Is Obama ready for an about-face to recognize Assad? Will Syria provide the strike force against ISIS?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 14, 2014
Unconfirmed reports swirled around Arab capitals Sunday, Dec. 14, that President Barack Obama, in league with Moscow and Tehran, had turned his Syrian policy on its head to recognize Bashar Assad’s rule. He was said ready to accept the Syrian army as the backbone of the force battling the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. If true, the Middle East faces another strategic upheaval – and one in the eye for Israel and the Gulf. US-Russian cooperation on Syria and Palestinians would help overcome the Ukraine breach and expand US-Iranian rapprochement.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 1, 2014
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu preferred Maj. Gen. Yair Golan for the top IDF post to Maj. Gen. Gady Eizenkott, whose appointment was announced Nov. 29. He was dissatisfied with the performance of retiring Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and his deputy Eizenkott in the Gaza campaign, as wanting in assertiveness and the operational and tactical capabilities required for countering Hizballah’s plans to take the coming war forecast for the spring onto Israel’s home ground. Netanyahu hopes Gen. Golan as Deputy C-of-S will make up for those deficiencies.
Syria forces ranged for major counteroffensive to dislodge rebels from Quneitra. High tension on Golan
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 3, 2014
Soldiers of the Syrian army’s 7th Division and tanks were poised Wednesday, Sept. 3 for an imminent all-out offensive against rebels holding parts of Quneitra, debkafile reports. The Syrians may move their tanks into the battle zone, in defiance of Israel’s caution via the UN that they would be infringing ceasefire agreements and incur IDF counteraction. Damascus counts on Israel being deterred from striking Syrian forces fighting Syrian Islamists after the wave of revulsion from the beheading of the Jewish American journalist Steven Sotloff by Iraqi Islamists.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 22, 2014
The US backs local Syrian militias in effort to take south Syria and establish intelligence on the ground, but Assad is countering key bid for Quneitra.
US assigns 13,000 servicemen to first ever combined US-Jordan-Israeli exercise. Hizballah heads for Golan
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 21, 2014
For two conjoined military exercises with Israel (Juniper Cobra) and Jordan (Eager Lion), the US has moved more than 6,000 Marines to the kingdom and several thousand servicemen to Israel. The Jordanian drill lasts from Sunday, May 25 to June 8. The US-Israeli exercise began this week with another 6,000 combat personnel arriving from the US European Command and 1,000 airmen to operate missile defense systems. Wednesday, May 21, border tensions shot up on the news of large Hizballah military contingents on the move toward southern Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 13, 2014
Nine Syrian rebel militias are advancing on the main Syrian Golan town of Quneitra (pop: 20,000) to wrest from the Syrian army its last Golan foothold with access to the Israeli border. The first objective of their Operation “Levant of the Prophet” is to seize the Quneitra-Ein Zivan crossing, before targeting Quneitra the town. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who visited the Golan Tuesday, May 13, said, “Syrian rebels have pushed Assad’s military into a corner.” debkafile: Quneitra’s fall would free the Golan and S. Syria of the presence of Assad’s army and Hizballah.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 29, 2014
The Obama administration has embarked on secret dialogue with Hizballah, debkafile reports. The first direct encounter between the CIA and Hizballah representatives took place in early March in Cyprus. Two subsequent meetings have produced initial US-Hizballah understandings for Lebanon and Syria. The administration reckons that any difficulties cropping up in those talks can be fixed by turning to Tehran. Mahmoud Abbas turned to Hamas for hs Palestinian unity pact reasoning that if the US may engage a terrorist organization in talks, so too may his own PLO.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 26, 2014
In his three years as AMAN chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, just appointed OC Northern Command, was credited with enhancing the corps’ operational capabilities. But, on the debit side, he made three major miscalculations: He overrated the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s life expectancy, underrated Bashar Assad’s chances of survival; and did not recommend that Israel halt Hizballah’s military intervention in the Syrian War. Kochavi shared his second mistake with Prince Bandar, who paid for it by his replacement as Director of Saudi Intelligence on April 15.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 25, 2014
