Syrian/Hizballah may call up Russian air strikes as cooperation deepens

 

Russian air crews in Syria are under new orders to respond directly and immediately to Iranian and Syrian demands for air bombardments, without confirmation from the high commands in Latakia or Moscow.

This has enormously empowered Syrian and Hizballah officers on the ground for taking the war into their own hands. It led directly to Russian planes suddenly bombing a pro-US Syrian force in the Deir ez-Zour province of eastern Syria on Saturday, Sept. 16, and accounts for Moscow’s repudiation of the attack after its confirmation by the Pentagon. Continue reading

Iran/Hizballah noose tightens around Israel

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, challenged the international community to hold Iran to account on Thursday, Aug. 31, after the Islamic Republic showed its “true colors” by restoring its ties with the Palestinian extremist Hamas. In her statement, she described as “stunning” the Hamas leader’s boast that Tehran is again the biggest provider of money and arms. The breach between them followed the terrorist group’s refusal to side with Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war.

“Iran must decide whether it wants to be a member of the community of nations that can be expected to take its international obligations seriously, or whether it wants to be the leader of a jihadist terrorist movement. It cannot be both,” Haley said in her statement. Continue reading

Iran Caught Shipping Soldiers to Syria on Commercial Flights in Violation of Nuclear Deal

 

Congress demands investigation, imposition of new sanctions

New photographs obtained by congressional leaders show Iran shipping militant soldiers to Syria on commercial airline flights, a move that violates the landmark nuclear agreement and has sparked calls from U.S. lawmakers for a formal investigation by the Trump administration, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Photographs published by a Washington, D.C., think-tank and provided to Congress show Iran using its flagship commercial carrier, Iran Air, to ferry militants to Syria, where they have joined the fight against U.S. forces in the region. Continue reading

Report: Satellite Images Reveal Iran Building Missile Factory in Syria

Satellite images purportedly showing structure in Syria said to be a missile factory. Credit: GoogleEarth, DigitalGlobe

 

Report based on images from Israeli satellite seem to reveal Scud missile factory identical to one seen in Iran

An Israeli television report said on Tuesday that Iran is building a facility in northwest Syria to manufacture long-range rockets, and showed satellite images it said were of the site under construction.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned last week that Iran was strengthening its foothold in its ally Syria as Islamic State fighters were being displaced, and said Israel was watching developments and would act against any threat.  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

The Sectarian Divide in the Middle East

(click to enlarge)

 

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