Bush: Washington's conditions for talking to Iran remain unchanged - first verifiably suspend nuclear fuel enrichment<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 30, 2006
He said that while the Iraqi government was free to talk to Iran about helping to end the violence, US conditions for direct talks with Tehran were unchanged. Ahead of his arrival in Amman Wednesday night, the US president denied there was a civil war in Iraq and said the latest bombings were part of a nine-month pattern of al Qaeda attacks to foment sectarian violence and bloodshed.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 17, 2003
In the heat of war, General Tommy Franks played out his thesis that speed kills the enemy. A more nuanced formula may govern America's international strategy beyond Iraq. This formula was revealed by Jim Hoagland, Washington Post columnist, on April 13, as having been proposed by Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser to President George W. Bush:
Punish France, ignore Germany, forgive Russia.Anxious to avoid punishment, French president Jacques Chirac urged his Russian and German colleagues at their St. Petersburg summit this week to start dismantling their anti-American front. If this was meant seriously, Hoagland advised the French president "to pick up the phone at the Elysee and call Bush now."The Washington Post's readers at the Elysee waited three days to take this advice. On Tuesday, April 15, Chirac initiated his first phone conversation in two months with President Bush.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 16, 2003
Although President George W. Bush and administration spokesmen have carefully skirted any explicit threat of military action against Syria, debkafile's military sources report that Sunday night, April 12, small teams of American undercover troops were already inside Syria marking out the hideouts of Saddam's close family, his top lieutenants, military leaders and the directors of his banned weapons programs. US special forces troops were additionally directed to locate the men who drive the operational arms of the Hizballah, Jihad Islami and Hamas terror groups.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 15, 2003
mg class="picture" src="/dynmedia/pictures/BAssad.jpg" align="right" border="0">Round about noon on Sunday, April 13, US commanders realized that, while they were preoccupied with the civic needs of Baghdad, they were missing the biggest spectacle of the war - the 2003 Exodus from Iraq. Members of Saddam's regime in their thousands were pouring out of Baghdad and Saddam's last strongholds of Tikrit, Samarra and al Ramadi and heading for the Syrian frontier and Damascus. debkafile's intelligence and military sources report that Syrian military intelligence teams waited on the other side of the border, sorting the fugitives into groups and moving them on. Most high officials and officers were directed to Damascus and the Mediterranean towns of Latakia or Tartous.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 13, 2003
Saddam's scientific adviser and liaison with the UN arms inspectors, General Amer Hammoudi Al-Saadi, was not the first Iraqi general to turn himself in to American forces. Just before closing its last edition on April 11,DEBKA-Net-Weeklyreceived the first fragmentary reports from its intelligence sources of another general who trod the same secret path before him. Those reports shed partial light on the ease with which the US 1st Marines Expeditionary Force was able to reach the heart of Baghdad on Wednesday, April 9, without encountering substantial Iraqi resistance. In one case, the Republican Guards supposed to defend the Diyala River bridges and keep American forces out of east Baghdad suddenly stopped shooting and deserted their posts. In general, large sections of the elite SRG divisions charged with defending Baghdad melted away without inflicting or suffering casualties.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 12, 2003
mg class="picture" src="/dynmedia/pictures/Q1.jpg" align="right" border="0">While sharing the joy of the people of Baghdad in their newfound freedom, official US spokesmen have rightly pointed out that the war is not over. Saddam's statue may have been toppled but several hundred revelers in the streets of Baghdad do not mark the end of the fighting or even the complete stamping out of the regime in the country. Stage One has been completed with great success, but at least two more stages lie ahead before the coalition's military mission is accomplished: A. Iraqi forces still remain to be subdued in these areas: the south, centering on the Faw Peninsula and around al Amarna; the center, in the Iron Triangle formed by Tikrit, Al Ramadi and Samarra; the north, in the oil regions and cities of Mosul and Kirkuk; and the west, in the strategic Iraqi-Syria border region of Al Qaim. In other words, half of Iraq - like half of Baghdad - is still in Iraqi hands.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 10, 2003
fl!JUMHU.jpg>Early morning Wednesday, April 9, Day 21 of the war, as US troops moved into central Baghdad from the west, northeast and south, it dawned on Baghdad's roughly 6 million inhabitants that the Saddam regime was no longer visible. Very quickly, scenes of jubilation were mixed with riotous looting, first of government buildings - later, gunfire rattled from shops whose owners defended their property. Joyous crowds tore down symbols of Saddam's iron rule, set fire to the Olympic Committee headquarters headed by Uday Hussein and sacked palaces. Dancing Baghdad citizens mobbed and threw flowers at a convoy of US Marines as they rolled into Tahrir Square at the heart of the city, later pulling down together the colossal statue of Saddam Hussein. These televised scenes ignited joyous outbursts in the streets of Kurdistan in the north.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 9, 2003
