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 Report September 12, 2014
The Revolutionary Guards air force interception of a chartered plane carrying US troops from Afghanistan was part of a radical contest with the pro-diplomacy president over Iran’s nuclear program and ties with Washington.
US-Iranian military, intelligence cooperation in war on ISIS reaps first successes in Syria and Iraq
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 5, 2014
At least 18 foreign ISIS fighters, including Americans and Europeans, were killed in a Syrian air raid Thursday, Sept. 4, over their Raqqa HQ. A second Syrian air raid killed or injured another group of high ISIS officers at Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border. A day earlier, US jets struck an IS base in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, killing its commander, Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, and two top lieutenants of ISIS chief Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi. All these actions owed their success to deepening US-Iranian military and intelligence cooperation. Is this Obama's unadmitted strategy?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 29, 2014
While Obama works with Iran to fight Islamists, he faces a rival bloc doing the same in Egypt, Saudi Arabia in Israel. But will he be willing to take Hizballah and Iran as partners and part of the deal?
Epic US-Iran military cooperation in Iraq coincides with Israel’s war on Tehran’s Palestinian ally, Hamas
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 17, 2014
On June 16, the US and Iran took their first steps for military cooperation in Iraq, at the same time as Israel declared war on Tehran’s Palestinian ally, Hamas, in the wake of a fruitless four-day sweep of the West Bank Hebron region for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, and the detention of hundreds of Hamas activists. Israel leaders said this was just the beginning of military pressure on Hamas. debkafile: The 275 troops Obama assigned to Iraq are also the beginning of a wider military intervention against ISIS in collaboration with Iran.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 11, 2014
Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threw a large spanner in nuclear diplomacy Sunday, May 11, when he told the Revolutionary Guards to start mass-producing missiles. He dismissed western expectations on limits to missile production as “stupid and idiotic.” Khamenei was responding to the US demand, raised mainly under pressure from Israel, to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons projects and its missiles program in the coming round of talks on May 15. debkafile: The Iranian leader is also under threat of a putsch by the Guards if he approves any further nuclear concessions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 4, 2014
Hojat-Islam Ali Yunessi’s visit to the Shiraz synagogue Friday night, May 1, was noteworthy – even if it was part of President Hassan Rouhani’s smiles offensive. The cleric admitted that scientific research had confirmed the Biblical account of Persian Emperor Cyrus’s recognition of the Jews’ right to Judah and a temple in Jerusalem. Rouhani counted on this gesture for winning points with US Jews, ahead of the signing of a final nuclear accord, and back US National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s effort this week to sell the accord to Israel and prevent it attacking Iran.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 29, 2014
Saudi Arabia exhibited its nuclear-capable missiles for the first time Tuesday, April 29 in a military parade ending a large-scale war game. Displayed was the liquid propellant DF-3 ballistic missile (NATO designated CSS-2), purchased from China 27 years ago. This missile has a range of 2,650 km, carries a payload of 2,150 kg and a single nuclear warhead with a 1-3 MT yield. By showing off the DF-3, Riyadh was displaying its readiness for use in a potential war with Iran and its non-reliance any longer on a US nuclear shield.
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 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 Exclusive Report December 18, 2013
The European Union and Iran announced Wednesday that the talks on the technical aspects of the interim nuclear accord with the six powers - broken off in Vienna Friday Dec. 13 - would be resumed in Geneva Thursday, Dec. 19. debkafile: This is a desperate attempt to enliven the dying momentum of nuclear diplomacy. The meeting is is being convened to camouflage the fact that the Geneva accord is on the brink of collapse. Iran now denies any pact was signed, saying "it was only a statement of intent.”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2013
Mr. X is the first point man the US has headhunted in the ruling elite of post-revolutionary Islamic Iran. Close to Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani, he is the object of high expectations on the part of Barack Obama and John Kerry. The last DEBKA Weekly out Friday, Dec. 20 divulged his arcane identity, his mode of operation and his prospects of meeting those expectations. This issue also traced the slow demise of the nuclear deal the six powers signed with Iran last month. To catch such exclusives, subscribe to DEBKA Weekly by clicking here.
