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.
Iran spreads its war wings: Hizballah deepens role in Syria. Israel, Syria, Lebanon “regions of conflict”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 10, 2014
In a policy makeover, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided to seal off in a separate policy compartment Iran’s nuclear diplomatic tactics for obtaining sanctions relief - and for dominating the Syrian war negotiations resuming in Geneva, Monday, Feb. 10 - and place Iran’s regional goals in another box. Alongside diplomacy, Al Qods Brigades chief Qassem Soleimani will execute Iran’s expanded regional interventions. Hizballah is already deepening its role in the Syrian civil war, while Lebanon, Syria and Israel are targeted by Tehran as “areas of conflict.”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 5, 2014
The second round of the Geneva II conference on the Syrian conflict opens Monday, Feb. 10 – this time with a seat at the table for the Iranian delegation provided by Washington, debkafile reports exclusively. Last week the US banned Iranian participation. Washington’s turnabout now was relayed to the Iranian officials at the secret alternative conference taking place unannounced in Bern, where the real business is contracted – not at Montreux. The US has thus awarded Iran major power status for the first time at an international event determining an important Mid East issue.
State denies Kerry admitted US Syrian failure. Israel shoots down US-led NATO force for Palestinian State
DEBKAfile Special Report February 4, 2014
January was the bloodiest month of the Syrian conflict. US Secretary John Kerry was quoted by US Senators McCain and Lindsey as admitting that administration Syrian policy had failed and a new strategy was indicated. Yet State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki accused the senators of “mischaracterizing" his remarks. NSA Susan also rose to Kerry’s defense to reprove Israelis for criticizing him. Jerusalem has meanwhile rejected as unpractical the proposal for US-led NATO forces to take over anti-terror tasks from the IDF in a Palestinian state.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 28, 2014
The Obama administration announced Tuesday, Jan. 28, the supply to selected Syrian rebel militias of American light weapons including anti-tank – but not anti-air – rockets. And Friday, Jan. 24, an IDF intelligence officer revealed Israel was “rethinking” its Syria neutrality policy in view of the 30,000 al Qaeda fighters massed on its Syrian border. debkafile: These disclosures amount to a shift in US and Israeli non-intervention policies in Syria. The upshot: a plan for two security buffers in southern Syria to block Al Qaeda’s path to Israel and Jordan.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 24, 2014
The delegation to Geneva 2 representing Bashar Assad holds most of the levers and will make sure that there is no resolution suggesting his removal. Iran denies accepting any dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure, and Kerry misses a visit to Israel and the Palestinians.
Syria conference opens in Switzerland with secret Iranian presence. Obama, Putin aim for local truces
DEBKAfile Special Report January 22, 2014
The conference of 30 foreign ministers opening Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Montreux got off to a shaky start. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the Assad presidency was a ”red line” and Information minister Omran al-Zoubi said there was no civil war - only “a fight between government and terrorists.” After the fiasco of UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s withdrawal of his invitation to Tehran, an Iranian delegation arrived under cover. Presidents Obama and Putin agreed to limit conference goals to local ceasefires and humanitarian corridors.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 20, 2014
Israel’s security cabinet decided Sunday, Jan. 19, to end the issue of gas masks to the public next month, having concluded that "there has been a significant decline in the threat of chemical weapons being fired at Israel." debkafile: This decision is premature, coming as it has on the eve of the Geneva conference on Syria, and information that the Syrian and Iraqi branches of al Qaeda - and possibly Hizballah - have got hold of sarin nerve gas and the know-how for using it. Al Qaeda-Iraq says Israel's destruction is in store after Syria.
Putin to visit Tehran. King of Morocco invites Iran to “Jerusalem Committee” – with Kerry’s approval
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 17, 2014
Tehran’s offensive for establishing itself as the leading Middle East power bar none is in full flight. Foreign Minister Javad Zerif used his Moscow visit to invite Vladimir Putin to visit Tehran. The Russian President accepted. The King of Morocco offered Iran of full membership in the Al Quds (Jerusalem) Committee of the Organization of Islamic States, with the approval of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Iran also sent out invitations to Gulf rulers to tour its nuclear reactor at Bushehr, combined with a round table discussion on regional nuclear cooperation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 10, 2014
The thaw in Turkish-Iranian relations is producing a joint effort to snatch the Syrian opposition from the US and Saudi Arabia, while also circumventing the US-Russian takeover of Geneva 2.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 20, 2013
The mysterious Rev. Guards officer has been secretly appointed commander of the Syrian war. His hidden record covers a long career of external operations in terrorist training, orchestration and execution on behalf of the Islamic regime.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 9, 2013
Bashar Assad’s army achieved a signal strategic breakthrough Sunday, Dec. 8, by its conquest of Nabuk in the Qalamoun Mountains. The rebel forces have been thrown into disarray, leaving only Jabhat al Nusra and the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda fit to fight Assad. Syrian rebels have therefore found Washington turning a cold shoulder and developing indirect contacts with pro-Assad army elements and, through British diplomats, Hizballah. On the Syrian uprising’s 1,000th day, the same US-Russian-Iranian coalition which fixed the Geneva nuclear accord is moving into position for a Syrian solution.