China and India sail into choppy waters in New Great Game

Looking out at the port of Chabahar. Photo: Reuters / Raheb Homavandi

 

This shadow play is a heady vortex, churning with power projections, spheres of influence, security and commerce

The New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will weave and interconnect six major economic corridors. At 12,000 kilometers, the Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor is a rail network from eastern China to western Europe via Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.

Then there is the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, while the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor runs from Xinjiang to Istanbul. Nine new road links in the Greater Mekong help make up the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor. Continue reading

Trump Announces New “Strategy” on Iran. U.S. Designates IRGC as Terrorist Group

IRGC members

 

US President Donald Trump has approved a new strategy for Iran. The strategy promises that the US “will deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon”.

The plan focuses on neutralizing the Iran’s Government influence and constraining its “aggression” in the region, among other things by cutting funding to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Continue reading

Iran on Pathway to Fully Restart Nuclear Weapons Program

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits among senior army staff / Getty Images

 

Top lawmakers urge Trump not to leave deal

Iran is on the pathway to fully restarting its contested nuclear weapons program due to insufficient international inspections of its military sites and caveats in the landmark nuclear deal that permit it to reengage in nuclear enrichment work within the next several years, according to experts who testified Wednesday before Congress. Continue reading

IRGC Deputy Commander Salami to the U.S.: A War in the Persian Gulf Will Not Be Limited to the Region and It Will Be Impossible To Control Its Escalation

Please see the source for the video.

 

IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami warned the U.S. that a war in the Persian Gulf would threaten the security of the energy routes and would jeopardize global trade in the region. This would have a “political domino effect,” said Salami, “gobbling up” the regimes in the Middle East that are dependent upon America. Salami, who was speaking in an interview on Iranian TV’s Channel 1 on August 12, further said that the U.S. is avoiding war because of its consequences and is responding to Iranian vessels in the Gulf with panic. Salami mocked the American talk about inspection of Iranian military facilities, saying that this is “one wish that will be taken by its bearers to the grave.” Iran, he said, has so many missiles that they have no space to store them. Continue reading

Iran Sending Warships to Atlantic Ocean Amid Massive New Military Buildup

Iranian military ship and light replenishment ship are seen docked for refueling / Getty Images

 

Iran boosts war spending by $500 million after U.S. issues sanctions

Iran is preparing to send a flotilla of warships to the Atlantic Ocean following the announcement of a massive $500 million investment in war spending, according to Iranian leaders, who say the military moves are in response to recent efforts by the United States to impose a package of new economic sanctions on Tehran. Continue reading

“Pushing Back” Iran

 

On both the left and the right, there is a consensus in Washington that the United States needs to “push back” against the Islamic Republic’s nefarious actions in the Levant, Iraq, and Yemen. The clerical regime largely controls the ground war in Syria: Tehran’s foreign Shiite militias, imported from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and Iranian-directed native forces lead the battle against the Sunni insurrection. In Iraq, the Islamic Republic has energetically encouraged sectarian conflict, aiding politicians and militias that have taken a hardline toward political compromise with Sunnis. Iraqi members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have become senior officials in the government. And in Yemen, Iran has backed the Shiite Houthis in their campaign to dominate the country. What once would have seemed far-fetched—Tehran trying to develop a Lebanese Hezbollah-like movement among Yemen’s “Fiver” Zaydi Shiites, who have never been close to the “Twelver” Jafaris of Iran—is now conceivable. If such Shiite militancy becomes anchored in the south of the peninsula, Tehran will surely try to aim it northward toward the badly oppressed Shiites of Bahrain and the oil-rich Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

U.S. Navy Fires Warning Shots Toward Iranian Ship During ‘Tense Encounter’

Iranian Revolutionary Guard / Getty Images

 

A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots toward an Iranian naval ship during a “tense encounter” in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, according to an American defense official.

