DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 14, 2011
Damascus was alive with rumors Thursday, April 14 that President Bashar Assad and his family were preparing to flee to Saudi Arabia. They were, sparked by the discovery that several high-ranking Syrian officials and army officers were evacuating their families to Persian Gulf emirates. US officials also disclosed Iran was secretly helping Assad crack down on his own people. Syrian authorities and opposition are bracing for their next test of strength Friday, April 15, amid signs of panic in Assad regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2011
The pro-democracy, anti-Assad days of rage spread dramatically across Syria Friday, April 8, seriously shaking Bashar Assad's 11-year old grip on power for the first time since the movement began three weeks ago. At least 50 people were killed – 30 demonstrators and 20 security officers - and hundreds injured - many of them in the southern town of Daraa, the epicenter of the opposition movement. In some places Syrian officers disguised as protesters opened fire from inside the crowds.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 26, 2011
The Syrian ruler faces an unexpected Sunni revolt against his minority Allawite regime which is spreading fast and cannot be suppressed without using his Sunni-dominated military. Will Assad call on Tehran for help? Or Hizballah? Or the pro-Iranian radical Palestinian organizations? Or focus on saving Damascus? Those are the dilemmas facing him this week unless he stages a diversion by heating up the border with Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 21, 2011
In an effort to contain spreading popular disorders against his regime, Syrian President Bashar Assad Monday, March 21, sent the 4th Armored Division commanded by his younger brother Maher Assad to suppress the three-day uprising in Darra (Deraa). The troops have also severed the South from Damascus and Jabal ad-Duruz where a demonstration is planned for March 26.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 19, 2011
Israeli living near Gaza woke up Saturday, March 19, to the most massive mortar attack in years – 50 rounds fired in 15 minutes. Two civilians were injured and substantial damage caused to property. Hamas has unusually claimed responsibility, emboldened by the support it has won from a new ally, Egypt, which is also forging new ties with Syria - and the Netanyahu government's disregard of the changing winds blowing in from Egypt including Cairo's de facto recognition of Hamas rule in Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 18, 2011
By stepping into Bahrain, the Saudis took the calculated risk of accelerating Sunni-Shiite discord across the region. Because of the challenge to its religious supremacy from Iraq, Tehran is re-thinking the wisdom of its decision to hijack the Arab uprisings.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 1, 2011
Just two days after two Iranian warships reached the Syrian port of Latakia via the Suez Canal, an Iranian-Syrian naval cooperation accord was signed Friday, Feb. 25 providing for Iran to build its first Mediterranean naval base at the Syrian port, debkafile's sources reveal. It will include a large Iranian Revolutionary Guards weapons depot, anchorage for large warships and submarines and logistical infrastructure for incoming Iranian troops. The Syrian Navy chief said the move would "cripple Israel."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 18, 2011
The Obama administration prepares to approach Track II of its Syrian dialogue led by ex-President Jimmy Carter and a flock of senior Syrian figures. Their first task is to shore Bashar Assad up against his own opposition which is gearing up for street protests. Opponents in Washington warn them that Assad has fooled US diplomats countless times and will do so again.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 7, 2011
The UN Special Lebanon Tribunal was asked to define crimes of terrorism, conspiracy and premeditated murder at its first hearing in the Netherlands Monday, Feb. 7. Its responses will for the first time define terror as an international crime. debkafile's report that within days, pretrial Judge Daniel Fransen is to publish indictments in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minster Rafiq Hariri. The judges have therefore jumped the gun on Hizballah. A showdown looms large in Lebanon too.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 9, 2011
The Mossad ex-chief Meir Dagan's estimated timeline of 2015 for Iran to attain a nuclear bomb may well be superseded if Tehran takes advantage of available shorts cuts, debkafile's intelligence sources report. Iran is likely to have hidden still undiscovered uranium enrichment facilities and research labs. It could use allied facilities like those of North Korea to reach its target, or again outsource nuclear production like the North Korean plutonium plant in Syria which Israel destroyed in 2007.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 17, 2010
In his speech Thursday, Dec. 16, Hassan Nasrallah sounded like his usual pugnacious self, damning America and forecasting an Israeli defeat in the next war. He even staged a dramatic backdrop of "Israeli spy equipment" dismantled on two Lebanese peaks that very day. But, according to debkafile's sources, it was all a show to conceal his surrender to the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 murder and his instruction to high-ranking Hizballah suspects to turn themselves in.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 22, 2010
Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin warned the Israel cabinet Sunday, Nov. 21: "Tel Aviv will be a front line in the next conflict." debkafile's military sources report he was referring to the thousands of missiles with enhanced ranges of 300 kilometers Syria and Hizballah have received from Iran and which Iranian engineers are outfitting with guidance systems to challenge Israel's aerial capabilities and missile defenses. Syria's chemical warheads are now fully guided.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 30, 2010
The speech Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's Hizballah, delivered Thursday night Oct. 29 was taken in all sections of Lebanese society as a virtual declaration of war - a conflict which they fear will be even fiercer and crueler than the 1975 civil war. It is widely believed, according to debkafile's Middle East sources, that the power-sharing order the diverse communities achieved after that conflict will be swept away and replaced with a pro-Iranian, pro-Syrian puppet regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 6, 2010
By releasing the 1973 Yom Kippur War papers now, Jerusalem signaled Bashar Assad that his capital could be in peril if Syria and Hizballah go through with their plot against the Hariri government in Beirut. The papers reveal that 37 years ago, Israel's late Prime Minister Golda Meir denied defense minister Moshe Dayan and IDF chief David Elazar permission to bomb Damascus before and after Syrian and Egyptian forces advanced towards Israel at the war's outset.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 4, 2010
The Iranian and Syrian presidents agreed in Tehran Saturday, Oct. 2, to support Hizballah's grab of Lebanon's power centers, including the capital Beirut, right after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ends his controversial two-day visit to the country on October 13-14. They also decided to harass the Saad Hariri government until it dissolves the UN tribunal probing the Hariri murder - or is overthrown.
The arrest warrants for 33 individuals issued by Damascus amounts to a declaration of war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2010
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar Assad finalized plans to back a Hizballah coup against the Lebanese government when they met in Damascus Saturday, Sept. 18, debkafile's military and Mid East sources report. Hizballah called a general mobilization that same day and by Sunday had 5,000 armed men deployed in Beirut, ready to make good on its threat to seize power rather than let its leaders be indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) for the Hariri murder.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 16, 2010
After the two-day Israeli-Palestinian face-to-face supervised by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell prepared for a major breakthrough during his visit to Damascus Thursday: The possible revival of Syrian-Israeli peace talks. He carries with him for Syrian president Bashar Assad a detailed withdrawal map drawn up by Binyamin Netanyahu covering much of the Golan. This map is a DEBKA-Net-Weekly Exclusive.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2010
Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah conclude a military cooperation pact for war against Israel on the premise that it will erupt in the near future. Damascus sets red lines for going to war against Israel. They set up a joint command staffed with Syrian and Hizballah officers working out of Damacus and Beirut.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2010
Syria and Hizballah collude to install a radical Shiite government in Baghdad, by forging an alliance between the two Iraqi Shiite foes - outgoing PM Nouri al-Maliki and radical cleric Moqtada Sadr.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 24, 2010
Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Mohamed Ali Jafari, who rarely leaves his country, paid a secret visit to Damascus a few hours before Tehran launched the Bushehr nuclear reactor Saturday, Aug. 21. With him were top Al Qods Brigades commanders in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. They conferred with Bashar Assad on roles for Syria and Hizballah in an Iranian reprisal for a US or Israel attack - or a "pre-emptive strike" against Israel.