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.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: US and Israeli intelligence acquire proof of Assad's personal involvement in North Korean nuclear deal
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 2, 2007
Documents signed by Syrian president Bashar Assad contain directions for the transaction. On some, Assad added in his handwriting that 100,000 tons of Durham wheat should be shipped to North Korea every year for five years. The total value of $120 million is equivalent to the price of a North Korean plutonium reactor for producing radioactive fissile materials. The evidence stacked up against Assad is closer to the smoking gun still absent in the case of Iran's attainment of nuclear weapon capability.
Read more details of this transaction in debkafile Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 27, 2007
President Bashar Assad was personally involved in Damascus' nuclear deal with Pyongyang. Documentary proofs of this, obtained from the presidential bureau and signed by Assad in person, are now in the hands of the US and Israeli intelligence services, debkafile's intelligence sources report. In one, Assad hands down a specific order in his own handwriting that North Korea not be charged for Syrian goods, including an annual shipment of 100,000 tons of Durham wheat for five years worth a total of $120 million. This is the equivalent of the value of the reactor for producing plutonium up to its most radioactive stage, which North Korea promised Syria.
A high-ranking Western intelligence source speaking to debkafile described the evidence against Assad in US and Israeli hands as solid and much closer to a smoking gun than the West has turned up against Iran's nuclear program.
The following sequence of events unfolds from the garnered documents:
Damascus and Pyongyang settled between them that the nuclear transaction would be masked as a joint venture to build a cement factory in northern Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 26, 2007
For the first time since they began working together, President George W. Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice are visibly divided on two major foreign policy issues, both related to Israel: The Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, which is still sans date, participants or agenda, and Israel's attack on the North Korean nuclear project in Syria on Sept. 6, which the president approved.
As she feared, the resulting exposure of North Korea's proliferation activities stirred a hornets' nest against her bid to bring diplomacy on Pyongyang's nuclear program to a successful conclusion with signed US-North Korean contracts for its liquidation.
The nuclear watchdog is checking US spy satellite images of Syrian site hit by Israeli warplanes on Sept. 6 for signs of secret nuclear activity <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 24, 2007
Diplomatic sources reported to AP that US intelligence agencies had sent the satellite images to the Inernational Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. debkafile's intelligence sources report that the credibility of the data Israel presented to Washington before the air strike continues to be questioned in some Washington quarters.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Syrian Civil Defense Services Placed on the Ready
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 17, 2007
Our military sources report exclusively that Thursday night, Oct. 11, Syria placed its civil defense services on a state of preparedness and mobilized their reservists.
Government and military hospitals across Syria have also been alerted.
In contrast, there is no change in the deployment of Syrian forces along the border with Israel on Golan and Mt. Hermon.
Syrian president Bashar Assad told the Tunisian daily Al-Shorouk Thursday: I am working on the premise that the Americans will attack Iran,"
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Israel lifts military censorship on Sept. 6 Israeli air force attack Tuesday, 24 hours after Assad's partial admission<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 11, 2007
Monday, Oct. 1, Syrian president Bashar Assad claimed to the BBC that Israel had struck an empty military installation on Sept. 6 and that for Syria to retaliate militarily would be playing by "Israel's rules." debkafile's intelligence sources report the Israeli military thereupon lifted its month-long ban on its publication Tuesday, without clearing any further information on the attack in the hope of closing the books on the affair.
US Gen. David Petraeus says Iranian ambassador to Baghdad is member of Revolutionary Guards al Qods Brigade <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 10, 2007
The American military commander in Iraq accuses the Brigade, which is responsible for sponsoring external terrorism, of fomenting violence in Iraq and training and equipping militias to attack US troops. In some cases, they direct operations that have killed US soldiers, said Gen. Petraeus, speaking to reporters at a U.S. military base about 30 km from the Iranian border Saturday. He accused Iran of giving advanced weaponry to militias in Iraq. "There is no question about the connection between Iran and these components and the attacks that have killed our soldiers," said the general in reply to questions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 6, 2007
In an interview with the BBC's Arabic program, Syrian president Bashar Assad said military response was always an option. This need not be missile for missile, or bomb for bomb. There are other ways, he said, in reference to what he called an Israeli attack on a deserted military installation. The attack, he said, proved Israel's profound rejection of the peace process. Syria will not attend the international peace summit at Annapolis unless the restoration of Golan to Syria is discussed.