How Iran, the Mideast’s new superpower, is expanding its footprint across the region – and what it means

raqi Shiites of the Mahdi Army militia vow to fight ISIS in a show of strength in a 2014 military parade in Baghdad. (Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor)

 

Iran has achieved milestones of leverage and influence that rival any regional power in the past half-century. While there are limits to how far it can extend its authority, Tehran’s rapid rise poses new challenges to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as it undermines their previous dominance. How far can Tehran extend its reach?

With opulent furnishings and the finest cut-crystal water glasses in Baghdad, the new offices of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia exude money and power – exactly as they are meant to. At one end of the meeting room is a set built for TV interviews, with gilded chairs and an official-looking backdrop of Iraqi and militia flags, lit by an ornate glass chandelier. Continue reading

Putin lands in Syria on announced visit to create false impression war is over

 

The Russian President Vladimir Putin’s airplane made a surprise landing Monday. Dec. 11, at the Russian Hmeimim air base in Latakia and announced he had ordered Russian troops to start withdrawing from Syria. Continue reading

Has Iran given cruise missiles to Hizballah as well as Yemen’s Houthis?

 

The maiden operational launch of Iran’s Soumar Kh-55 cruise missile was apparently entrusted to Yemen’s Houthis against a UAE target. Has it been given to Hizballah, another Iranian proxy?

Yemen’s Houthi rebels last week showed on their TV channel video footage of Iran’s most highly advanced Soumar.Kh-55 cruise missile, which can carry a nuclear warhead.  They claimed to have fired it at the unfinished Abu Dhabi power plant on Dec.3. The United Arab Emirates refuted this claim, saying that any missile reaching their air space would have been intercepted by advanced Emirati air defenses. Continue reading

US New Moves: War with Iran May Be Much Closer Than We Think

US New Moves: War with Iran May Be Much Closer Than We Think

 

The US does not intend to end or even curtail its military presence in Iraq (as well as Syria) after the defeat of the Islamic State. It is planning to turn Iraq into a major theater of confrontation with Iran. There are signs that a war with Iran may be much closer than we think.

CIA director Mike Pompeo, an official known for his staunch opposition to Iran, has warned Tehran that the United States would hold it accountable for any attacks it conducted on American interests. Addressing high-ranking US military and security officials on Saturday, Dec. 2, at a defence forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California, Pompeo said that he had sent the letter to General Qassem Suleimani, a leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and elite Quds. “What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold him and Iran accountable… and we wanted to make sure that he and the leadership of Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear,” the CIA director explained. Continue reading

Iranian Army Chief: Next War Will Eradicate Israel

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has vowed that the next war with Israel will result in the Jewish state’s eradication. (Photo: Reuters)

 

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari has vowed that any future conflict with Israel will be the Jewish state’s last, and promised to come to Hezbollah’s aid if the terrorist group is attacked. Continue reading

Saudi vows new Islamic alliance ‘will wipe terrorists from the earth’

Lowe and behold the ‘islamic NATO’ discussed in the previous posts:

Is Saudi Arabia building an ‘islamic NATO?’

Trump to unveil plans for an ‘Arab NATO’ in Saudi Arabia

 

A member of the Saudi Royal Guard stands on duty inside the hall where the first meeting of the defence ministers of the 41-member Saudi-led Muslim counter-terrorism alliance is taking place in the capital Riyadh on November 26, 2017 (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

 

Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s crown prince vowed to “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth” as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered Sunday in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.

“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries… with no coordination” among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.

“This ends today, with this alliance.” Continue reading

Lebanon Preparing for War With Israel

The Lebanese Army is said to be preparing for war with Israel in response to building tensions over Iran’s efforts to cause instability in the region.

 

The likelihood of war in the Middle East grew again Tuesday after the head of the Lebanese Army ordered his soldiers to “full combat readiness.”

Gen. Joseph Aoun ordered his soldiers to continue to cooperate with the United Nations forces in the country under Security Council Resolution 1701, but also told them to prepare for war on their southern border with Israel. The American-trained general also said:

“The army needs to be prepared to confront the threats and violations of the Israeli enemy and its hostile intentions against Lebanon.” Continue reading

The Saudi-Iran Brewing War

 

The turmoil in the Middle East has been instigated in part by fiscal mismanagement. When the money was rolling in with high oil prices, it was assumed, as always, that whatever trend is in motion will remain in motion. Consequently, the government expanded their spending assuming money would continue to flow in. When oil broke, the fiscal mismanagement has been exposed for all to see if they care to look.

