Obama administration’s stance on Iran and Syria could see US lose influence in the Middle East, Bahrain’s rulers warn
America’s “schizophrenic” approach to the Middle East could result in many key Arab states deciding to align themselves more closely with Russia, the rulers of Bahrain warned on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, warned that Barack Obama’s administration would lose influence in the region if it persisted with what a “transient and reactive” foreign policy. Continue reading
Giving credibility to today’s DEBKAfile report:
Iran is Syria’s strongest ally in the Middle East, and has provided Assad’s government with military and political backing for years. In September, the top commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the elite unit had high-level advisers in Syria. Iran also is believed to be sending weapons and money to Syria as it endures its worst crisis in decades.
“Syria plays a very key role in supporting or, God forbid, destabilizing the resistance front,” Velayati was quoted by Iran’s semiofficial Mehr news agency as saying. “For this same reason, (an) attack on Syria is considered (an) attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.” Continue reading
After the “War in weeks” comment from Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, could this be the beginning of the final stages? This leaves the only backer behind the Assad regime being Iran, possibly China. Once this proves too difficult for Iran to continue supporting, or the loss of some close and high ranking officers of the Assad regime, look for all hell to break loose. Assad will either have a choice to go all-out to keep his last grips on power or plan for early retirement. The former is more likely as evidenced in the continuing bloodshed of his own people and the increasingly brutal methods of doing so.
Russian naval vessels have unexpectedly departed the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartus and Russian arms shipments to Syria have been suddenly discontinued. debkafile’s military sources reveal that those and other steps indicate that the Russians are rapidly drawing away from the Syrian arena to avoid getting caught up in the escalating hostilities expected to arise from military intervention by the US, Europe and a number of Arab states. Russian intelligence appears to have decided that this outside intervention is imminent and Moscow looks anxious to keep its distance for now.
According to our military and Russian sources, these drastic steps must have been personally ordered by President Vladimir Putin. He is believed to have acted over the objections of some of his army and naval chiefs. This would explain the mixed statements issuing from Moscow in recent days about the disposition of Russian personnel at the naval base in Tartus and Russian military personnel in Syria.
Wednesday, Aug. 22, Commander of the Russian Navy Vice Adm. Viktor Chirkov said that if the fighting in Syria reached Tartus, Moscow may decide to evacuate the base. He stressed that this decision would have to be taken on the authority of President Putin. He was the first Russian official to suggest the possibility of an evacuation.
A Russian source disclosed that all the remaining Russian personnel in Tartus have gathered on the floating shipyard, except for two officers on shore. This vessel and the remaining personnel are evidently packed up and ready to sail at any moment out of the Syrian port.
Full article: Russia is disengaging from Syria: Arms shipments stopped, warships exit Tartus (DEBKAfile)
Western diplomatic sources said the administration of President Barack Obama has ordered the U.S. intelligence community to ensure the ouster of Assad in 2012.
The sources said Obama, urged by allies that range from France to Saudi Arabia, was persuaded that without U.S. intervention, Al Qaida would emerge as the leading force in Syria.
“The game is on the ground,” the diplomat said. “The political opposition in exile has no control or even influence in Syria, while FSA is seen as active, even if that is not really the case.”
The sources suggested that Washington was already involved in major operations against the Assad regime. The operations were said to have included a failed FSA attempt to poison the regime leadership, particularly Assad’s powerful brother-in-law, Assaf Chawkat.
Full article: Obama to U.S. intelligence: Oust Syria’s Assad in 2012 (World Tribune)
The US-Arab Eager Lion 2012 exercise ends Wednesday, May 30, after 12,000 mostly American as well as Saudi, Jordanian, Qatari and UAE special forces troops staged three weeks of joint maneuvers in Jordan.
In the marine section, debkafile’s military sources report, around 3,000 US, Jordanian and Saudi special forces troops of three battalions practiced landings on Jordanian beaches and the rapid seizure of fortified mountain bases and command posts on Jordanian terrain resembling the three islands commanding the Strait of Hormuz where the Revolutionary Guards have established marine bases and other parts of Iran.
Meanwhile, Eager Lion 2012 is an important adjunct to international intervention in the Arab Revolt and preparations for war with Iran.
Last Thursday, May 24, a Russian arms ship, the Professor Katsman, was detected approaching the Syrian port of Tartus. Although the crew shut down communications systems and crept forward in silence, debkafile’s intelligence sources discovered the vessel dropping anchor in the Syrian port Friday. Military equipment was then unloaded behind tarpaulin screens and transferred to waiting Syrian military truck convoys.
Our sources identified the cargo delivered as consisting of large quantities of artillery and tank shells as well as spare parts for tanks.
The North Korean arms ships Odai is also reported on its way to Tartus with hardware for the Syrian army.
Our military sources report at the same time that Syrian rebels have started using German HK MG4 machine guns in their attacks on Syrian military targets. These weapons are in service with the German Bundeswher. It is the first time German military hardware has been seen in the Middle East in the 67 years since World War II ended. It is not known how the Syrian rebels procured the guns and who is supplying them with ammo.
Full article: US-Arab exercise drills Iran landing. Syrian rebels obtain German machine guns (DEBKAfile)
If a breakout of the escalating Syrian conflict or an Israel/U.S. military attempt to halt Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons sets off even a 200-day regional conflict, it would be catastrophic for the Chinese economy.
Han Xiaoping, chief information officer of the China Energy Resources Net, recently warned China’s estimated reserve of only 110 million barrels would last only 46 days if there were a Persian Gulf closure. China’s dependence upon imported crude is far greater than the United States’ with some 40 percent coming from the Gulf. But only a declining 11 percent actually comes from Iran, the rest from the Arab states now unsuccessfully lobbying China to help defuse the Syrian timebomb and halt Iran’s nukes.
Full article: Regime security, not national security, is dominant priority in Beijing and Moscow (World Tribune)