Iran Preparing to Unveil New Chopper, Drone and Missile-Laden Warship Capable of Reaching US Coast

13:26 GMT 10.10.2020

In this Feb. 21, 2010 photo, two clerics stand at left as Iran's Jamaran guided-missile destroyer and navy members prepare for an exercise in the Persian Gulf, along the coast of Iran.

by Ilya Tsukanov

The Islamic Republic Navy’s fleet of surface warships includes vessels ranging from small patrol boats and corvettes to Moudge-class frigates. Over the last decade, Iranian ships have made port visits to countries ranging from Syria and South Africa to China. But Tehran has yet to make good on plans to send its ships to the Western Hemisphere.

Iran is preparing to unveil a new warship capable of circumnavigating the globe three times over without refueling, enabling it to reach any point on the planet and giving Tehran a tit-for-tat capability to respond to the deployment of US warships off Iran’s coast.

Speaking to Iranian media on Saturday, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi revealed that the auxiliary ship, named the ‘Persian Gulf’, will be equipped with a range of weapons systems, including missiles, drones and helicopters.

The ship is expected to be formally unveiled sometime between November 21 and December 20.

According to Khanzadi, the Persian Gulf’s deployment will help ensure “defence and security stability” in the region and beyond.

The commander did not provide any more details about the Persian Gulf’s characteristics or capabilities. Last month however, he announced that the Navy would soon unveil a 231-meter-long dock ship capable of carrying up to seven choppers, as well as drones, missiles and electronic warfare equipment. It’s not clear whether the ‘Persian Gulf’ and this new dock ship are one and the same vessel.

Iran will mark Navy Day on November 28. This year, the force is expected to take delivery of several new warships, including the Dena Moudge-class frigate, the Saba minesweeper and a new class of missile boats.

Khanzadi did not specify where his force’s new ultra-long range vessel might be deployed. In recent years, Iranian warships have made port visits throughout the Middle East, East Asia and the east coast of Africa, and have taken part in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden against Somali pirates. However, despite repeated talk of plans to sail ships further west into the Atlantic Ocean and the Western Hemisphere, Tehran has yet to do so.

Guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110)

© WIKIPEDIA / U.S. NAVY

US Sails Warship Off Venezuela’s Coastal Waters Citing Treaty Washington Itself Hasn’t Ratified

This spring, Iran did send civilian tanker ships filled with fuel, food and supplies to sanctions-starved Venezuela, with the latest flotilla arriving in the Latin American country in late September.

Tehran has also repeatedly urged the US to stop deploying its warships in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East generally, proposing that regional powers take care of the region’s security instead. In 2019, at the UN, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani proposed the creation of a ‘Coalition of Hope’ including all nations which border on the Persian Gulf.

Late last month, after the US parked a carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf, Rouhani accused US forces in the Middle East of undermining regional stability and security, and called on all nations in the region where American troops are based to make a concerted effort to expel them.

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Why the Middle East “peace agreements” will fail to achieve their purpose

Why the Middle East “peace agreements” will fail to achieve their purpose

September 25, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

This week, a third Arab country has reportedly agreed to submit to Washington’s pressure to normalize relations with the Zionist state. This was very much expected and I’m sure it didn’t catch most observers by surprise. In the end, I expect most of the shameful Arab League to submit since it is known that most of them have had secret dealings with the Zionist state since many years, if not decades ago. So why come out of the closet now? What is the purpose of these “peace agreements?”

Personal I find it rather humorous that they are calling these deals “peace agreements” since peace agreements are signed by countries who have been at war, not long-standing allies who have never fired a single bullet towards each other. But the purpose of these deals are unfortunately not to make us laugh, but to intimidate.

Washington has realized that it cannot remain in the Middle East for ever. This is not because the Islamic Republic of Iran has vowed to expel them, but because reality has finally caught up to them. They are hated in this region, every act of terror that they commit against the people of this region, be it through sanctions or bombs- will attract more support for the Resistance Axis, the only force that truly fights them in the Middle East.

Moreover, their own people have grown tired of these constant wars and acts of terror overseas, and with a 22 trillion dollar debt, their economy is no longer what it used to be. On top of that, they’ve been humiliated by their own allies on the world stage, who refuse to re-impose sanctions and embargoes on the Islamic Republic – despite the constant threats issued by the likes of Mike Pompeo.

Taking a step back from its traditional role of lead terrorizer of the world is also an outspoken foreign policy issue for US President Donald Trump. Trump has on many occasions made it clear that he considers many of Washington’s allies to be “free-riding” on Washington’s “generosity”. He has repeatedly told his NATO allies that they “must pay” for Washington’s supposed protection. The same has been said about Washington’s Persian Gulf vassals. I know some people would say these statements by Trump are just excuses to redeploy US troops closer to Russia and China, but if we play with the idea that Trump perhaps isn’t the 5-dimensional chess player that some believe him to be, I would say this:

Trump has been an outspoken critic of Washington’s role in the Middle East. He even admitted himself that Washington has killed “hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East” and that “the single greatest mistake we ever made was to go to the Middle East”.

So this takes us back to the so called “peace agreements”. Both the timing and the way they were presented by the media gives us many clues as to what Washington’s intentions are. Western diplomats, think tanks and journalists have been quick to call the “peace agreements” a “nightmare for Iran” and a “a major geo-strategic shift in the region”. Brian Hook, the former US State Department’s lead official on Iran, said the “agreement amounted to a ‘nightmare’ for Iran in its efforts against Israel in the region.” But why? What is their reasoning?

At first glance, if one were to follow the Western narrative, it would seem that Washington’s allies have all united against the Islamic Republic and now stand to offer a collective deterrence against Iran. But anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of Middle Eastern politics would reach the same conclusions that were stated above – peace agreements are signed by countries who have been at war, not long-standing allies who have never fired a single bullet towards each other.

Of course the timing for President Trump is also perfect. A few months before the US elections, he presents his own version of the Camp David Accords, which resulted in the normalization of relations between Israel and Egypt in 1978. He will certainly portray this as a great political victory for him at home.

But what Washington is really doing is merely posturing. This is what they’ve been doing for over 4 decades against the Islamic Republic. For Washington this will be a great way to exit the region without being thrown out and without compromising Israel’s security. But they’re not kidding themselves, they know that nothing has changed and that this is just more of a PR stunt than it is a “diplomatic coup”. Let’s be honest, no country will ever fear Bahrain or the UAE, and Washington knows this. Collectively the Arab League’s military forces would offer little resistance in a regional war against the Resistance Axis. These are the same Arab League armies that cannot even defeat the Houthis in Yemen despite massive Western assistance. Not only are they extremely incompetent, as proven on multiple occasions in Yemen where the Saudi Air Force has bombed their own forces on the ground, but they are also cowards, again proven in Yemen where Saudi forces have been filmed abandoning their superior US-made vehicles and running away from the field of battle.

It would seem that Washington’s eventual withdrawal from the Middle East is to the detriment of Israel’s interests rather than to the benefit. Unless of course we forget that Israel possesses nuclear weapons and that it probably won’t be long before the US and Israel will arm Saudi Arabia with Nuclear Weapons to target Iran. But still, the secret dealings between Israel and “some Arab states” as Zionist Chieftain Benjamin Netanyahu said years ago, the not-so-secret Israeli Nuclear Weapons arsenal and the fact that Washington’s potential “taking a step back” policy does not really mean that it wouldn’t come to the aid of Israel in a matter of minutes, don’t really strike anyone in the region as “shocking news”.

So what have these “Peace Agreements” really shown us? Nothing really. We all knew this day would come eventually. They were cautious when they sent the UAE and Bahrain out of the closet first, dipping their toes into the water to see the reaction of the people in the region. Seeing how the Arab league and most other countries didn’t really react with outrage, they are now sending more countries to step out and admit their shameful alliance with Israel. Really, the only thing that the Gulf monarchies have achieved is to write their own names into the history books as the shameful allies of a terrorist state. We have yet to see [at the time of writing 2020-09-25] which country will be the “third Arab state” to sign the agreement with the Zionist state, but it matters not, camps were chosen long ago despite not having been declared officially by some countries.

My bets are on Morocco by the way.

It’s better for U.S. forces to come to Persian Gulf to be within our reach: IRGC deputy chief

Source

September 23, 2020 – 19:54

TEHRAN – While the U.S. describes the deployment of its aircraft career to the Persian Gulf region as a show of force aimed at deterring Iran, a senior Iranian military official has welcomed the deployment of American troops to the region, saying they will be within Iran’s reach.

“It is better for them to come to the Persian Gulf because they will be within our reach,” Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), told the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news network aired on Wednesday.

In a provocative move, the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz has entered the Persian Gulf for the first time in ten months on September 18, only one day before the U.S. announced the return of all UN sanctions on Iran. The U.S. navy said in a statement on the same day that the aircraft carrier’s transit through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf was “scheduled,” a clear attempt to dispel speculation over the timing of the deployment of USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf, which came against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington. However, the U.S. move was widely seen as a show of force to Iran.

“If the Americans commit new folly, they will be faced with unimaginable force.”The IRGC has flown home-made surveillance drones over the aircraft carrier and publish images of it. The images show fighter planes parked on the carrier’s deck.

In a clear warning to the U.S., Fadavi said, “If the Americans commit new folly, they will be faced with unimaginable force.”

Iran also flexed its military muscles only a week before the U.S. aircraft carrier entered the Persian Gulf. On September 11, the Iranian Army began three-day military exercises in the Sea of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. The exercises, codenamed “Zolfaqar-99”, took place in areas spanning 2 million square kilometers. During the exercises, Iran’s armed forces unveiled and tested their state-of-the-art weapons, including a number of cruise missiles and combat drones.

