Vladimir Putin is following in the footsteps of his old KGB boss Yuri Andropov, who took the Soviet Union into Afghanistan in 1979 to shore up a failing client in Kabul. To succeed where Andropov failed, Putin will need to devote considerable resources and manpower to save Bashar al-Assad. But there are also significant differences in the challenges the two faced that favor Putin. Saudi Arabia will be his constant enemy, just as it was Andropov’s.
In the fall of 1979, Andropov was the principal advocate in the Kremlin of a Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan to keep the communist Afghan government in power. The Marxist Afghan party was rapidly losing control of the country to the mujahedeen, and KGB chief Andropov warned defeat in Afghanistan would destabilize all of Soviet Central Asia. Andropov convinced an ailing Leonid Brezhnev that it would be an easy and cheap victory. In 1956, Andropov had been the Soviet ambassador in Hungary who called for Soviet intervention there, which had kept Budapest in the Warsaw Pact. Continue reading
Complaints nuke deal must demand Tehran change conduct ignore long history of arms control accords with Cold War enemy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Critics of the Iran nuclear deal claim it is flawed, among many reasons, because it does not demand that Tehran also change its behavior at home and abroad. That complaint ignores the United States’ long history of striking arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, a far more dangerous enemy.
Dating as far back as the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963 — less than a year after the Cuban missile crisis — US administrations engaged the Soviet Union in agreements to limit nuclear threats while not linking deals to abhorrent Soviet human rights abuses and the active arming and funding of leftist, anti-American revolutionary movements around the world. Continue reading
The commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday.
Militia chief Mohammad Reza Naqdi also threatened Saudi Arabia, saying that the offensive it is leading in Yemen “will have a fate like the fate of Saddam Hussein.” Continue reading
Promises ‘the annihilation of the Zionist regime’
Iranian military leaders say that they have begun weapons deliveries to Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank and elsewhere in the region after months of promising increased military support for Israel’s enemies, according to regional reports.
A top Iranian military commander confirmed that weapon shipments to the West Bank have already begun and that more will be sent to other “Palestinian resistance groups.”
“Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region,” Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of Iran’s volunteer Basij force told the state-run Fars News Agency on Wednesday. Continue reading
Much publicity is being given to the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. As to the strength of commitment to and the true nature of the drawdown, we shall have to wait to see what U.S. plan will emerge in the wake of the recent U.S. presidential elections.
Enter Germany. Continue reading