Obama’s Passive Acceptance of Iranian Provocations Helps Fuel Rising Iranian-Saudi Tensions

Escalating tensions between Iran and the Sunni Arab gulf states will further polarize the Middle East along sectarian lines, stoke the proxy wars waged by Tehran and Riyadh, and reduce the already low chances of forging diplomatic agreements to defuse civil wars in Syria and Yemen.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been bitter rivals competing for regional dominance since the 1979 Iranian revolution injected an ideological hostility into a relationship already strained by competing nationalisms (Arab vs. Persian) and sectarian differences (Sunni Saudi Arabia vs. Shiite Iran). Continue reading

KGB papers, kept in secret since 1992, released by British archive

Original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history — a who’s who of Soviet spying — were released Monday after being held in secret for two decades.

Intelligence historian Christopher Andrew said the vast dossier, released by the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University, was considered “the most important single intelligence source ever” by British and American authorities.

Mitrokhin was a senior archivist in the KGB’s foreign intelligence headquarters — and a secret dissident. For more than a decade, he secretly took files home, copied them in longhand and then typed them and collated them into volumes. He hid the papers at his country cottage, or dacha, some stuffed into a milk churn and buried.

The world did not learn of Mitrokhin until Andrew published a book based on his files in 1999. It caused a sensation by exposing the identities of KGB agents including 87-year-old Melita Norwood, the “great-granny spy,” who had passed British atomic secrets to the Soviets for years. Continue reading