Oman, which faces Iran across the Strait of Hormuz, said it’s poised to start raising cash for a $3 billion rail line offering an alternative route for oil and freight shipments that funnel through the 21 mile-wide channel.
The nation of 3.3 million people, located on the southern side of the strait, is considering issuing bonds by the end of 2014 to kick-start funding for the track across some of the Arabian peninsula’s harshest terrain, Abdulrahman Al Hatmi, a director at Oman National Railway Co., said in an interview. Continue reading
Iraq’s goal of pumping 9m barrels a day of crude could be a game changer for oil prices and British companies
Iraq is poised to flood the oil market by tripling its capacity to pump crude by 2020 and is collaborating with Iran on strategy in a move that will challenge Saudi Arabia’s grip on the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“We feel the world needs to be assured of fuel for economic growth,” Hussain al-Shahristani, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy in Iraq told oil industry delegates attending a Chatham House Middle East energy conference. Continue reading
Saddam Hussein gave orders to his subordinates to launch missiles with chemical warheads at Israel should he start to lose power during the First Gulf War, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Friday, citing tapes from the late Iraqi president’s archives.
According to the report, Hussein dispersed missiles armed with chemical weapons at bases across the country and gave orders to have them launched at the Jewish state should his regime collapse or he be cut off from his general staff. The list of strategic Israeli targets was drawn up and included, curiously, Haifa’s leading high-tech university, The Technion.
A professor from the university recounted in the report that a Jordanian official who visited the school told him that Saddam insisted the Technion be added to the list of strategic targets because a teacher at the school had spoken ill of him. Continue reading
As was mentioned [(See here, and here (search engine yields more examples)] a few times, the un-intelligence communities are seemingly always 20 steps behind, which makes one question which is more alarming: An Iran with nuclear weapons, or a useless intelligence community?
WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (Bernama) — A three-year study by the Pentagon has concluded that American intelligence agencies are not yet organised or fully equipped to detect when foreign countries are developing nuclear weapons or ramping up their existing arsenals.
In a 100-page report by the Defense Science Board, the study said the agencies’ detection abilities, including finding “undeclared facilities and/or covert operations”, are “either inadequate, or more often, do not exist.” Continue reading
The Deputy Defense Minister, MK Danny Danon (Likud-Beytenu), has penned an article in the US-based Politico website that appears to be a warning about an Israeli intention to strike Iran’s nuclear weapon facilities.
The relatively short, 400-word article, refers to two previous cases in which Israel struck Islamic nuclear sites without US approval. Continue reading
In France, more than 1000 cars were torched across the country on New Year’s Eve. It has become a tradition. As usual, the French media omitted to say most of the damage is done by young disaffected Muslim men and has become a form of protest.
In Iraq, the government has lost control of the city of Fallujah to the fundamentalist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, giving Islamists open control of a city for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2003. On Christmas Day, car bombs exploded outside three churches, killing 26 people and maiming 38, part of a campaign to remove Iraq’s rapidly decreasing Chaldean Christian population. Continue reading
With the Geneva Nuclear Accord still far from implementation a month after it was signed in Geneva, the United States and Iran are moving into stage two of their rapprochement: They are now fighting together to crush Al Qaeda terror in Iraq, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources report.
Iraq is two weeks into a major offensive for cutting al Qaeda down – the first major military challenge the jihadists have faced in the past six years. Three armies are fighting alongside Iraq: the United States, Iran’s Al Qods Brigades officers and Syria. Continue reading
The Palestinians are using a new weapon in their current campaign of terror against Israel. It is the Austrian single-shot Steyr 50 caliber sniper rifle which has an effective accurate range of up to 1,500 m. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that Palestinian terrorist planners intend to expand its use in the hands of highly-trained marksmen to keep pace with deliveries by Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hizballah of the Iranian-made version of this assassin’s weapon to the Gaza Strip. Continue reading
Many observers are correct in noting that the Middle East is undergoing yet another seismic shift – that the Russian-brokered destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, a US-Iranian rapprochement, the diminished strategic value of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a US withdrawal from Afghanistan will all contribute to changing regional dynamics considerably.
But what is this new direction? Where will it come from, who will lead it, what will define it? Continue reading
Regardless of what Chuck Hagel says, the decisions regarding who or what will stay in the Middle East will increasingly be decided by a region who is taking the reins away from the US. Too much trust has been eroded with taking sides in the war on Syria, let alone witnessing the turning of entire countries upside down, such as Egypt and Libya.
With its decades-old US alliance strained over the Syria war and a nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia is calling on the Gulf monarchies to unite for their own self-defence.
US Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday, has assured Gulf states that the agreement struck between major powers and Iran on November 24 will not affect the presence of some 35,000 US troops in the region. Continue reading
A high-tech railgun at this point would make more sense than a conventional cannon and is the likely answer.
Satellite imagery has revealed two unusually large artillery pieces, measuring about 80 ft and 110 ft respectively, at a test centre for armour and artillery northwest of Baotou in China.
The two pieces, which are horizontally mounted, are mounted on a concrete pad that appeared between September 2010 and December 2011, when the two pieces were first captured by satellite imagery. Images provided by Astrium confirmed that the objects were still in place in July 2013. Continue reading
If one wanted to gauge how fed up the House of Saud is with the current US administration and how badly the trust and reliance upon America has eroded, look no further:
Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.
While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.
Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery. Continue reading