By the end of Day 20 of the war, some of the creative dust dramatizing its progress had settled and some hard facts were surfacing. First, the true scale of the US thrust into the heart of Baghdad on Monday, April 7. The US 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, reaching its appointed sector 48 hours behind schedule, put up a floating span over the Diyala River and poured thousands of troops into eastern Baghdad under sustained artillery and mortar fire. Two Marines were killed and two were wounded. The unit's tardy arrival cost one of the force's senior commanders Col. Joe Dowdy his command despite his achievements in the fierce battles of Nasiriya. War commander Gen. Tommy Franks who demands the strictest adherence to his plan's timeline relieved him of his post. The second fact was the takeover of three of Saddam Hussein's palaces.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 9, 2003
mg class="picture" src="/dynmedia/pictures/TB.jpg" align="left" border="0">One of US war commander General Tommy Franks' favorite aphorisms for his troops is that speed can kill the enemy. He was as good as his word Monday morning, April 7, when he sent an armored column made up of two brigades of the 3rd Mechanized Division in a lightening thrust from the Dora district in the south into the heart of Baghdad on the west bank of the Tigris River on what was first described as a mission to probe enemy defenses. Interviewed outside Saddam's official Northern Palace, an American officer said his troops were securing the palace and moving on to additional government centers and symbols of Saddam's regime. The real objective, according to debkafile's military sources, is not visible on the surface of Baghdad at all. It was carried out by the US 101st Airborne Division: to find a second entrance to the underground system of tunnels leading to Saddam Hussein's command and control bunker fortress believed to be located about 20 km away to the west.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 7, 2003
mg class="picture" src="/dynmedia/pictures/bag5.jpg" align="left" border="0">While the images of American tanks rumbling through the streets of Baghdad Saturday, April 5, made stunning footage - certainly meant to impress on the Iraqi people and army that further resistance is useless, notwithstanding Saddam Hussein's walkabout the day before - debkafile's military sources report that their mission is not to conquer the city. Baghdad's general population, thousands of whom are fleeing the city, will be left to its own devices. The invading US troops were given orders to focus on capturing Saddam Hussein's control, command and communications centers, the nerve centers of his regime, which are buried in four vast underground palace complexes under Baghdad and its environs.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 6, 2003
Even amid crucial battles in Iraq, US President George W. Bush has made the gesture of leaving his capital again this week for a second attempt to shore up his foremost war ally, British prime minister Tony Blair, in the fight for his political life at home. Although, according to the latest opinion polls, around 70 percent of Britons support their army's participation in the Iraq war, Blair's personal prestige is on the wane. Some diplomatic circles dubbed the Bush-Blair conference in Belfast this Tuesday, April 8, "the rescue Blair summit", after last month's Camp David encounter failed to turn the tide in his favor. Blair believes he can win support by persuading Bush to allot the United Nations and Europe a major role in Iraq's post-war administration and the disposition of its oil resources. He thinks Europe will be impressed if he can win the US president round to their perceptions of Middle East peacemaking. He is unlikely to get very far with Bush on either.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 5, 2003
debkafile's Exclusive Middle East sources have tracked down the top Iraqi leadership's bolt-hole. It is a large 1,600-room luxury resort with 600 meters of private sandy beach in the Mediterranean coastal town of Latakiya called Cote d'Azur De Cham Resort, prepaid and chartered in toto by Baghdad. The group may include Saddam Hussein or his sons, but this is not confirmed. The hotel is located close to the Assad family villa. Top Iraqi officials are reported hiding there since March 23, four days after the US-led coalition invaded Iraq. They are guarded by a Syrian commando unit armed with anti-air missiles while Syrian naval missile boats secure the port.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 2, 2003
The US dawn assault against Ash-Shatra north of Nasiryah Monday, to seek out senior Iraqi regime and Baath officials directing the terrorist and guerrilla warfare against coalition forces, diverted attention from a far more critical American initiative. While Ash-Shatra is mostly under air assault, the American 101st Airborne Division's "screaming eagles", fighting since Thursday to drive a wedge between two Special Republican Guards divisions - Al Medina south of Karbala and Hamourabi south west of the Bahr a Milh Lake - has succeeded in breaking through Iraqi defense lines. While engaged in street fighting in Hindiya, the first units are crossing the Euphrates from west to east, 60 miles south of Baghdad.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 31, 2003
