DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 31, 2015
Control of the Red Sea Bab el-Mandeb Straits passed Tuesday, March 31 to pro-Iranian forces when the Yemeni Army’s 117th Brigade handed positions guarding the waterway to two Houthi commando battalions, debkafile reveals. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered two task forces to sail to the region to reinforce Houthi control of the strategic straits. Iran was involved in another development Tuesday, when unidentified aircraft bombed and destroyed a base in Burak, southwestern Libya, used by Iran to store arms purchased in Sudan for the Palestinian Hamas.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 30, 2015
The US-led world powers and Iran Monday, March 30, entered the last tense hours for a nuclear deal as though Lausanne was on a different planet from the Middle East, where the Yemen war, in which Iran is deeply involved, abruptly scooped up a power outside the region - Pakistan, whose defense minister arrives in Riyadh Tuesday, following Islamabad's pledge to support its Saudi ally. debkafile: Several Pakistan brigades are being airlifted to relieve Saudi forces of border and oil security tasks for major ground operations. Egyptian air and warships blast Aden,
DEBKAfile Special Report March 28, 2015
Iran’s top war commander, Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, landed in Sanaa Friday, March 27, debkafile reports, to organize a counter-offensive for the Saudi-Gulf-Egyptian operations against Tehran-backed Houthi rebel advances. By opening its third direct Middle East warfront after Syria and Iraq, Tehran was holding the Obama administration to its promise of support as the leading Middle East power, in return for signing a nuclear framework deal by March 31. Solemeini’s must urgently restore Iran’s sea and air supply lines to Yemen, cut off by Saudi-led air strikes.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 26, 2015
The surprise Saudi-Egyptian-GCC military action in Yemen for cutting down Iran’s proxy Houthis may be the opening shot for further Sunni action against Shiite Iran’s Middle East positions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 26, 2015
In the Yemen operation, the Sunni camp led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the GCC cuts short Iran’s supplies to the Houthi rebels and advance on Aden.
Egypt seizes Bab el Mandeb ahead of Iran. Saudis bomb Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis. US launches air strikes over Tikrit
DEBKAfile Special Report March 26, 2015
In a surprise step, Egyptian forces Thursday morning, March 26, seized control of the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Straits to pre-empt Tehran’s grab for this important energy shipping gateway between the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal, debkafile reports. It rounded off the just-launched Saudi-led air strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, signaling a 10-nation Sunni Arab revolt against Iran’s approaching takeover of Yemen and other Mid East positions with Washington’s support, and coinciding with the first US air strikes over Tikrit in aid of Iran.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 5, 2015
The religious wars already afoot in three Middle East countries, Syria, Yemen and Iraq have overtaken the predictions of Western Cassandras, as Iran initiates challenges to Sunni powers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 8, 2015
The strings of the pro-Iranian Houthi rebels’ coup which toppled the Yemeni government in Sanaa were pulled from Tehran and Washington. Their partnership helped the Houthis reach their goal, currently confined to parts of central Yemen and all of the North. debkafile: The uprising’s dominant figure is none other than Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted as Yemen president in 2012. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, Jordan and Israel are watching the US-Iranian partnership in Yemen with deep foreboding. They fear the Obama administration is using the war on Islamists as a façade for promotingTehran’s regional ambitions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 24, 2015
President Barack Obama will arrive in Riyadh Tuesday, Jan. 27 with the First Lady, to offer US condolences on the death of King Abdullah and hold his first formal conference with Salman Bin Abdulaziz as King of Saudi Arabia. He must clear the air most urgently on Riyadh’s flat opposition to the multilateral nuclear deal taking shape with Iran; persuade Salman to slow oil production so as to curb plunging oil prices; and decide together how to handle Yemen’s fall into the hands of Shiite Houthi rebels backed by Iran.
Oil markets seek stability under new Saudi King Salman. A short price spurt followed Abdullah’s death
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 23, 2015
The new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz pledged continuity for the kingdom’s oil and other policies in his first speech Friday, Jan. 23, following the death of his half-brother King Abdullah. The late king, a strong, shrewd and measured ruler, navigated the kingdom on a steady course in a turbulent neighborhood. He also made sure the succession would be smooth, swift and safe for the long term. Abdullah was also largely responsible for plunging oil prices by refusing to cut production. King Salman will have to stand up to heavy arm-twisting bythe US, Iran and Russia for ending this policy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry put before Israelis and Palestinians Thursday, Dec. 5, a new security plan combining the US war on al Qaeda with the security provisions promised Israel in a settlement with the Palestinians, debkafile reports exclusively. Israeli and Palestinian units would be integrated in a planned regional US-led force for securing parts of Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestinian territory and Israel against terror. It would consist also of US, British, French, Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian units. Netanyahu was open to the idea; Abbas had reservations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2013
Moscow and Tehran are capitalizing on President Barack Obama's withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East and his maneuvers for avoiding military involvement in its trouble spots. Russia is quietly riding piggy-back on Iran's overt drive for influence in Cairo, hoping to recover the high standing enjoyed by the Soviet Union up until 1972. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have sent their aides to Cairo to coordinate their moves.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 18, 2012
Tehran has shifted its expansionist focus from Bahrain to punishing Saudi Arabia for backing the Syrian rebels fighting Bashar Assad. Iran is hitting the Saudis through their back door by buying up South Yemeni anti-government rebels.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 24, 2012
John Brennan held high-powered talks in Sanaa the day before Al Qaeda’s massive attack killed 100 Yemeni soldiers. It was carried out by a dozen AQAP recruits from Yemen’s Central Security Force working as undercover jihadists.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 9, 2012
Word of upgraded underwear bombing devices and double agents should never have been released because without inside intelligence, the key PETN explosive is undetectable by airport security scanners. Running double agents inside terrorist cells is the most tricky and hazardous of undercover operations because no one ever has the whole picture. Compromising the penetration of al Qaeda’s Yemen cell has therefore caused inestimable damage to the counter-terror efforts against al Qaeda. Hence the dismay in US intelligence agencies on both these counts.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 26, 2012
By early March, the US will have amassed 100,000 troops within reach of Iran, roughly equal to the 2003 Iraq invasion force, and enough to back up Barack Obama's pledge to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb with military force.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2011
The consensus of US and Western intelligence chiefs at their closed door meeting in Langley was that NATO should count itself out of further military interventions in Arab uprisings in the coming year – especially in Syria - after its mistakes in Libya. Reliance on Turkey was seen as a letdown. The Yemeni crisis was judged more dangerous to broader regions of the Middle East and East Africa than the Syrian conflict.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2011
A Saudi tip-off gave the CIA led its drone to strike the convoy carrying two American al Qaeda operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. The price tag: Washington must let Abdullah Ali Saleh return to Yemen without making a fuss. The White House welcomed this first sign of a thaw in the frosted-over Saudi-US relations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 30, 2011
The tip-off which enabled two Hellfire missiles fired by US drones to locate and kill the US-born Anwar al-Awkali reached US intelligence as a result of a power struggle within Al Qaeda's leadership in Yemen. Killed too was a second US-born al Qaeda operative. debkafile's counter-terror sources disclose that the internal strife was sharpened by the recent arrival in Yemen of the new Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zuwahiri, who determined to purge AQAP ranks of its American element ahead of his next plans.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 22, 2011
After persuading Ali Saleh to step down as Yemeni president, Saudi King Abdulla got down to setting up a unified Yemeni military offensive against the Houthis threatening the Saudi border. Washington assigns higher priority to tackling Al Qaeda.