Iran’s deal expanding military cooperation with Iraq boosts regional clout

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. / Michael Reynolds / epa

 

Iran and Iraq have signed an agreement to boost military cooperation and counter “terrorism and extremism,” a deal likely to trigger concerns in the United States.

Iranian news agencies reported that the memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries’ defense ministers on July 23 also covers border security, technical and military support, and logistics and training. Continue reading

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria: “Hard Not To See This As A F-You”

 

So much for NATO-alliance members working for the common good.

In a move that has angered the U.S. for obvious reason, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency has leaked the precise locations of U.S. bases in northern Syria. The move – which exposes the exact locations of American soldiers on the front lines in the war-torn nation – has sent the ongoing feud between the two NATO allies to new lows. As Bloomberg details, in reports published in both Turkish and English on Tuesday, Anadolu provided detailed information about 10 U.S. bases in northern Syria, including troop counts and a map of the U.S. force presence in the Turkish version. Continue reading

The IRGC—Terrorism’s Goliath

ISIS has captivated Western attention for so long with its gruesome beheadings, stabbings, vehicular homicides, shootings and bombings in Europe and the United States, the horrific aftermaths deservedly the focus of television news, that virtually forgotten is the world’s biggest terror threat – Iran’s IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The IRGC, often misidentified in Western press as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps dwarfs ISIS by any measure.

ISIS never had more than about 30,000 fighters, equipped mostly with small arms, with very little access to high-tech weaponry.

In contrast, the IRGC has about 125,000 fighters. It is the only terror organization in the world with an army, navy, and special forces.

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The Sectarian Divide in the Middle East

(click to enlarge)

 

July 7, 2017 Transnational issues like religion and ethnicity have long bedeviled the countries of the modern Middle East. Major Arab states like Egypt, Syria and Iraq began to flirt with pan-Arabism – a secular, left-leaning ideology that sought political unity of the Arab world – not long after they were founded. Continue reading

Germany Begins Withdrawing Forces from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base

(File Image)

 

Germany has started the process of withdrawing its forces from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base that had been used by German forces for carrying out reconnaissance missions as part of the US-led coalition’s campaign in Syria and Iraq. Continue reading

Britain prepared to use air strikes or send in troops as retaliation against future cyber attack

A strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”, said the Defence Secretary

 

Britain could launch military retaliation such as air strikes against a future cyber attack, the Defence Secretary has suggested.

Sir Michael Fallon warned potential attackers that a strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”.

The Defence Secretary said the UK’s ability to carry out its own cyber attacks against Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil), also known as Daesh, had saved lives during the battle for Mosul in Iraq and the capability was also being used in the fight for Raqqa in Syria. 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

Congress considering restart of F-22 program

Lockheed debuts C-130J variant for special operations forces

 

The House Armed Services Committee is currently reviewing a classified report it ordered last year on restarting production of the F-22 Raptor, according to a spokesperson for the committee.

“I can confirm that we received the report and are reviewing it,” HASC spokesman Barron Youngsmith told UPI, declining to comment further due to the classified nature of the review. Continue reading

Pentagon Responds: “US Pilots Will Defend Themselves If Attacked By Russians”

One wouldn’t know it by looking at the market, but the biggest developing story today was Russia’s threat to intercept any aircraft – including US – flying in the area of operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria, and “be followed as targets” after yesterday’s downing by a US F-18 of a Syrian Su-22 fighter jet. Moments ago the US responded to this unmistakable deterioration in relations between the two nations, when a Pentagon spokesman said U.S. pilots over Syria will defend themselves if attacked by Russians. Continue reading

Future of Iraq

WASHINGTON/BERLIN/BAGHDAD (Own report) – A strategy paper prepared by the US Atlantic Council think tank – with the assistance of Germany’s CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation – is proposing measures for Western powers to take to insure their continued influence in Iraq following the fall of Mosul. According to the paper, published a few days ago, US military forces should remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future, train and equip Iraqi forces to prevent IS from regrouping and recovering after its expected defeat. To push back Iran’s influence, measures should also be taken to help the country’s economic development. In Baghdad, a government “strongly inclined to cooperate closely with the United States” is needed, the paper states, and calls for US allies – particularly European countries – to engage in Iraq to “tackle sensitive areas in which the United States is not seen as neutral.” Berlin is already using this opportunity to build its own base of influence in Iraq and is supporting the reconstruction of towns recaptured from the IS. Insuring western control of Iraq is considered all the more urgent, since Russia could successfully obtain major influence in Damascus following the anticipated end of the Syrian war.

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Pentagon: US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

(AP) — The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict.

The U.S. had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. While the U.S. has said since it began recruiting, training and advising what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces to fight IS that it would protect them from potential Syrian government retribution, this was the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise.

The U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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Iran official urges pressure on Turkey over dams

The centerpiece of Turkey's GAP is the Atatürk Dam which is one of the largest in the world.

The centerpiece of Turkey’s GAP is the Atatürk Dam which is one of the largest in the world.

 

An Iranian official has urged active diplomacy with Turkey towards tackling the problem of dust storms, which chronically blight regional states as a result of Ankara’s massive dam building projects.

As part of its Southeastern Anatolia Project known as GAP, Turkey has built 22 dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which also run across Syria, Iraq and Iran. Continue reading

Europe Moves Away from US to Become Independent in Terms of Defense Capability

You’re looking at the world’s next superpower, a United States of Europe complete with its European Army, courtesy of Germany’s Fourth Reich.

 

 

The idea to create a European defense structure independent from NATO had been floated for some time. It was a topic for discussions but no concrete steps have been taken to make it come true. It appears to be changing now after US President Trump apparently made no mention of Article 5 or collective defense during the May 25 NATO summit to stun his European allies. «Trump Leaves NATO» was the Carnegie Endowment’s assessment of the event. No such thing ever happened before. It provides a powerful incentive for the Europeans to push ahead with plans to convert the words into deeds. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Europeans “to take our destiny in our hands” and warned that the United States was no longer a reliable partner. Her words marked a turning point. Continue reading

How an Iranian general duped US command in Syria

The Iranian-made Syrian drone downed by US F-15 fighters in southeastern Syria on June 8 was presented by American media as a “pro-regime” drone. It was in fact, as DEBKAfile’s military sources can disclose, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Shahed-129, which was fired as a part of a complicated ruse to dupe the US commanders while pro-Iranian forces surreptiously moved in on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Americans had drawn a line in the Syrian Desert sand 55 km outside the Al-Tanf border crossing embedded in the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle, which is under the control of US, Western and Jordanian special forces, together with a US-trained Syrian rebel group. The Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the US military command in Syria and Iraq were confident that by securing this perimeter, their forces would keep the pro-Iranian advance at bay and the border safe. Continue reading

New US base in S. Syria for tussle over control

 

In readiness for a prospective showdown for control of southeast Syria, US Special Forces have set up a forward base at Al-Zukf in the Syrian Desert, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report. The location is 70km northwest of the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle and the Al Tanf crossing, which is controlled by US, Western allied and Jordanian special forces, together with a US-trained Syrian rebel unit, which calls itself the Revolutionary Commando. Continue reading