No US, EU objections to Iran holding nuclear-capable missiles able to reach Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey
DEBKAfile Special Report December 13, 2013
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief Maj. Gen, Mohammad Ali Jafari revealed in a lecture to students in Tehran that under the Geneva interim accord negotiated last month, Iran had agreed to apply a six-month nuclear freeze additionally to halting the extension of its nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to ranges of 3,000-5,000 km, able reach the US and Europe. US and UK negotiators agreed Tehran could keep the missiles with ranges of 1,500-2,000 km capable of reaching Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly December 10, 2013
Tehran wins two key Gulf emirates away from their close alignment with Saudi Arabia by two steps: Its consent to discuss the future of three islands claimed by the UAE in the Strait of Hormuz; and the conspicuous absence of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos from the GCC summit in Kuwait this week. The Saudis were prevented from passing anti-Iranian measures, which must be unanimous under GCC rules, and were therefore isolated. The Obama administration’s silence – even when Iran posted assault aircraft on a Hormuz island – resounded across the region.
Pakistan’s new army chief: Nuclear ties with Saudis, US exit from Afghanistan, Riyadh’s anti-Iran drive
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 1, 2013
If Pakistan’s new army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, goes through with the transfer of nuclear arms and missiles to Saudi Arabia, he ranges Islamabad on the side of Sunni versus Shiite by lending a Sunni power a nuclear capability versus a nuclear-armed Shiite Iran, whose “nuclear rights” have just been recognized by six world powers. Gen. Sharif must also adapt Pakistan’s armed forces to the US military exit from Afghanistan next year and decide whether to allow Saudi covert operations against Iran to continue from Pakistani soil.
Jerusalem, Riyadh stunned: Obama makes Iran 7th world power on regional issues, including Palestinians
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 25, 2013
debkafile exclusive: President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have secretly consented to elevate Iran to the status of seventh world power, for signing the interim nuclear accord in Geneva on Nov. 24, living up to its obligations in the coming six months and then signing a comprehensive agreement. While demanding respect as a regional power, never in its wildest dreams did Tehran expect big power standing with a recognized authoritative role in the wider Middle East, including the Palestinian issue. Jerusalem and Riyadh are aghast.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 25, 2013
Certain US media suddenly this week claimed to have broken the news of a secret track used by President Barack Obama for secret negotiations with Tehran through Oman’s Sultan Qaboos. debkafile and DEBKA Weekly in fact uncovered the Qaboos track on Aug. 26, 2013 and were on the trail of those back-channel communications as early as Jan.26, 2012 more than a year ago, when we exposed the early rendezvous US and Iranian emissaries held in secret in Baghdad. The relevant dates of our disclosures are listed below.
Nuclear deal may sink in Geneva between hardline pressures in Tehran and tough Franco-Israel demands
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2013
Washington and Moscow may sound upbeat about the prospects of a signed interim deal at the next round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six powers in Geneva Wednesday, Nov. 20. However, according to debkafile’s intelligence and Iranian sources, the way ahead is still bristling with mines, more so even than the first round. Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Javad Zarif fear retribution at home for yielding, while France and Israel toughen demands. Binyamin Netanyahu reiterates that a “bad deal” won’t bind Israel and brandishes Israel’s military option.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 16, 2013
French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrive in Jerusalem Sunday, Nov. 17. Their talks with Israel’s leaders will show if France stands by its independent stance against Washington’s détente with Tehran and is willing to throw in its lot ad hoc with Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. Their outcome will determine whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu goes to Moscow next Wednesday alone or with French and Saudi backing. The next round of nuclear negotiations in Geneva on Nov. 20 will also be influenced.
Major Israel-US rift over Washington plan to let Tehran continue enriching uranium with sanctions relief
DEBKAfile Special Report November 7, 2013
Israel voiced early Thursday, Nov. 7, its utter opposition to the new proposal the US plans to put before the two-day Geneva conference opening later in the day on Iran’s nuclear program. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, when he met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem Wednesday, bitterly accused the Obama administration of yielding to the Russian-backed Iranian position. Should Tehran renege on the deal, the US proposal leaves it with the capacity for enriching enough weapons-grade uranium in 10 days to build several nuclear weapons.