DEBKAfile Special Report February 12, 2016
An agreement for the cessation of hostilities in Syria was announced in Munich early Friday, Feb. 12. This accord, defined by Secretary of State John Kerry as “words on paper” subject to implementation, provided a formal framework for the existing US-Russian military collaboration in Syria, and a stamp for the secret Obama-Putin deal concluded in December for ending the war and shaping Syria’s future
DEBKAfile Special Report February 6, 2016
The five-year old Syrian civil war faces its most critical moment. Saturday, Feb. 6, a combined force of Syrian army and Hizballah troops and an Iraqi Shiite militia under Iranian officers, were led by Russian air and Spetsnaz (special forces) officers into pressing forward to encircle 35,000 rebels trapped in Aleppo, the country’s largest city. The biggest refugee exodus of the Syrian war is blocked at the Turkish border. Moscow hints it will fight off any US, Saudi or Turkish interference.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 4, 2016
The US and Russia have mobilized Britain, France, Germany and Holland for their coming air blitz to burn the ISIS Raqqa HQ in Syria to the ground – preferably by July 1. First they are acting to cut off ISIS escape route to Mosul.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2016
The US and Russia are in the process of a military buildup in the Kurdish areas of northern Syria. It is ranged along a narrow strip of land 85 km long, stretching from Hassakeh in the east up to the Kurdish town of Qamishli on the Syrian-Turkish border. Facing them from across that border is a parallel buildup of Turkish strength. This highly-charged convergence of three foreign armies along a tense borderland is reported here by debkafile’s military sources. It is too soon to determine whether the three are operating in sync or at odds.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2016
President Barack Obama resolved earlier this month, much to the surprise of Washington insiders, to open a third anti-terror front in Libya to eradicate the Islamic Front’s tightening grip on the country. This top-secret decision was first revealed by DEBKA Weekly 692 on Jan. 1. For this campaign, he formed a new coalition with Russia and EU governments. This weekend, the first US, Russian, French and Italian Special Forces quietly landed at a point south of Tobruk, after 1,000 British SAS troops had prepared the ground.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 21, 2016
To save the nuclear accord, the US must fight Iran’s avowed mistrust and resist its attempts to collaborate with Russia to push the United States out of the Middle East.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 21, 2015
The northern Syria battlefield close to the Turkish border will have a greater impact on determining Syria’s future than any Security Council resolution. A very large mixed bag of combatants consists of Russia, the Kurdish YPG militia, most of the important rebel groups - including radical Sunni organizations tied to Al Qaeda, such as the Nusra Front and Ahram al-Sham - not to mention Iran and Shiite Hizballah and the jihadist Islamic State. So long as no one gains the upper hand, there will be progress in the talks starting next month for ending the war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 17, 2015
While the chief of staff wants to focus on fighting ISIS because he believes that the Russian presence in Syria will keep Israel safe from Iran and Hizballah, the defense minister wants to smash Assad to break the Iranian-Hizballah collaboration against Israel as the greater peril.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 17, 2015
The Russian Baghdad command is collaborating closely with Iran and its Shiite militias over the Ramadi operation for updated intelligence on American movements in Iraq.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 16, 2015
After two tries, US Secretary of State John Kerry finally turned President Barack Obama away from his insistence that Bashar Assad must go before the Syrian conflict can end. Tuesday night, Dec. 15, the Secretary announced in Moscow: “The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change.” debkafile: Washington yielded to Moscow three days before a major international conference on Syria takes place in New York. But the US also yielded to Tehran, when the UN nuclear watchdog's board in Vienna closed its investigation into whether Iran sought atomic weapons.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 10, 2015
The US is building its first air base on Syrian soil at the disused Abu Hajar airport in northern Kurdish territory. It will reduce flying time for air strikes against the ISIS capitals, Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.
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.