The Iraq war is resolving itself into a battle of wits whose lines are deliberately blurred by the bravado, ambiguous maneuvers and half-truths propagated by both sides. The protagonists are US General Tommy Franks and Saddam Hussein. The score on Day 12 of the war is even. debkafile's intelligence sources and military analysts stress that both are perfectly aware that the war will end in an American battlefield victory. With an eye on the endgame, the two are maneuvering over its cost. Franks' goal is a victory with the lowest number of American casualties, whereas Saddam, who has no inhibitions about the human cost to his army and people, seeks to extract from the conflict enough leverage to dictate the conditions for his and his sons' survival.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 31, 2003
Uday Hussein, faithfully obeying his father, immersed himself from April 2002 in creating a vast guerrilla-terrorist army 800,000 strong, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources. Its largest component, around 650,000, comes from the ubiquitous Baath party, the Saddam regime's eyes, ears and informers in every corner of Iraqi society, together with members of Saddam's Fedayeen (Martyrs) Division of the Special Republican Guards.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 30, 2003
101st Airborne Steals March
Though slowed down, Thursday, March 27, US forces were holding to their lines of advance in the face of billowing clouds of sand and dust and the harassment of the hit-and-run raids staged by Iraqi irregulars determined to halt their advance and cut their supply routes. The Iraqis are using fast-moving small pickup trucks fitted with four-wheel drives and equipped with light mortars, heavy machine guns, anti-tank rocket launchers or rocket-propelled grenades -RPGs. At every bridge crossing, they badger the rear of US forces, as happened near al Amarah in eastern Iraq and Nasiriya and Najef, in the center.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 30, 2003
Assad to Saddam's Rescue
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 103 reported exclusively that, In two covert operations this week, US special forces blew up the Iraqi-Syrian pipeline carrying illegal Iraq oil exports from Mosul and Kirkuk to the Syrian Mediterranean oil terminal on the Banias for sale overseas, as well as the Syrian-Iraq railroad that was Saddam's only route for importing war supplies. Nevertheless, US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld found it necessary to issue a grave warning to Damascus on Friday, March 28. He said shipping war material and equipment from Syria to Iraq is seen as a hostile action and that of a combatant. He also cautioned Iran not to interfere in the Iraq war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 27, 2003
As night fell, Iraqi forces began pounding coalition troops around Nasiriya in central Iraqi with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. The column of Iraqi military vehicles heading south appeared to be making for Najef, where a battle with US troops earlier Wednesday exacted heavy Iraqi casualties; most disturbingly, a huge convoy of Iraqi tanks and APCs rumbled out of Basra in the south and headed towards the Faw peninsula to recover ground lost to the coalition forces in the first days of combat. Allied jet fighters scrambled to the air and began strafing them as they moved forward.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 26, 2003
US Short of Troops for Baghdad Battle
Three days of violent sandstorms and low clouds are forecast for southern and central Iraq from Tuesday, March 25. For the Iraqis, this means a couple of days' respite; for the American and British, a scramble to shroud their tanks and equipment in canvas and tarp sheeting to protect them from the creeping grains. Not only are the tanks out of action until the end of the week, but grounded too, as debkafile's military source report, are the heavy bombers, the fighter bombers and the helicopters which fought their first skirmishes with the Special Republic Guards Al Madina Division near al Kut on the road to Baghdad - and lost an Apache. Its two pilots were captured and shown on Iraqi television Monday night.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 24, 2003
US Troops in First Encounter with Iraqi Republic Guards
After a tough day of facing Iraqi resistance and setbacks - the first American troops were taken captive and 12 were killed - America's Iraq War took an important military turn late on Sunday, March 23, as reported exclusively by debkafile's military sources: The first frontal engagements between US troops advancing on Baghdad and Saddam Hussein's elite Special Republican Guards. They began near Al Amarah, a small town on the Tigris River, and at al Kut, some 100 km upriver to the northwest.
Al Amarah is geographically the southern gateway to Baghdad.
debkafile Military Analysis of First 72 Hours
Iraq war commander General Tommy Franks, in a news briefing Saturday, March 22, at his Qatar headquarters, declared that this war is unlike any other ever seen before as regards its scale, overwhelming force, surprise and shock, precision and flexibility. He stressed that the devastating bombardment over Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities Friday night was absolutely precise in reaching its selected targets and no other. That said, and with American armored columns slicing through the country to Baghdad for the their first real test of Franks' strategy and his army's mettle against elite Republican Guards Division forces, debkafile's military analysts singles out some of its manifestations thus far: