DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 11, 2015
Russia is deepening its military intervention in the Syrian conflict with reinforcements of combat helicopters and its first “volunteer” ground forces, according to intelligence reports reaching debkafile from southern Russia and the Crimea. With these reinforcements, Russia will take the lead of the slow-moving Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah campaigns against the Islamic State and insurgent advances on the Homs and Idlib front lines. The first Russian combat helicopters have already been moved out of Latakia to Syrian air bases in Homs and Hama.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 29, 2015
Multilateral diplomacy for resolving the Syrian war is racing ahead now that both Russia and Iran see their way to letting Assad be phased out of the Syrian presidency.
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 September 9, 2015
Moscow opened a new route for flying military shipments from Sevastopol in Crimea and other South Russian bases to Syria, debkafile discloses. To circumvent US efforts to block the airspace of NATO nations, Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, along the Mediterranean route, the Russian is senidng military transports over the Caspian Sea, northern Iran and Iraq, to reach Mezze airbase in Damascus and supply the new Russian base at Jablah.The White House warned Tuesday night, Sept. 8: “Russian military buildup would risk confrontation with the counter-ISIL coalition that included the US.”
Russia and US woo Saudis to help save Assad - albeit putting Israel and Jordan in danger from S. Syria
DEBKAfile Special Report August 9, 2015
Building on the nuclear accord, the Obama administration has been in close communion with Moscow and Tehran on moves to save the Assad regime as the key to ending the Syrian conflict and a united front against the Islamic State. This initiative was to have peaked at the Doha foreign ministers’ meeting on Aug. 3, except that it was blocked by Saudi refusal to acknowledge Assad. The US and Russia hope to change Riyadh’s mind when Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir visits Moscow on Aug. 11. But then, Israel and Jordan would face great peril from southern Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 6, 2015
The US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf have lined up to fight ISIS, after each gives up on primary issues. Bashar Assad stays, by common consent, and the Houthis lose the Yemen war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 19, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning to Israel not to sell arms to Ukraine, in reprisal for his release of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran, adds a European dimension to the dispute by planting Israel squarely in the middle of the US-Russian Ukraine crisis. Putin’s implied threat to punish Israel by sending S-300s to Syria too follows his intelligence updates on tight US-Israeli military collaboration in two arenas: Syria and Ukraine. The S-300s have not yet been shipped to Iran. It depends on whether Obama decides to forge ahead with expanded military assistance to Kiev.
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 Special Report March 20, 2014
The US and Russian presidents locked horns in earnest over their Ukraine dispute Thursday, March 20 with two sets of serious reciprocal sanctions. International financial circles warn that in their determination to outplay one another, the US and Russian leaders risk causing havoc in world trade centers. debkafile: Whereas Barack Obama’s new executive order covering 20 targets strikes deep inside Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and personal financial interests, the Russian president appears to be going for American politicians hostile to Moscow – although this is only his first shot.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 15, 2014
Russia claims to have intercepted a US MQ-5B Hunter drone over Crimea Friday, March 14, by using radio-electronic technology to break its link with the US operators. The Russian state arms and technology group Rostec said the UAV, belonging to the 66th America Reconnaissance Brigade, fell “almost intact” into the hands of “self-defense forces.” No part of this report is confirmed by the US or any independent source. Confirmation would mark this incident a dangerous escalation in the US-Russian dispute over Ukraine - hitherto just a war of words.
Moscow will halt military steps in Ukraine – only after a US guarantee not to post missile shield there
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 3, 2014
As Washington and the Europeans continued to decry Russian military aggression, the US and Russians quietly began intense negotiations - through Berlin - on a deal for settling the Ukraine dispute, debkafile reports. Moscow will keep its military forces in Crimea, but discuss terms for restraining the Russian army from advancing into the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine: Kiev must stay out of NATO, the US must guarantee not to deploy advanced radar, missile shields or ballistic missiles in the country, and local armed bodies will protect Russian-speaking areas.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 21, 2014
Russian security services launched an intensive hunt Tuesday, Jan. 21 for suspected Islamist bomber Ruzana Ibragimova, 22, known also as Salima or the White Widow, who was last seen on a street in Sochi, which hosts the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympic Games. Some Russian sources report that not one but three female bombers are at large. US forces are assisting Russian security to secure the Games. A vast 2,400-kilometer “ring of steel” enclosing Sochi and manned by 40,000 Russian personnel is the broadest security area ever provided for an Olympic event.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 3, 2014
The freeze on Iran’s nuclear program, agreed in Geneva, is still in abeyance, and the destruction of Syria’s poison weapons stuck somewhere in limbo.
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.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 20, 2013
Russian leaders have picked apart the Kerry-Lavrov understanding for Syria’s chemical disarmament - less than a week after it was unveiled in Geneva. Thursday, Sept. 19, Vladimir Putin said he was not 100 percent certain the plan would succeed. His Defense minister Sergey Shoigu denied Russian plans to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpiles on its territory, while Bashar Assad mocked the option of their destruction in America. At the Security Council, Russia’s UN delegate blocked the measure for underpinning the deal, as Secretary of State John Kerry fought to retrieve it.
The Syrian helicopter flight over Turkey fabricated first Assad obstacle to chemical weapons handover
DEBKAfile Special Report September 17, 2013
Bashar Assad’ sent a Syrian M-17 helicopter into Turkish air space Monday, Sept. 16, with deliberate intent. Ankara fell into the trap by sending the Turkish Air Force to down the intruder after it failed to heed several warnings, instead of chasing it back to Syria. The incident sent border tensions spiraling and gave Damascus and Moscow the pretext for backing out of the chemical weapons deal under the oversight of the Organizaton for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, so long as the OPCW was headed by a Turkish official.
DEBKAfile Special Report September 14, 2013
The accord for destroying Syria’s chemical stockpiles, which US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented in Geneva Saturday, Sept 14, leaves important issues unaddressed. Assad stays in power long term with responsibility for its implementation while waging war – a highly dubious prospect. Kerry will not find it easy to convince Israel leaders when he arrives Sunday that Syria won’t divert some its chemical weapons to Hizballah, away from international control, or that the Syrian chemical deal is not a template for Iran’s nuclear program.
Washington’s push against Egyptian, Israeli go-it-alone military steps. US marines deployed off Suez, Sinai
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 14, 2013
The Obama administration is exhibiting strong disapproval of Israel’s independent military action against Syria and of the Egyptian army’s steps against the Muslim Brotherhood. debkafile: Washington is also put out by the campaign the Egyptian army has launched, with Israel’s active support, to root out the Islamist Salafist and Hamas terror blighting Sinai. US warships and marines are deployed off Egypt’s Red sea coast to warn the Egyptian generals not to go too far and also, if necessary, secure Suez Canal shipping and intervene in Sinai.
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly June 19, 2012
Russian President Vladimir Putin is in over-drive to recover Moscow’s overriding influence in the Arab world, which it lost to the United States in 1973. To roll the march of history back 39 years, Putin is enlisting China and Iran. The latest DEBKA-Net-Weekly issue out last Friday focuses on Russia’s comeback and Barack Obama’s prospects of pushing it back, given his reliance on the sympathy of the Muslim Brotherhood and the backing of an unpopular Turkey and a systematically disempowered Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 8, 2012
Moscow has stepped into the vacuum created by US President Barack Obama’s decision to stay out of Middle East troubles while campaigning for a second term. After blocking the way to direct Western and Arab military intervention in Syria through the Mediterranean, Russia sent its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – to secure Iran against a potential US/Israeli attack via its northern and eastern neighbors, debkafile reports. Armenia is to host a Russian radar station.