December, 2016 Security-Intelligence

 Truce in Syria Turkey


Murat Yetin
The truce in Syria toward the end of the fifth year of the civil war was announced simultaneously by the Russian and Turkish foreign ministries on Dec. 29.

Syria truce US left out


DEBKAfile Special Report
President Vladimir Putin has announced that the Syrian government and rebels have signed a truce deal and are ready to begin peace talks. The ceasefire begins Thursday, Dec. 289, at midnight local time. The deal excludes the Islamic State the ex-Nusra Front and all groups linked to them. He did not say which rebel groups were covered.

 Iran  Aleppo


Author: Ali Hashem, Al Monitor

 

On Dec. 22, the same day the Syrian government announced that Aleppo was under its control, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari was in Damascus to meet President Bashar al-Assad. Ansari was in fact in the Syrian capital to congratulate his country’s prime regional ally for retaking Syria’s largest city and one of the main strongholds of the armed opposition. 

 Turkish army ISIS pushback


DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis 

Wednesday, Dec. 28, hours before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due to deliver a major speech on his vision for the Middle East, Turkey and Russia announced a ceasefire plan going into effect the same night for the whole of Syria, and in all regions, where fighting between pro-government forces and opposition groups were taking place - excepting for terrorist organizations.
Moscow and Ankara assumed the role of guarantors of the process.

Aleppo Liberated


Moon of Alabama (USA)
As planned by the Russian forces the liberation of east-Aleppo was completed before Christmas. There are no longer beheadings by Takfiris in East-Aleppo. Instead a Christmas mass could be held in the damaged Elias Cathedral in the Old City in east-Aleppo.

Aleppo or cemetery?


Yusuf Kanli
A Syria crisis-famed bearded “strategy expert” on a TV program was explaining how it was “normal” to have 14 casualties in a war being waged in a city. The expert said fighting a war with drones or armored vehicles was important in undermining the capacity of the enemy but in order to achieve victory, it was necessary to have boots on ground. 

Iran’s Ascendancy

By Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 388

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Widespread moral revulsion at the horrors of the battle for Aleppo, and the aftershocks of the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey, should not blind us to the dark strategic implications of the recent turn of events in Syria. 

Saudi Arabia  Islamist Groups

 Zero hedge,

A newly-leaked German intelligence report states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar are funding extremist Islamic groups in Germany.
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and Northern German public radio broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk saw the brief and raised concern regarding a reported increase in Salafism, an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam, within Germany. 

Turkey caliphate

Author Pinar Tremblay

On Dec. 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly declared national mobilization. Addressing muhktars (elected village and neighborhood headmen), Erdogan said, “Henceforth, neither terrorists nor their supporters will have a minute of peace.” He encouraged security forces not to hesitate to use their powers, while reiterating that Turkey cannot stay on the defensive but from now on will go on the offensive against terror organizations. 

New Arab Spring


by Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun

This month is the sixth anniversary of the "Arab Spring," when Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire to protest police harassment.

Terrorist attacks in Europe


From 1970-2015: 4,724 people died from bombings. 2,588 from assassinations. 2,365 from assaults. 548 from hostage situations. 159 from hijackings. 114 from building attacks. Thousands wounded or missing.

Russian ambassador to Ankara


Burak Bekdil
Who killed Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara? Officially, the assassin is a young anti-riot police officer. According to the government narrative, he must be a pawn of the Gülenist terrorists who wanted to sabotage Turkey’s relations with Russia – just like the fighter jet pilots who shot down a Russian Su-24 on Nov. 24, 2015. This narrative is highly problematic. In reality, the Russian ambassador was the victim of an ugly sectarian war in this part of the world.

 Andrey Karlov


Murat Yektin
I knew Andrey Karlov in person. The Russian Ambassador to Ankara was from the old school, a Cold War warrior, who even served in North Korea. In the worst times of Turkish-Russian crisis over the Syria-plane downing affair, Karlov did not lose his calm.

 Assad’s next battle

Ron Ben-Yishai

Analysis: After three and a half years of fighting, the Syrian president scores a huge victory in Aleppo along with his partners in Iran and Syria, dealing a heavy blow to the rebels, Syria’s citizens, and Israel too. Meanwhile, the rebels are already preparing for the next major battle in Idlib.

Battle for Mosul


Daniel L. Davis
Since the battle to retake Mosul began in mid-October, Iraqi and coalition spokesmen have touted the significant number of villages retaken around the periphery of Mosul by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and the fact that they reportedly recaptured Mosul’s al-Salam hospital, barely a mile from the Tigris. Yet an examination of the battlefield reveals that from the perspective of ISIS, it could be argued that the fight is going better than expected. Such a belief is not without substance.