Falling oil prices have decimated revenues and trade in the region. Security worries about terrorism, particularly in the US, have led to cuts in airline routes. Then there has also been a long-running diplomatic and trade impasse between Saudi Arabia and its allies on the one hand, and Qatar on the other. Now the good-old-days of easy money and rapid growth has led to concerns about over-capacity, waste, and corruption that nobody cared about when money flowed like oil.

Continue reading

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis

 

Military tensions rise in the Gulf region amid Iranian threats and supplies of extended-range missiles to the Yemeni insurgents.

Tehran has warned Riyadh that unless the Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports is lifted, Revolutionary Guards missiles supplied to the Yemeni Houthi insurgents will be loosed against the seaports and airfields of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The warning was forwarded to their governments through the Omani back channel. Continue reading

Iran and Gulf nations prepare for war. Sudden reshuffle in Iran’s top army, naval commands

 

 

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir on Monday, Nov. 6 accused Iran of an “act of war” in reference to the Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi missile attack on Riyadh airport Saturday.

On Sunday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei secretly ordered a significant reshuffle in the high commands of the Iranian army and navy. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Dadras was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, with orders to boost the intelligence and operational preparedness of the Army. He came from the post of commander of ground forces. Continue reading

IRGC General Kawthari: Israel Will be Wiped off Planet Earth in 25 Years or Less

Please see the source for the video.

Transcript:

General Ismail Kawthari, Deputy Commander of the IRGC Tharallah Base, told Al-Alam TV that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had said “that this entity [Israel] must be wiped off the Planet Earth within 25 years,” but that in his own opinion, that was the maximum period, and “God willing, it will happen before that.” The interview aired on September 27.

Interviewer: Iran has provided aid to Hizbullah, Syria, and the resistance movements in Palestine for almost four decades, but it has paid a steep political price for this. Will Iran continue to pursue this policy of support for the axis of resistance, despite the political price this exacts? Continue reading

Russia says US is “pretending to fight ISIS”

Russian defense ministry spokesman Maj.-General Igor Konashenkov Tuesday accused the United States of deliberately reducing air strikes in Iraq, to allow the jihadists to stream across into eastern Syria and slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army. As a result, ISIS in large numbers had reached Deir ez-Zour and were digging in on the left bank of the River Euphrates. The Russian spokesman said Syrian troops were in the midst of trying to push Islamic State out of the city of al-Mayadin, southeast of Deir al-Zor, but that ISIS was reinforcing its ranks there with “foreign mercenaries” pouring in from Iraq. Continue reading

Hezbollah Leader: War is Coming

Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah urged “non-Zionist” Jews to leave Israel to avoid a war between his terrorist group and Israel that is coming soon.

 

Hezbollah’s leader warned “non-Zionist” Jews they should leave Israel immediately to avoid the war that is coming between his Iranian-backed terrorist group and the Israel. Continue reading

North Korean Ship Carrying 30,000 Rocket Launchers Seized By Egypt

 

In a fascinating report that provides a glimpse into the shadowy North Korean black-market economy, the Washington Post has published a story about a 2016 incident in which Egyptian authorities intercepted a North Korean ship bearing a Cambodian flag after being alerted by US authorities. After searching the ship, Egyptian law enforcement discovered something unexpected: a trove of nearly 24,000 rocket launchers, and components for 6,000 more weapons, hidden below a large pile of loose iron ore.

But perhaps the biggest surprise for the Egyptian authorities emerged when they tried to determine for whom the weapons were intended, and discovered that they had been secretly purchased by the Egyptian military in violation of international sanctions against NK arms sales. Further compounding the irony, Egypt had recently joined the UN Security Council – the international body sponsoring said sanctions – before deciding to circumvent them and buy the weapons. Continue reading

Iran too “shoots rockets all over the place” with no US action

The nuclear twinning of North Korea and Iran is a long established fact. Shortly after Iran’s ballistic missile test Saturday, Sept. 23, North Korea was suspected of conducting another nuclear test. A magnitude-3.4 zero-depth quake was detected in North Korea, at roughly the same site as the shallow quake on Sept. 3 that was caused by nuclear test. China’s seismic service, says the quake is likely caused by an explosion. The service later found that it was an earthquake after all.

Two dictators, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Kim Jong-il, followed by his son, Kim Jong-un, have for years used their nuclear and missile collaboration to fertilize their programs while taunting the world. Continue reading