Trump recognizes Golan to counter Iran’s first steps for annexing Lebanon to Syria

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US President Donald Trump’s declared recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan on Thursday, March 21, had a time-sensitive object, unconnected to the Israeli election or Binyamin Netanyahu’s run for reelection, as his rivals contended. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that it was an arrow aimed by the US president at Iran, Syria, Iraq and Hizballah, and the machinations plotted at Syrian President Bashar Assad’s meeting with Iran’s supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khameini on Feb. 25. Present at their meeting, our sources reveal, were two figures, Al Qods chief Qasem Soleimani, supreme commander of Iran’s Mid East fronts, and, for the first time, a high-ranking Hizballah military official, who is a senior strategic adviser to Hassan Nasrallah. Continue reading

Potential Shifts on US Strategy in Syria

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The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs is denying a Wall Street Journal report that claimed at least 1,000 US troops would remain in Syria. Gen. Joseph Dunford released a statement calling the claims “factually inaccurate” and assured the public of the Pentagon’s commitment to a steady withdrawal: “We continue to implement the president’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence.” President Trump made waves across the national security community when he announced his original plan in December of the complete withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria. Later, the administration announced that 400 troops would most likely stay in southern Syria to monitor possible Iranian arms shipments to Lebanese-based terror groups such as Hezbollah. No specific estimates have been made as to the number of troops, although Pentagon officials have confirmed that any new amount will almost certainly will be lower. Although the President initially supported shifting troops from Syria to Iraq, concerns from Iraqi politicians about the US using its regional presence to spy on Iran have negated any support for such an initiative.

Continue reading

Turkey: Putin’s Ally in NATO?

Turkey has NATO’s second biggest army, and its military love affair with Russia may be in its infancy now, but it undermines NATO’s military deterrence against Russia. Pictured: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, on March 10, 2017. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

 

  • On March 7, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would never turn back from the S-400 missile deal with Russia. He even added that Ankara may subsequently look into buying the more advanced S-500 systems now under construction in Russia.
  • With the S-400 deal, Turkey is simply telling its theoretical Western allies that it views “them,” and “not Russia,” as a security threat. Given that Russia is widely considered a security threat to NATO, Turkey’s odd-one-out position inevitably calls for questioning its official NATO identity.
  • Turkey has NATO’s second biggest army, and its military love affair with Russia may be in its infancy now, but it undermines NATO’s military deterrence against Russia.

On September 17, 1950, more than 68 years ago, the first Turkish brigade left the port of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast, arriving, 26 days later, at Busan in Korea. Turkey was the first country, after the United States, to answer the United Nations’ call for military aid to South Korea after the North attacked that year. Turkey sent four brigades (a total of 21,212 soldiers) to a country that is 7,785 km away. By the end of the Korean War, Turkey had lost 741 soldiers killed in action. The U.N. Memorial Cemetery in Busan embraces 462 Turkish soldiers. Continue reading

Assad in Tehran: Soleimani’s goons snatched him to swear allegiance to Khamenei. Putin retaliates

 

Al Qods Brigades, the Iranian Rev Guards’ external wing, “brought” Syrian ruler Bashar Assad to Tehran on Feb. 27, for an audience with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This was revealed on Wednesday, March 6, by Al Qods deputy chief Brig.-Gen Esmaeil Qaani in an interview with Iranian media. Assad arrived alone without aides – a sign that he did not come voluntarily. And, indeed, Qaani also admitted that “his men accompanied Assad” all the way to Tehran, another sign that he was virtually snatched for the trip. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources, who followed this revelation, discovered that Assad was bundled onto an Iranian plane and flown directly to a Revolutionary Guards air base in western Tehran. The only official on hand to receive the Syrian president was Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who never left his side throughout the visit. Continue reading

Intel: How Turkey is turning to Russia amid row with US over Syria

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) and Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu give a joint press conference after their meeting in Moscow, Aug. 24, 2018. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The timing of the Turkish foreign minister’s unexpected phone call today with his Russian counterpart in the middle of US-Turkey talks on Syria is the latest sign that Washington and Ankara remain hopelessly at odds over how to move forward in the region.

Why it matters: Mevlut Cavusoglu’s call to Sergey Lavrov was made “upon the initiative of the Turkish side,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The Syria dossier topped the agenda. Continue reading

Mystery surrounds Mohammad Javad Zarif’s ‘resignation’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (photo credit: REUTERS/KHALID AL MOUSILY)

 

According to a report, there are other diplomats who will resign if Zarif indeed leaves the foreign ministry.

A day after Mohammad Javad Zarif announced his resignation on Instagram, the foreign minister of Iran is receiving support from members of parliament amid calls for the president not to accept his decision. Continue reading

Iran lays out 16-point war plan for the supreme goal of toppling Netanyahu

 

Iran’s National Security Adviser Ali Shamkhani Saturday, Feb. 23, unveiled a plan to overthrow the prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu by a full-scale war from Syria and other “resistance fronts.” Tehran’s overt intervention in Israel’s April 9 election named the Israeli prime minister’s removal as the strategic goal of the “resistance axis.”

