Debkafiles – August 2, 2018
Shortly before a new round of US sanctions, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) navy is building up maritime forces at the Strait of Hormuz, ready to launch an “exercise” at 48 hours’ notice. The warships, poised outside the northern opening of the waterway, demonstrate that Iran can, if it so decides, block the vital waterway for Gulf oil exports. Thursday morning, Aug. 2, the US Central Command issued the following statement: “We are aware of the increase in Iran naval operations within the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and ‘Gulf of Oman. We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways… We also continue to advocate for all maritime forces to conform to international maritime customs, standards and laws.” DEBKAfile notes that CENTCOM chose to refer to the Persian Gulf as the “Arabian Gulf” which Tehran sees as a national affront.
Wednesday night, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that any Iranian attempt to interfere with shipping sailing through another vital regional waterway, the Bab al Mandeb Straits, would encounter an international coalition, including Israel with a full array of its military capabilities. Our sources liken the current climate surrounding a possible US-Iranian summit to that which led up to President Donald Trump’s Singapore meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. That too was preceded closely by a dramatic rise in war tensions, while quiet preparations for the big event continued without interruption.
Art Moore – July 9, 2018
As Iran faces ongoing protests from a growing movement aiming to bring down the mullah-led regime, its top general is threatening to send an “Islamic army” across the border into Israel from Syria to wipe out the “evil Zionist regime.”
Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said there are forces in Lebanon as well as Syria awaiting orders while the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terror group aims 100,000 missiles at Israel, the Times of Israel reported.
“We are creating might in Lebanon because we want to fight our enemy from there with all our strength,” he stated. “Hezbollah today has tremendous might on the ground that can on its own break the Zionist regime. The Zionist regime has no strategic-defensive depth.”
Salami said Israel faces dangers greater than at any time in its history, according to a translation of his speech by the Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI.
“Today an international Islamic army has been formed in Syria, and the voices of the Muslims are heard near the Golan,” he said. “Orders are awaited, so that … the eradication of the evil regime [Israel] will land and the life of this regime will be ended for good. The life of the Zionist regime was never in danger as it is now.”
Debkafiles – June 22, 2018
Syria’s moves in the southwest this week followed Russia’s failure to persuade Israel to stand aside and allow Assad’s army to take charge of the Quneitra and Daraa regions on the Israeli and Jordanian borders. Moscow hoped that the Syrian rebel forces defending the two areas would lay down their arms and go over to Bashar Assad’s army. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Netanyahu government spurned Russia’s plan – not least for lack of trust, suspecting that the Syrians would cheat and let Hizballah reach its border. Last month, an attempt was made to trick Israel, after its consent to a previous Russian plan to hand the Beit Jinn enclave on Mt Hermon to Syria, by providing Hizballah troops with Syrian Army 4th Division uniforms.
The same deception is being practiced at present in the southwest regions of Daraa and Quneitra. Russian and Syrian propaganda machines claim that Hizballah and pro-Iranian Shiite militiamen are being withdrawn from the Israeli and Jordanian borderlands, when in fact they are not moving after being disguised in Syrian army uniforms. The Russians don’t mention an Iranian withdrawal because Moscow pretends they don’t exist, when in fact an Iranian command center is fully operational in that part of Syria.
WND – June 22, 2018
There’s no guarantee these days that NATO will survive, the international alliance’s chief says.
In an AP report, Jens Stoltenberg said there needs to be an immediate effort to “shore up” the group.
That’s because of the widening divisions between Europe and the United States over the Iran nuclear deal, climate change, and more.
The U.S., of course, withdrew from the Iran deal because President Trump said it was a bad deal for America, while European interests have remained dedicated to its provisions.
And Trump has literally no use for the climate change agenda of expensive green energy projects and massive restrictions that appear to land on the United States and few others.
European officials largely are fans of the global warming agenda.
Stoltenberg, secretary general of the group, cited the strain of the coalition right now.
“It is not written in stone that the trans-Atlantic bond will survive forever,” Stoltenberg while delivering an address in London.
REUTERS – June 20, 2018
AMMAN – The Syrian army stepped up shelling of opposition-held parts of the southwest as it mobilizes for a campaign to regain the area bordering Jordan and the Israeli Golan Heights, opposition sources said.
Violence erupted at the frontline town of Kafr Shams, near the Syrian-held Golan Heights, and further east in the town of Busra al Harir, which was struck by dozens of mortars from nearby army positions, the sources said.