Hizballlah leader Hassan Nasrallah seeks the role of key to resolving the Syrian civil conflict and the Obama administration in deference to that role has launched a secret dialogue with the Lebanese group.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 4, 2014
The US begins supplying Syrian rebels – via Saudi Arabia – advanced weapons, including include anti-tank, anti-aircraft missiles, heavy mortars and ammo. All the same, Obama’s welcome in Riyadh was heated rather than warm.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 27, 2014
Israel has set up new IDF formations for combating potential terrorist incursions from three al Qaeda-ruled areas adjoining its borders, while also planning to use drones.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 27, 2014
There are roughly two Shiites for every Sunni fighting in the Syrian civil war today, a total of 130,000 Shiites compared with no more than 50-60,000 Sunnis, including members of Al Qaeda and its affiliates.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 21, 2014
Assad has shifted the Syrian border to accommodate his gift to Hizballah of the Qalmoun Mountains to reward the Lebanese Shiites for aiding in the capture of Yabroud.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 13, 2014
Assad owes his nine lives and survivability to his army’s loyalty and the husbanding of his military resources and fire power for defending his regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2014
Crimea is Russia’s main springboard for Putin’s Mid East strategy. Kerry’s last-ditch phone call to Lavrov may avert a Russian military operation – but at a steep price for Kiev and the West.
Syrian-Lebanese border partly erased by hectic war traffic. Israeli air strike Monday mostly inside Syria
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 26, 2014
Middle East sources say Israel’s air strikes on Monday, Feb. 24, were conducted by no more than one or two warplanes which aimed four rockets at a single target, an SS-21 surface missile launcher. Four Hizballah operatives were killed. Large sections of the Lebanese-Syrian border are obliterated by the hectic traffic of arms, men and smuggling networks. Rising there too is an international Shiite legion. Hizballah’s Beqaa Valley arms and missile stores are now strategic reserve supply centers for Hizballah and Syrian units fighting in border sectors.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 23, 2014
The US has set up a new rebel command center at Quneitra near Israeli lines on the Golan. Its officers are indigenous Bedouin Al Nuaim tribesmen, defectors from the Syrian army, and Free Syrian Army survivors. Last week, Assad’s forces ambushed Syrian rebels trained in Jordan as they crossed into Syria. Over this weekend, his troops moved in on the environs of Quneitra and captured two villages. debkafile: There is still a long way to go before a force is ready to fight for a border strip in southern Syria under US-Israeli-Jordanian control.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 20, 2014
The Obama administration reverts to its former plan for a US-backed Syrian enclave in South Lebanon as a lever for influence in Damascus, to be achieved with Israeli, Saudi and Jordanian help.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 19, 2014
Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan was reported by debkafile’s US and Saudi sources Wednesday, Feb. 19, to have been removed from policy-making in Riyadh. The prince was the live wire of kingdom’s drive against President Barack Obama’s détente with Tehran. Bandar’s removal is one up for Obama, and a significant loss for Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu as the only other Middle East leader ready to publicly decry US policies on Iran and Syria. No word about the prince’s status has come from Riyadh since he dropped out of sight a month ago.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 13, 2014
Syrian and Hizballah troops launched a major assault Wednesday, Feb. 12, on the Christian-Sunni Muslim town of Yabroud, 80 km north of Damascus, the last stronghold in the strategic Qalalmoun mountains to be held by Syrian rebel and Islamist forces. debkafile: Its fall would open the Damascus highway to Homs and the Allawite regions, secure Hizballah supply routes from Lebanon and potentially revive flagging Syrian army morale. Iranian Al Qods Brigades spies report Yabroud is the source of the bombing attacks on Hizballah in Beirut, Baalbek and the Beqaa Valley.