As we reported yesterday, over 50 US State Department officials are now calling for “targeted military strikes” directly against Assad’s Syrian government as a means to defeat ISIS.
The irony of course is that we’ve now come full circle. The US created ISIS in hopes of toppling Assad, and now that the ISIS strategy is losing momentum (due in large part to Russia’ relentless pounding of the group), the US now wants to just fast forward to the end game, which is to take out Assad directly (using ISIS as a reason of course). Continue reading
Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war
Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped. Continue reading
First, a body of three battalions of 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers was deployed at Khmeimin and has already started pounding rebel lines and command centers in the area. This heavy artillery system, capable of firing 152mm bombs at a rapid pace, is a veteran of Russia’s former campaigns against Islamic terrorist groups, especially in the Russian war against Islamic rebels in Chechnya in the 1990s.
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
And now we know why U.S. Patriot missiles were removed from Turkey.
Despite strong denials from Moscow, Russian airborne troops are preparing to land in Syria to fight Islamic State forces. The surprise attack on Monday, Aug. 31, by ISIS forces on the Qadam district of southern Damascus, in which they took over parts of the district – and brought ISIS forces the closest that any Syrian anti-Assad group has ever been to the center of the Syrian capital – is expected to accelerate the Russian military intervention.
Moscow is certainly not ready to endanger the position of President Bashar Assad or his rule in Damascus, and views it as a red line that cannot be crossed. If Russia intervenes militarily in this way, Russia will be the first country from outside the Middle East to send ground forces into the Syrian civil war. Continue reading
Secret initiative planned to train rebels to fight the Assad government a year later by marching on Damascus, a BBC Newsnight investigation discloses
Britain planned to train and equip 100,000 Syrian rebels for a shock and awe campaign to defeat President Bashar al-Assad.
General David Richards, who was then the UK’s most senior military officer, drew up the plans two years ago, according to the BBC’s Newsnight. Continue reading
JERUSALEM – Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.
The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.
The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida. Continue reading
Two Syrian rebel militias judged moderate in Washington have in the last few days taken delivery and begun using – mostly in the Idlib region – the first advanced US weapon to be deployed in more than three years of civil war, debkafile’s military sources reveal. It is the heavy anti-tank, optically-tracked, wire-guided BGM-71 TOW, which is capable of piercing 50mm thickness of Syrian tank armor and Syrian fortifications at a range of 4 kilometers. Armed with this weapon now are Brig-Gen. Abdul-Hila al Bashir, the new commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is headquartered at the Golan town of Quneitra, and Jamal Maarouf, head of the rebel Syrian Revolutionary Front fighting in the north.
The appearance of this advanced missile radically alters the balance of strength on the Syrian battlefield. It also denotes a striking change in Obama administration policy, which hitherto flatly resisted every demand to provide Syrian rebel groups with the heavy arms essential for them to have any chance of standing up to Bashar Assad’s superior military strength. Continue reading
BEIRUT — No one is expecting a tank invasion of Saudi Arabia anytime soon, but the kingdom just put in a huge order for U.S.-made anti-tank missiles that has Saudi-watchers scratching their heads and wondering whether the deal is related to Riyadh’s support for the Syrian rebels.
The proposed weapons deal, which the Pentagon notified Congress of in early December, would provide Riyadh with more than 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles at a cost of over $1 billion. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance report, Saudi Arabia’s total stockpile this year amounted to slightly more than 4,000 anti-tank missiles. In the past decade, the Pentagon has notified Congress of only one other sale of anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia — a 2009 deal that shipped roughly 5,000 missiles to the kingdom. Continue reading
Arabic-language Russian news site Rusiya Al-Yaum has reported that Syrian rebels are planning a chemical attack on Israel.
In the report, it was claimed that “armed Syrian militants will use territories controlled by the Syrian regime to perpetrate their provocative plan.” Continue reading
We’ve been warned time and time again that thousands upon thousands are already here.
Wave of terror could result from training, expertise gained in fighting with al Qaeda rebels
Several thousand foreign terrorists, as well as Americans, are joining the Islamist faction of the now-divided Syrian rebels battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading
American intelligence analysts have concluded that a recent alleged Israeli airstrike on a warehouse in Syria did not succeed in destroying all of the Russian-made anti-ship cruise missiles that were its target, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
American officials who spoke to the newspaper on the matter predicted that further Israeli strikes are likely since some of the missiles hadn’t been destroyed. Continue reading
Israeli Dolphin-class submarines carried out a July 5 attack on an arms depot in the Syrian port city of Latakia, according to a report in the British Sunday Times, which contradicted a previous CNN report that the attack was the work of the Israel Air Force.
The alleged Israeli naval strike was closely coordinated with the United States and targeted a contingent of 50 Russian-made Yakhont P-800 anti-ship missiles that had arrived earlier in the year for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, the Times cited Middle East intelligence sources as stating. Continue reading
U.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad’s forces in power in Syria.
Analysts say it’s unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Continue reading
The CIA is stockpiling arms in Jordan for US-trained Syrian rebels, which they will use in an offensive against Damascus starting August, according to The Wall Street Journal. Up to hundreds of fighters are to be armed and sent to the battlefield monthly.
The intelligence agency had stored Soviet-made arms at a network of secret warehouses in advance of the Obama administration’s decision to provide military assistance to the militants fighting against the government of Bashar Assad, the newspaper reports. The weapons include anti-tank missiles, which may be handed over to the Syrian rebels. Continue reading