DEBKAfile Special Report April 13, 2017
The US Thursday, April 13, dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, the 21,000lb Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), in Afghanistan on an ISIS target in the Nangathar Province east of Kabul. This was the first time it was used in combat. In this area, a Special Forces (Green Beret) solider died of enemy small fire Saturday while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 16, 2017
Israel’s integration in US anti-ISIS Syrian operations was discussed with Trump.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 16, 2017
Disentangling US and Iranian cooperation in Iraq will be a major hurdle.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 5, 2016
There is no chance of the Mosul offensive scoring a victory before Barack Obama quits the White House next month. Altogether 54,000 Iraqi troops and 5,000 US servicemen – supported by 90 warplanes and 150 heavy artillery pieces - were invested in the Mosul campaign when it was launched in October. They proved unable to beat 9,000 jihadists.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly January 2, 2016
US President Barack Obama is finally willing to scrap his longstanding principle of “no US boots on the ground” for a major new campaign with allies to cut down Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 27, 2015
Washington and Moscow appear close to agreeing to their armed forces teaming up for war operations in Syria and Iraq. A comment suggesting the Obama administration’s new direction on Syria came from US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Tuesday, Oct. 27: “We won't hold back,” he said, “from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL...or conducting such mission directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground." The effect on Israel’s security is to be discussed in Washington in talks between Carter Defense Minsiter Moshe Ya’alon.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 8, 2015
The Russians have planted a brand-new electronic system atop a Syrian mountain to block all US aerial, naval and ground activity in the country. It also impairs IDF defensive operations and communications on the Golan and northern Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 17, 2015
The US Delta Special Operations raid that killed ISIS oil chief Abu Sayyaf Saturday, May 16, could not have taken place without prior US coordination with Damascus and Moscow. debkafile: Washington’s denial of coordination did not preclude a prior notice to Moscow, which then passed it on to Damascus. The operation therefore fixed another Middle East landmark: The US, Russia and the Assad regime pulled together for the first time against the Islamic State, for an operation that was more extensive than reported. Not one, but five top ISIS commanders, were killed
DEBKAfile Special Report May 16, 2015
America’s first ground operation in the Syrian war targeted the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. On Saturday, May 16, Special Operations forces attacked an ISIS house in the Deir a-Zour district of eastern Syria, and killed the high-value Islamist commander and oil and gas chief, Abu Sayyaf, when he resisted capture. debkafile: Catching him alive was preferable in view of his importance to the Islamist group as overseer of the Syrian and Iraqi oil fields they have commandeered, and energy sales which net the group's war chest an estimated $5million a day.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 23, 2014
President Barack Obama must take into account that a decision to extend US military action against the Islamic State to Syria would have the effect of rescuing Bashar Assad’s rule in Damascus from the Islamist peril and strengthening the presence of his Hizballah and Iranian allies in Damascus. debkafile: Israel's and Jordan's security would also be affected. Considering Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi’s recent undercover contacts with Assad, a US decision may also tilt his calculus about hosting diplomacy on the Gaza conflict
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 29, 2014
“Ma’an is the Falluja of Jordan!” shouted thousands of Bedouin Saturday, June 28, in the southern Jordanian town of Ma’an. They held ISIS placards and flags in one hand and automatic rifles in the other. Ma’an lies104 km from the Israeli Eilat and some 60 km from the main artery linking northern Israel to the south. debkafile: In Washington, there was anxious talk Sunday about the prospect of the Islamists rocking Abdullah’s throne. This would leave the US no option but to approve American and Israeli military intervention in its defense.
DEBKAfile Video December 29, 2013
US weapons and Iranian Al Qods officers join the Iraqi army in a major anti-al-Qaeda offensive to foil Al Qaeda’s plan for its first caliphate across the Syrian-Iraqi frontier - but also to buttress the pro-Iranian Shiite crescent arching over the region.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 10, 2013
President Barack Obama contradicted his advisers, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, in a series of TV interviews early Tuesday, Sept. 10. He said he would put on hold military action against Syria, and delay the vote in Congress “for weeks,” to verify the Russian proposal for Assad to hand over his chemical arsenal to international control, and see if the Syrian issue can’t be solved without military action. “We know the capabilities of the Syrian army and that is no big problem for us,” Obama said.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 8, 2013
Bashar Assad’s remark that he was “not necessarily expecting the United States to intervene” was the key phrase in an interview to be aired on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS Monday night, Sept. 9. It indicated that something new was afoot. Assad also denied he had anything to do with the chemical attack last month near Damascus. debkafile: Washington has handed the Syrian ruler a secret proposal for ending the crisis, which European powers are pushing hard. The momentum for US military action has slowed but the door remains open.
US Air Force will also target Syria’s air force, ballistic missiles and sections of its air defenses
DEBKAfile Special Report September 7, 2013
The reports coming out of Washington in the last 24 hours indicate that US President Barack Obama has resolved not just to degrade Syria’s chemical capabilities but also to take down Bashar Assad’s air force, destroy his air bases and knock out his ground-to-ground ballistic missiles, using giant B-52 bombers and B-2 stealth bombers. debkafile: Since the Syrian ruler’s chemical stocks can’t be destroyed by air strikes - only by ground forces, Washington is considering taking down his ballistic missiles, depriving him of the delivery vehicles for his poison gas.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 6, 2013
The US Friday, Sept. 6, ordered the withdrawal of non-emergency workers from the embassy in Beirut and the consulate general in Adana, southeast Turkey, and warned Americans against traveling to those areas. The State Department acted after an unscheduled 20-minute one-on-one meeting between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin on the G20 sidelines at St. Petersburg apparently ended in discord on the Syrian crisis. Another Russian landing craft is headed for the Mediterranean carrying a “special cargo” thought to contain S-300 batteries against a US attack.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2013
The Iranian parliamentarians visiting Damascus Sunday, Sept. 1, advised Bashar Assad to move his chemical stockpile out of Syria for temporary storage in Tehran under Iranian and Russian military supervision, so as to ward off an American military strike, debkafile reveals. Chairman of the Majlis Foreign Affairs Committee Ala-Eddin Borujerdi suggested destroying the chemical arsenal as an alternative. Tehran wants to prevent a US attack on Syria – both to conceal the Iranian provenance of the nerve agents and to avoid any precedent for a strike against Iran.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 1, 2013
President Barack Obama’s about-turn Saturday night, Aug. 31 on the planned US military operation against Syria’s chemical weapons has shaken up the volatile Middle East balance of strength, giving Israel, Jordan and Turkey “a military nightmare.” By suspending the US military threat, Obama has given Iran, Syria and Hizballah the time and freedom to stage a pre-emptive strike against America and its regional allies. Israel’s authorities are taking no chances and keeping in place the military and security preparedness on the country’s Syrian and Lebanese borders.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 31, 2013
President Barack Obama shocked a tense world Saturday, Aug. 31, when he dodged a decision on a US strike on Syria by referring it to Congress. In a speech to the American people, he said the use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad must be “confronted not just investigated,” but then said, “We are ready to strike whenever we choose. This operation could take place tomorrow, next week, or next month. In so saying, Obama granted Assad and Co. time galore for counter-moves and put Israel in a tight spot.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 30, 2013
Friday, Aug. 30, US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Bashar Assad of responsibility for poison gas attack on 11 Damascus sites on Aug. 21, causing 1,429 deaths, including 426 children. His words signaled the start of the countdown for the US military strike on Syria, which debkafile’s military sources estimate could be launched from this moment until US Labor Day on Sept. 2. America cannot look the other way, he said. He also cited US concern for the proximity to Syria of US friends Israel, Jordan and Turkey.