DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 3, 2008
debkafile's Middle East sources report a new bump on the road to a truce in Gaza: The various Palestinian radical factions, led by Hamas, which are negotiating terms in Cairo, want to bring Syria into any ceasefire deal as co-sponsor with Egypt.
Damascus however has laid down its own conditions and thrown a spanner in the works.
Despite the setbacks, Cairo and Jerusalem believe a truce will eventually come about because Hamas is eager for a short pause in the fighting and a partial easing of the embargo against Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 3, 2008
In an interview Sunday, April 27 with the Qatari daily al Watan, Syrian president Bashar Assad said: "We don't want a nuclear bomb, even if Iran acquires one." debkafile's military sources say that was only half true.
What he omitted to mention was the division of labor agreed between Damascus and Tehran in a potential war against Israel: The Syrian reactor Israel destroyed last September would produce "dirty weapons," while Iran would go for a nuclear bomb.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 30, 2008
US and Israel intelligence experts upgrade the chances of president Bashar Assad retaliating for the Israeli attack, which irreparably damaged the secret nuclear North Korea built for him in eastern Syria - now that the episode is out in the open. debkafile quotes those experts as recalling Saddam Hussein's burning ambition to hit Israel's nuclear site at Dimona after Israeli jets smashed Iraq's French built nuclear reactor in 1981.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 30, 2008
debkafile's counter-terror sources report that Hisham Faiz Abu Libda, Khaled Meshaal's chef de bureau, was killed in Damascus by a hit-and-run car. Syrian authorities have ordered a blackout on the incident. His was the second mysterious death of a high-profile terrorist in the Syrian capital in recent weeks after Hizballah's military chief Imad Mughniyeh was blown up in a high-security district on Feb. 13.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 23, 2008
The Syrian ruler Bashar Assad made this statement in a speech in Damascus reported Thursday, April 17.
Earlier this week, debkafile's military sources reported that Damascus has deployed the 10th armored corps at the Massaneh crossing of Mount Hermon. It links up with the northwestern positions the 14th division took up last month on the Syrian-Israeli border which cuts through the Hermon range.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 11, 2008
debkafile's Middle East and intelligence sources report that President Bashar Assad has fallen out with his brother-in-law Gen. Asif Shawqat, sacked him as military intelligence chief and appointed Gen. Aly Younes in his place.
Our Washington sources report that Assad decided at the last minute to hold back the report promised for Sunday, April 7, on the killing of Hizballah leader Imad Mughniyeh last February, until after April 17, when the US House Intelligence Committee hears the details of Israel's reported Sept 6, 2007 strike on a nuclear installation Syria was building with North Korean assistance. He will the decide how to play it.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2008
How real are they and how far are Iran and Hizballah involved?
The latest DEBKA-Net-Weekly's exclusive offers forward insights to judge whether these sparks are a flash in the pan or the portents of a real conflagration.
It also reveals how Iran exploited the Basra crisis for major inroads on southern Iraq and its oil.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click DEBKA-Net-Weekly.com?ref=001">HERE.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 7, 2008
Israel's security cabinet convened Wednesday, April 2, to examine the homeland's preparedness for war. It decided to redistribute the bio/chemical warfare masks a few months after they were called in. debkafile's military sources disclose intelligence data indicating the possibility that Syria may transfer to Hizballah chemical or biological warheads known to have been developed for its war arsenal.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 31, 2008
debkafile: The Lebanon crisis and its divisive effect on the Arab world loomed large over the annual conference which opened in the Syrian capital March 29. The Syrian hosts were anxious to divert attention from Lebanon by focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli issue and the violence in Gaza. Any resolutions will lack credibility given the absence of high-profile Arab rulers.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported Friday:
Syrian president Bashar Assad has inexplicably responded to the partial boycott of the Arab League "summit" by lining up army units on his borders with Iraq, Lebanon and Israel, as well as pushing contingents across the border into Lebanon proper.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 27, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that the Syrian deployment is backed by the concentration of pro-Syrian Palestinian factions in the Beqaa valley of Lebanon, amid rising war tensions between Hizballah and Israel.
Hassan Nasrallah declared Hizballah would wage "open war" with Israel at the end of the 40-day mourning period the group observed for Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in Damascus February 12.
Monday, March 24, Nasrallah will address a big memorial rally in South Beirut.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 18, 2008
Bashar Assad's strategists are not losing a moment to cash in on the abundant conspiracy theories surrounding the death, to plant one of its own: Mughniyeh, they say, was killed in their capital by their Lebanese enemies.
Therefore, it is feared in Washington and Jerusalem that, while plotting revenge on Israel, Hizballah, backed by the Syrian commando units, will launch attacks on Lebanese national intelligence and Druze targets in Beirut and Mt. Lebanon - they point a finger at Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. Their immediate goal would be to overthrow the pro-Western, anti-Syrian government headed by Fouad Siniora and stir up a new civil war. The door would then re-open for Syria to make a comeback to the troubled country and move troops in for the first time since they were thrown out in 2005, in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions.
