Iran, Hezbollah Now in Syrian Golan

Iran, Hezbollah Now in Syrian Golan

Russia has moved Iranian and Hezbollah military officials into an administrative center a little more than a mile form the Israeli border in the Golan Heights.

 

As if thumbing his nose at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved Iranian and Hezbollah officers into Quneitra, a little more than a mile from Israel’s border in the Syrian Golan. Continue reading

First Russian base for SE Syria – near US garrison

 

The Russian engineering corps has started building a new base in southeastern Syria at a small village called Khirbet Ras Al-Wa’r in the Bir al-Qasab district. Until now, Moscow adhered to a policy of restricting its military presence to the western part of the country along the Mediterranean coast; no Russian troops were based further east than Palmyra. Continue reading

U.S. Legitimizes Iranian Presence And Activity In Iraq

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Armed Iranian and Iraqi soldiers in Iraq (Facebook.com/Iran.Military, June 27, 2016)

 

In June 28, 2016 remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was asked whether Iran’s influence in Iraq was “more helpful or more harmful.” He replied: “Look, we have challenges with Iran as everybody knows, and we’re working on those challenges. But I can tell you that Iran in Iraq has been, in certain ways, helpful, and they clearly are focused on ISIL-Daesh, and so we have a common interest, actually.”[1]

This statement grants U.S. legitimacy to Iran’s military presence and activity on Iraqi soil, based on the claim that Iran and the U.S. have shared interests in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and that “Iran is a helpful” element. Additionally, Kerry claims that Iran’s focus in Iraq is the war against ISIS. Continue reading

America the Weak

The intent of this essay is to advance several observations about how we plan and fight wars, in order to shed light upon why we are performing so poorly. We invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq with inchoate plans and inadequate forces to establish post-war security and governance. After winning the first battle in both countries, President George W. Bush offhandedly decided to build democratic nations, a task for which our State Department and US Agency for International Development had no competence or interest. By default, the mission fell to our military, also without competence but with unflagging devotion and determination.

When 2011 arrived, President Barack Obama went against the recommendations of the intelligence community, the Pentagon, and the State Department. Instead of politically maneuvering to keep a residual force to check al-Maliki’s dark instincts, Obama pulled out all our troops. He fulfilled Bush’s foolish promise. Al-Maliki then proceeded to oppress the Sunnis, leading to the reemergence of the extremists now called the Islamic State. Obama quit, but Bush made it easy for him to do so.

Continue reading

Who Really Controls Iraq? Inside Iran’s Powerful Proxy Armies

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When social media began to light up with pictures of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani rallying Shiite militiamen and Hezbollah soldiers ahead of Russia and Iran’s joint effort to retake the city of Aleppo, some wondered where all of these fighters came from. After all, even though the IRGC has now all but admitted it sent soldiers to Syria for the offensive, it wasn’t as if the entire Iranian army marched in overnight and if you believe the reports from the frontlines, the ground force marching on Syria’s largest city looks quite a bit different from the depleted SAA which was all but decimated just two months ago. Continue reading

Russia “Confirms” It Has Plans To Restore Assad Government In Syria

Watching the US attempt to explain to the public why Washington can’t join the Russians in targeting extremists in Syria has been entertainment gold. The fundamental PR problem revolves around the fact that the West has gone out of its way to hold up ISIS as the quintessential example of pure, unadulterated evil that must be eradicated at all costs and yet when Moscow began bombing ISIS targets and publicly implored the US to join in, Washington said no.

If you’re the public that seems strange. To be sure, everyday Westerners are accustomed to Russophobic propaganda in the news and in cinema and the public is thoroughly conditioned to think of The Kremlin as a weird, multi-colored palace complex staffed with hundreds of James Bond villains in a country where it’s always dark, and always snowing. That said, Western leaders have had a difficult time explaining why that’s somehow worse than ISIS, whose slickly-produced videos have so far depicted a series of beheadings, a Jordanian pilot being burned alive, “spies” being drowned in a cage, and four men being packed into a Toyota Corolla which is then destroyed at close range by a rocket launcher.  Continue reading

Syrian war gives Russia a chance to test weapons

As was mentioned in a previous post. Syria is just a new playground for Russia & Co.. The “Blazing Sun” missile is but one (latest) example.

