US drone escapes attack over Hormuz. Syria threatens to bomb Lebanon. Russian marines dock in Beirut

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

Tens of thousands of Israeli troops in surprise Golan drill. Khamenei: No bending to the West

Reservists drafted at no notice, Air Force, Central Command and other IDF units were flown to Israel’s northern Golan border early Wednesday, Sept. 19, for a surprise exercise called by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz under the codename “National Asset.”

The official IDF announcement tried to downplay its importance, describing it as a “planned, routine event.” However, debkafile’s military sources say the war game is the biggest the IDF has conducted in the eight years since the second Lebanon war on Hizballah in 2006, with tens of thousands of soldiers and senior officers, including the artillery and the air force taking part.

Another sign of an impending conflict was provided by US diplomats who Monday began destroying classified documents and sensitive equipment at the Beirut embassy. As Islamist anti-US violence raged across Arab and Muslim countries, the State Department said this was a precautionary measure, without naming any specific threat. The trashing of embassy documents usually signifies preparations to evacuate an US embassy at short notice. It would be imperative in a war situation to keep them out of Hizballah hands.

As the exhibition of colossal Western might got underway opposite Iranian shores, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted on his official website as saying: Iran will never bend to Western pressure The Islamic Republic, he told a military audience, “makes its decisions solely based on the interests of its people and the country, even if all of the world’s powers get angry at its decisions.”

It “does not accept the demands of any superpower,” he added.

Full article: Tens of thousands of Israeli troops in surprise Golan drill. Khamenei: No bending to the West (DEBKAfile)