USAREUR General: Terror threat in Europe highest in world

Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti speaks during a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

(WASHINGTON, DC) The threat posed by violent extremism is higher in Europe than anywhere else in the world, apart from actual war zones and hotspots, US European Command head General Curtis Scaparrotti said, commenting on Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London.

“The number of threat streams that we have of this type within Europe – it’s probably higher in Europe than any other part of the globe, with the exception of the places we’re actually physically fighting [terrorists], like Syria […] Afghanistan and Iraq,” the senior US military leader in Europe, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. Continue reading

Russia not out to improve relations

Takes combative stance against U.S. around globe

As “welcome” as a bone-chilling blast from a mid-March nor’easter, more bad news continues to blow our way out of Moscow, minimizing the possibility of a springtime thaw in U.S.-Russia relations.

And I’m not talking about any of the U.S. domestic issues that have been in the headlines lately, such as charges against Russian FSB intelligence operatives for hacking Yahoo email accounts. Continue reading

Iran’s Spymaster Claims Pro-Regime Agents Operating in D.C., London, Canada

Iranian intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi / Getty Images

 

Claims pro-Iran ‘lobby’ pushing Tehran’s agenda in D.C.

Iran maintains a network of spies and lobbyists who clandestinely push the Islamic regime’s agenda in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, according to the head of Iran’s ministry of intelligence, who touted the pro-Iran network’s ability to spread its ideology to the West.

Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s intelligence minister, in recent remarks independently translated by the Washington Free Beacon, bragged about the Islamic Republic’s ability to operate an unnamed “lobby group” in D.C. that helps to push the regime’s hardline agenda. Continue reading

U.S. carrier confronts two sets of fast boats in Strait of Hormuz

Iranian fast-attack boats. /Getty Images/File

 

A U.S. aircraft carrier on March 21 deployed helicopter gunships to track two sets of Iranian fast-attack vessels during a confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy said.

Navy commanders told Reuters the USS George H.W. Bush confronted the Iranian boats after they approached a U.S.-led, five-vessel flotilla as it entered the Strait, Reuters reported. Continue reading

Vital Oil Shipping Lane Becomes Target In Yemen’s Civil War

 

Yemen’s strategic Red Sea port, through which some 4 million barrels of oil flow daily to Middle Eastern markets, is becoming a focal point in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and China is the only power with the economic deal-making leverage to keep this from becoming much more than a proxy battle.

The Red Sea port, near the Bab al-Mandab strait, is currently controlled by Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis, and whoever maintains control of it has a strategic advantage. This port is a pathway connection the Middle East (where the world’s largest proven oil reserves are) and Sub-Saharan Africa (a region expected to see a four-fold increase in energy demand by 2040), making it a coveted geopolitical prize for regional powers, but a livelihood-destroying burden for Yemen’s residents. Continue reading

Iran Steps Up Support for Houthis in Yemen’s War

Newly recruited Houthi fighters in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 3, 2017 / REUTERS

 

LONDON/ANKARA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is sending advanced weapons and military advisers to Yemen‘s rebel Houthi movement, stepping up support for its Shi’ite ally in a civil war whose outcome could sway the balance of power in the Middle East, regional and Western sources say.

Iran’s enemy Saudi Arabia is leading a Sunni Arab coalition fighting the Houthis in the impoverished state on the tip of the Arabian peninsula–part of the same regional power struggle that is fueling the war in Syria.

Sources with knowledge of the military movements, who declined to be identified, say that in recent months Iran has taken a greater role in the two-year-old conflict by stepping up arms supplies and other support. This mirrors the strategy it has used to support its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in Syria. Continue reading

Is A Russian-Iranian Energy Pact In The Making?

Oil Rigs

 

In the lead-up to President Rouhani’s visit to Moscow, expected to take place in late March, a plethora of news regarding joint Russo-Iranian energy projects has been circulating on the Internet. A three-year long negotiation process regarding a 100,000 barrels-per-day swap contract is believed to be agreed upon, premised on Iran providing Russia (most likely, Rosneft) oil from Kharg Island or other hubs in the Persian Gulf in return for cash and Russian goods that Iran would “require”. Teheran also woos LUKOIL, currently Russia’s only major oil producer in the Caspian, to participate in swap deals bound for Iran’s Neka Port (in return for Iranian crude provided from Kharg Island or other Persian Gulf hubs), albeit on a much smaller scale at 4000 to 5000 barrels per day. To top it all up, numerous Russian oil companies have committed themselves to developing Iran’s hydrocarbon fields. Continue reading

Mexico Ranked (By Verisk Maplecroft) As World’s Third Most Dangerous Country

The consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft compiled a Crime Rate Index for calendar year 2016, and Mexico was in third place, as the third most dangerous country in the world.  The list was released in December of 2016.