Analysts believe that the Zolfaqar-99 exercises were meant to send a clear message to the U.S. that Iran is fully prepared to thwart any U.S. military action.

The IRGC has flown home-made surveillance drones over the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and publish images of it. The images show fighter planes parked on the carrier’s deck.“Iran conducted the Zolfaqar-99 exercises to show that it is able to defend itself in the face of any U.S, military action,” Seyed Jalal Sadatian, Iran’s former ambassador to the UK, told the Tehran Times.

Sadatian previously told the Tehran Times that Trump was likely to wage limited war with Iran to boost his reelection chances. According to the former ambassador, U.S. allies in the region cannot confront Iran alone and that the U.S. had no other options than strengthening their bases in the region to besiege Iran in a way that it would not be able to respond to any aggression.

“But they will fail because Iran has a strategic depth in the region and the U.S. can’t undermine this strategic depth. So if they attack Iran, they will be bogged down in the region. Any attack against Iran could pave the way for the U.S. to be mired in the region,” the former ambassador warned.

The U.S. threatened to attack Iran after an American publication accused Iran of weighing a plot to assassinate U.S. ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks in retaliation for the assassination of the IRGC’s Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in early January. Iran strongly denied the accusation. 

After leaving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the U.S. sought to build a maritime coalition against Iran in the Persian Gulf. But its efforts in this regard failed to yield concrete results.

Fadavi said the Americans will never be able to create coalitions against Iran in the region. 
“They have not and will not succeed in forming any new coalition against the Islamic Revolution,” the top general said, adding, “The U.S. efforts to create coalitions against the Islamic Revolution are old.”

RELATED NEWS

Saudi King Salman Called Trump for Permission to Invade Qatar

Saudi King Salman Called Trump for Permission to Invade Qatar

 By Staff, Agencies

In early August, the American news publication Foreign Policy revealed in detail that King Salman of Saudi Arabia had called Donald Trump to get permission for invading Qatar on June 6, 2017, that is just one day after the blockade imposition.

Although the US President had offered his full-throated support to the Saudi-led campaign, the military invasion was a flagrant violation of international law.

But it was, according to The Intercept, the efforts of Rex Tillerson, then US Secretary of State that dissuaded the Saudis and their ilk from attacking Qatar; and it was exactly the same efforts that cost Tillerson his career.

“We call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar. There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade.

We’re seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated and children pulled out of school. “

Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State (2017-2018)

Frustrated by Tillerson’s attempts to mediate, the blockading countries lobbied hardest for his removal. According to New York Times, the UAE ambassador to Washington knew that Tillerson would be put aside three months before he was fired in March 2018.

Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst, James Jatras maintains: “As these details come out over time, it gives us a more of a sense of what the Saudis were prepared to do and also some of the internal politics on the American side.

In particular, I think it’s showing what kind of influence the Saudis have over Washington and its policy and even over its personnel.”

According to the leaked invasion plan, Saudi ground troops were supposed to cross the land border into Qatar. With military support from the UAE, they would advance about 70 miles toward Doha, the capital city of Qatar.  And finally after passing Al Udeid Air Base, which includes about 10,000 American soldiers, the Saudi would then take control over Doha.

The Saudis were going to mount the military invasion despite the fact their campaign against Yemen had already turned out to be a complete fiasco.

“I think you have to add that to the megalomania of Mohammed bin Salman who thinks he can do this successfully, despite the lesson of Yemen.

But there is a sort of addiction to the idea of power. There is a myth of invincibility. Perhaps, it’s been built up in Mohammad bin Salman’s mind that he could attack those countries.

Remember Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest spenders on military hardware on the planet. I think they may be actually third right after the U.S. and China.

So, maybe he feels all this hardware actually buys him certain amount of invincibility, even though their performance doesn’t show that.”  

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

After the Foreign Policy revelation, Doha waited a day for the Saudis to issue an official denial of the invasion plot, before announcing its shock.

In a series of tweets, Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Rumaihi of the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs lashed out at the Saudis for their interventionist tendencies.  “The fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not yet denied what the American magazine revealed indicates the truth of the matter, which is something extremely dangerous to the security and stability of the region.”

Al-Rumaihi also described the invasion plot as another nail in the coffin of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council which was originally based on collective security.

In fact, the plot casts light on the darker side of the two Arab powers.  Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have shown again and again their desire to use military force in everyday politics.

 “Their resort to war is very high on the list of the Saudis’ way of looking at the world and looking at their neighbors. And I think that actually dovetails with their very strong support for international terrorism.

They point the finger at other countries like Iran but they’re actually the primary culprit in this regard.”

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

By many accounts, the incentive for the invasion plan was partially driven by the financial problems both countries were grappling with.

From the time Salman came to the throne as the Saudi king in 2015 to the time he decided to invade Qatar, the kingdom spent more than a third of its $737 billion in reserves.

Conquering Doha would potentially swell the Saudis’ coffer by taking control of the North Field of natural gas.

“An idea came to them to solve their gas problem by invading Qatar and occupying the largest gas in the world, and it could suffice them for 200 years. It would provide them with billions of dollars by laying a pipeline from the North Field to Saudi Arabia, and then by selling the gas on the global market.

Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Former Qatar Minister of Energy and Industry

The invasion plan, no matter how shocking, is not unprecedented. In fact, the tiny but gas-rich and – in the eyes of Riyadh – recalcitrant state of Qatar has always been coveted by and a concern for its neighboring kingdom.

In a May 2017 email thread with former US diplomat Elliott Abrams, the Emirati ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba Otaiba wrote, “Conquering Qatar would solve everyone’s problems. Literally. And King Abdullah of Saudi came pretty close to doing something in Qatar a few months before he passed in January 2015.”

Saudi and UAE policies are creating more terrorism, conflict and chaos in the Middle East and Africa, Qatar

James Jatras, former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst is of the view that there are several reasons for Riyadh’s severe hostility toward Qatar.

Saudi Arabia is the local hegemon of the pro-American camp in the Persian Gulf region. Most Gulf States, such as the UAE and Bahrain, largely take their cues from Riyadh.

“The fact that the Qataris – who also have a very good relationship with the U.S. and even host an American base there – are not under the thumb of the Saudis, I think, is very offensive to the Saudis.”

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

Leaked documents show the idea of invading Qatar by the four current blockading countries dates back to 1996. According to Paul Barrell, the leader of a French mercenary group, he was hired to lead a coup against the Qatari ruling family in 1996 but the coup was brought to a standstill after the then French President Jacques Chirac asked him to stop the operation, telling him to: “Stop committing anything foolish.”

The Saudi-led invasion of Qatar has not happened so far for the complexity of the situation and its far-reaching consequences, but it has clearly shown the rusty mentality of the Saudis and their all-weather allies who put war and bloodshed before peace and diplomacy.

Iran announces seizure of UAE ship

By News Desk -2020-08-20

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has announced that the United Arab Emirates regrets the incident and that it is ready to compensate for the damage.

Tehran said that it had captured a United Arab Emirates (UAE) ship and detained its crew over alleged violation of Iranian territorial waters on Monday, according to the Islamic Republic’s state TV.

The news outlet also cited the Iranian Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement that the UAE had expressed regret over the incident and is ready to compensate for the damage.

The incident reportedly saw the UAE coast guard firing at Iranian boats and killing two Iranian fishermen on Monday.

“On Monday, an Emirati ship was seized by the border guards of Iran and its crew were detained due to illegal traffic in our country’s waters. On the same day, UAE guards shot dead two Iranian fishermen and seized a boat […]. The UAE has expressed regret for the incident and in a letter on Wednesday announced its readiness to pay compensation”, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s statement pointed out.

Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry reportedly said that it had summoned an UAE envoy in connection with the killing of Iranian fishermen.

The Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency, in turn, reported on Monday that that several Iranian fishing boats had allegedly entered UAE waters near Sir Bu Nair Island in the Persian Gulf.

After the vessels did not stop when ordered to do so, “rules of engagement were applied,” WAM added without elaborating.

The developments came after an incident in the Gulf in late June, when Saudi Arabia’s coastguard fired warning shots at Iranian boats that refused to stop, said the country’s state news agency SPA.

ALSO READ  Iran reveals details of US interception of airliner over Syria

A spokesman for the Saudi coastguard said at the time that after the shots were fired, the Iranian vessels retreated, adding that any violations in the kingdom’s waters would not be tolerated.

Iran’s Mehr News, for its part, reported that the incident occurred on 24 June when the country’s fishing boats were pushed off their course by waves. The outlet said that no fishermen were harmed in the incident and the boats returned to Iran the following day.

Source: Sputnik

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Statement by President of Russia Vladimir Putin on Russia’s proposal to convene meeting of heads of state of UNSC permanent members with participation of heads of Germany and Iran

Source

Statement by President of Russia Vladimir Putin on Russia’s proposal to convene meeting of heads of state of UN Security Council permanent members with participation of heads of Germany and Iran

August 14, 2020

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/63888

Debates around the Iranian issue within the UN Security Council are becoming increasingly strained. Tensions are running high. Iran faces groundless accusations. Resolutions are being drafted with a view to dismantling decisions that had been unanimously adopted by the Security Council.

Russia maintains its unwavering commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme. Its approval in 2015 was a landmark political and diplomatic achievement that helped fend off the threat of an armed conflict and reinforced nuclear non-proliferation.

In 2019, Russia presented an updated version of its Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf Region, outlining concrete and effective paths to unravelling the tangle of concerns in this region. We strongly believe that these problems can be overcome if we treat each other’s positions with due attention and responsibility, while acting respectfully and in a collective spirit.

Like anywhere else in the world, there is no place for blackmail or dictate in this region, no matter the source. Unilateral approaches will not help bring about solutions.

