President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow. Not since the end of the Cold War in 1991 has the Russian Bear asserted itself so forcefully beyond its borders in support of claims on great power status. In essence, Russia is attempting to play the role in Syria that France did in Algeria in the 1990s, of supporting the military government against rebels, many of them linked to political Islam. France and its allies prevailed, at the cost of some 150,000 dead. Can Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pull off the same sort of victory?
Even as Damascus pushes back against the rebels militarily, Putin has swung into action on the international and regional stages. The Russian government persuaded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to support an international conference aimed at a negotiated settlement. Putin upbraided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his country’s air attacks on Damascus. Moscow is sending sophisticated anti-aircraft batteries, anti-submarine missiles and other munitions to beleaguered Assad, and has just announced that 12 Russian warships will patrol the Mediterranean. The Russian actions have raised alarums [sic] in Tel Aviv and Washington, even as they have been praised in Damascus and Tehran. Continue reading
Syria and Hizballah, flushed with the success of breaking the rebel hold on the strategic town of al Qusayr, Sunday, May 19, are making no secret of their plans for the “great confrontation,” i.e. military confrontaiton with Israel after they win the Syrian civil war. Israel’s military leaders are taking with the utmost seriousness the words of Ibrahim al-Amin, editor of the Hizballah organ Al Akhbar, and a close buddy of Syrian president Bashar Assad, who wrote Monday:
“The rope is taut. It is taut to the limit. Anyone at either end [Israel at one end, Syrian and Hizballah, at the other] need only flex a finger and it will break, and the great confrontation will take place. This is neither a threat, nor an exaggeration or interpretation. This is the situation on the enemy’s northern front. Now means today; it means this hour,” al-Amin wrote. Continue reading
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Netanyahu ended their three-hour meeting in Sochi Tuesday, May 14, at loggerheads on Syria. In fact, Putin warned his guest that Israel and its army, the IDF, were heading for war with Syria in which Russia might well be involved – and not just through the advanced S-300 anti-air missiles supplied to the Assad government. The case Netanyahu and Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi put before Putin and Russian foreign intelligence chief, SVR Director Mikhail Fradkov, fell on deaf ears. Continue reading
Report: Iran persuaded Syria to open a “new front” in the Golan for all Arabs and Muslims wanting to fight Israel.
According the report, an Iranian source told the newspaper that Tehran is determined to prevent the fall of Assad’s regime in Damascus, because the Syrian president has been convinced to open the Golan to all Arabs and Muslim wanting to fight Israel. Continue reading
TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond.
Putin did not say how, but he did announce he had ordered the acceleration of highly advanced Russian weapons supplies to Syria. Continue reading
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said Sunday, May 5, that the strike at Syria overnight represented a “declaration of war” by Israel. Russian and Iranian media earlier predicted full-scale Middle East hostilities involving Israel erupting in the coming hours, in the wake of Israel’s renewed strikes against Iranian missiles bound for Hizballah and other targets around Damascus. Russian sources reported rumors that President Bashar Assad was on the point of declaring war on Israel. Continue reading
This could be the beginning of a wider, regional war. We are yet to see Bashar al-Assad’s response, or Iran’s. Perhaps the Assad regime’s military is too crippled or diverted on the civil war itself. Perhaps Iran also would back away from further involvement, other than planning for a post-Assad era with thousands of sleeper operatives it has already planted within its neighbor. Only time will tell, but this does seem to heighten the possibility of Isaiah 17:1 becoming fulfilled. Assad himself has said he will vow to press on, even if Damascus is reduced to rubble.
American sources reported Israeli air strikes Saturday, May 4, against a number of targets in Syria including a chemical weapons depot outside Damascus. They were carried out remotely from Lebanese air space and the Golan starting Friday and continuing up until early Saturday, May 3. Neither Damascus nor Jerusalem has yet confirmed the attacks in which according to US sources 16 IAF warplanes took part. According to one report, Israeli jets were seen early Saturday circling over Assad’s presidential compound in Damascus before moving on to target a weapons site. The Israeli jets reportedly received fire but returned to base unscathed.
Some sources say the target attacked was a convoy transporting chemical arms to the Lebanese Hizballah, which Israeli leaders have vowed to prevent. debkafile’s military sources say the start of the Israeli air force operation can be fixed by the sirens set off over the Golan Friday afternoon and again before dawn Saturday. The IDF spokesman said they were set off by a “technical glitch.” They now prove to have been triggered automatically by the Israeli aerial movements. Continue reading
Every day, Damascus inches a little closer to fulfilling Isaiah 17:1.
As the Syrian civil way went into its third year this week, signs abounded of increasing readiness for the use of chemical weapons on both sides of the conflict.
Since February, the US, Israel, Ankara and Amman have been aware of Bashar Assad’s resolve to override their threats and resort to deadly poison gas if the rebels closed in on the heart of Damascus. On April 3, an unnamed Syrian army officer made the warning clear. By continuing to advancie on Damascus, he said, “the rebels and their leaders” were assured of “certain death.”
At about the same time, debkafile reported exclusively that the Syrian ruler had ordered protective suits for chemical warfare and gas masks distributed to the 4th and 3rd Divisions defending the capital. Tank commanders were told to activate their filtering systems against chemical and biological agents. Continue reading
A defected Syrian pilot told The Sunday Telegraph that he was part of the Syrian regime’s air fleet to Russia, where he amass money to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The pilot, who asked the Telegraph to identify him as Nazim, said that he and his fellow pilots “flew a cargo plane two or three times a month” to collect funds that were used to allegedly support the regime. Continue reading
(Reuters) - Israel said it fired into Syria on Sunday and destroyed a machine gun position in the Golan Heights from where shots had been fired at Israeli soldiers in a further spillover of the Syrian civil war along a tense front.
It was not immediately clear whether Israel held Syrian troops or rebels responsible for what a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said had been a deliberate attack on Israeli patrols in the occupied territory.
Israeli forces “destroyed a Syrian machine gun nest that fired twice in the last 24 hours on Israeli patrols operating to safeguard the border,” the spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, said on his Twitter page.
Shells have fallen several times inside Israeli-controlled territory during Syria’s civil war. Some of the incidents have drawn Israeli return fire. Continue reading
This was not the first time a US drone was threatened by Iranian aircraft over the Persian Gulf, but in reporting the incident, the Pentagon revealed that the drones flying in the neighborhood of Iranian shores are now escorted by US jet fighters.
A couple of hours earlier that evening, DEBKAfile received an exclusive report from its military sources that the Syrian high command had just issued an ultimatum, on the orders of Bashar Assad, demanding that the Lebanese government put an immediate stop to the passage of armed Sunni fighters from Lebanon into Syria, else the Syrian Air Force would strike the Lebanese intruders’ convoys and also their home bases. Damascus claimed they were coming to fight the government alongside the al Qaeda-linked Jabrat al-Nusra. Continue reading
The Syrian rebels’ hyped up “Great Confrontation” to capture Damascus the capital has ended in a draw with Bashar Assad’s army like all their previous offensives in recent months. They failed to break through to the heart of the capital past the powerful Syrian army’s 4th Division standing in their path under the command of Gen. Maher Assad, the president’s brother. The rebels also lost their position on the Damascus-Aleppo highway. But amid heavy battles with the division’s troops, the rebels are still clinging to the southern suburbs of Damascus.
Since the Israeli air strike on the Syrian military complex of Jamraya on Jan. 30, Syria’s warring sides have been looking over their shoulders to assess Israel’s moves before embarking on the next stage of their contest because of two considerations: Continue reading