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.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 10, 2011
Five days after defeating a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution condemning Bashar Assad's savagery against his opposition, Moscow turned the heat on him by inviting an opposition delegation for a visit Monday, Oct. 10 and offering to host talks between the Syrian government and the opposition umbrella Syrian National Council. Syrian Foreign Minister Wallid Moallem threatened unspecified "tough measures" against any countries recognizing the council, fearing a repeat of the Libyan rebel NTC exercise which toppled Muammar Qaddafi.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 8, 2011
Targeted assassinations now dominate Bashar Assad's savage confrontation with the popular opposition to his rule. The White House finally told the Syrian ruler to step down for the first time as 50,000 Syrian Kurds clashed with security forces at the funeral of the popular Kurdish leader Mashaal Tammo, 53, slain by masked men at his home in Qamishli, northern Syria Friday, Oct. 7. debkafile: The killers were members of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate acting on direct orders from Assad.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 28, 2011
A US and/or Israel strike against Iran suddenly looked tangible this week following a warning of its probability by a French diplomat and a large-scale Russian-Central Asian military exercise simulating Iranian retaliation for a hypothetical strike on US-owned Caspian oil fields. A British diplomat ending his term in Pyongyang quoted North Korean officials who told him that NATO would not have attacked Libya if Muammar Qaddafi had not given up his nuclear weapons. Tehran appears to have reached the same conclusion.