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

Rouhani Went To Baghdad To Strengthen His Country’s Strategic Security With Iraq

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference with Iraq’s President Bahram Salih in Tehran, Iran, November 17, 2018

 

This was the first visit since the Iranian leader assumed office in 2013 and importantly underscored just how integral relations between the Islamic Republic and Iraq are for both parties. Much can be said about the symbolism of his warm welcome and multi-day stay in the country compared to the brief photo-ops that American presidents take in military bases every once in a while during the rare occasion that they make a surprise visit there, which shows the difference between the organic multi-millennial ties that the Iranian and Iraqi people enjoy and the master-vassal relationship that the US has to Iraq. Building upon that, Rouhani was also sending the message that Iran is the country with predominant influence in Iraq and not the US despite the latter’s current low-level military deployment and the more than $2 trillion that it spent on the eight-year-long war there. 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

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

How New Silk Roads Are Shaping Southwest Asia

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The tall buildings of Abu Dhabi. Business people in the United Arab Emirates and other parts of the Middle East are thinking about being part of the Belt and Road scheme. Image: iStock

 

Businesses in the Middle East have begun to think ‘Make trade not war’ and being part of China’s Belt and Road scheme

Singapore, aiming high for the status of Asia’s unofficial capital, seems like the ideal venue for a conference to discuss how the Middle East could learn a few lessons from ASEAN’s multi-layered relations with China, especially involving partnership in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

But first, let’s get things straight. The “Middle East” is, of course, a Eurocentric, Orientalist denomination. From Asia’s – and China’s – cultural and geographical point of view, the “Middle East” is correctly seen as Southwest Asia. Continue reading

Firm founded by ex-Blackwater boss to operate in China’s Xinjiang province

Erik Prince

 

A security firm founded by Erik Prince, the former boss of the private military company Blackwater, has announced a deal with the Chinese state to operate a training facility in China’s largely Muslim Xinjiang province. In the months following the United States invasion of Iraq, Blackwater was hired by the Department of State to provide diplomatic security at several locations throughout the Middle Eastern country. By 2010, when the company was abruptly sold to a group of private investors, its tactics in Iraq had prompted international controversy. Prince went on to help found Frontier Services Group (FSG), another private security firm registered in Hong Kong. The company provides security training to personnel working for Chinese companies. Its specialization is training personnel of Chinese firms based abroad, mainly in regions of Africa. Continue reading

Trump phases Arab forces into Syria vs Iran ahead of US pullout. Egyptian/UAE officers on the scene

Our sources can now reveal the nature of that presence and the process afoot for the gradual US withdrawal. In the last few days, Egyptian and UAE military officers visited the contested north Syrian town of Manbij. They toured the town and its outskirts, checked out the locations of US and Kurdish YPG militia positions, and took notes on how to deploy their own troops as replacements. On the diplomatic side, the White House is in continuous conversation with the UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammed Bin Ziyad (MbZ) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. The deal Trump is offering, is that they take over US positions in Manbij, where the Kurds have sought protection against a Turkish invasion, and American air cover will be assured against Russian, Syrian or Turkish attack. Continue reading

Trump orders US troop pullout from NE Syria. Israel left alone against Russia, Iran

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DEBKAfile notes that this is not the first time that President Trump has decided to pull the 2,000 US troops out of Syria. He decided this in March but was persuaded to hold off by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They explained that, as soon as American troops were out of the way, the Russians would move in and take control of the Syrian-Iraqi border and pro-Iranian forces would swarm across. Iran would be gifted its biggest military triumph ever by achieving a land bridge under its control up to the Mediterranean. Hizballah too would be further strengthened. Continue reading

The IS Comeback

 

BERLIN/BAGHDAD/MOSUL (Own report) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ brief visit to Baghdad is accompanied by reports that the IS militia (Islamic State) is regaining strength. Maas was in the Iraqi capital yesterday for talks with Iraq’s new Prime Minister to emphasize Berlin’s push for obtaining stronger influence in Iraq. He also promoted a billion-euro deal with Siemens and listened to his Baghdad counterpart’s call for Iraqi refugees to return to their homeland. According to reports, Iraqi authorities are not only responsible for the slow reconstruction of Sunni regions, but Sunnis are being also detained arbitrarily, tortured or condemned to death without proof of guilt. “This is not just revenge on the IS,” explained a senior intelligence officer, “this is revenge on Sunnis.” Observers warn that this will refill the ranks of the still existing IS in clandestinity, which has again “taken the offensive.” Continue reading

How a World Order Ends

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And What Comes in Its Wake

A stable world order is a rare thing. When one does arise, it tends to come after a great convulsion that creates both the conditions and the desire for something new. It requires a stable distribution of power and broad acceptance of the rules that govern the conduct of international relations. It also needs skillful statecraft, since an order is made, not born. And no matter how ripe the starting conditions or strong the initial desire, maintaining it demands creative diplomacy, functioning institutions, and effective action to adjust it when circumstances change and buttress it when challenges come. Continue reading

The World Order of George H. W. Bush (1924-2018)

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A generation later, George H. W. Bush’s many presidential speeches about the “new world order” are especially striking for a naive-sounding but rigidly ideological outlook with origins on the Utopian and Marxist Left. He saw what he wanted to see, and tried to use his awesome powers to force his “vision thing” into being. He did not succeed. No one does. What such “seers” do, however, is enable the tricksters, frauds and villains of the world to advance. We might start with Bill Clinton.  Continue reading

Iran navy launches stealth warship in the Gulf

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s navy on Saturday launched a domestically made destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the United States.

In a ceremony carried live on state television, the Sahand destroyer — which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply — joined Iran’s regular navy at a base in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. Continue reading

Iran trains squads for terrorizing US forces in Syria. US air/naval buildup for striking back

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Iran’s proxy militias in Syria are being trained and armed for terrorizing US forces in eastern Syria, starting with IEDs like the bombs that bedeviled American forces in Iraq in 2004-2006. The mastermind of this campaign is Iran’s Mid East commander, Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that US commanders in Syria were forewarned of the coming campaign after it was approved by Tehran as retaliation for the sanctions re-imposed by the Trump administration.

They learned that terror squads, detached from the Iraqi and Afghan militias encamped in the eastern Syrian Deir ez-Zour province, had in the last few days completed their specialist training by Al Qods and Hizballah bomb experts. They were taught how to blow up American military installations, bridges and transportation routes and how to plant IEDs outside buildings and on the roads frequented by US military traffic. Continue reading