The U.S. Cyclone-class patrol ship, the USS Thunderbolt, was at the time involved in an exercise with American and partner vessels in the Persian Gulf, the Associated Press reported. Continue reading

Iran, China Conduct Joint Naval Drills

Last summer, when the Syrian conflict was near its peak under the Obama administration, China unexpectedly warned it was ready to enter the proxy war when in a stunning announcement, Xinhua reported that Beijing was prepared to side with Syria and Russia, against the US-led alliance, and that Xi and Assad had agreed that the Chinese military will have closer ties with Syria and provide humanitarian aid to the civil war torn nation.

A high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer also said that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed: the Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua added. Guan said China had consistently played a positive role in pushing for a political resolution in Syria. “China and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria’s military,” Xinhua quoted Guan. Continue reading

Increasing Power at the Gulf

BERLIN/KUWAIT CITY (Own report) – Berlin is considering deploying German fighter jets in Kuwait to systematically expand its foothold in this Middle East Emirate. It is not yet clear, whether the Bundeswehr’s Tornados, currently participating in the anti-IS war, will be removed from Incirlik Air Base or where they may otherwise be stationed. The Kingdom of Jordan or the British colony on Cyprus (Akrotiri and Dhekelia) may be alternatives. Kuwait is also an option, given the fact that the German government has been intensifying its cooperation with the Emirate for quite some time – not only economically but also with arms deliveries. Increasing the German military presence in Kuwait would raise German-Kuwaiti relations to new heights. The Bundeswehr would also gain another foothold directly at the Persian Gulf. So far, particularly the US, British and French armed forces have a presence in that region. Continue reading

Iran Using U.S. Cash to Fund Unprecedented, Massive Military Buildup

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / Getty Images

 

Tehran seeks to completely overhaul, revamp military might to counter U.S.

Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.

Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports. Continue reading

Boeing Reps Meet With Iranian Terror Leader Who Threatened to ‘Destroy’ U.S. Forces

Photo via @mdubowitz Twitter

 

Aerospace giant moves forward with contested deal to sell planes to Iranian regime

Leaders from Boeing reportedly traveled to Tehran recently to meet and sign a deal with a top former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) member who threatened to blow up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, raising new questions about the U.S. aerospace company’s continued efforts to ink multi-billion dollar deals with the Iranian regime.

Representatives from Boeing traveled to Iran last month to meet with Hossein Alaei, CEO of Aseman Airlines, which is owned and controlled by the state. Boeing is moving forward with a $3 billion dollar deal to sell new planes to Aseman despite fierce opposition on Capitol Hill and direct evidence Iran has used commercial aircraft to ferry weapons and fighters across the region. Continue reading

Iranian ‘attack craft’ approaches US Navy destroyer in Persian Gulf

The USS Mahan destroyer, seen in September 2002 (Public Domain/Photographer’s Mate Airman Rex Nelson, US Navy/Wikipedia)

 

An Iranian “fast attack craft” approached a US Navy destroyer Monday in the Persian Golf [sic], prompting the American vessel to change course and fire warning flares. 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

Saudis’ upcoming trip to China sends strong signal to US

© Getty Images

 

King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia is leading an entourage, including 25 senior princes and 10 ministers, to China later this month, part of a month-long tour of the Asia-Pacific, as the kingdom is seeking to hedge against an unpredictable and divided White House.

While it yearns for a renewed American role in the Middle East and reassurances from President Trump that Riyadh remains an ally, Saudi Arabia now faces a period of uncertainty due to the unpredictability of Trump’s foreign policy stance. That reason alone could explain why a trip to Beijing was planned before a trip to Washington.

Despite its efforts at economic diversification, Saudi Arabia will remain dependent on oil exports for a long time, and China provides the kingdom with a stable market for its energy exports for decades to come. Continue reading

Nuclear missiles tested in IRAN despite tough talking from Trump administration

Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan said nuclear missile tests were successful [Getty]

 

NUCLEAR MISSILE tests have been successfully carried out in Iran, according to the country’s defence minister.

The Iranian Navy test-fired its Nasr sea-launched cruise missile, Hossein Dehghan said.

Firing at set targets the Navy carried out its war games in the Perisan Gulf – in an area covering 2 million sq km. Continue reading