2005-01-13

Target: Syria?

Washington is drawing up plans for attacks on Syrian targets following the US Presidential inauguration and Iraqi elections, according to a recent item from Debka: 'Bush has ordered US Iraq commander Gen. Casey to prepare February attack on Syria. Assad sends Syria’s chief of staff Gen. Habib to establish command post on Iraqi border. Israel braces for Hizballah backlash.' Debka provides a detailed report here. Russia, for its part, feels left out in the cold, and plans to make things a little hotter for America and Iraq: 'High-placed US and Israeli security sources confirm to DEBKAfile Russian proposes to sell Syria SA-10 air defense system of type protecting Moscow and SA-18 shoulder-launched anti-air rockets that could reach Iraqi guerrillas as well as Hizballah. These items would alter Middle East balance of strength. Clincher likely during Assad’s Jan. 24 Moscow visit. DEBKAfile adds: Putin is flexing muscle after Russia’s exclusion from US moves in Iraq and Palestinian election, Washington’s intervention in Ukraine election and in Yukos sale.' They've got a full report here. Meanwhile, Stratfor is reporting that Russia's defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, has denied reports that negotiations for the sale of the Iskander-3 missile will take place when Syria's Bashar Assad arrives in Moscow for a visit in late January.