Syria's machinations give substance to Director of US National Intelligence Mike McConnell's assertion to Fox TV Sunday, Feb. 17, that, while Hizballah is blaming Israel, "...there's some evidence that it may have been internal Hezbollah. It may have been Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 16, 2008
Syrian militlary intelligence, the main subversive arm of the Bashar regime in Lebanon, has launched a campaign in minor Syrian, Lebanese and Persian Gulf media to blacken the pro-Western prime minister Fouad Siniora as an agent of the Israeli Mossad.
In a tale planted in various websites, blogs and small papers, he is accused of spying for Israel for 34 years. His controller is named as Lt. Col. Aharon Goldbard. The Syrian sources try to pin on them both the intrigue to murder former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri three years ago.
Damascus also sees Mossad machinations in the Syrian army.
Defense minister Gen. Hassan Turkemeni has told army officers to beware because, "The Mossad has been able to penetrate the officer elite with gifts of satellite tetephones linked to Israeli spy satellites.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Syria uses Mughniyeh death as lever to repossess Lebanon<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 23, 2008
debkafile's military and intelligence sources report fears in Washington and Jerusalem that while plotting revenge on Israel for Iman Mughniyeh's death, Syria may well launch a series of military incursions, spearheaded by Hizballah, to unseat the pro-Western Fouad Siniora government.
Is this typical Syrian opportunism or something more sinister? Director of US National Intelligence Mike McConnell suggested Sunday, Feb. 17, that "...there's some evidence that it may have been internal Hezbollah. It may have been Syria."
Read more about Damascus' fast-reflex machinations in the debkafile Exclusive Report below.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Syrian military intelligence heaps allegations on Israeli Mossad, blackens Siniora <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 14, 2008
Its agents are planting tales that an Israeli Mossad officer, abetted by the pro-Western Lebanese prime minister, Fouad Siniora, colluded in orchestrating the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri three years ago. This tale seeks to turn suspicions away from President Bashar Assad's closest aides in Damascus. Another tale going around minor Syrian, Lebanese and Gulf media, quotes Chief of Staff Gen. Hassan Turkemeni as directing his senior officers to beware of planted Israeli satellite phones.
More about the Syrian campaign against the Israeli Mossad in debkafile Exclusive Report below.
Syria threatens Spanish peacekeepers in Lebanon if Madrid extradites Syrian arms trafficker to US<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 27, 2007
Gen. Assaf Shawqat, head of Syrian military intelligence and president Assad's brother-in-law wrote to his opposite number in Spain: "If you think we are going to ignore the affront inflicted by north-American henchmen on our brother, you don't really know us and you are no friends of the Syrian people."
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Assad bids for share in US nuclear amnesty granted Iran. He claims he spurned Pakistani nuclear arms offer in 2001 <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 23, 2007
In an interview with the Austrian daily Die Presseon Dec. 19, the Syrian ruler claimed he turned down a sales pitch from A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear black marketeer. debkafile's military and intelligence sources assess this claim as a transparent attempt by Assad to jump aboard the US intelligence estimate clearing Iran of nuclear arms activity from 2003.
This ploy also seeks to nullify the evidence of Syria's nuclear facilities gathered in the US-sanctioned Israeli raid on Sept. 6.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Tehran secretly deploys air defense batteries around Damascus in wake of Israel's Sept. 6 attack on Syrian nuclear reactor<br/
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 20, 2007
Tehran is providing the Syrian capital with an air defense shield at a time when Washington is avidly bidding to win president Bashar Assad away from his alliance with Tehran. In return for sending a delegation to the international conference at Annapolis on Nov. 26, he is being offered an opening for talks with Israel toward recovering the Golan. Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has been warned by his security advisers that Assad is using the new opportunity afforded him by the Bush administration for fence-mending with fellow Arab rulers who have snubbed him for months
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: The Golan Heights at issue between Israel and Syria is tagged onto the Annapolis peace conference agenda - over Israel's head<
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 11, 2007
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak made welcoming sounds about Syria's possible presence at the conference, as though they had come up with the plan after careful consideration. In fact, debkafile's Middle East and intelligence sources report, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice presented them with a fait accompli.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> reports: Washington clamps sanctions on four close Assad allies including his contact-man with North Korea <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 7, 2007
The Bush administration is applying the stick-and-carrot treatment to Syrian president Bashar Assad. Three days after secretary of state Condoleezza Rice invited Damascus to the Annapolis peace conference at a meeting in Ankara with Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem, the US Treasury for the first time imposed stiff sanctions and froze the assets of four close Assad allies.
The true functions of the four officials blacklisted by the US Treasury are disclosed here by debkafile's sources:
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Nuclear watchdog chief Mohammed ElBaradei asks Washington and Israel for satellite images of nuclear activity in Syria
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 3, 2007
Dr. ElBaradei put in the request before his outburst Sunday, Oct. 28, against the US and Israel "for taking the law into their own hands" by bombing Syria's nuclear compound.
debkafile reports Dr. ElBaradei requested any imagery, data or other evidence of such activity in Syria. He also turned to Russia and China for any information garnered by their military satellites and to Sweden where private firms maintain high-quality satellites in orbit over the Middle East.