It is essential that the positive experience gained earlier through intensive effort is maintained when building an inclusive security architecture in the Persian Gulf.

Accordingly, we propose convening an online meeting of the heads of state of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, with the participation of the heads of Germany and Iran, as soon as possible, in order to outline steps that can prevent confrontation or a spike in tensions within the UN Security Council. It is important to secure collective support for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that sets forth an international legal framework for the execution of the JCPOA.

During this leaders’ meeting, we propose agreeing on parameters for joint efforts to facilitate the emergence of reliable mechanisms in the Persian Gulf region for ensuring security and confidence building. This can be achieved if our countries and the regional states combine their political will and creative energy.

We call on our partners to carefully consider this proposal. Otherwise, we could see the further escalation of tension and an increased risk of conflict. This must be avoided. Russia is open to working constructively with anyone interested in taking the situation back from the dangerous brink.

This is an urgent matter. Should the leaders agree in principle to have this conversation, we propose that the foreign ministries of the seven countries agree on a meeting agenda, make the necessary arrangements and schedule a video summit.

Iran intends build massive railway linking Persian Gulf to Mediterranean: MP

Source

By News Desk -2020-07-26

Shiraz railway station, Iran

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 P.M.) – In a statement to the Fars News Agency on Sunday, Minister of Parliament, Mohebati Yousefi, stressed the need to quickly start implementing a project linking Iran, Asia and the Mediterranean Sea via Syria and Iraq, pointing out that this would reduce the duration of the goods transport operation by three days.

The Iranian parliamentarian indicated that the project will link the Persian Gulf through the port-cities of Basra (Iraq), and Latakia (Syria).

The Iranian parliamentarian stressed the necessity of the rapid implementation of this project, as it has significant economic returns, in terms of transporting passengers and goods between the three countries.

The MP mentioned the strategic benefits gained from this project, as it will facilitate the process of transporting goods from Asia to Europe via land.

He appealed to the responsible authorities to implement this project, the necessity of offering financial bonds to invest in it, in order to accelerate the financing process, which in turn contributes to the rapid implementation of this huge project.

This project has been discussed before and it was agreed upon between the three countries; however, due to the economic downturn and emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the railway was put on hold.

JCPOA: The Deal That Wasn’t

Source

July 11, 2020 Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

JCPOA Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - Iran USA EU China Russia Germany France UK
July 14th, 2020, marks the fifth anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Agreement, often referred to as the Iran Nuclear Deal (or simply the Deal) – the Deal that wasn’t.   It was yet another attempt at regime change. 
Of all the plans to control Iran beginning from Operation Ajax to Operation JCPOA and everything in between, the Iran Nuclear Deal was by far the most devious attempt at undermining the sovereignty of Iran – one way or another.   The Greek’s Trojan Horse pales compared to this dastardly scheme.  Years in the making, the crafty plan even prompted Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to nominate John Kerry and Javad Zarif to recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.  
As such, it is high time that the Deal’s planners, their motivations and their associations were discussed in order to grasp the depth of the deception.

Iran, due to its geopolitical position, has always been considered a jewel in the crown of the colonial powers.   Attempts to conquer Iran through a proxy which started with Operation Ajax in August 1953, at the behest of the British and carried out by the CIA were not abandoned even with the ousting of America’s man, the Shah.    Although the Islamic Revolution reclaimed Iran’s sovereignty,  America was not ready to abandon its plans of domination over Iran, and by extension, the Persian Gulf.

The Persian Gulf has been the lynchpin of US foreign policy. “To all intents and purposes,” a former senior Defense Department official observed, “‘Gulf waters’ now extend from the Straits of Malacca to the South Atlantic.” Nevertheless, bases nearer the [Persian] Gulf had a special importance, and Pentagon planners urged “as substantial a land presence in the as can be managed.” (Anthony H. Cordesman, “The Gulf and the Search for Strategic Stability”, Boulder: Westview, 1984).



https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1FGmy1KGMlllXpX4-jmpuJa259fyPdBUs

Having failed in numerous attempts including the Nojeh coup at the nascent stages of the IR Iran’s newly formed government, war, sanctions, terrorism,  and a failed color revolution,  the United States needed other alternatives to reach its goal.  Unlike the illegal war against Iraq, war with Iran was not a feasible option.  The United States was aware of its inability to wage a successful war against Iran without serious damage to itself and its allies.  

When George W. Bush took office, he commissioned a war exercise to gage the feasibility of an attack against Iran. The  2002 Millennium Challenge,  was a major war game exercise conducted by the United States Armed Forces in mid-2002. The exercise, which ran from July 24 to August 15 and cost $250 million,  proved that the US would not defeat Iran.   The US  even restarted the war games changing rules to ensure an American victory, in reality, cheating itself.  This led to accusations that the war game had turned from an honest, open, playtest of U.S. war-fighting capabilities into a controlled and scripted exercise intended to end in a U.S. victory to promote a false narrative of US invincibility. 

For this reason, the United States continued its attempts at undermining Iran’s sovereignty by means of sanctions, terror, and creating divisions among the Iranians.   The JCPOA would be its master plan.

A simple observation of Iran clearly suggests simple ideological divisions among the Iranian people (pro-West, anti-West, minorities, religious, secular) which have all been amply exploited by the United States and allies.   None of the exploits delivered the prize the US was seeking.  And so it was that it was decided to exploit the one factor which united Iranians of ALL persuasion.  Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

In an interview with National Public Radio (25 November 2004), Ray Takyeh (Council on Foreign Relations CFR and husband to Iran expert Suzanne Maloney  of Brookings) stated that according to polls 75-80% of the Iranians rallied behind the Islamic Republic of Iran in support of its nuclear program, including the full fuel cycle.   In other words, the overwhelming uniting factor among the Iranians for the Islamic Republic was the nuclear program.  (USIA poll conducted in 2007 found that 64% of those questioned said that US legislation repealing regime change in Iran would not be incentive enough to give up the nuclear program and full fuel-cycle).    The next phase was to cause disunity on an issue that united Iranians of all stripes:  negotiate away the nuclear program.

The first round of nuclear negotiations 2003-2005 dubbed the Paris Agreement between Iran and the EU3 proved to be futile, and as  one European diplomat put it: “We gave them a beautiful box of chocolate that was, however, empty.”  As West’s fortune would have it, the same Iranian officials who had participated in the 2003-2005 negotiations would negotiate the JCPOA.

Around the time of the end of the first round of negotiations, another Brookings Fellow, Flynt Leverett , senior advisor for National Security Center, published a book “Inheriting Syria, Bashar’s Trial by Fire” (Brookings book publication, April 2005).  In his book, Leverett argued that instead of conflict, George W. Bush should seek to cooperate with Syria as Assad was popular, but instead seek to weaken Assad’s position among his people by targeting the Golan (induce him to give it up) so that he would lose popularity among the Syrians.   The JCPOA was designed in part along the same line of thinking.   And more.  His wife Hillary Leverett had a prominent role in ‘selling’ the Deal.

Secret negotiations between the Americans and ‘reform-minded’ Iranians never ceased, bypassing both Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and the President at the time – Mahmood Ahmadinejad.  In a 2012 meeting at the University of Southern California, present members of the Iran Project team had no reservations about suggesting that it was more beneficial to engage Iran rather than attack.  They went as far as stating in the Q&A session to this writer that “they had been engaged with the “Green” (the opposition movement in the failed 2009 color revolution) for years, but Ahmadinejad won” (referring to the 2009 elections).  But Ahmadinejad would soon leave office and be replaced by Rohani – a more amenable player.

Why Negotiate?

Fully appreciating the challenge of attacking Iran, in 2004, the pro-Israel  Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), presented its policy paper “The Challenges of U.S. Preventive Military Action” authored by Michael Eisenstadt.   It was opined that the ideal situation was (and continues to be) to have a compliant ‘regime’ in Tehran.   Eisenstadt was of the opinion that unlike the Osiraq nuclear power plant which was bombed and destroyed, Israel/US would not be able to bomb Iran’s Bushehr reactor with the same ease.  In particular, Eisenstadt claimed that Israel may have benefited from French aid in destroying Osiraq. French intelligence reportedly emplaced a homing beacon at Osiraq to help Israeli pilots locate the facility or target a critical underground structure there.

In this light, it was recommended that the principal goal of U.S. action should be to delay Iran’s nuclear program long enough to allow for the possible emergence of new leadership in Tehran.  Failing that, war would have been facilitated.

It was thought the Paris Agreement talks would fail (as the JCPOA was designed to fail) and as such, the following were some of the suggestions made:

  • harassment or murder of key Iranian scientists or technicians;
  • introduction of fatal design flaws into critical reactor, centrifuge, or weapons components during their production, to ensure catastrophic failure during use;
  • disruption or interdiction of key technology or material transfers through sabotage or covert military actions on land, in the air, or at sea;
  • sabotage of critical facilities by U.S. intelligence assets, including third country nationals or Iranian agents with access to key facilities;
  • introduction of destructive viruses into Iranian computer systems controlling the production of components or the operation of facilities;
  • damage or destruction of critical facilities through sabotage or direct action by U.S. special forces.

As with the murder and terror of the nuclear scientists, and the Stuxnet virus into the reactor, the JCPOA enabled personnel on the ground in Iran to carry out extensive sabotage as has been recently observed in recent days and weeks.  Rohani’s visa free travel opened the flood gates to spies and saboteurs – dual citizens,  who easily traveled with passports other than American, British, and Australian.  Iran even managed to prevent an IAEA inspector who triggered an alarm at Iran’s nuclear facility.  But it would seem, Iran has not been able to stop other intruders and terrorists – not yet. 