 

What happens if the land offensive started by Assad’s forces Wednesday with help from Iranian troops and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia fails to recapture lost territory? Does Russia have a specific goal or at least a time frame? What about an exit strategy?These questions matter only if Russia is in this for the long haul. It has done nothing to suggest that it is, however. The Kremlin only appears to be setting short-term tactical goals for now because it’s not heavily committed to an outcome in Syria. One of these objectives is to battle-test and show off new hardware. Continue reading

Thousands of Iranian troops ‘arrive in Syria’ for Aleppo offensive

Troops have joined the Syrian regime’s military forces and Hizbollah allies in preparation for a ground attack in the Syrian city, say officials

Thousands of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria to join the regime’s military forces and Hizbollah allies to launch a ground attack against insurgents in Aleppo, two senior regional officials have said.

Control of Aleppo city and the surrounding province in the area near the Turkish border is divided among the Syrian government, insurgent groups fighting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) that controls some rural areas near the city.

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Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources

Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters.

“The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies,” said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict. Continue reading

Russian marines join Hizballah in first Syrian battle – a danger signal for US, Israel

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Before dawn on Thursday, Sept. 24, Russian marines went into battle for the first time since their deployment to Syria, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reveal. Russian Marine Brigade 810 fought with Syrian army and Hizballah special forces in an attack on ISIS forces at the Kweiris airbase, east of Aleppo.

This operation runs contrary to the assurances of President Vladimir Putin to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sept. 21 – just three days ago – that Russian forces in Syria were only there to defend Russian interests and would not engaged in combat with the Syrian army, Hizballah or Iranian troops. Continue reading

Report: Iranian commander makes second Moscow visit

Alleged meeting suggests increased efforts by Russia and Iran to coordinate support for Bashar Assad’s government, as Moscow sends military advisers to Syria and builds temporary housing.

Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, has visited Moscow for the second time, Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the alleged meeting occurred last week. Continue reading

Obama’s Iranian-nuclear strategy brings dividend: Rev Guards lead military assault on Tikrit

US President Barack Obama’s plans for Iran, which were spectacularly challenged by Binyamin Netanyahu in his Congress speech Tuesday, March 3, weres manifested 10,000 kilometers from Washington in the firestorm over Tikrit, the important Sunni town north of Baghdad. There, Iranian-led Iraqi troops are on the offensive against the Islamic State in the biggest ground battle fought in Iraq since the Iraqi army fell apart and scattered last June against the conquering Islamist march through western and central Iraq.

For four reasons, this battle is loaded with ramifications for Obama’s Iran policy and the Islamic Republic’s drive for recognition as the leading Middle East power: Continue reading

Israel Threatened by Iranian Ground Forces on Northern Border

The Arabic-digital news site, Rai-al-Youm, reported this week that Iranian troops have been participating, together with Hezbollah and the Syrian army, in an attempt to drive rebel and jihadi forces from southern Syria, where they dominate a triangle of territory between the Golan Heights, the province of Daraa on the Jordanian border, and the outskirts of Damascus.“This is the first time we have a public operational intervention by IRGC [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps] forces in the conflict,” the report said. Several media outlets have reported the presence in the battle area of Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the IRGC al-Quds force, which is responsible for operations outside Iran’s borders. Continue reading

Iran Army stages exercise near Iraq border

“This maneuver was among the most spectacular drills ever held by the Iranian Army in which 55 airborne, helicopter and other units of the ground forces took part,” Brig. Gen. Manoucher Kazemi, head of the Army’s Western Command, said.

Iranian state television showed footage from the exercise, said to have
taken place near the towns of Qaser Shirin and Sarpol Zahab. The footage showed Iranian troops parachuting from helicopters. Continue reading