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

Armed and Dangerous — Saudi Arabia buying South African armed drone

Saudi Arabia is buying an armed drone from South Africa after the Obama administration declined to sell the oil-rich kingdom U.S. Predator or Reaper missile-firing unmanned aircraft.

The state-owned South African company Denel Dynamics is working covertly with the Saudis to develop the Seeker 400 drone into an armed combat system for the Saudi military, the Paris-based newsletter Intelligence Online reported March 27.

The Seeker 400 is an advanced version of the company’s Seeker II unarmed surveillance aircraft. Continue reading

Fighting Words

Iranian defense minister threatens to destroy Israel

Iran’s defense minister said on Thursday that the regime’s forces are now capable of destroying Israel and fulfilling its president’s pledge to wipe the country off the map.

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, the defense chief, dismissed Israeli threats to attack Iran’s nuclear sites as a “bluff” during a meeting with reporters.

“The defense capability of the Islamic Iran against threats by the Zionist regime [Israel] has been developed to an extent that will wipe the [Israeli] regime off the scene,” Vahidi was quoted as saying during a visit to a Tehran mosque Sept. 19, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Vahidi said Iran would display new military equipment in the coming week including armored vehicles and naval and air weapons.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps announced recently that they plan to hold large-scale military exercises near Tehran together with the Iranian military. The maneuvers are set to begin Oct. 11.

Iran has threatened to target Israel in response to an Israeli strike and also to target 32 U.S. military bases in the region. Tehran also has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Iran announced Sept. 9 that it plans to show off a new advance cruise missile with a range of 1,242 miles.

“The Meshkat cruise missile, which God willing, will be unveiled soon, has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) and in fact is the long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces,” Deputy Defense Minister and head of the ministry’s Aerospace Organization Mehdi Farahi told Fars news agency.

The new system would be part of other cruise missiles Iran has such as the Zafar, Nasir, Noor, Qadir, and Ghadir, Farahi said.

“So far, we have 14 types of cruise missiles either built or being developed and, God willing, the two cruise missiles of Ra’d and Meshkat will be unveiled soon,” Farahi said, adding that the missile can be fired from land, sea, or air.

Iran also has several types of medium-range missiles called Shehab, based on the North Korean Nodong missile.

“We are no longer concerned about quantity and have turned our attention to quality production and issues such as increasing accuracy, radar evading systems, tactical issues, and durability,” Farahi said of Iran’s missiles.

In a related development, an Iranian nuclear official said this week that Tehran has been supplying false information to foreign intelligence services.

Fereydun Abbasi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told the Arabic newspaper Al-Hyat Sept. 21 that the disinformation was supplied to Britain’s MI-6.

“Sometimes we gave the wrong information to protect our nuclear centers and our achievement,” Abbasi was quoted as saying. “Misleading foreign espionage apparatuses is inevitable.”

“Sometimes we show weaknesses which we do not possess and other times we claim to have powers which we do not have,” he said.

The comments raise questions about whether the U.S. intelligence community was fed false information about Iran’s nuclear program that influenced the conclusion of a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that stated Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

The International Atomic Energy Agency stated in a recent report that it has obtained evidence that Iran’s nuclear arms work continued after 2003.

Iran in recent days has boasted of several new weapons systems, including new air defense missiles

On Sept. 16, Iranian state-run press announced the production of a new unmanned aerial vehicle, the Shahed-129, which is capable of 24-hour combat and reconnaissance missions. The drone is said to be equipped with Sadid missiles that can hit targets from long distances.

IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said on state media that the “Shahed 129 drone presents the IRGC’s latest advancement in this field. With its 24-hour-long non-stop flight capability, the drone can accomplish good missions in reconnaissance and combat fields.”

Full article: Fighting Words (Washington Free Beacon)