The Sectarian Divide in the Middle East

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July 7, 2017 Transnational issues like religion and ethnicity have long bedeviled the countries of the modern Middle East. Major Arab states like Egypt, Syria and Iraq began to flirt with pan-Arabism – a secular, left-leaning ideology that sought political unity of the Arab world – not long after they were founded. Continue reading

Iran official urges pressure on Turkey over dams

The centerpiece of Turkey's GAP is the Atatürk Dam which is one of the largest in the world.

The centerpiece of Turkey’s GAP is the Atatürk Dam which is one of the largest in the world.

 

An Iranian official has urged active diplomacy with Turkey towards tackling the problem of dust storms, which chronically blight regional states as a result of Ankara’s massive dam building projects.

As part of its Southeastern Anatolia Project known as GAP, Turkey has built 22 dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which also run across Syria, Iraq and Iran. Continue reading

New US base in S. Syria for tussle over control

 

In readiness for a prospective showdown for control of southeast Syria, US Special Forces have set up a forward base at Al-Zukf in the Syrian Desert, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report. The location is 70km northwest of the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle and the Al Tanf crossing, which is controlled by US, Western allied and Jordanian special forces, together with a US-trained Syrian rebel unit, which calls itself the Revolutionary Commando. Continue reading

Iranian Uranian Enrichment Streamlines Path to Nukes

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. Leader.ir/Handout via REUTERS

 

According to nuclear verification experts Iran’s streamlining of uranium enrichment could greatly expand their ability to reach nuclear weapons status

(VERO BEACH, FL) In a new report released on May 30th by the Institute For Science and International Security titled “Is Iran Mass Producing Advanced Gas Centrifuge Components?” authors David Albright and Olli Heinonen noted that Tehran’s recent announcement that they now mass produce advanced nuclear centrifuges capable of more quickly enriching uranium “would greatly expand Iran’s ability to sneak-out or breakout to nuclear weapons capability.” Continue reading

U.S. lawmakers say Iran eyes military base near Syria-Israel border

Iran military leaders. Teheran wants to establish a military base in Syria near the Jordan or Israel border, U.S. lawmakers said. / Fars via AFP

 

Iran is looking to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and is eyeing a potential base near the Syrian border with Israel or Jordan, two U.S. lawmakers said.

“A permanent Iranian military base in Syria … would increase Iran’s operational capacity to inflict serious damage against two of our closest allies in the region,” Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, and Rep. Ted Deutch, Florida Democrat, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The lawmakers’ warning comes as a Senate panel on May 25 approved new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s support for international terrorism and its ballistic missile program, the first move to punish Teheran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord went into effect. Continue reading

Iran Signs Oil For Goods Deal With Russia: Breaks Free Of Petrodollar

Refinery

 

Iran signed an agreement with Russia under which it has broken free from the petrodollar, and will “sell”, or rather barter crude oil to Russia in exchange for products. The announcement was made by Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, as reported by Russia’s RIA and TASS news agencies.

“The deal has been concluded. We are just waiting for the implementation from the Russian side. We have no difficulties; we signed the contract, everything is coordinated between the parties. We are waiting for Russian oil companies to send tankers,” he said, as quoted by Russian news agencies. While sanctions against Iran have been lifted, restrictions on trade in US dollars for the country’s banks remain, making it difficult to sell oil on the open market. Continue reading

Iranian President: ‘We Need Missiles’ to Confront Trump Admin, Enemies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / Getty Image

 

Recently re-elected Rouhani takes aim at Trump administration as Congress passes new sanctions

Recently re-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at the Trump administration this week, describing it as ignorant and saying that Iran “needs missiles” to confront the United States and its allies, according to recent remarks certain to rile leaders in Washington, D.C.

Just days after President Donald Trump blasted the Islamic Republic for its illicit ballistic missile program and support of terrorism in the Middle East, Rouhani confirmed that Iran would not cease its missile activity, despite repeated calls by U.S. officials. Continue reading

Iran builds THIRD underground ballistic missile factory as tensions with US peak

Iran

A senior military commander also confirmed the state will continue developing its missile programme [GETTY]

 

IRAN has built a third underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep developing its missile programme, the government said.

The shocking report came from the semi-official Fars news agency who quoted a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard.