A day earlier, a senior IRGC general Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh claimed that Iran had hacked and seized control of half a dozen US drones over Syria and Iraq. Continue reading

Video: Iran Hacks Into CENTCOM, Crashes MQ-9 Reaper Drone

 

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh revealed on Thursday that several American unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) flying above Syria and Iraq were remotely commandeered by the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

“Seven to eight drones that had constant flights over Syria and Iraq were brought under our control and their intel was monitored by us and we could gain their first-hand intel,” General Hajizadeh said in the Western Iranian city of Hamedan on Thursday. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE: Special ops to turn focus from war on terror to China, Russia

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Army Green Berets are trained for lethal close-quarter combat operations and small-team interoperability, but they will need digital skills for the future of warfare. (U.S. Army) (Photo by: Sgt. Ian Ives)

 

Will be taking a larger role in cyberwarfare, information and ‘influence’ operations, sources say

America’s elite special operations forces are getting new marching orders as the Pentagon moves away from its post-9/11 focus on radical terrorist groups and trains its eye on big-power rivals such as China and Russia.

In a major shift of mission, officials at U.S. Special Operations Command are drafting new guidance to reorient its cadre of top-tier military units to fight the expanding armies and navies of what U.S. strategists call “near-peer” powers. Continue reading

Turkey: Uniting an “Army of Islam” to Defeat Just One Country

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In 2016, Necati Yılmaz, an MP from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), submitted a written parliamentary motion to then-Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, questioning the activities and international connections of “SADAT International Defense Consultancy,” which is headed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi. Pictured: Necati Yılmaz. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

  • At the conference, Adnan Tanriverdi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top military advisor, delivered a speech detailing the inner workings of the “Islamic Confederal State” that Tanriverdi’s Strategic Research Center for Defenders of Justice (ASSAM) aims to establish with 61 Muslim countries.
  • Judging by an article Tanriverdi penned in 2009, the purpose of this joint Islamic force is to defeat Israel, which “should be made to get engaged [in war] and the length of the war should be extended.”
  • Erdogan and his chief military advisor are obviously engaging in projection. It is Turkey that has ethnically cleansed itself of Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians, and that is now targeting Syrian Kurds. It is the Turkish government’s continued aggression against various peoples in Israel, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus and other countries that is a threat to world peace; not Israel. It is Turkey, not Israel, whose destabilizing foreign policy needs to change.

Istanbul recently hosted the second “International Islamic Union Congress,” sponsored mainly by the Strategic Research Center for Defenders of Justice (ASSAM), which is headed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi, a retired lieutenant general and an Islamist . Continue reading

Moscow & Tehran prepare to arm Hizballah, including with Iranian air defense missiles

 

Hizballah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, last week proposed that Iran re-arm the Lebanese army with new weapons including anti-air missiles. Zarif responded that Tehran is ready to assist Lebanon “in every field” – including the military sphere. He spoke in general terms, but DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, behind closed doors, the Iranian foreign minister offered the Lebanese army a set of Iranian Bavar 373 air defense missile systems, which are a close replica of the Russian S-300s deployed around military and nuclear sites across Iran. Iran nay decide against sending these missiles to Lebanon, lest they are destroyed by Israel, but the offer in itself is raising raised the military temperature around Lebanon. Quite simply, all the parties concerned are aware that the Lebanese government will decline this offer, because by closing the Iranian door they will open it to the start of Russian weapons supplies to Lebanon and Hizballah. Tehran has no objection to advanced weapons reaching Hizballah from Russia. The Iranians will claim that it is par for the course. Kurdish forces in Syria are armed by the Americans to fight Islamic State terror, and Hizballah is fighting the same foe. Continue reading

Trump vows to outspend Russia without new missile pact

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President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday that the United States would outspend Russia on missiles without a fresh international accord after he ditched a landmark Cold War treaty.

Trump’s warning during his annual State of the Union address cemented fears of an emerging arms race, with Russia hours earlier pledging to design new missiles over the next two years.

The United States last week started the process of exiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, saying that Russia has been violating the pact through a new missile system and ignored repeated complaints. Continue reading

The Kremlin’s Strategy for World Domination

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Vladimir Putin and his generals are following a blueprint laid out by a neo-fascist political scientist to replace the United States as the world superpower.

The Kremlin is following a detailed plan to replace the United States as the world superpower. Astonishingly most American leaders do not understand this reality. Like former United States President Barack Obama, they dismiss Russia as a “regional power” attacking nations like Ukraine from a position of weakness, instead of strength. Their assessment could not be more wrong. The 2014 conquest of Crimea was actually a calculated step in Russia’s strategy for world domination.

And this strategy was drawn up years in advance. Continue reading

EU Concerned by Iran Missile Work, Regional Security Role

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union said on Monday it was gravely concerned by Iran’s ballistic missile launches and tests and called on Tehran to stop activity that deepened mistrust and destabilized the region.

Iran has expanded its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles, in defiance of opposition from the United States and expressions of concern by European countries. Tehran says the program is purely defensive. Continue reading

China developing battlefield AI for high-technology warfare

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FILE – In this April 12, 2018, file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks after reviewing the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy fleet in the South China Sea. A new Pentagon report lays out U.S. concerns about China’s growing military might, underscoring worries about a possible attack against Taiwan. The report’s release on Jan. 15, 2019 came just a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping called on his People’s Liberation Army to better prepare for combat. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP, File)

 

A Chinese military newspaper has outlined how the People’s Liberation Army plans to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) for its forces in future high-technology warfare.

The PLA Daily reported Jan. 19 that warfare is shifting from conventional destruction to artificial-intelligence-powered high-speed and extreme destruction operations.

Li Minghai of the PLA’s National Defense University wrote that AI will be a key “war-winning mechanism” for China. Continue reading