Oil markets seek stability under new Saudi King Salman. A short price spurt followed Abdullah’s death
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 23, 2015
The new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz pledged continuity for the kingdom’s oil and other policies in his first speech Friday, Jan. 23, following the death of his half-brother King Abdullah. The late king, a strong, shrewd and measured ruler, navigated the kingdom on a steady course in a turbulent neighborhood. He also made sure the succession would be smooth, swift and safe for the long term. Abdullah was also largely responsible for plunging oil prices by refusing to cut production. King Salman will have to stand up to heavy arm-twisting bythe US, Iran and Russia for ending this policy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 12, 2015
Pakistani and Afghan Taliban high-ups vowed allegiance Sunday, Jan. 12 to the Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi – forging concord among key Islamist terror movement groups for defying the values that brought millions out for a mammoth rally of Western unity against terror that day. Taliban cemented the pact by beheading a Pakistani soldier held prisoner. Last week, Amedy Coulibaly, who murdered four Jews in a Paris market, also said he acted for ISIS. Abu Bakr has therefore extended his reach to South Asia after Europe and Arab lands.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 21, 2014
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and top Qatari envoys went through the motions of formalizing the Saudi-brokered reconciliation between them, when they met in Cairo Saturday, Dec. 20. Riyadh celebrated the meeting as the turning of a new page, and the Qatari envoy acknowledged Egypt’s preeminence in the Arab and Muslim worlds. debkafile: But the bone of contention over the emirate’s hosting of the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who was packing his bags to travel to Tehran, remained unresolved. The Saudis demanded his removal from emirate soil.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 12, 2014
The Obama strategy has drawn criticism for investing too little to achieve a short, sharp campaign to eradicate ISIS. Regional governments have too few troops to spare.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 10, 2014
Shortly before President Barack Obama was to unveil his strategy for tackling ISIS in Iraq and Syria Wednesday, Sept. 10, US and Syrian officers held secret talks for coordinating their military efforts in Syria against the common foe, debkafile reveals exclusively. The Syrian officers, on the authority of President Bashar Assad, met on the quiet several times with American officers in the capital of one of the Gulf emirates – probably Muscat in Oman. The Syrian side of the US campaign is judged to be more complicated than the operation in Iraq.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis September 9, 2014
A “Western diplomat” reported Monday, Sept. 8, that “Israel has provided satellite imagery…in support of the US-led aerial campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq.” This information was “shared by Washington with Arab and Turkish allies after being “scrubbed of evidence of its Israeli origin.” debkafile: This tall tale is clearly part of a deep US game - to break up the Saudi-Egyptian-UAE bloc which backed Israel’s Gaza operation, and draw Arab allies into the Obama coalition for fighting the Islamic State, offering the bait of Israeli intelligence available only through Washington.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 29, 2014
UAE and Egypt work together to strike Qatari-backed Islamist militias in Libya, in the alliance’s first overt military strike at Qatar and its proxies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 14, 2014
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi tries to convince Putin to join the Israel-Saudi-Egypt alliance against US policy in the Mid East and bolster Assad as an anti Al Qaeda force.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 8, 2014
The regular armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia are all fighting Islamist forces in one way or another, but the militants continue their regional juggernaut.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 8, 2014
Saudi Arabia brings in foreign troops to stave off the threat of IS invasion, but also faces risk of Islamist penetration within its own institutions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2014
The newly announced Islamic Caliphate is now reportedly issuing passports, and has set up a Cabinet to oversee their territory in Syria and Iraq.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 4, 2014
Without a strong army or allies, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is considering a retreat to the south and the creation of a Shiite state bolstered by Basra’s oilfields.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis June 28, 2014
Armed US drones went into operation this weekend to defend its Baghdad embassy and Iraqi strategic facilities. Iran and Hizballah are braced for the oncoming Islamist suicide bombing assault on Beirut. Jordan and Saudi Arabia have deployed tank divisions on their borders against ISIS encroachments. Their next-door neighbor, Israel is nursing the blow to its prestige from the failure of its massive, all-out military-intelligence operation to rescue three kidnapped teenagers after two weeks. The sights of the Islamist State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) also include “Palestine.”
King Abdullah calls up Saudi armed forces on high preparedness. Egyptian troops ready to fly to kingdom
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 26, 2014
Thursday, June 26, the day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Riyadh, King Abdullah summoned a National Security Council meeting “upon the current security events in the region, especially in Iraq,” and ordered “all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against terrorist threats.” The Saudi military has been mobilized and placed on high preparedness, after royal reconnaissance flights discovered Iraqi Al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters (ISIS) heading for the Saudi border to seize the Ar Ar crossing. debkafile: Egyptian commandos are about to fly out to bolster Saudi border defenses.
US accepts Shahab-3s in Iran’s missile arsenal, but not long-range ICBMs. Deep resentment in Jerusalem
DEBKAfile Special Report May 18, 2014
Two high-ranking US officials, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, were challenged by Israeli leaders over the Obama administration’s omission of the Shahab-3 ballistic missile from its demand to restrict ICBMs that can reach Europe and the US in Iran’s arsenal. The Shahab-3’s range of 2,100km covers all of the Middle East, including Israel. Yet it was left out, although it carries warheads weighing 760 kg, to 1.1 tons, which may also be nuclear. Hagel faced the same challenge from Saudi Arabia and the GCC.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 8, 2014
Large-scale military exercises in Israel and Saudi Arabia aimed at preparing for war with Iran and its proxies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 10, 2014
Israel is flexing muscle, while the US and Saudi Arabia have embarked on two large-scale exercises to prepare for a possible military strike against Iran’s weapons-capable nuclear program.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 8, 2014
Iran and the six world powers Tuesday, April 8, kicked off negotiations in Vienna for a final and comprehensive nuclear accord. debkafile reports that in its haste to start drafting the document by mid-May, the Obama administration is ignoring the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. A senior Israeli security official remarked: “The Americans are ready to take Tehran’s assurance that its program is purely peaceful at face value.” The initial US-Iranian argument over the quantity of low-grade enriched uranium permissible is irrelevant given the fissile material concealed in Tehran’s weapons program.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 7, 2014
Two Syrian rebel militias judged moderate in Washington have in the last few days taken delivery and begun using the first advanced US weapon to be deployed in more than three years of civil war, debkafile reveals. It is the heavy anti-tank, optically-tracked, wire-guided BGM-71 TOW.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 5, 2014
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has proved time and again that he will never endorse any accord for ending the dispute with Israel. US Secretary of State John Kerry has finally accepted this. An interim deal, which he refused to consider, might buy a few years’ grace in the dispute before breaking up, because it is the conflict that keeps Abbas in power. debkafile: Some Palestinian eyes are looking at the Saudi-UAE-Egyptian bloc and its war on the Muslim Brotherhood i.e. Hamas, which the US opposes. Israel too is seriously interested.