Other Motivational Factors for Negotiating

According to studies, as of 2008 Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor had 82 tons of enriched uranium (U235) loaded into it, according to Israeli and Chinese reports.  This amount was significantly higher pre and during negotiations.  History has not witnessed the bombing of a nuclear power plant with an operational nuclear enrichment facility.  Deliberate bombing of such facilities would result breach containment and radioactive elements released.  The death toll horrifying.  The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated 3 million deaths would result in 3 weeks from bombing the nuclear enrichment facilities near Esfahan, and the contamination would cover Afghanistan, Pakistan, all the way to India.

The JCPOA significantly reduced the amount of enriched uranium reducing the potential casualty deaths in the event that a strike is carried out.

The Deal buys time –  Iran’s strength has been its ability to retaliate to any attack by closing down the Strait of Hormuz. Given that 17 million barrels of oil a day, or 35% of the world’s seaborne oil exports go through the Strait of Hormuz, incidents in the Strait would be fatal for the world economy. Enter Nigeria (West Africa) and Yemen.

In 1998, Clinton’s national security agenda made it clear that unhampered access to Nigerian oil and other vital resources was a key US policy. In the early 2000s, Chatham House was one of the publications that determined African oil would be a good alternate to Persian Gulf oil in case of oil disruption. This followed a strategy paper for US to move toward African oil. Push for African oil was on Dick Cheney’s desk on May 31, 2000. In 2002, the Israeli based IASPS suggested America push toward African oil. In the same year Boko Haram was ‘founded’.

In 2007, AFRICOM helped consolidate this push into the region. The 2011, a publication titled: “Globalizing West African Oil: US ‘energy security’ and the global economy” outlined ‘US positioning itself to use military force to ensure African oil continued to flow to the United States’. This was but one strategy to supply oil in addition to or as an alternative to the passage of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.  (See HERE for full article).

JCPOA as a starting point

It has now been made abundantly clear that the Deal was simply JCPOA1.  Other Deals were to follow to disarm Iran even further, to stop Iran’s defensive missile program, and to stop Iran helping its allies in the region.   This would have been relatively easy to achieve had Hillary Clinton been elected – as had been the hope.  The plan was to allow trade and neoliberal polices which the Rohani administration readily embraced, a sharp increase in imports (harming domestic production and self-reliance) while building hope – or as Maloney called it ‘crisis of expectation’.   It was thought that with a semblance of ‘normalcy’ in international relations and free of sanctions, Iranians would want to continue abandoning their sovereignty, their defenses, and rally around the pro-West/America politicians at the expense of the core ideology of the Islamic Revolution, the conservatives and the IRGC.   In other words, regime change.  (several meetings speak to this; see for example, and here). 

The players

The most prominent, one could argue, was President Obama.  Obama was not about peace.   The biggest threat to an empire is peace.  Obama had chosen feigned diplomacy as his weapon.   But before picking up the mantle of diplomacy, he had proposed terrorism – sanctioned terrorism.  Obama, while a junior senator introduced S. 1430 in 2007  and had “crippling sanctions” in mind for the Iranian people.   As president, his executive orders assured this. 

Addressing AIPAC as a candidate, he said: “Our willingness to pursue diplomacy will make it easier to mobilize others to join our cause. If Iran fails to change course when presented with this choice by the United States it will be clear to the people of Iran and to the world that the Iranian regime is the author of its own isolation and that will strengthen our hand with Russia and China as we insist on stronger sanctions in the Security Council. And we should work with Europe, Japan, and the Gulf States to find every avenue outside the United Nations to isolate the Iranian regime from cutting off loan guarantees and expanding financial sanctions to banning the export of refined petroleum to Iran to boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard whose Kuds forces have rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.”

No wonder he was dubbed ‘the first Jewish president’!

Not to be left unmentioned was the darling of the theatrics of this Deal – Federica Mogherini.  So enamored were some of the Iranian parliamentarians with her that to the embarrassment of Iran, the internet was abuzz with these MPs taking pictures with her.   Perhaps they looked at her and not her years as a German Marshall Fund Fellow.

The German Marshall Fund (GMF) sounds harmless enough, but perhaps Russia may not view it that way.  And Iran shouldn’t.  The GMF pushed for bringing Ukraine into NATO’s fold.  Furthermore, the GMF gives funding to American Abroad Media.    AMA boasts of some of the most dangerous anti-Iran neoconservatives who have shaped America’s policies such as Dennis Ross, James Woolsey, Martin Indyk (responsible for the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act later to become ISA and still in place after the JCPOA), Tom Pickering (one of the main proponents of the Iran Deal and member of the Iran Project).  Supporters are not limited to the GMF.   Others include Rockerfeller, Ford Foundation, and NED.

And the most active proponent of the JCPOA was none other than NED recipient, Trita Parsi/NIAC.    Trita Parsi was personally thanked for his role in pushing the JCPOA through.  Job well done for a 3-time recipient of NED funds.  No wonder the George Soros – Koch foundation Quincy Institute selected him as their Executive Vice President.

And last but not least, Hillary Mann Leverett (wife of aforementioned Flynn Leverett) who persuaded her audiences that the JCPOA was akin to “Nixon going to China”.   While some in Iran naively believed this to be the case, and even defended her, they failed to realize that when Nixon went to China it was to bring China on board against Russia.   And Israel was not a player.   It was not an opening to befriend Iran any more than Nixon’s trip had altruist motivations.

Russia and China’s role

The Russians and the Chinese were so eager to embrace a long-awaited peace after all the calamity caused by the United States that they fully embraced this Deal, even though it was detrimental to their interests in so doing.

America’s animosity and never-ending schemes encouraged cooperation between Russia, China, and Iran.  Although the lifting of sanctions post JCPOA would have facilitated trade and enhanced diplomacy between Iran and the West, at a cost to China and Russia, they  stood steadfast by the Deal.  Peace was more valuable.  But far more importantly, the two powerful nations allowed the United States to be the arbitrator of an international treaty – the NPT. 

During the Shah’s reign, President Ford had signed onto a National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM 292, 1975) allowing and encouraging Iran to not only enrich uranium, but sell it to neighboring countries to profit America.  The United States then decided that since the Islamic Republic of Iran did not serve the interests of the United States, the United States would determine how the NPT should apply to Iran.    

But their efforts at peace and the West’s efforts at regime change all came to naught.  What is important to bear in mind is that America’s efforts at war, sabotage, and terrorism have not ended.  Imposing unilateral sanctions – terrorism against the Iranian people, has not ceased.  Although the Iranian people and their selected representative in the new Iranian parliament are far more aware of, and have an aversion to America’s ploys and the Deal, China and Russia must do their part not only as guarantors of peace, but also to maintain their integrity in a world where both aspire to live in multilateralism.   The world already has a super power without morals and integrity; it does not need other great powers that act similarly.

Iran has fended off another assault on its sovereignty.  However,  saboteurs and terrorists are soliciting war with their recent string of terrorism in Iran.  As the fifth anniversary of this trap approaches, the world needs to understand and step up in order to defend peace, international law and social justice.   The future of all depends on it. 

And to American compatriots:  Make sure Trump understands war will not get him re-elected.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy. 

Intercontinental Wars – Part 2: The Counterattack

https://www.syrianews.cc/intercontinental-wars-part-2-the-counterattack/embed/#?secret=bnZ0gj7yPs

Intercontinental Wars – Part 3 The Open Confrontation

Strategic Oil Pipeline Project Launched in Iran

Source

Strategic Oil Pipeline Project Launched in Iran

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday launched a major oil pipeline project which enables the country to export its oil without relying on the Strait of Hormuz.

“What is strategic about this project is that many countries in the region have managed to find a second way so that they can export their oil using other routes whenever the Strait of Hormuz faces danger,” Rouhani said while inaugurating the project.

With the launch of the 1,000-kilometer pipeline from Goreh to Jask, the country’s oil exports will no longer be linked to the Hormuz Strait and will not be stopped even if the international maritime passage was to be closed one day, he added.

The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important chokepoint for oil, where almost a fifth of the world’s crude or about 20 million barrels per day [bpd] passes through to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

Shipping through the narrow strait, with the lane just three kilometers wide in either direction at its narrowest point, has become fraught since the US began building its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

The pipeline will bring oil from Goreh in Bushehr to Jask, making it strategically important as the country’s second-largest crude oil export terminal.

The Kharg Island terminal deep in the Gulf is currently Iran’s key outlet, accounting for 90 percent of its oil exports. To reach Kharg, tankers must pass the Strait of Hormuz.

Rouhani said that Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei had told him that the project was “the most strategic work” his administration had undertaken.

The new terminal is close to Chabahar which Iran is developing in cooperation with other countries, most notably India.

Chabahar is about to become a key link in the International North South Transport Corridor [INSTC], a multi-modal network of ship, rail and road routes to move freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

It offers a key trade and transport corridor that presents a cheaper and shorter alternative to the traditional route through the Suez Canal.

The terminal would be connected to Iran’s Caspian Sea port of Neka, enabling Tehran to boost shipments of oil from Caspian producers.

WHAT WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND IRAN COULD LOOK LIKE

South Front

The US-Iranian standoff in the Persian Gulf has once again entered an acute phase. On April 22, US President Donald Trump announced that he had ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats that follow or harass US ships. In response, Commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Hossein Salami declared on April 23 that Iran will provide a swift, “decisive” and “effective” response to US forces if they threaten Iranian “vessels or warships”.

One of the reasons behind the escalation is the consistent and strengthening anti-Iranian rhetoric of the White House as a part of Trump’s presidential campaign. Another driving force of the US actions is likely the sharpening global economic crisis and the turmoil on the energy market that has led to the dramatic collapse of oil prices. Indeed, a new conflict in the Persian Gulf could theoretically return the oil prices to $50-60 per barrel.

