict if the UN Security Council calls on him to step down. The heads of the Syrian armed forces and intelligence have been given their orders. Other sources tell debkafile that the Russian flotilla in Tartus appears to be on alert and Sunday, a US nuclear submarine and destroyer sailed through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 30, 2012
President Bashar Assad Sunday, Jan. 30, pulled in the Syrian Republican Guard and the 4th armored division commanded by his brother Maher Assad from the north to Damascus, debkafile reports exclusively. He deployed them in battle positions in the capital for the first time following an intelligence tipoff that one of the armored division commanders had been won over by Western powers and persuaded to stage a coup d'etat in time for Tuesday's UN Security Council meeting on Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 26, 2012
The Syrian ruler is still fully in control in Damascus, contrary to the reports propagated by the opposition. He is still backed by the high army command and supported by Iran and Russia. The Assad regime will be in danger only if two of those three backers turn against him.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 20, 2012
Bashar Assad, universally hated and despised for his brutality, is confounding predictions of his imminent downfall with the help of tactical, arms and propaganda assistance from Russia and Iran. Al Qods Commander Maj. Gen. Haj Qassem Soleimani directs the Iranian team in Damascus and military advisers attached to Syrian Army riot dispersal units. From Lebanon, Hizballah pumps out emergency reinforcements for the Syrian military.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 22, 2011
As NATO cargo planes airlifted Libyan fighters to join the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army units in Turkey, Syrian forces armed with Russian spy satellite intelligence waylaid FSA rebels and deserters, killing them where they stood. A large-scale exercise prepares Syrian army to repel a combined offensive.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2011
Expanded Russian military support for the Assad regime was underscored by the deployment Friday, Dec. 16, of advanced Moscow-supplied Yakhont (SSN-26) shore-to-sea missiles along Syria's Mediterranean shore to fend off a potential invasion by sea. Last week, Russia airlifted to Syria 3 million face masks against chemical and biological weapons; and the Admiral Kutznetsov strike group headed out to Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Ankara; Syrian Vice President Farouk a-Shara in Moscow.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 11, 2011
Iran is driving a hard bargain for granting Russian and Chinese teams access to the US stealth drone RQ-170 it captured undamaged last week. debkafile reports: The price, they were told, includes advanced nuclear and missile technology, especially systems using solid fuel, the last word on centrifuges for enriching uranium and the S-300PMU-1 air defense system, which Moscow has consistently refused to sell Tehran. Israel's prime minister sent foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to Moscow to try and stop the deal.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 9, 2011
Iran's electronic trap for snaring the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, one of the world's most secret drone programs in almost perfect condition, must be accounted a huge military and intelligence coup and a landmark in the long tussle over Tehran's nuclear program. It may have acquired the technology for its cyber attack from Pakistan, China, or even Russia.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 1, 2011
After failing in Libya, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev are determined not to let Syria, Moscow's only strategic partner in the Middle East, slip out of their hands. If Bashar Assad can't be saved, Moscow wants to be sure Damascus does not fall completely under Western sway.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 27, 2011
Twenty-four hours before the Arab League Sunday, Nov. 27, clamped down sanctions on the Assad regime, the first ever against a member state, the armies of Syria's seven neighbors were already scrambling into position on standby for retaliation. debkafile: Israeli armored brigades moved up to the Lebanese and Syrian borders; Ankara placed three armored brigades, its air force and navy on the ready, likewise Hizballah and the Lebanese and Jordanian armed forces. Russia is sending Bashar Assad siege-breaking missiles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 25, 2011
Russia has handed Syria top-of-line weapons for beating foreign measures for undermining Bashar Assad. Iran footed the bill for those purchases and will certainly earmark some for its Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 21, 2011
The US, Canada and Russia have launched gunboat diplomacy against Syria and Iran. Washington is underscoring its military option against Iran's nuclear program, while Russia is demonstrating its resolve to prevent NATO from attacking Syria. Monday, Nov. 21, Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western nations of "political provocation" against Damascus. Turkish Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan warned Assad he could go only so far with tanks and guns. "One day you will go." The question is when will naval diplomacy turn into war action.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2011
The Arab League was not first to make the Syrian crisis a regional concern. Big power rivalry got there first. The US and France, like the Sunni rulers, seek Bashar Assad's downfall, while Russia and China are propping him up as their firewall for the Islamic regime in Tehran.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2011
Iran launches a large-scale war game Sunday, partly in Syria and with the participation of Palestinian volunteers who will practice invasions of Israel. Supreme leader Khamenei has reverted to assassinations of opposition leaders overseas and repressive measures at home to stifle rising dissent against the Islamic regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 10, 2011
As Islamabad frets over a possible US raid to seize its nuclear arsenal, Moscow, with Beijing's support, steps in to woo Pakistan and back Iran against US punishment for its rogue progress towards a nuclear bomb.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 28, 2011
Moscow has perfected mechanisms for helping Iran and now Syria beat international sanctions. Its price is to funnel their trade through Russian banks and agents – in rubles and/or yuans. For example, the Iranian Oil Bourse - IOB has been transacting petroleum, petrochemicals and gas deals in various currencies other than the United States dollar and since, the Eurozone crisis, shunning the euro too.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 25, 2011
Azerbaijan's election to a UN Security Council non-permanent seat brings to the world body a government with lively relations with Israel. It also highlights the rivalry between the Israeli and Turkish military industries for the Baku market. Russia, Iran and Armenia, too, are looking askance at the rapid arming of Azerbaijani armed forces with Israeli drones, 60 of which roll out of Azerbaijan factories in two months. The partners are now discussing the sale of Israeli missile-bearing drones and spy satellites.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 19, 2011
Russia used Israel's negotiations with Hamas for the release of Gilad Shalit to justify its continuing support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and opening the door to pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian terrorist groups. Wednesday, Oct. 19, Moscow welcomed a Lebanese Hizballah delegation, the first European capital to formally receive Iran's terrorist surrogate. debkafile: The Russians suspect a US-Israeli gambit in play to loosen Hamas' bonds with Damascus and Tehran and are working through Hizballah to spoil it.