As NATO in Brussels gave the go-ahead Tuesday night, Dec. 4, for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles to protect Turkey against Syrian missiles, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reported that convoys of the Syrian army’s chemical weapons units headed out of Damascus under cover of dark and turned north up the road to Aleppo. Their destination is not yet known.
The convoys were ferrying self-propelled cannons for firing shells loaded with poisonous sarin gas.
Our sources report that the Syrian ruler is aparently gambling dangerously on the Americans holding back from attacking the convoys as long as they deploy unconventional weapons, and would only react when they are used.
He is also taking advantage of the heavy winds, rain and cloud over this part of the eastern Mediterranean and counting on the weather to obstruct military operations against his chemical weapons units.
By the time the weather clears some time Thursday, the units will be in place in battle formation. Meanwhile, bombing the convoys in windy weather could cause the deadly gas to spread out of control in unpredictable directions. Continue reading
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Big Russian fleet nears Syria. Iran to fight regime change as foreign forces pile up
Russian, Western and Arab forces were piling up on Syrian borders Wednesday, July 25, bringing closer a war confrontation which could spur the Assad regime into making good on its threat to use chemical weapons against “external aggression.”
Based on this reading, Moscow added its voice Tuesday to that of US President Obama and warned Bashar Assad against using chemical weapons in view of “its commitments under the international convention it ratified prohibiting the use of poisonous gases as a method of warfare.”
debkafile’s military sources: With operational intelligence deployment and electronic stations positioned inside Syria, the Russians are better placed than any other outsiders to know what is happening on Syria’s battlefields.
Their warning must therefore be tied to solid information confirming Washington’s assessment that Assad is dangerously close to deciding to use his chemical and biological weapons in a way that would precipitate a regional conflict.
Israel, Turkey and Jordan would be the first targets on his list.
The immediacy of the peril, debkafile’s military sources report, has speeded the arrival of Russian warships to Syria to counter a potential Western, Arab or Israeli assault on the embattled country.
The Russian Ministry of Defense, which rarely discloses Russian military movements outside its borders, announced early Wednesday morning, July 25 that a fleet of Russian warships had passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean.
The fleet is headed by the anti-submarine and anti-aircraft Admiral Chabanenko warship and consists of another three vessels carrying a large number of Russian marines. This fleet will rendezvous with a Russian flotilla standing by in the Mediterranean since July 21, detached from Russian Black Fleet and composed of the Smetlivy figate and two large landing craft loaded with Russian marines. This group awaited the main force before approaching Syria.
The fact that Russia is massing large numbers of marines off the Syrian coast looks as though a landing on Syrian soil is on Moscow’s cards.
The Russian marine contingent, debkafile’s sources say, will stand ready – either to come to the aid of the Assad regime or to serve as a bargaining chip for a last-minute deal between Moscow and Washington for ending the war by establishing a transitional military regime in Damascus whose makeup would be agreed between them and Assad.
Deputy Iranian Revolutionary GuardUS President Obama chief, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, warned on Tuesday, July 24, that Tehran would not permit regime change in Damascus and if Syria’s enemies intervened, Iran would hit them hard. The Iranian commander pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia and Qatar, adding that the US and Israel are at the forefront of the comprehensive campaign against Syria but are being beaten back.
This was the first time Tehran had explicitly threatened military intervention in Syria.
Wednesday, Turkey shut its border crossings to Syria. Military sources in Ankara confirmed that massive Turkish military strength had been on the move toward the Syrian border.
Full article: Big Russian fleet nears Syria. Iran to fight regime change as foreign forces pile up (DEBKAfile)
US, EU fake Iran’s consent to discussing enrichment to fend off Israeli action
A spokesman for EU foreign executive Catherine Ashton, who heads the six-power group in nuclear negotiations with Iran, reported Monday night, June 11, that Tehran is now willing to discuss high-grade uranium enrichment in the next round of nuclear talks in Moscow on June 18-19.
The claim is false. Tehran consistently refuses to discuss its “right to enrichment” and threatened not to turn up for the Moscow session after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded last week that Iran come to the table with “concrete plans” for curbing uranium enrichment up to 20 percent purity.
Iran has not backtracked: Ashton got nothing new from an hour of tense conversation with senior negotiator Saeed Jalili and had to be satisfied with issuing the noncommittal statement, “The Iranians agreed on the need for Iran to engage on the (six powers’) proposals, which address its concerns on the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.”
Full article: US, EU fake Iran’s consent to discussing enrichment to fend off Israeli action (DEBKAfile)