In the current situation, Iran is not interested in an escalation of the conflict with the United States. The escalation could, however, be instigated by the US military:

  • A warship or a group of warships could enter Iranian territorial waters;
  • A US military aircraft could violate Iranian airspace;
  • US forces could block for Iran the civilian maritime traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, or detain an Iranian oil tanker;
  • Warships of the US Navy could imitate an attack on an Iranian submarine;

Iranian forces would have to respond to such a provocation. Thus, a military confrontation could start. After initiating a localized military incident, the White House would accuse Iran of aggressive actions against US forces and the US navy could carry out a demonstrative missile strike on a target or several targets inside Iran. Such an attack would prompt an Iranian response that would involve both its regular and irregular warfare capabilities.

The IRGC Navy doctrine reflects irregular warfare principles that include the use of surprise, deception, speed, flexibility and adaptability, decentralization and highly mobile and maneuverable units,  all of which are used at sea. These include hit-and-run style surprise attacks or the amassing of large numbers of means and measures to overwhelm the enemies’ defenses. In this scenario the employed naval forces might be described as a mosquito-like swarm of small boats using their size and maneuverability to track and hunt down enemy warships.

The IRGCN’s mosquito-fleet concept enables rapid formation of tactical groups of small crafts to carry out a surprise strike at any given time from different directions in a particular area of the offshore zone. Such groups can deploy in attack formation immediately prior to reaching the area of the attack.

Crafts from the formation reach their assault line position either independently or in small groups. This is the way the Iranian Navy would employ the swarm concept. It is important to note the high motivation and ideological training of the mariners involved, who well understand the high level of threat to them personally in the event of the employment of this tactical scheme. IRGCN personnel are motivated and ready to accomplish any feat to defend their homeland. This factor (the high motivation of the personnel) makes a mosquito-fleet armed with missile, torpedo and anti-air weapons especially dangerous to naval forces of the US.

Th aircraft carriers and large warships of the US naval group would become the main priority target of the Iranian response. In the event that the Iranian attack succeeds, the US would have to carry out a massive strike on Iranian infrastructure objects or political and military command centers. Teheran would have either to accept their defeat in this limited confrontation or to respond with another attack on US forces in the region.

Current US military doctrine dictates the prior employment of mobile interoperable forces, unmanned and robotized systems, as well as massive strikes with high precision weapons in conjunction with the maximum usage of electronic warfare and information warfare. If the confrontation develops further the US would be forced to conduct a limited landing operation on key parts of the Iranian coast. The success of such a limited operation under the likely condition of a strong Iranian military response is improbable. Furthermore, the move would be hampered by the weak psychological condition of US service members caused by current developments inside the US.

The US military would have to either retreat or venture on to a large-scale military operation in the Persian Gulf region. If the number of forces involved does not allow Washington to deliver a devastating blow to Iran within 1-2 weeks, China or Russia could intervene in some form likely turning the military standoff into a frozen conflict.

It is likely that despite all difficulties, the US would be able to create an occupation zone inside Iran, likely in the coastal area near the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian oil trade would be fully blocked and the US shale industry would be rescued. At the same time, Washington would have to deal with a permanent insurgency in the occupied area.

Another possible scenario is the defeat of the United States in this limited conflict because of significant losses in warships, aviation and service members of the involved interoperable forces. In this case, US influence in the region would be drastically undermined and the White House would start drawing up plans of revenge.

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TURKEY SHELLS SYRIAN ARMY IN ALEPPO. U.S. THREATENS TO SINK IRANIAN SHIPS IN GULF

South Front

In the second half of the week the military situation in Syria’s western Aleppo escalated.

On April 22, Turkish forces shelled positions of the Syrian Army in western Aleppo. Pro-Turkish sources claimed that this shelling was a response to Syrian Army strikes on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked groups near the villages of Kafr Amma, al-Qasr, Kafr Taal and Kafr Nouran. Pro-government sources described these strikes however as a defensive measure to counter regular ceasefire violations by Turkish-backed militants.

On April 23, the Syrian Army reinforced its positions east of Atraib by deploying additional troops and equipment there. If Turkish forces and Idlib militants continue attacks on Syrian Army positions in western Aleppo, open military hostilities could resume in the area.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham executed a 19-yo Syrian refugee deported from Turkey to Greater Idlib. Mohamad Aqib Hamam Tanu was killed on April 20 after militants found that SMS messages in his phone contained criticism of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham remains the most powerful group in Greater Idlib and controls most of the militant-held area in the region, including Idlib city, the border with Turkey and key positions on the contact line with the Syrian Army. The Turkish leadership in fact provides direct support to the terrorist group by turning a blind eye to its crimes and protecting it from the Syrian Army.

More details appeared about the recent Israeli strike on Syria. According to fresh data, the Israeli strikes targeted a command center of Hezbollah near the town of al-Sukhnah, a training camp of the Iranian-backed Afghan Fatemiyoun Brigade in the al-Tulilah reserve near Palmyra, and a base of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps within the Palmyra Air Base. Despite this, the only confirmed casualties resulting from the strike were 3 Syrian service members.

Pro-government locals intercepted another US military convoy in the province of al-Hasakah. On April 22, locals stopped the US convoy near the town of Farfarah, stoned it and forced US troops to retreat. The incident happened near a Syrian Army checkpoint.

The Asayish security unit of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces commented on the recent clashes with the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) in al-Qamishly city. The Kurdish force accused pro-government fighters of destabilizing the situation and threatened them with military action. In their turn, pro-NDF sources claim that the tensions in the city result from the violent behavior of Asayish personnel, who are putting pressure on and discriminating against Arab locals on ethnic grounds.

On April 22, US President Donald Trump said that he has given orders to attack and destroy any fast attack craft of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy that “harass” US warships. Encounters between the IRGC Navy and US warships erupt in the Persian Gulf on a regular basis. All these confrontations have a similar pattern: the US leadership sends warships, including aircraft carriers, to the Persian Gulf describing this as a show of force and a ‘strong message’ to Iran. IRGC fast attack craft deploy to track and monitor the US warships, as well as to prevent any attempts to enter Iranian waters. In response, the US accuses Iran of aggressive actions and provocations.

The most recent incident of this kind happened on April 15 when 11 IRGC Navy fast boats tracked 6 US warships: the USS Lewis B. Puller, USS Paul Hamilton, USS Firebolt, USS Sirocco, USCGC Wrangell and USCGC Maui.

Any US Navy attempts to attack IRGC Navy fast attack craft operating in Iranian or international waters in the Persian Gulf would immediately lead to a new round of military escalation in the region. Just recently, the Iranian military deployed additional coastal defense missile systems near the Straight of Hormuz.

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Iran Naval Forces Given Orders to Target US Vessels If Harassed – IRGC Chief

Iran Naval Forces Given Orders to Target US Vessels If Harassed - IRGC Chief

By Staff, Agencies

Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC], Major General Hossein Salami said Iranian naval forces have been directed to target American “terrorist” ships should they harass Iranian civil or military vessels off the Gulf.

Major General Salami made the comment in response to a threat by US President Donald Trump that American forces in the Gulf had been directed to shoot Iranian boats “out of the water.”

Salami made the remarks from the Islands of Abu Musa, Greater and Leser Tunbs, stressing the “We will strongly respons to any threat.”

He further underscored that the Iranian military will quickly, decisively and influentially respond to any US action, stressing that “we are determined to defend our national security, water borders, navigation security as well as the security of our navy.”

Ayatollah Khamenei praises IRGC’s performance

Source

TEHRAN – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a message on Wednesday thanking the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for their “good performance and efforts”.

The Leader’s message was delivered by Brigadier General Mohammad Shirazi, the head of the military office of the Leader, in a phone conversation with IRGC Chief Hossein Salami.

“Send my greetings to personnel of the Guards and their respected families on the occasion of the establishment of the Guards. I thank good performance and efforts of the Guards and pray for them,” read the message.

The IRGC was established on April 21, 1979, months after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, with the order of Imam Khomeini in order to protect the principles, values, and ideals of the revolution.

Last year on this day, Ayatollah Khamenei, as the commander in chief, promoted Salami to the rank of major general and named him the commander of the IRGC.

Salami replaced Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari who had held the post since September 2007.

In a message on Tuesday, Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, the commander of the Civil Defense Organization, described the IRGC as one of the pillars of the country’s national power. Jalali said such power has not been gained easily, therefore it must be defended wholeheartedly.

He said the IRGC has taken great steps in a path filled with obstacles.

NA/PA

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Illegal US Presence Causes Insecurity in Gulf – Iran’s Defense Minister

Illegal US Presence Causes Insecurity in Gulf - Iran’s Defense Minister

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami slammed the US presence in the Gulf, calling it illegal and saying it caused insecurity in the region.

The statement comes just days after Iranian Navy ships allegedly entered close proximity with US vessels in the Gulf waters. The US Navy claimed that the action is part of a series of “dangerous and harassing approaches”.

“The Iranian people are insightful and see who is right; we are at home and they have come from the other side of the world to create a problem for the countries of the region by threatening and sanctioning them,” Brigadier General Hatami told reporters on the sidelines of a parade held on the occasion of Iran’s Army Day.

Earlier this week, US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain claimed that 11 vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy had harassed several US warships engaged in exercises in the northern Gulf region.

US: Iranian Ships Came Close to Us in the Gulf

US: Iranian Ships Came Close to Us in the Gulf

By Staff, Agencies

Out of the COVID-19 box, and in an attempt to move tension from the internal front to the outside arena, the US claimed that eleven vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy [IRGCN] came dangerously close to US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf.

