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.

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U.S. ‘’Oil Weapon’’ Could Change Geopolitics Forever

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In a dynamic that shows just how far U.S. oil production has come in recent years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday that in the last two months of 2018, the U.S. Gulf Coast exported more crude oil than it imported. 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

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

Iran Building Two New Nuclear Plants

The reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran

The reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran / Getty Images

 

Files complaint against U.S. for ‘crimes against humanity’

Iranian leaders announced on Monday the construction of two new nuclear plants, and it remains unclear if the Trump administration views this as crossing a red line since its abandonment of the landmark nuclear deal, which included provisions permitting Iran to work on heavy water nuclear reactors that could provide a plutonium-based pathway to a bomb. Continue reading

50 Iranian drones conduct massive ‘way to Jerusalem’ exercise – report

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A military vehicle carrying Iranian Zoobin smart bomb (L) and Sagheb missile under pictures of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011.. (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

 

The point of the drill is to showcase Iran’s military prowess. It comes in the wake of a large naval drill in February and frequent new tests of ballistic missiles.

Iran’s Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that it had launched a massive exercise involving 50 drones that are based on a US Sentinel drone the Iranians captured in 2011. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it was the strongest exercise of its kind to date. Continue reading

America to Withdraw Troops From Africa

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Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, testifies February 7 at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Europe is being forced to get more involved in its former colonial territories.

Speaking in Munich on February 20, United States Africa Command (U.S. africom) Gen. Thomas Waldhauser revealed that hundreds of United States troops, including commandos, will withdraw from West Africa over the coming years.

In accordance with the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy announcement earlier this year, the United States plans to transfer 10 percent of its personnel from Africa to regions which it deems to be of higher priority, to prepare for possible future confrontation with Russia or China. The withdrawal is to be completed by 2022 at the latest, by which time approximately 600 of the 6,000 American troops currently in Africa will have left. Also to be sent elsewhere are about 100 of 1,000 civilian contractors who assist and train local African forces. They will be restationed in regions where the Russian and Chinese threat to American interests is perceived to be more direct. Continue reading

U.S. Supermajors Could Form A New Oil Cartel

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The ambitious shale growth plans of the U.S. supermajors could in the future allow them to control so much of U.S. shale oil production that they could also control the price of the U.S. light tight oil going to foreign markets in an ‘OPEC of their own kind,’ Investing.com quoted John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital, as saying. 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