DEBKAfile Special Report February 12, 2013, 10:48 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tuesday night, Feb. 12, the Syrian Air Force began bombing the large al-Jarra air base which rebels led by Islamist battalions conquered near the northern city of Aleppo. Bashar Assad ordered his air force to destroy dozens of its own fighter-bombers: L-29 trainer planes, Sukhoi Su-22M bombers and Mig-23 interceptors. Their loss deprives the Syrian ruler of the means to wipe out rebel forces from the air. Had they possessed air crews, the rebels could have used their prize to bomb the presidential palace.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 12, 2013, 1:42 PM (GMT+02:00)
US and Israel are aware that the North Korean nuclear test carried out Tuesday, Feb. 12, brings Iran that much closer to conducting a test of its own. Shortly before the test, Ahmadinejad’s boast that Iran will soon place a satellite in orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers - and Tehran’s claim to have sent a monkey into space – highlight the longstanding division of labor and pooling of knowledge between North Korea and Iran: the former focusing on nuclear armament and the latter on long-range missiles to deliver it.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 9, 2013, 2:06 PM (GMT+02:00)
The Israeli Air Force, deployed densely over Syria’s borders with Israel, Jordan and Lebanon to guard against Assad’s promised payback for the IAF’s air strike against Jamraya on Jan. 30 and block the transfer of Hizballah’s advanced weapons to Lebanon, is also in position as potential game changer in the contest between the Syrian army and rebels. Assad is scheming how to move the weapons without evoking an attack, wherea the rebels plan to provoke an Israel-Syrian clash for an opportunity to ride into Damascus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2013, 12:47 AM (GMT+02:00)
As Syrian rebels advance on the heart of Damascus, Assad arms the 4th Division with chemical weapons for use if necessary to halt the advance. Al Qaeda has moved shop to Lebanon and is harassing Hizballah with nightly raids.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 6, 2013, 10:17 PM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama is not coming to Israel to advance new proposals or break the peace talks deadlock with the Palestinians, the White House said Wednesday night, Feb. 6. US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said earlier he was coming for consultation on major issues: preventing a nuclear Iran and the collapse of the Assad regime in Syria. debkafile: The visit strengthens Netanyahu’s hand in coalition negotiations, especially after the close rapport between Washington and Jerusalem on Israel’s military action in Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 1, 2013, 1:15 AM (GMT+02:00)
Israel’s war alert unfolded in five days from Jan. 25 to 29 as Hizballah came close to seizing a major Syrian chemical arsenal and jihadists fighting in Syrian rebel ranks threatened to capture another chemical store.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 30, 2013, 10:24 PM (GMT+02:00)
The Syrian government stated Wednesday night, Jan. 30 that the Israeli Air Force planes had struck an arms depot at Jamaraya near Damascus leaving dead and wounded and damaging military vehicles. There was no Israeli air strike on a Hizballah arms convoy, said the statement from Damascus in response to earlier reports that Israeli air sorties Wednesday had destroyed Hizballah missile and arms convoys ready to cross from Syria into Lebanon. No comment from Israel.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 29, 2013, 5:54 PM (GMT+02:00)
Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel warned Tuesday, Jan. 29, that Syria is falling apart and no one knows what the next day may bring. Another senior Israeli officer told AFP that large Hizballah forces are parked outside Assad’s chemical weapons stores. If they seize them, Israel will have to decide on the spot whether to attack Syria or Lebanon. In Cairo, Egypt's army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, warned: “The state is on the brink of collapse.” debkafile: Israel sees nightmares on its doorstep.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 28, 2013, 8:31 PM (GMT+02:00)
Comments by US President Barack Obama and Ambassador Dan Shapiro lack a US commitment to step in against the Syrian chemical threat. Obama is concerned with juggling his global military priorities against a shrinking defense budget. debkafile: The onus for coping with the chemical peril is being passed by Washington to Turkey, Jordan and Israel. US aid will be confined to setting targets, providing intelligence and coordinating Israeli-Turkish-Jordanian military operations if necessary to take control of the dangerous arsenal.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 27, 2013, 6:38 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tehran is looking seriously at a limited Syrian-Lebanese clash of arms with Israel – possibly using Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons as a trigger, debkafile discloses. Israel reacted to this news by announcing Sunday, Jan. 27, the deployment of Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in northern Israel and Haifa port. A clash would serve Tehran by sidetracking Israel from striking Iran’s nuclear facilities and help spin out its nuclear talks with the Six Powers. Israel has got plans ready for current military challenges.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 11, 2013, 10:30 AM (GMT+02:00)