Fars quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, as saying: ”Iran’s third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years… We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully.” Continue reading

US-Saudi arms mega deal looks to counter Iran

 

Washington has announced a bumper arms deal with Saudi Arabia, heralding the package as a major boost to long-standing security ties and a way to further isolate Iran.

Administration officials claim the agreement — worth $110 billion over the next decade — is the biggest single arms deal in American history, and it will see US defense firms flow everything from ships and tanks to the latest anti-missile systems to the kingdom.

The deal also reportedly includes the renewed sale of precision-guided munitions that had been blocked under president Barack Obama’s administration, for fear the Saudis would use them on civilian targets in Yemen, where Riyadh is prosecuting a war against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels. Continue reading

Iran shrugs off Trump threats, missile tests to carry on

Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani ridiculed US strategy in the Middle East, dismissing Donald Trump’s summit with Arab leaders as “just a show” and insisting that missile tests will continue.

“Our missiles are for our defence and for peace, they are not offensive. Know that while there is a technical need to conduct missile tests, we will do so and we will ask the permission of no one,” Rouhani told reporters in Tehran.

His comments followed fierce critism from the US president during visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Continue reading

Iraqi officers land in Syria, stir Israeli concern

Iraq switching sides to the Iranian-Syrian-Russian axis is now official:

 

Israeli security chiefs were gravely concerned Wednesday, May 17, when they learned that a high-ranking Iraqi military delegation had arrived in Damascus, the first in decades during which the Iraqi and Syrian ruling regimes were at odds, for a discussion on the situation unfolding on the Syrian-Iraqi border – in particular the Al-Tanf crossing.

DEBKAfile’s military sources reported on May 15 and May 16 on the potential for a clash of arms over this strategic crossing, which is situated at the intersection of the Jordanian, Iraq, and Syrian borders and commands the No.1 Route linking Baghdad with Damascus and the Jordanian capital of Amman. Continue reading

US, UK, Jordanian forces enter S. Syria

 

US special forces, together with British and Jordanian elite troops, moved into southern Syria late Sunday, May 14. They were acting to counter the Syrian-Iranian scheme to nullify the American plan for posting Jordanian forces in southeastern Syria, which timed for the days before US President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East.

The US-led armored force with British and Jordanian units crossed from northern Jordan through the Tanf Border-Crossing between the Hashemite Kingdom, Iraq and Syria, and took up positions capable of consolidating their control of the main road between Palmyra and Baghdad. Some of their moves were coordinated with Israel. Continue reading

Iran to Launch Two New Satellites, Likely Cover for Illicit ICBM Program

As warned about as early as 2012:

Iran launches observation satellite: media

 

A picture taken in 2010 shows the test firing at an undisclosed location in Iran of a surface-to-surface Qiam missile / Getty Images

 

Trump admin moving closer to confronting the Iranian threat

Iran is preparing to launch two new domestic satellites into space, according to a new announcement by Iranian military leaders that is stirring discussion among U.S. national security insiders who say the move is likely cover for the test firing of advanced intercontinental ballistic missile technology that could be used as part of Iran’s nuclear program.

The latest test comes as the Trump administration continues to engage in a comprehensive review of the Iran nuclear agreement that U.S. officials tell the Washington Free Beacon will result in a full-scale plan to “meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction.” Continue reading

Iran threatens Saudi Arabia

Hossein Dehqan (Reuters)

 

Iran’s defense minister threatens to leave no part of Saudi Arabia untouched if Riyadh “does anything ignorant”.

Iran’s defense minister threatened Saudi Arabia on Sunday, days after a Saudi prince ruled out dialogue with Tehran and said he would protect his kingdom from what he called Iranian efforts to dominate the Muslim world.

“If the Saudis do anything ignorant, we will leave no area untouched except Mecca and Medina,” Dehqan said, according to the report, in comments made to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV. Continue reading

Iran’s Nukes: ‘Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me. Fool Me Thrice…’

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry famously said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” But in discussing Iran’s nuclear weapons program, we need to ask what it says about subsequent American governments that they have been continually fooled by Tehran’s mullahs in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Last week, we learned that the Iranians are fooling us again.

As an irresponsible media fails to educate Americans on a threat that not only will become a reality in our lifetime, but menace our children during theirs, the place to start for the most naïve among us is by asking: Should it really matter whether Tehran becomes the tenth member of the nuclear arms club? Continue reading