DEBKAfile Special Report December 20, 2011
"Despite the efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, they have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less," said US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in a CBS interview Tuesday, Dec. 20 marking a radical change in US administration policy. "That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis," he said. Instead of warning Israel against striking Iran, Panetta said: "If we have to do it we will deal with it."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2011
Extreme concern was quietly voiced Sunday, Dec. 18, by American and European official circles over the state of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's health – and especially its impact on present and impending events in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, including Iran, debkafile's Western intelligence sources report. Those sources say Erdogan is suffering from Rectosigmoid cancer. The prolonged treatment he needs is already affecting policy-making and has sparked the first signs of a power struggle within his ruling AKP party.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2011
Expanded Russian military support for the Assad regime was underscored by the deployment Friday, Dec. 16, of advanced Moscow-supplied Yakhont (SSN-26) shore-to-sea missiles along Syria's Mediterranean shore to fend off a potential invasion by sea. Last week, Russia airlifted to Syria 3 million face masks against chemical and biological weapons; and the Admiral Kutznetsov strike group headed out to Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Ankara; Syrian Vice President Farouk a-Shara in Moscow.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2011
Syria has moved Scud missiles, some tipped with chemical warheads, to its border with Turkey, reinforced its tank units on the Jordanian border and airlifted from Russia three million face masks against chemical and biological weapons.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2011
President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan have developed relations of mutual trust which allowed the US to set up its headquarters for the campaign to oust Bashar Assad in southwest Turkey. The next US-inspired step is to foment a campaign of civil obedience against the Assad regime, starting in Aleppo.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly December 13, 2011
By deploying US troops on the Jordanian-Syrian border, the Obama administration played the last piece of its master game for Bashar Assad's ouster – in conjunction with Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's latest issue out Friday offers glimpses of covert US action in Syria alongside counter-steps pursued by Damascus, Tehran and Hizballah.
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DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 1, 2011
Small Western special forces units have begun filtering into Syria to prepare the ground for a major military operation by the US, several more NATO members and Gulf emirates, to captured northern Syria and use it as a beachhead to eventually dominate the rest of the country.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 29, 2011
debkafile reports that the Katyusha rocket volley from S. Lebanon which hit Galilee in northern Israel in the small hours of Tuesday, Nov. 29, was initiated by Hizballah commanders in South Lebanon, although claimed by the al Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Hizballah activated a Palestinian cell it controls in the Ain Hilwa refugee camp on behalf of its Damascus ally, after a group of NATO and Arab officers quietly established a command in Turkey for intervention in the Syrian crisis.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 27, 2011
Twenty-four hours before the Arab League Sunday, Nov. 27, clamped down sanctions on the Assad regime, the first ever against a member state, the armies of Syria's seven neighbors were already scrambling into position on standby for retaliation. debkafile: Israeli armored brigades moved up to the Lebanese and Syrian borders; Ankara placed three armored brigades, its air force and navy on the ready, likewise Hizballah and the Lebanese and Jordanian armed forces. Russia is sending Bashar Assad siege-breaking missiles.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 26, 2011
The Syrian crisis assumed a big power dimension this week with the build-up of rival US and Russian air carrier armadas in Syrian waters – ranged against and in support of Bashar Assad, debkafile's military sources report. The USS George H.W. Bush arrived Wednesday, Nov. 23, with 70 fighter-bombers and 8 guided missile cruisers and destroyers. Russia's only air carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov is due in mid-week to boost the three Russian warships already anchored off the Syrian port of Tartus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2011
The Arab League was not first to make the Syrian crisis a regional concern. Big power rivalry got there first. The US and France, like the Sunni rulers, seek Bashar Assad's downfall, while Russia and China are propping him up as their firewall for the Islamic regime in Tehran.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 16, 2011
The Assad regime suffered a shock Wednesday Nov.16 when self-styled "Free Syrian Army" deserters firing shoulder-borne rockets and heavy machine guns struck its biggest security complex at Harasta west of Damascus. This was the first rebel attack on a major strategic target and a potential game-changer. debkafile: It was undoubtedly part of a well-laid plan drawn up by Turkey, the Persian Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Jordan to topple Iran's closest ally, Bashar Assad.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 28, 2011
In the last 48 hours, the Syrian engineering corps has laid minefields along the Jordanian, Turkish borders to cut down on the influx of weapons and armed manpower supporting the anti-Assad opposition and the outflow of army deserters. debkafile's military sources add: By this action, Syria also aims to seal itself off against foreign military intervention. Since Muammar Qaddafi's death, Bashar Assad fears he is facing Arab military incursions backed by NATO.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 28, 2011
Tehran has come around to deciding that Bashar Assad will have to be forced out of the Syrian presidency and may be willing to join forces with the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to accomplish this – provided the foursome can get past a whole thicket of animosities.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 25, 2011
Azerbaijan's election to a UN Security Council non-permanent seat brings to the world body a government with lively relations with Israel. It also highlights the rivalry between the Israeli and Turkish military industries for the Baku market. Russia, Iran and Armenia, too, are looking askance at the rapid arming of Azerbaijani armed forces with Israeli drones, 60 of which roll out of Azerbaijan factories in two months. The partners are now discussing the sale of Israeli missile-bearing drones and spy satellites.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 10, 2011
Five days after defeating a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution condemning Bashar Assad's savagery against his opposition, Moscow turned the heat on him by inviting an opposition delegation for a visit Monday, Oct. 10 and offering to host talks between the Syrian government and the opposition umbrella Syrian National Council. Syrian Foreign Minister Wallid Moallem threatened unspecified "tough measures" against any countries recognizing the council, fearing a repeat of the Libyan rebel NTC exercise which toppled Muammar Qaddafi.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 8, 2011
Targeted assassinations now dominate Bashar Assad's savage confrontation with the popular opposition to his rule. The White House finally told the Syrian ruler to step down for the first time as 50,000 Syrian Kurds clashed with security forces at the funeral of the popular Kurdish leader Mashaal Tammo, 53, slain by masked men at his home in Qamishli, northern Syria Friday, Oct. 7. debkafile: The killers were members of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate acting on direct orders from Assad.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 7, 2011
Israel and Turkey embarked on large-scale mobilization maneuvers near Syrian borders Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 5-6 and the Jordanian armed forces were urged by the US and Turkey to follow suit. But Bashar Assad decided that having to build up his forces on two Syrian borders was enough. He sent a messenger to threaten Jordan's King Abdullah that if he staged an exercise, the Syrian air force would bomb Jordanian towns and if Israel intervened, he would attack them with missiles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2011
The consensus of US and Western intelligence chiefs at their closed door meeting in Langley was that NATO should count itself out of further military interventions in Arab uprisings in the coming year – especially in Syria - after its mistakes in Libya. Reliance on Turkey was seen as a letdown. The Yemeni crisis was judged more dangerous to broader regions of the Middle East and East Africa than the Syrian conflict.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2011
The new US Intelligence estimate for Iran to attain a nuclear bomb is now 2015-2016. Tehran is years behind schedule due to its technical inability to construct a containment shell for a bomb and get its new, advanced centrifuges working properly for enriching uranium to 60 percent at Fordo. However, US spymasters confirm that Iran had made progress in ballistics, building missiles with more powerful engines capable of longer ranges and greater accuracy than ever before.