The US military called the moves “dangerous and provocative.”

According to the statement, the Iranian vessels approached six US military ships while they were conducting integration operations with Army helicopters in international waters.

“At one point, the Iranian vessels came within 10 yards of the US Coast Guard cutter Maui,” it added, claiming that “The US ships issued several warnings through bridge-to-bridge radio, blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices.”

The statement further added: “The Iranian ships left after about an hour.”

There was no mention of the incident in Iranian media.

“The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, [and] were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea,” the US military’s statement said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asked in a Fox News interview whether he had discussed the incident with the Pentagon, said: “We’ve talked as a team. … We’re evaluating how best to respond and how best to communicate our displeasure with what … took place.”

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واشنطن تتهرّب من المواجهة


ناصر قنديل

– عندما بدأت الحشود الأميركية في الخليج صرّح كل قادة أميركا من الرئيس دونالد ترامب إلى وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو ووزير الدفاع مارك إسبر وقائد الأركان الجنرال بيكيت ماكينزي وقادة المنطقة، أن هذه القوات موجودة لحماية مصالح واشنطن وحلفائها، وأن إيران ستتحمّل مسؤولية أي استهداف لهذه المصالح ولهؤلاء الحلفاء حتى لو جاء ممن تسمّيهم واشنطن بوكلاء إيران في المنطقة. وبعد فترة وجيزة بالأيام لا بالأسابيع تعرّضت المصالح النفطية في الخليج للاستهداف، وتوّجت بإعلان من أنصار الله عن المسؤولية عن استهداف خط نقل النفط بين الدمّام وينبع بطائرات مسيّرة وتدمير محطات الضخّ فيه. فأعلنت واشنطن انها لن ترد إلا إذا استهدفت قواتها، وتخلّت بسرعة عن حلفائها الخليجيين ومصالحهم وأمنهم، وقال الرئيس الأميركي وردّد قوله مراراً في فترات لاحقة، إننا نبيع السلاح لحكومات الخليج لتدافع عن نفسها لا لندافع عنها. وعندما أسقطت طائرة التجسس الأميركية العملاقة بصاروخ إيراني مباشر، قال الرئيس الأميركي إنه طالما لم يسقط قتلى فإن تفادي الحرب يتقدّم على الانتقام والرد.

– مع إقدام واشنطن على اغتيال قائد فيلق القدس الجنرال قاسم سليماني ورئيس أركان الحشد الشعبي العراقي أبي مهدي المهندس، ظنّ كثيرون أن قواعد الاشتباك قد تغيرت، وأن القرار الأميركي قد انتقل من تلقي الضربات إلى توجيهها. وعندما جاء الرد الإيراني باستهداف قاعدة عين الأسد وتدمير منشآتها، امتنعت واشنطن عن الرد رغم أنها هددت بأنها ستستهدف عدداً حدده الرئيس الأميركي بـ 22 هدفاً بينها أهداف ثقافية، وفيما قال الإيرانيون إن سبب عدم الرد هو المعادلة التي تبلغها الأميركي بأن أي رد على أهداف إيرانية سيعني تعريض تل أبيب لضربة إيرانية قاسية تهدّد بإزالتها عن الخريطة، بينما عاد الأميركيون إلى نغمة عدم وقوع قتلى، رغم اعترافهم بعشرات المصابين بالارتجاج الدماغي لاحقاً.

– استهداف قاعدة أميركية في العراق وسقوط قتلى أميركيين باعتراف رسمي هو الأول من نوعه الذي يحرج القيادة الأميركية بتكذيب معادلاتها للردّ. وقد سبق القول بعد قصف قاعدة عين الأسد أن أي استهداف للقوات الأميركية في العراق من حلفاء إيران سيرتب رداً أميركياً على إيران نفسها. وكانت المواقف الأميركية التي ستعقبه موضع تتبع واهتمام لمعرفة القرار الاستراتيجي الأميركي في المنطقة، فإيران المنهمكة بمتابعة فيروس كورونا بنظر أميركا شديدة الضعف، ويفترض أنها تمثل هدفاً نموذجياً للنيل منها الآن، وإلا لا فرصة لاحقة. وكان واضحاً أن الرد الأميركي على مواقع الحشد الشعبي في منطقة البوكمال هو ردّ موضعي تقليدي، وأن الرد الذي يترجم القرار السياسي الكبير سيأتي لاحقاً، حتى خرج الموقف الأميركي الرسمي يتحدث عن تحليل الجهة التي قامت بالعملية، وعن عدم وجود تغيير بتقدير واشنطن لدرجة وجود خطر إيراني على أمن القوات الأميركية. ويبدو أن الأميركيين لم يتردّدوا باستعمال الباب الموارب الذي تُرك لهم للخروج من خيار المواجهة، بعدم إعلان جهة مسؤوليتها عن العملية.

– عملية التاجي رسمت معادلات وقواعد الاشتباك في العراق، وهذا سيعني رسم مسار الانطفاء الأميركي، لأن قرار عدم المواجهة، سيعني التحضير للانسحاب، لأن الذين قاموا بالعملية لن يعتبروها الأخيرة، بل البداية إلا إذا وصلت الرسائل الأميركية الواضحة: لا تطلقوا النار نحن منسحبون !

مقالات متعلقة

Saudi-Initiated All-Out Oil War Could Lead To Collapse Of Kingdom Itself

South Front

Saudi Arabia launched an all-out oil war offering unprecedented discounts and flooding the market in an attempt to capture a larger share and defeat other oil producers. This “scorched earth” approach caused the biggest oil price fall since the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

It all began on March 8 when Riyadh cut its April pricing for crude sales to Asia by $4-$6 a barrel and to the U.S. by $7 a barrel. The Kingdom expanded the discount for its flagship Arab Light crude to refiners in northwest Europe by $8 a barrel offering it at $10.25 a barrel under the Brent benchmark. In comparison, Russia’s Urals crude trades at a discount of about $2 a barrel under Brent. These actions became an attack at the ability of Russia to sell crude in Europe. The Russian ruble immediately plummeted almost 10% falling to its lowest level in more than four years.

Another side that suffered from Saudi actions is Iran. The Islamic country is facing a strong US sanctions pressure and often selling its oil via complex schemes and with notable discounts already.

Saudi Arabia is planning to increase its output above 10 million barrel per day. Currently, it pumps 9.7 million barrels per day, but has the capacity to ramp up to 12.5 million barrels per day. According to OPEC and Saudi sources of The Wall Street Journal, Riyadh’s actions are part of an “aggressive campaign” against Moscow.

The formal pretext of this campaign became the inability of the OPEC+ (a meeting of representatives of member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members) to extend output agreements.

Saudi Arabia was seeking up to 1.5 million b/d in further oil production cuts, but this proposal was rejected by Russia. After the inability to reach the new OPEC+ deal, Saudi Arabia became the frist and only power that took aggressive actions on the market. However, it is hard to imagine that Saudi Arabia would go for such an escalation without at least an order or approval from Washington.

This came amid the detention of two senior members of the Saudi royal family – Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s nephew – on March 7. This development took place just ahead of the Saudi offensive on the oil market, and was likely a tip of the ongoing undercover struggle between the pro-US and pro-national factions of the Saudi elites; and the pro-US bloc seems to have the upper hand in this conflict.

In this case, the real goal of the Saudi campaign is not only to secure larger share of the oil market and punish Moscow for its unwillingness to accept the proposed OPEC+ deal, but to deliver a powerful blow to Washington’s geopolitical opponents: Russia and Iran. Pro-Western and anti-government forces existing in both Russia and Iran would try to exploit this situation to destabilize the internal situation in the countries.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia may soon find out that its actions have backfired. Such economic and geopolitical games amid the acute conflict with Iran, military setbacks in Yemen and the increasing regional standoff with the UAE could cost too much for the Kingdom itself.

If the oil prices fall any further and reach $20 per barrel, this will lead to unacceptable economic losses for Russia and Iran, and they could and will likely opt to use nonmarket tools of influencing the Saudi behavior. These options include the increasing support to Yemen’s Houthis with intelligence, weapons, money, and even military advisers, that will lead to the resumption of Houthi strikes on Saudi oil infrastructure.

On top of these, the Saudi leadership may suddenly find that the internal situation in the Kingdom is being worsened by large-scale protests rapidly turning into an open civil conflict.

Such a scenario is no secret for international financial analysts. On March 8, shares of Saudi state oil company Aramco slumped below their initial public offering (IPO) and closed 9.1% lower. On March 9, it continued the fall plunging another 10%.  There appears to be a lack of buyers. The risks are too obvious.

At the same time, the range of possible US actions in support of Saudi Arabia in the event of such an escalation is limited by the ongoing presidential campaign. Earlier, President Donald Trump demonstrated that a US military base could become a target of direct missile strike and Washington will not order a direct military action in response. Taking into account other examples of the US current approach towards non-Israeli allies, Riyadh should not expect any real support from its American allies in this standoff.

SAUDI-INITIATED ALL-OUT OIL WAR COULD LEAD TO COLLAPSE OF KINGDOM ITSELF

Saudi Arabia launched an all-out oil war offering unprecedented discounts and flooding the market in an attempt to capture a larger share and defeat other oil producers. This scorched earth approach caused the biggest oil price fall since the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991. On March 9, Brent crude plunged over 28.5% to $32 per barrel, while WTI fell 31.5% to $28.27 a barrel. The crisis erupted as the economic fallout from the coronavirus hysteria continued to reverberate throughout the financial markets.