Turkey space agency


Author Metin Gurcan, TranslatorTimur Göksel

Turkey's efforts in the satellite space race have experienced turbulence over the years, but they got a boost with the recent launch of its Gokturk-1 satellite, which will meet the country’s civilian and military intelligence needs around the world.

Israel’s National Security


By: Avigdor Liberman
The dramatic turmoil that has seized the Middle East in recent years holds a number of important lessons for the international community, as policy options are considered regarding the ongoing regional crises. These lessons are particularly salient for Israel and for those concerned with ensuring its national security.

Russia commandos


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Moscow started to deploy Chechen special operations forces units to Syria this week, DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal. The troops come from elite units of the Chechen military with extensive field experience in urban warfare. Some of the units fought in eastern Ukraine in the past two years and, before that. in Chechnya for suppressing radical Islamic terror organizations linked to Al Qaeda and the Salafi movement.

Conflict in Syria


By Giancarlo Elia Valori
 "Information Clearing House" - "Modern Diplomacy" - While we are writing this article, much of South Aleppo has now been liberated by Bashar al-Assad’ Syrian Arab Army. Jaish Al Fatah, which cooperates with the Al Nusra Front, namely the "Syrian section" of Al Qaeda, has now been ousted from the Southern districts of Aleppo and from most of the city suburbs. But it still keeps Idlib.

Kurds Syria


Author Fehim Taştekin TranslatorTimur Göksel

Among all the complex alliances and shifting loyalties in Syria, the Kurds seem caught in the middle. Common sentiment is that the Kurds are now at a critical threshold of relations with the Damascus regime, and the outcome could be cooperation or, just as easily, combat.

Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman Geopolitics

 
The geopolitical and geostrategic interests and balance in Turkey, due to its current Islamist Government lead by the authoritarian President Erdogan, have changed the country in last 15 years to an unrecognizable degree.

 Mosul offensive


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

The failue of the US-backed Iraqi army offensive to liberate Mosul - nine weeks after it began - could no longer be denied when a delegation of ISIS chiefs arrived there Sunday, Dec. 4, traveling unhindered from Raqqa, Syria.

Turkey’s economic crises

Nuray Mert
I should be the last person to write on economic matters, since it is neither my profession nor my passion. Nevertheless, none of us need to be experts nowadays to see that the prospects for Turkey’s economy are rather dim.

 Saudi-Egyptian Tensions


By Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 384

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A dangerous rift has developed in Saudi-Egyptian relations on two fronts. The Saudis, for whom the Iranian-backed Houthi uprising in Yemen has become an existential issue, are aggrieved that Egypt is not pulling its full weight in that campaign.

 War on China

 
By John Pilger
  "Information Clearing House" - "teleSur" - The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there.

 Dead end in Aleppo


Cengiz Candar writes, “The fate of Aleppo has the potential to seal the fate of [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's regime in Turkey. Too many of Erdogan's eggs are placed in the basket of northern Syrian geopolitics, and most of them are likely to crack.”

Trump Putin

By William Blum

 "Information Clearing House" - That he may not be “qualified” is unimportant. That he’s never held a government or elected position is unimportant. That on a personal level he may be a shmuck is unimportant.What counts to me mainly at this early stage is that he – as opposed to dear Hillary – is unlikely to start a war against Russia. His questioning of the absolute sacredness of NATO, calling it “obsolete”, and his meeting with Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an outspoken critic of US regime-change policy, specifically Syria, are encouraging signs.

 ANKARA TURKMENS


AYKAN ERDEMIR AND MERVE TAHIROGLU
The Mosul operation has made the predominantly Turkmen city of Tal Afar the latest focus of Turkey and Iran’s sectarian struggle for influence in post-Islamic State Iraq. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned against allowing Iran-backed Shiite militias to liberate the city.

Aleppo Day after


The fall of Aleppo could lead to a further increase in tension between the Syrian regime and Turkey.
Francesco Belcastro

The Syrian army’s rapid advances in eastern Aleppo last weekend have rekindled discussions over what the consequences would be of the fall of the besieged northern city. Observers seem to agree on the fact that (barred dramatic changes on the ground) the regime will be able to take control of Eastern Aleppo.

Beware Of Turkey


Endy Zemenides
In just under two months, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. As many of his predecessors learned before him, no amount of intelligence briefings, travel or business experience, or even previous foreign policy experience fully girds a new President and his team for that first time they get called to the Situation Room to deal with an international crisis.