At a joint news conference Friday, Jan. 11, retiring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, cleaned the Pentagon’s Syrian desk ready for incoming Secretary Chuck Hagel. Boiled down to essentials, their triple message was that Bashar Assad could not be stopped from using chemical weapons if he chose to do so, that securing the CW sites after Assad’s fall was the job of the “international community,” and that no US ground troops would be sent to Syria.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 8, 2013, 6:36 PM (GMT+02:00)
“Syria’s chemical weapons are under control for now, but no one can tell what the situation will be five minutes from now,” a senior Israeli defense official told debkafile Tuesday, Jan.8. “The situation is dangerously fluid because there is no certainty about who is in control at any moment.” In late November, Israel sent the US satellite imagery showing a secret Syrian unit mixing sarin and filling 500-pound bombs for airplanes. debkafile: Those bombs are still active and ready for use at two hours' notice.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 5, 2013, 11:33 AM (GMT+02:00)
Likud’s chief asset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, may also be its chief liability. His silence and ambiguity, his failure to preempt a nuclear-armed Iran and his alignment with Barak Obama on Middle East affairs affecting Israel’s vital security are hurting his party - the joint Likud-Yisrael Beitenu ticket – which, 17 days before a general election, is on a downward slide to 34 from its first 47-seat rating. Yet, the polls still put him in the top slot (43+ percent) as favorite for prime minister and his left-of-center opposition is falling back.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2013, 12:02 AM (GMT+02:00)
The early emergence of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities confused the Americans, produces US warnings and Israeli threats. Turkey soon applied to NATO for Patriot missiles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2013, 12:02 AM (GMT+02:00)
Obama again warns Assad not to use chemical weapons, but instead the Syria ruler starts moving them north and getting them ready for operations. US Congressman Mike Rogers says they are in condition use at a moment's notice.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 4, 2013, 12:01 AM (GMT+02:00)
Syria launches Scuds against the rebels as they near the Al Safira chemical weapons depot. Lavrov asserts that the weapons are under control – for now. Netanyahu goes to Amman for talks with King Abdullah.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 30, 2012, 9:08 PM (GMT+02:00)
Both sides to the Syrian conflict appear to have launched a form of poison chemicals against their foes. Western and Middle East military sources say pro-Assad forces may have brought into the Homs battle of Dec. 23 imported gas grenades which Iran used to quell the 2009 Tehran riots. debkafile: Although Jordan claimed Sunday it “would not enter into any alliance to protect itself,” large NATO and US forces have prepared the kingdom for chemical attack. Some intelligence sources estimate Turkey or Israel may be next after Jordan.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 23, 2012, 12:42 PM (GMT+02:00)
“At the moment, [Syria’s] chemical weapons are under control,” said senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad Sunday, Dec. 23, echoing the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Saturday that Syrian chemical weapons “are under control for the time being.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu then predicted early far-reaching changes in the Syrian regime with effect on "the sensitive weaponry present there.” debkafile: A foreign force commandeered the chemical stocks at al Safira after forcing the Syrian army and rebels to hold their fire.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 22, 2012, 2:48 PM (GMT+02:00)
The Syrian chemical warfare threat took an epic turn Saturday, Dec. 22 with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement that “Syria has “consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations… and they are under control.” Russian military advisers training Syria’s military,” he said, “have kept close watch over its chemical arsenal.” debkafile: This was Moscow’s assurance to Washington that Russia had taken care of the danger of Syria’s WMD falling into Islamist terrorist hands, which came close Friday with the rebel assault on al-Safira.