It all began on March 8 when Riyadh cut its April pricing for crude sales to Asia by $4-$6 a barrel and to the U.S. by $7 a barrel. The Kingdom expanded the discount for its flagship Arab Light crude to refiners in northwest Europe by $8 a barrel offering it at $10.25 a barrel under the Brent benchmark. In comparison, Russia’s Urals crude trades at a discount of about $2 a barrel under Brent. These actions became an attack at the ability of Russia to sell crude in Europe. The Russian ruble immediately plummeted almost 10% falling to its lowest level in more than four years.

Another side that suffered from Saudi actions is Iran. The Islamic country is facing a strong US sanction pressure and often selling its oil via complex schemes and with notable discounts already.

Saudi Arabia is planning to increase its output above 10 million barrel per day. Currently, it pumps 9.7 million barrels per day, but has the capacity to ramp up to 12.5 million barrels per day. According to OPEC and Saudi sources of The Wall Street Journal, Riyadh’s actions are part of an “aggressive campaign” against Moscow.

The formal pretext of this campaign became the inability of the OPEC+ (a meeting of representatives of member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members) to extend output agreements.

Saudi Arabia was seeking up to 1.5 million b/d in further oil production cuts, but this proposal was rejected by Russia. Despite the inability to reach the new OPEC+ deal, Saudi Arabia became the only power that took aggressive actions on the market. However, it is hard to imagine that Saudi Arabia would go for such an escalation without at least an order or approval from Washington.

This came amid the detention of two senior members of the Saudi royal family – Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s nephew – on March 7. This development took place just ahead of the Saudi offensive on the oil market, and was likely a tip of the ongoing undercover struggle between the pro-US and pro-national factions of the Saudi elites; and the pro-US bloc seems to have the upper hand in this conflict.

In this case, the real goal of the Saudi campaign is not only to secure larger share of the oil market and punish Moscow for its unwillingness to accept the proposed OPEC+ deal, but to deliver a powerful blow to Washington’s geopolitical opponents: Russia and Iran. Pro-Western and anti-government forces existing in both Russia and Iran would try to exploit this situation to destabilize the internal situation in the countries.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia may soon find out that its actions have backfired. Such economic and geopolitical games amid the acute conflict with Iran, military setbacks in Yemen and the increasing regional standoff with the UAE could cost too much for the Kingdom itself.

If the oil prices fall any further and reach $20 per barrel, this will lead to unacceptable economic losses for Russia and Iran, and they could and will likely opt to use nonmarket tools of influencing the Saudi behavior. These options include the increasing support to Yemen’s Houthis (Ansar Allah) with intelligence, weapons, money, and even military advisers, and the resumption of strikes on Saudi oil infrastructure (by the hands of the Houthis for sure).

On top of these, the Saudi leadership may suddenly find that the internal situation in the Kingdom is being worsened by large-scale protests rapidly turning into an open civil conflict.

Such a scenario is no secret for international financial analysts. On March 8, shares of Saudi state oil company Aramco slumped below their initial public offering (IPO) and closed 9.1% lower. On March 9, it continued the fall plunging another 10%.  There appears to be a lack of buyers. The risks are too obvious.

At the same time, the range of possible US actions in support of Saudi Arabia in the event of such an escalation is limited by the ongoing presidential campaign. Earlier, President Donald Trump demonstrated that a US military base could become a target of direct missile strike and Washington will not order a direct military action in response. Taking into account other examples of the US current approach towards non-Israeli allies, Riyadh should not expect any real support from its American allies in this standoff.

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IRAN’S QODS FORCE AND MODERN PROXY WARS

Source

On January 3, Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units were killed by US strikes on the Iraqi capital of Bahdad. The US strike caused a new regional crisis and put the entire Middle East on the edge of a new open military conflict.

In this light, it’s especially interesting to recall what the Qods Force is and how the unit provides the Iranian interests all around the world. The analysis below was originally released by SouthFront in July 2019:

The Qods Force is the irregular warfare unit of Iran’s Corps of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami).  Created during the Holy Defense to augment the capabilities of the Sepah to include irregular warfare, it has since become one of the chief means of expanding Iranian ‘soft power’ within the Middle East and throughout the world.  Carrying the Persian name for Jerusalem, it is emblematic of the eschatological significance of the Islamic Republic’s regional military strategy.  More has come to light about this secretive organization since its inception, but precious little of its organization, personnel, weaponry and operations is known, and comes to light only in the wake of its suspected activities.

The close of the Holy Defense in 1988 saw the completion of the first chapter of the history of the Islamic Republic – conventional war.  The peace which followed left the new government intact but the population war-weary; the government needed to turn its attention to rebuilding the infrastructure and bringing orderliness to the disrupted lives of its people. The armed forces – both the Artesh and the Sepah – though rich with battle experience, had been worn down and desperately need this peace.

If this war taught the Iranian leadership anything, the lesson was: prevent another conventional attack by pushing the frontier for possible conflict as far as possible from the border.  To safeguard the home of the Revolution – which Khomeini and his followers viewed, and still view, as the only legitimate Islamic government, and the one which is meant to prepare the way for the return of the Mahdi – a sizeable buffer had to be constructed to allow for its endurance.  While Iran had not been defeated in the Holy Defense, it had been severely wounded by Saddam’s army with Western backing. At end of the war, Iran was in shortage in key resources and finance. The war clearly exposed the weaknesses of both the Iranian economy and the armed forces. The mujtahid rulers needed to create and perfect a national defense based upon self-reliance in order to turn Iran into a fortress for Islam from which calls for Islamic unity in the face of Zionist and Western imperialist influence could issue.  Having survived this baptism of fire intact, and with geopolitics still centered around the bipolar contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, the time for such a reconstruction appeared optimal.

The Sepah was created immediately after the Revolution in order to counter threats from armed opposition groups inside Iran such as the MKO (the Mojahedin-e Khalq or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) and to protect the ideological integrity of the new political system. Originally a paramilitary formation, during the Holy Defense it necessarily took on a military character while shouldering with the Artesh the burden of fighting.  During the war, in addition to the many conventional battles fought against the Iraqis, the Iranians also deployed special forces to the front line in the mountainous terrain of the north, and behind the lines to support the Kurdish struggle in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein regime. To mirror this unit within the Artesh, the Sepah created the Qods Force to engage in all aspects of irregular warfare. Thus, the role of Quds force in the establishment of Hezbollah’s Islamic Resistance (al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya) in 1982 during the Lebanese Civil War was inevitable; following this it was used to support the operations of the Hezbe Wahdat Shia mujahedin in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.

By supporting Hezbollah and the Hezbe Wahdat, Iran was able to counter, respectively, the American/Zionist coalition and the Soviets, thereby keeping these two groups from threatening the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic.  When Khomeini died in 1989 and was succeeded by Ali Khamenei, who oversaw the transition from a war to a peace economy, Qods was able, along with its parent Sepah, to maintain its level of funding and even to increase its relative importance within the military strategy of Iran.

Having discussed the ideological and strategic origins and purposes of the Qods Force, let us look at its structure and methods of warfare.  Apart from its three senior commanders, no names can be attributed to either its leadership or the remainder of the force.  Major General Pasdar Qassem Soleimani, presently the most well-known Iranian soldier, has commanded the Qods Force since 1997, and his two deputies are Brigadier General Pasdar Ismail Qaani and Brigadier General Pasdar Ahmad Sabouri.  Because all members of Qods are taken from the larger Sepah, one can presume that it retains the same rank structure as its parent, although it is impossible to verify or deny this.  Similarly, although the size of the Qods Force can be approximated, its small-level tactical organization can only be guessed at based upon the arrangement of other comparable military units.  As indicated previously, Qods has two missions: advising and training of foreign military and police, and clandestine operations.  Teams of men for either type of mission may be formed ad hoc out of the service pools of each of the eight directorates suspected to exist.  According to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, Qods is divided into the following eight directorates:

  • Iraq
  • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen (Persian Gulf)
  • Israel, Lebanon, Jordan (Middle East)
  • Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
  • Turkey
  • Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldovia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (former-Soviet Union)
  • Central and Western Europe and the United States and Canada
  • North Africa

Further, US military intelligence suggests that Qods is divided into several branches of specialization:

  • Intelligence
  • Finance
  • Politics
  • Sabotage
  • Special operations

Because however its operations are unconventional, there is no reason to think that the Qods Force has an organization remarkably different from other secret services.  For its clandestine operations, something approaching a commando team of varying size (anywhere from 5 to 15 men led by one or two officers) seems reasonable.  Also, there could be organic, permanent units of Qods assigned to each directorate, each with a different operational specialty, and these would invariably be combined-arms units but with the component men varying depending upon what needs to be accomplished.  For the advisory and training missions, arguably what constitutes the greatest percentage of Qods assignments, one can imagine an officer/NCO structure corresponding to the level of the ranks needing training; e.g. so many officers of such a rank to train their peers or lower ranking officers, and likewise so many NCOs to train their peers or enlisted men.  As a side note, it has been suggested that Qods trains most of its clients in either the Sudan or in Iran itself.

For all of these missions, the officer/NCO ratio is necessarily higher than in the rest of the Sepah.  For this reason, it can be argued that officers and NCOs comprise a large majority of the Qods Force personnel, seeing that enlisted men would not be used to train or advise their superiors.

