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

Hizballah is creeping up on Israel’s Golan border, relying on Russian military cover

Essentially, intentional Russian support is paving the way for an Iranian foothold on Israel’s doorstep via terrorist group proxy. An earlier report shows pictures of Soleimani in Syria ‘rallying the troops’ but was likely laying groundwork down for future operations.

 

Wholly preoccupied with the ferocious Palestinian terror campaign washing over their country, Israelis have scarcely noticed that Hizballah forces, believing they are protected by the Russian military presence in Syria, are creeping toward Israel’s northeastern Golan border.

debkafile reports: The Lebanese group thinks it is a step away from changing the military balance on the Golan to Israel’s detriment and gaining its first Syrian jumping-off base against the Jewish state – depending on the Syrian-Hizballah forces winning the fierce battle now raging around Quneitra opposite Israel’s military positions. Continue reading

No army in Mid East is challenging ISIS. Iran regroups to defend S. Iraqi Shiites, Assad to save Damascus

Hassan Nasrallah Saturday, May 23, called his Lebanese Shiite Hizballah movement to the flag, because “we are faced with an existential crisis” from the rising belligerence of the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant. His deputy, Sheik Naim Qssem, sounded even more desperate: “The Middle East is at the risk of partition” in a war with no end in sight, he said. “Solutions for Syria are suspended. We must now see what happens in Iraq.”

The price Iran’s Lebanese proxy has paid for fighting alongside Bashar Assad’s army for four years is cruel: some 1,000 dead and many times that number of wounded. Its leaders now understood that their sacrifice was in vain. ISIS has brought the Syrian civil war to a new dead end. Continue reading

Khamenei sends Iranian navy to Bab el-Mandeb Straits. Iran arms store for Hamas bombed in Libya

Every day the region takes another step in the direction of all-out war. At each step both the intensity and speed turns up a notch.

 

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Control of the Red Sea Bab el-Mandeb Straits passed Tuesday, March 31 to pro-Iranian Yemeni forces when the Yemeni Army’s 117th Brigade loyal to the former Yemeni President Ali Saleh handed positions guarding the waterway to two Houthi commando battalions trained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. This is revealed by debkafile’s military and intelligence sources.

In another development Tuesday involving Iran’s spreading tentacles, debkafile’s military sources reveal that unidentified aircraft bombed Burak, a small military base in the Fezzan province of southwestern Libya, which serves Iran as a transit store for arms purchased in Sudan for the Palestinian Hamas. Continue reading

Obama’s Iranian-nuclear strategy brings dividend: Rev Guards lead military assault on Tikrit

US President Barack Obama’s plans for Iran, which were spectacularly challenged by Binyamin Netanyahu in his Congress speech Tuesday, March 3, weres manifested 10,000 kilometers from Washington in the firestorm over Tikrit, the important Sunni town north of Baghdad. There, Iranian-led Iraqi troops are on the offensive against the Islamic State in the biggest ground battle fought in Iraq since the Iraqi army fell apart and scattered last June against the conquering Islamist march through western and central Iraq.

For four reasons, this battle is loaded with ramifications for Obama’s Iran policy and the Islamic Republic’s drive for recognition as the leading Middle East power: Continue reading

Unilateral Gaza ceasefire collapses. Israeli air strikes resume after dozens of Palestinian rockets in hours

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israeli Air Force to resume strikes over Gaza Tuesday afternoon, six hours after a ceasefire proposed by Egypt, accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas, was due to go into effect. During those hours, dozens of Hamas rockets raked town after town and village after village. debkafile: The White House called off US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Cairo visit upon finding Tehran’s hand behind the rockets. Netanyahu goes on the air at 8 p.m. to explain what went wrong.

Straight after the ceasefire was due to go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m., Hamas fired 20 rockets from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli security cabinet had meanwhile endorsed Cairo’s proposal to mediate the conflict with the Palestinian extremists, but warned that if they continued to fire rockets, Israel would hit back with “all possible force.”

In Cairo, Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk took responsibility for eight of the post-“truce” rockets, most of which landed on Ashdod, slightly injuring one woman. Iron Dome intercepted four. Continue reading

At least 50 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel – pro-Iranian Jihad Islami payback for missile ship seizure

The pro-Iranian Palestinian Jihad Islami terror group rained Wednesday, March 12 a heavy, continuous missile barrage against Israel, just two days after the Israeli presentation in Eilat of the illicit cargo of Iranian arms destined for terrorists aboard the Klos C, which Israeli commandos captured on the Red Sea last week. The presentation included 60 M302 short-range missiles made in Syria and flown to Iran for shipment to Gaza and Sinai via Sudan.

Iron Dome missile interceptors were activated against the barrage. No casualties or damage have been so far reported. Red alert signals sent hundreds of thousands of citizens running for shelter. Continue reading

Western sources: Israel Air Force hits SS-21 batteries, first attack in Syrian war on nuclear-capable missiles

Western military and intelligence sources report that Israeli Air Force strikes in Lebanon and Syria overnight Monday, Feb. 24 came on the heels of the first use in the three-year Syrian war of a Russian-made nuclear-capable Tochka (Point) surface missile – NATO-coded SS-21 Scarab – which carries a 480-kilo warhead with a range of 70 km. These missiles were fired earlier Monday in the Syrian-Hizballah battle for Yabroud. There was no information about the effect of the Israeli strikes.

According to Lebanese sources, however, the target was a cluster of five Hizballah bases or command posts in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley. Hizballah casualties were reported. Continue reading

Secret Iranian team in Beirut to counter suicide attacks and upgrade Hizballah intelligence

DEBKAfile Exclusive: Iran has embarked on an urgent project for rebuilding Hizballah’s intelligence and security mechanisms from scratch, to repair the ravages inflicted by the spate of suicide attacks on its strongholds in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon, since the Shiite militia joined the Syrian war.

A top team of senior officials from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Al Qods Brigades intelligence and Ministry of Intelligence and Security, landed secretly in Beirut last week. They arrived under cover of a delegation, headed by Deputy Justice Minister Abdol-Ali Mirkoohi, which came to collect information from the interrogation of Majid al Majid, the Saudi Arabian leader of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades terrorist group, who died in a Lebanese prison on Jan. 4. Continue reading

US and Iran’s First Joint Military Venture: Fighting al Qaeda in Iraq

With the Geneva Nuclear Accord still far from implementation a month after it was signed in Geneva, the United States and Iran are moving into stage two of their rapprochement: They are now fighting together to crush Al Qaeda terror in Iraq, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources report.

Iraq is two weeks into a major offensive for cutting al Qaeda down – the first major military challenge the jihadists have faced in the past six years. Three armies are fighting alongside Iraq: the United States, Iran’s Al Qods Brigades officers and Syria. Continue reading

Iranian-Hizballah convoy blown up on Syrian Golan. Border tensions shoot up

In the view of a Jordanian military source, this attack by an unknown hand has delayed Bashar Assad’s advanced preparations for an all-out armored offensive to finally crush the revolt against his regime. His first targets were to have been the rebel-held villages along the Israeli and Jordanian borders.

The Syrian ruler was working to a plan of operations his generals had drawn up with Iranian Al Qods Brigades strategists.

Saturday, Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that Iran would consider any attack on Syria an attack on itself: “Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance [against Israel]… For this reason an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.” Continue reading