Verisk Maplecroft describes itself on its website as “a leading global risk analytics, research and strategic forecasting company offering an unparalleled portfolio of risk solutions.”

Here is the firm’s Top Ten Most Dangerous Countries list, with #1 as the most dangerous country in the world, #2 as the second most dangerous, and so on: Continue reading

IRGC commander: Hizbullah more prepared than ever for massive attack on Israel

Hizbullah has missiles that can reach every part of Israel, an IRGC commander said.

 

Hizbullah is producing its own missiles in well-protected factories in Lebanon and has raised its level of preparedness for a massive attack on Israel, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander said.

Iran has opened factories in Lebanon to manufacture long-range missiles as well as other munitions and has recently passed ownership of the factories to Hizbullah, the commander, who opted to remain anonymous, told Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida. Continue reading

Israel Threatens to ‘Destroy’ Syrian Air Defense Systems

Avigdor Lieberman. Source: REUTERS

 

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defense systems after the Syrian military launched ground-to-air missiles against Israeli warplanes illegally carrying out strikes against targets in the country.

“The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation,” The Time Of Israel quoted Lieberman’s statement on Israeli public radio. Continue reading

Germany’s Geopolitical Interests

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) – In spite of the Turkish government’s recent provocations, Berlin is steadfastly maintaining its cooperation with Ankara. Over the past few days, members of the Turkish government have affronted several EU countries as “fascist,” thereby again provoking sharp protests. For some time, human rights organizations and other critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have been up in arms over Ankara’s brutal violations of human and civil rights, its attempt to establish a presidential dictatorship and its arbitrary incarceration of citizens of foreign countries. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that her objective was to prevent Turkey from “becoming even more alienated from us,” which is why we must persist in our cooperation. Since some time, government advisors in Germany’s capital have been warning that Ankara is seriously considering joining the Chinese-Russian Alliance (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – SCO), and that, within the Turkish establishment, voices calling for Turkey to leave NATO are growing louder. That would be a serious setback for Berlin’s ambitions to become a world power, which for geostrategic reasons, is dependent on its cooperation with Ankara. Continue reading

Russia Launched Modernization of its Naval Facility in Syria’s Tartus

FILE PHOTO

 

Russia has started a “practical part” of its modernization program for the naval maintenance facility in Syria’s Tartus, Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Russian Federation Council’s defense committee announced. Continue reading

Iran sending troops, ammunition to Syria and Yemen battlefields via civilian flights

Iran ships large amounts of ammunition in the cargo holds of Mahan Air flights, an IRGC official said.

 

The Iranian troops ride in the rear of the planes and exit via a rear door “separate from the regular passengers,” an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) official told the anti-government “Amed News” website.

Teheran is also using the civilian flights to transfer wounded and dead soldiers, the official said. Continue reading

‘If Erdogan Starts Confronting Moscow It Will Bury Turkey’

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C-L) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) enter a hall to start their meeting with Russian and Turkish entrepreneurs in Konstantinovsky Palace outside Saint Petersburg on August 9, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C-L) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) enter a hall to start their meeting with Russian and Turkish entrepreneurs in Konstantinovsky Palace outside Saint Petersburg on August 9, 2016 [© AFP 2017/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV]

Ahead of the upcoming meeting between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, which is set to start later on Friday in Moscow, political analysts from both countries have indicated certain hidden hazards which might hinder the negotiations.

Earlier on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that President Putin, among others, plans to discuss the conflict settlement process in Syria and Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov’s assassination in talks with Erdogan. Continue reading

Netanyahu: Iran seeks to build naval base in NW Syria

Speaking to reporters while flying home after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that he had told Putin that Iran wants to build a naval base in Syria. According to the prime minister, the Russian leader understood the message that Israel wants to send. Continue reading