Where does the Qods Force carry out its clandestine operations?  From reasonable conjecture regarding the structure, the reach of Qods is world-wide.  It has been suspected of involvement in South America (e.g. in supporting the government of Venezuela), of continuing to intervene in Afghanistan against the American presence, of constituting a permanent training and advisory role to the Islamic Resistance of Hezbollah, of supporting the Syrian government since the conflict of 2011, and most of all of involvement in Iraq since 2003. Since 2008, the Qods Force has been given control of all military operations in Iraq, and it formed and currently oversees the three primary Shi’ite paramilitary organizations which work in conjunction with the Iraqi military: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”) with 10,000 members, Kata’ib Hizb Allah (“Brigades of the Party of God”) with 30,000+ members, and the Saraya al-Salam (“Peace Companies”) with anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 members.  This theatre of operations, provided indirectly to Qods by the Americans, gives the most continual experience to its members through the training and directing of these militias.  In the theatre of the Persian Gulf, the recent attacks against oil tankers bear the mark of what Qods is capable of, but the Iranian Government has consistently denied responsibility.  Conversely, American and Israeli special forces possess the capability to carry out such false-flag attacks and their histories give plenty of examples.  Currently, the most important missions which Qods directly or in which it participates are:

  • Missile shipments to Hezbollah
  • Arming and directing of Shi’ite militias in Iraq
  • Support of Syrian Government
  • Support of Houthis

As to types of weapons, the Qods Force probably uses the same species as other special forces (e.g. United States Green Berets, Russian Spetsnaz, British SAS), that is:

  • Handguns (e.g. PC-9 ZOAF)
  • submachine guns (e.g. MPT-9, KL-7.62mm)
  • heavy machine guns (e.g. MGA3)
  • portable MANPADs (e.g. Soheil)
  • rocket-propelled grenade launcher (e.g. Raad, RPG-29)
  • anti-tank weapons (e.g. Saeghe 1/2)
  • portable mortars (e.g. 37mm Marsh mortar)
  • plastic explosives (e.g. C4, Semtex)

The use of heavy equipment does not correspond to its missions.

In terms of size, the active personnel of Qods has been estimated to be anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000, although the most common number given is 15,000.  Globalsecurity.org asserts that in 2008, the Iranian Supreme National Security Council authorized an increase in the size of the group to 15,000, but this cannot be presently confirmed.  By comparison, the Russian Spetsnaz has a strength of roughly 5,000, the United States Green Berets 7,000, the British SAS 400 to 600.

Moving to consider its place in the Iranian political ideology of Twelve Shiism, Qods Force bears great eschatological significance.  A fact which receives barely any coverage in the Western press, the founding of the Islamic Republic was clearly stated by Ayatollah Khomeini to coincide with the approach of the end of the world.  As Twelver Shias, Khomeini and his successors are convinced that the maintenance of velayat-e faqih is critical to the return of the Twelfth Imam, Mohammad al-Mahdi.  The eschatology of the Jafari School of Jurisprudence (the official legal teaching in Iran, named after the Sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq) names Jerusalem as central to the return of the Mahdi and to the establishment of Islamic government throughout the world; i.e. the golden age of Islamic rule as promised by the Prophet Mohammed. According to Sunni and Shia prophecies, the army foreordained to conquer Jerusalem is to be comprised of mostly people from the region of Iran with Iranians having a great and important role in the event. Thus, the naming of the special operations subset of the Sepah after the Persian name for the Holy City of Jerusalem should show the rest of the world just how important to the Iranians is the maintenance of their system of government by all means possible.  Currently, the use of Qods to engage in asymmetrical warfare against the American-Israeli alliance is the best means to ensure this end.  Presently, Qods can be seen as forming a ‘shield-forward’ for the Islamic Republic from a strategic point of view; this gives eschatological importance to their continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and to their great commitment in men and material to ensure the continuance of the Syrian government. They believe that when Imam Mahdi returns, Zionism, which Shia regard as one of the main tools in the struggle between Good and Evil, will be defeated in the final great battle for Jerusalem. Therefore they are approaching as close as possible to Israel, serving at the front line. They have succeeded in giving Iran a reasonable amount of protection, if at the expense of their allies who are physically closer to Israel.  The American Navy remains a threat in the Persian Gulf, but the wider Sepah, to whose vigilance this theatre is committed, are confident they can close the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.  The strategic balance is currently in favor of Iran and they have thus fulfilled what they believe to be their role in preparing for the Mahdi’s return.

Of those who believe in the eschatological purpose of the Islamic Republic, the Qods Force is unquestionably the vanguard of the coming march on Jerusalem, and the Western press ignores this to their own peril and the continued ignorance of their audiences.

From military and political standpoints, Qods has been very effective.  Iranian strategy has, since the 1979 Revolution, been to keep the American-Israeli alliance and its proxies at bay.  As stated previously, due to Iran’s inability to wage a full-scale war against both countries, the use of unconventional warfare has made the Qods Force come into prominence within Iran’s national defensive strategy.  Through both its advisory/training roles and its clandestine operations, Qods is used to prevent Iran’s two chief enemies from realizing strategic objectives in the Middle East and Persian Gulf and to make their continued presence within Iran’s immediate zone of security as costly and unpleasant as possible.

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 التفاوض الإقليمي على صفيح ساخن

 

 –

يشكل الإعلان عن مؤتمر لأمن الخليج بمبادرة عمانية وموافقة كل من السعودية وإيران علامة مهمة على الإتجاه لتفاوض إقليمي لا يمكن حدوثه دون إطار دولي أقله الموافقة الأميركية أو التشجيع الأميركي أو الطلب الأميركي ، هذا إذا لم تتطور فكرة المؤتمر ليشكل كما وصفه وزير خارجية عمان بمؤتمر كل المعنيين بأمن الخليج فاتحا الباب لرعاية أممية وتتيح مشاركة الدول الأعضاء الدائمين في مجلس الأمن  الدولي وتكون طهران وواشنطن على مائدة التفاوض مباشرة.

 إعلان وزير الخارجية السعودي عادل الجبير عن فرص تهدئة تتحول إلى تسوية في اليمن يؤكد التقدم الذي حققته الوساطة العمانية والمعلوم أن اليمن هو الساحة الأهم في المواجهة السعودية مع محور المقاومة بعد الفشل السعودي في الساحات الأخرى وتحول الحرب على اليمن من مشروع تحقيق أرباح غلى مصدر للخسائر .

ما يجري في العراق ولبنان وسورية لا ينفصل عن التفاوض لكنه تفاوض على صفيح ساخن يلعب فيه الأميركي أوراقه على حافة الهاوية فيلوح بدفع الأمور نحو الإنهيار وهو يخشاه كما كان حضوره العسكري في الخليج تلويحا مشابها بالإستعداد للذهاب إلى الحرب وهو يخشاها بينما خصومه الذين أظهروا عدم رغبتهم بالحرب وعدم رغبتهم بالإنهيار أظهروا عندما بلغ التصعيد ذروته أنهم لا يخشون الحرب ولا يخشون الإنهيار.

كما تراجع الأميركي عن التلويح بالحرب يتراجع عن التلويح بالإنهيار لكن صناعة التسوية أصعب من صناعة الأزمة لأن الرأي العام مسرحها وعندما يتم إستفزازه بالجوع وتتم تعبئته بالغضب ويخرج إلى الساحات لا يمكن إعادته كما كان عندما خرج.

التعليق السياسي

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Source

By Staff, Bloomberg

An expanded soccer tournament, a direct flight, clandestine meetings and a pledge to release prisoners of war; diplomacy is breaking out as Gulf Arab nations back away from a Donald Trump-inspired confrontation with Iran. And the signs are everywhere.

Last week, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain played their first games of the 2019 Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar after a last-minute decision to take part.

Meanwhile, Oman is quietly hosting high-level meetings, and even Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hinted at direct channels with the UAE.

Spooked by the prospect of a catastrophic war with Iran and its allies across the region, Gulf monarchies are in the midst of a strategic rethink. The UAE, whose economic model relies in large part on its international links, quickly realized it had most to lose from a military escalation. It had pulled out most of its troops from Yemen by the end of a turbulent summer that saw oil tankers targeted and a US drone downed in the Gulf without significant American response.

While the humanitarian catastrophe unleashed by the war on Yemen trained an unwelcome spotlight on Saudi Arabia, it took a brazen strike on Saudi oil installations – which knocked out half the country’s crude production – to ram home the risks and prove that Trump was not about to ride to his allies’ rescue.

“The attacks shattered any illusion of this magical US security umbrella,” said David Roberts, an assistant professor at King’s College London who studies the Gulf. “It burst the bubble and showed that Iran had the willingness to both do something astonishing like the attack on Aramco facilities and the capability to carry it out.”

In the meantime, the Trump administration withdrew last year from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], known commonly as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions that have crippled its oil exports.

Rolling back Iran’s power remains a priority for the Gulf Arab leadership. There’s an increasing recognition, however, that no one stands to gain from a military escalation in the world’s top oil-exporting region.

In search of a breakthrough, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, shuttled between Tehran and Riyadh in October. He met Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Sheikh Hassan Rouhani, as well as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman [MBS], describing talks as “encouraging.”

As they explore ways forward, Gulf States are moving at different speeds.

The UAE broke with the US and Saudi Arabia by not naming Iran as the culprit behind attacks in May and June on oil tankers as they sailed toward the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s foremost oil shipping chokepoint.

It sent coast guard officials to Iran for the first time in six years and Rouhani hinted at other meetings with senior UAE officials. “We’re moving toward improved relations,” he said Oct. 14. Saudi Arabia is catching up.

However, where the US holds back, others are crowding in. Russian President Vladimir Putin has forged a partnership with Iran, created an oil alliance with Saudi Arabia and built ties with Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who was warned by the US last month against plans to purchase Russian jets.

Putin traveled to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in October after visits by the Saudi king and the UAE’s de-facto leader Mohammad bin Zayed to Moscow. The two Gulf countries and Russia have signed deals valued at billions of dollars.

For Iran’s Rouhani, the case for regional engagement is obvious.

“Don’t you know that Iran is going to stay here and we will remain neighbors throughout history?” he has said, referring to Iran’s Arab neighbors. “Trump will only be around for a few years and will go back to whatever it was he was doing.”

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