US sharing intelligence with Syrian government, say sources

ISIS parade in SyriaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The United States is secretly sharing intelligence about the Islamic State with the government of Syria, according to sources. On Monday, American officials told the Associated Press that US President Barack Obama had authorized reconnaissance flights over Syrian airspace with the aim of gathering intelligence on the Islamic State —known previously as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS. Pentagon officials said the reconnaissance flights are intended to collect “additional intelligence” on the Islamic State’s troop movements in Syria. Their ultimate goal is reportedly to assist the president and his advisors as they contemplate whether the US should launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets on Syrian soil. One American official told the news agency that the reconnaissance flights constituted “an important avenue for obtaining data” and said they would satisfy the “need for reliable intelligence from Syria”. But another source told French news agency Agence France Presse on Tuesday that the intelligence gathered from US reconnaissance flights was being shared with the Syrian government “through Iraqi and Russian channels”. Quoting “a regional source”, the Paris-based news agency said Damascus has been receiving lists of Islamic State targets on Syrian territory “from a Western country” since before mid-August. If these reports turn out to be accurate, it would mean that Washington is essentially collaborating for the first time with one of its arch-enemies in the Middle East, a regime which, in the past, it has come close to bombing. It would also bring American policy in the region closer to that of Russia, which has supported the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the start of the civil war, arguing that it is preferable to the instability represented by opposition forces. Read more of this post

US prevented Israel from bombing arms ship, says paper

The Francop

The Francop

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Israel wanted to bomb a German cargo ship, which allegedly carried tons of weapons from Syria and Iran to Lebanon, but the plan was “rejected” by US intelligence, according to a London-based Arabic-language newspaper. An article in last Friday’s Asharq Alawsat appears to confirm earlier speculation that the ship, which was seized by Israeli commandos in a predawn raid on Wednesday off the coast of Cyprus, was first brought to the Israelis’ attention by US intelligence agencies on October 18. The newspaper alleges that the raid by Israeli commandos took place only after the US rejected an Israeli suggestion to bomb the ship while it was sailing through the Red Sea. An air attack on the cargo ship, named Francop, would have undoubtedly caused a multinational diplomatic episode. The vessel is reportedly German, leased by Greek-Cypriot charter company UFS Shipping International, and was sailing under the flag of Antigua & Barbuda, with an Egyptian crew and a Polish captain. Read more of this post

Israeli commandos seize ship allegedly carrying tons of weapons

Israeli commandos

Israeli commandos

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A ship apprehended off the coast of Cyprus by Israeli commandos in a predawn raid on Wednesday was carrying hundreds of tons of weapons, according to the Israeli Navy. Israeli military officials told a press conference in Tel Aviv that the ship was loaded with “40 containers filled with 300 tons of weapons each”, hidden under several rows of civilian goods. Israel insisted that the weapons, which include missiles and rockets, originated from Iran and Syria and were bound for Hezbollah, the Shiite Islamic political and paramilitary organization that controls large parts of Lebanon. But the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, called the Israeli commandos “pirates” and said the seized ship was heading from Syria to Iran, carrying only civilian goods. Israel has yet to release evidence of the ship’s contents, or even name. Read more of this post

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