Radical Iran-led Axis Confronted with U.S. Deterrence for First Time

The conflict in Syria has long ceased being a civil war, becoming instead a clash between coalitions and blocs that divide the entire Middle East.

The Iranian-led axis is the most dangerous and highly armed bloc fighting in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not an independent actor, but rather, a component of this wider axis. In many respects, Assad is a junior member of the Iranian coalition set up to fight for him.

Feeling confident by its growing control of Syria, Iran also uses its regional coalition to arm, finance, and deploy Shi’ite jihadist agents all over the Middle East, and to attack those who stand in the way of Iranian domination.

The Iranian-led axis has been able to spread violence, terrorism, and Islamic militancy without facing repercussions. Continue reading

Railway line to connect Iran to Mediterranean Sea through Iraqi, Syrian Kurdistan: Rouhani

This is less about business & economics as it’s more about Iran’s Middle East hegemonic grab. This railway, while serving economic purposes, will also serve military ones. They will now be able to supply efficient logistical support to the Iranian military in the Mediterranean. This is a a road to war under construction and a direct threat on Europe’s doorstep.

 

An Iranian train. Photo: Tansim

 

SNE, Iranian Kurdistan— An extended railway construction is underway to connect Iran to the Syrian west coast on the Mediterranean Sea, crossing the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who visited Kurdish provincial capital of Sanandaj in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat) Saturday as part of his reelection campaign.

Rouhani described the construction of Tehran-Sanandaj railway as one of “the most important infrastructure projects” in the country and added that it would create many job opportunities. 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

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

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

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

Iran Won’t Stop Till It Reaches Jerusalem

Caption: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Tehran prior to Iran’s parliamentary elections on Jan. 20, 2016. ( Pool / Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

 

In a world where leaders rarely say what they mean, Iran’s supreme leader says exactly what’s on his mind.

ERUSALEM—It can be easy to allow the frequent Iranian diatribes against Israel to become cliché. Especially when headlines such as “Iran’s Supreme Leader Backs Holy Intifada to Destroy ‘Cancer’ Israel” or “Israel Is a ‘Cancerous Tumor,’ ‘Fake Nation’” appear so regularly in the news, as they did this week. This type of rhetoric from the Iranian regime has been used so often and for so long that we might be lulled into believing they are mere words. After all, after years of such hateful threats, Israel still exists.

However, every so often, it’s good to remember: This is not just rhetoric: the Iranians really do believe what they say. This is not mere hyperbole; the regime does believe in the destruction of the Jewish state. It really does believe that Israel is a cancerous tumor that it must literally remove from the Middle East. It really does believe that Israel needs to be wiped off the map. The only reason this has not happened already is not because Tehran lacks the will, it only lacks the means. Continue reading

Iran & Russia Agree on Joint Production of Nuclear Fuel

Photo: RIA Novosti / A. Solomonov

 

The Iranian and Russian authorities have agreed on joint production of nuclear fuel, the ISNA news agency reported, citing Vice President of the republic and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi.

He also noted Teheran managed to agree on consultations with the Russian side. “Thus, after the long and intensive negotiations, which have been lasting more than two years, our understanding resulted in a roadmap,” the head of the AEOI said, keeping in mind the visit of his deputy Behrouz Kamalvandi to Moscow in late January. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia says it’s ‘Ready to Send Ground Troops’ to Syria

[Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP]

 

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has said the kingdom is ready to send ground troops to Syria to “fight ISIS” following the meeting between US Senator John McCain and the Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The Saudi foreign minister said Saudi forces could battle ISIS alongside US special forces in Syria, Süddeutsche Zeitung repoted on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia is a long-term supporter of various radical jihadi groups, including Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), opposing the Syrian government.

Any involvement of Saudi forces in the conflict in Syria will clearly lead to the escalation of the war. Continue reading

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Israel Is a ‘Cancerous Tumor,’ ‘Fake Nation’

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei / AP

 

Iran’s supreme leader on Tuesday delivered some of his harshest remarks to date against Israel, describing the Jewish state as a “fake nation” in a “dirty chapter” of history.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a pro-Palestinian gathering in Tehran that Israel is a “cancerous tumor” that requires a step by step” treatment, according to the Associated Press.

The creation of Israel is “one of the dirty chapters of history that will be closed, with the grace of God,” Khamenei said, arguing that the Jewish state was formed by bringing Jews from around the world to the Middle East to settle Palestinian land–a process that he described as replacing the region’s “true entity.” Continue reading

DEBKA Exclusive: Iranians, Palestinians meet secretly in Brussels

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report explusively on Wednesday that Iran and the Palestinian Authority held secret talks in the Belgian capital. The Iranian delegation was made up entirely of officials representing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the sources said. Continue reading

Russia, Iran Supporting Taliban to ‘Undermine’ U.S. Mission in Afghanistan

Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan / AP

 

Moscow working to ‘publicly legitimize’ Taliban

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday that Russia and Iran are supporting the Taliban in part to undermine the U.S. and NATO mission to attain peace and stability in the nation.

Army Gen. John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran is providing the Taliban in western Afghanistan with military and logistical support. Continue reading

Iran and Ireland broaden aviation cooperation

Iran’s Aviation Organization signed the first ever contract with Ireland on expansion of aviation cooperation such as observing flight operation, continued flight eligibility, issuance of technical aid, repair and maintenance. Continue reading

US mulls naming Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organization

A number of US intelligence and security services are considering recommending the Trump administration to place the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the US list of terrorist organizations, Reuters quoted senior White House officials as saying. Such a step would help impose additional sanctions on Tehran but complicate US military operations in Iraq where the IRGC is arming and training Iraqi Shiite militias to fight the Islamic State organization. Continue reading