DEBKAfile Special Report May 21, 2015
The fall of Damascus and Baghdad, or large slices thereof, to the rapacious Islamic State, is no longer the subject of strategic forecasts, but here and now. It is the price the region is paying for President Barack Obama’s single-minded obsession with détente with Tehran and a nuclear accord. Ramadi’s fall in Iraq and Palmyra’s in Syria proved ISIS’s ability to rock the Middle East to its foundations. Watching the threats closing in, Jerusalem, Amman and Riyadh grasp they may have to contend alone – not just with Iran but also with ISIS.
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 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.
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 30, 2015
Fear of ISIS drove the hitherto neutral Syrian Druzes into seeking support from Assad. He turned them over to the Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah who recruited them as Hizballah fighters and terrorists against Israel.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly April 28, 2015
Behind the failed bombing attack on an Israeli military post in the northern Golan Sunday, April 26, hangs a big story: The bomb squad belonged to a new Druze militia, which Hizballah recruited, the Iranian Al Qods Brigades armed and whose mission was assigned by a Syrian intelligence master.
The coming DEBKA Weekly out next Friday shows this event to be a microcosm of Tehran’s tactics for muscling in on Syria’s million-strong Druze minority as the lever for broader regional dominion.
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Arab sources report Israel air strikes against Syrian-Hizballah missile bases, Hizballah arms convoys. DEBKAfile: Hizballah secret airstrip possible target
DEBKAfile Special Report April 25, 2015
Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya TV reported Saturday, April 25, Israeli air strikes against Hizballah and Syrian targets in the Qalamoun Mts. on the Syrian-Lebanese border from April 22 to April 24. Neither Israeli nor Syrian officials confirm these reports. The IAF targets are described as the 155th, 65th and 92nd Brigades of the Syrian army and Hizballah, two Hizballah arms convoys and Syrian long-range missile bases or batteries. debkafile: The putative air strike may also have targeted Hizballah’s first ever airstrip for drones in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 19, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning to Israel not to sell arms to Ukraine, in reprisal for his release of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran, adds a European dimension to the dispute by planting Israel squarely in the middle of the US-Russian Ukraine crisis. Putin’s implied threat to punish Israel by sending S-300s to Syria too follows his intelligence updates on tight US-Israeli military collaboration in two arenas: Syria and Ukraine. The S-300s have not yet been shipped to Iran. It depends on whether Obama decides to forge ahead with expanded military assistance to Kiev.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 16, 2015
There are ways to disrupt S-300’s radar before its control room issues the command for the missile to shoot down incoming warplanes or missiles.
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 March 5, 2015
The religious wars already afoot in three Middle East countries, Syria, Yemen and Iraq have overtaken the predictions of Western Cassandras, as Iran initiates challenges to Sunni powers.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 4, 2015
Barack Obama’s Iran policy, spectacularly challenged by Binyamin Netanyahu in his Congress speech Tuesday, March 3, is manifested 10,000 kilometers from Washington, in the Iranian-led Iraqi battle for Tikrit. Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff commented that day that the “Tikrit campaign… the most overt conduct of Iranian support …could turn out to be a positive thing.” debkafile: This US-Iranian partnership, which is mirrored in Syria, is alarming Israeli military chiefs because it brings the Iranian peril closer than ever before.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 5, 2015
Iran is putting the first interlocking pieces in place for its Shiite Crescent empire in Anbar, Iraq and the Qalamoun Mountains of western Syria. Israel is the fly in the Syrian ointment.
ISIS capture of Jordanian pilot puts US and Jordan in conflicting dilemmas, may be pivotal to anti-terror war
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 25, 2014
The US military is going to great lengths to deny that ISIS shot down the Jordanian Air Force F-16 which came down Wednesday, Dec. 24 over the northern Syrian town of Raqaa. First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh, aged 27, was the first Arab pilot captured by the Islamic State. Jordanian tribal leaders and the US military are making intense efforts to keep the pilot, a member of the Bararsha tribe oif South Jordan, safe. Washington regards his fate as potentially pivotal to the continued participation of four Arab air forces in the war on ISIS.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 8, 2014
US military sources revealed Monday, Dec. 8, that Israel’s air strikes near Damascus the day before wiped out Russian hardware including missiles dispatched post haste to help Syria and Hizballah frustrate a US no-fly zone plan for northern Syria. The Kremlin has warned that any no-fly zone over Syria would be treated as direct US intervention in the Syria war, and incur Russian military intervention. The advanced anti-air missiles and radar Moscow sent Syria and Hizballah to back up this warning were destroyed by Israel. Damascus threatens Israel with “unimaginable harm.”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 2, 2014
All the US and Western strike and surveillance flights against ISIS in Syria and Iraq reach their targets through Israeli and Jordanian airspace, US, European and civilian monitors of global air force movements report. This is confirmed by detailed maps released by bodies tracking the movements of military strike and refueling craft across the world. One of two corridors (see attached map) runs north of Tel Aviv through Jordan to Iraq and the second through Golan to Syria. Israel and Jordan are revealed as partners in the US-led air offensive against ISIS.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 12, 2014
Barack Obama set out a four-point strategy for fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, starting with a systematic air campaign in Iraq, followed by Kurdish and Iraqi ground offensives and after they roll ISIS back, US air strikes over is Syrian strongholds.
Grave setbacks for Obama’s strategy: Turkey backs out of US-led war on IS. Germany, UK say no to air campaign
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 11, 2014
Turkey inflicted a stunning blow Thursday, Sept. 11 at President Barack Obama’s strategy for a broad US-led coalition for tackling and defeating the Islamic State, and the potential 11-member group which US Secretary of State John Kerry established in Jeddah that day. Ankara said its air bases would be unavailable for US-led attacks on “jihadists in Iraq and Syria.” Turkey would also “not take part in combat operations against militants.” This knocked out one of the props from under the Obama plan. The UK and Germany also said no to air strikes in Syria..
US-Iranian military, intelligence cooperation in war on ISIS reaps first successes in Syria and Iraq
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 5, 2014
At least 18 foreign ISIS fighters, including Americans and Europeans, were killed in a Syrian air raid Thursday, Sept. 4, over their Raqqa HQ. A second Syrian air raid killed or injured another group of high ISIS officers at Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border. A day earlier, US jets struck an IS base in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, killing its commander, Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, and two top lieutenants of ISIS chief Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi. All these actions owed their success to deepening US-Iranian military and intelligence cooperation. Is this Obama's unadmitted strategy?