Syrian state media said militants had escalated attacks on civilians in the area which is part of a “de-escalation” zone agreed by the United States and Russia last year with the aim of containing the conflict in the southwest.
An offensive in the southwest would risk a major escalation of the seven-year-old war. The area is of strategic importance to Israel, which is deeply alarmed by Iranian influence in Syria. Washington has warned it will take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to violations of the “de-escalation” deal.
Debkafiles – June 19, 2018
A US official disclosed that the airstrike on Sunday, June 18, which killed dozens of fighters near the Syrian-Iraqi border town of Abu Kamal, was conducted by Israel. Syrians sources reported that between 40 and 50 Syrian army and Shiite Iraqi militia fighters were killed. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources disclose that the Israeli air strike, if the US official’s account is confirmed, was a major operation for stemming the influx of several brigades of the pro-Iranian Iraqi Kata’ib Hizballah militia as they crossed into Syria from Iraq. This militia is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) umbrella organization, which takes its orders from Iran’s Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Our sources add that the Kata’ib Hizballah brigades were on their way to southwestern Syria to deploy along the Israeli and Jordanian borders. The air strike caused major havoc in their ranks and a larger number of casualties than reported. As a result, the Iraqi brigades withdrew from Syria and pulled back across the border to Iraq.
Sputnik News – June 15, 2018
Leaked video from a meeting between Israel’s head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Tamir Hyman, and a number of foreign security ministers shows him warning them that Iran’s presence in Syria isn’t meant to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s battle against terrorists, but instead to threaten Israel.
Hyman showed the crowd of foreign security officials a map of suspected Iranian bases in Syria. The leaked video wasn’t of a high-enough quality to pick it up, but it “showed them spread throughout the country,” according to the Times of Israel. The video was shot apparently in secret at a homeland security conference held in Jerusalem by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan during the week of June 11.
“You probably think it’s because they are trying to help the Assad regime fight extremists, fight terror. Well, get ready for a surprise: In all these places on the map there has been no fighting going on for half a month,” Hyman said while showcasing the map.
He said Iran is “trying to increase that effort… of ability and capability to launch rockets from there and to establish cells of their own that can penetrate Israel and harm the villages in the Golan Heights.”
Debkafiles – June 13, 2018
After Iran warned it will leave the nuclear accord unless benefits are forthcoming, an atomic energy official in Tehran said that uranium enrichment would resume at Fordow – if that happens.
Iranian President Rouhani issued that warning to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. On Wednesday, June 13, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi stated in Tehran that new work would begin on the nuclear program on the orders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Currently the Supreme Leader has ordered that the programs be carried out within the parameters of the nuclear deal,” Kamalvandi said. “And when he gives the order we will announce the programs for operating outside of the nuclear deal for reviving Fordow.”
Fordow, one of Iran’s two big enrichment sites, is equipped with 8,000 advanced centrifuges capable of turning out in a short time uranium enriched to the 20pc grade, required for making a nuclear weapon. At Natanz, Iran’s second large enrichment site, the advanced equipment just installed is believed to include high-speed IR6 centrifuges. Much of Natanz is deep underground and Fordow is buried inside a mountain to keep them safe from aerial bombardment.
Adam Kredo – June 8, 2018
Iranian officials, in a first, have admitted to facilitating the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. by secretly aiding the free travel of al Qaeda operatives who eventually went on to fly commercial airliners into the Twin Towers in New York City, according to new remarks from a senior Iranian official.
Mohammad-Javad Larijani, an international affairs assistant in the Iran’s judiciary, disclosed in Farsi-language remarks broadcast on Iran’s state-controlled television that Iranian intelligence officials secretly helped provide the al Qaeda attackers with passage and gave them refuge in the Islamic Republic, according to an English translation published by Al Arabiya.
“Our government agreed not to stamp the passports of some of them because they were on transit flights for two hours, and they were resuming their flights without having their passports stamped. However their movements were under the complete supervision of the Iranian intelligence,” Larijani was quoted as saying.
Newsmax – June 9, 2018
Chinese President Xi Jinping will open late Saturday a two-day regional security summit attended by Russia, Iran and other allies confronting rising tensions with the US over trade and Washington’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.
Armored vans lined the streets of the coastal city of Qingdao as world leaders arrived Friday for the 18th annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a regional security bloc led by China and Russia.
Its member states also include four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics, Pakistan and India. Iran is an observer member.
Authorities emptied an entire ocean-side swathe of the city — clearing out shopkeepers, residents and day-trippers to make way for Xi, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the meeting.