Nuclear ruse: Posing as toymaker, Chinese merchant allegedly sought U.S. technology for Iran

A brief lesson on the dangers of dual use technology:

The Chinese toymaker said he was seeking parts for a “magic horse,” a metal-framed playground pony. But the exotic, wildly expensive raw material he wanted seemed better suited for space travel than backyard play.

His shopping list, sent by e-mail to a Seattle factory, started with 20 tons of maraging steel, an ultra-strong alloy often used in rockets. The buyer didn’t flinch at the price tag — $2 million — but he repeatedly insisted on secrecy. “This material,” an associate confided in an e-mail, “are danger [sic] goods.”

Only in recent months did the full scope of the ruse become apparent. The destination for the specialty steel was not China but Iran, and the order had nothing to do with toy horses, U.S. investigators say.

“We are certain,” said a law enforcement official familiar with the case, “that the metal was meant for advanced centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear program.”

Maraging steel is a critical material in a new, highly efficient centrifuge that Iran has struggled for years to build. Barred by sanctions from buying the alloy legally, Iranian nuclear officials have sought to secretly acquire it from Western companies. In recent years, U.S. officials say, an increasing number of Chinese merchants have volunteered to help, serving as middlemen in elaborate schemes to obtain the steel and other forbidden material for Iran’s uranium enrichment plants as well as its missiles factories.

They are not just stumbling on opportunities,” said Steve Pelak, the Justice Department’s counterespionage chief. “They are professional, studied procurement agents and shippers. They know precisely what business they’re in and how to go after it.

The Seattle case is at least the fourth in the past two years in which companies based in China have been accused of helping Iran try to purchase sensitive technology. Although Iran has used Chinese go-betweens in the past, U.S. officials said sanctions have forced the isolated and besieged Iranian government to rely increasingly on China for economic help and access to restricted goods.

Khaki’s alleged plan to ship maraging steel to Iran through China was stopped, but federal officials concluded that the network delivered other nuclear-related components and tools to Tehran. Among them were corrosion-resistant nickel alloy and special lathes to manufacture centrifuge parts.

U.S. officials say the items are among several million dollars’ worth of material and parts — from missile components to electronics for roadside bombs — that have passed through China to Iran in the past five years. The flow of Western technology to Tehran is so persistent that it has emerged as an irritant in relations between Beijing and Washington, prompting the Obama administration to dispatch two delegations to Beijing since 2010 to complain.

Full article: Nuclear ruse: Posing as toymaker, Chinese merchant allegedly sought U.S. technology for Iran (Washington Post)

Islamist takeover complete: Morsi Fires Top Defense Brass

Whether you were for or against the old regime is a moot point. Any remaining stabillity has now been completely undermined and done away with. Say goodbye to 30 years of stable peace in the Arab region. It has also been reported that Egyptian tanks have now been moved to the Israeli border.

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has sacked the entire leadership of the country’s defense establishment.

Among the officials and officers fired are Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and Chief of Staff Sami Anan.

Morsi appointed Abdul-Fatah al-Sessi as Defense Minister and Lieutenant-General Sidki Sayed Ahmed as Army Chief of Staff. A judge named Mahmoud Mekki was appointed vice president. Morsi also ordered the retirement of the commanders of the navy, air defense and air force. The retired navy commander, Lieutenant-General Mohan Mameesh, was named as chairman of the Suez Canal.

Morsi also cancelled all constitutional changes that gave the military enlarged powers.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi appears to be wasting no time in consolidating his hold over power at the expense of the military, which many hoped would be a moderating power over him.

Full article: Islamist takeover complete: Morsi Fires Top Defense Brass (Arutz Sheva 7)

Iran’s nuclear program designed to ‘finish off’ Israel, Hezbollah MP says

Hezbollah MP Walid Sakariya told Lebanese television this week that the nuclear weapon Iran is allegedly developing is intended to annihilate Israel.

“This nuclear weapon is intended to create a balance of terror with Israel, to finish off the Zionist enterprise, and to end all Israeli aggression against the Arab nation,” Sakariya said.

Full article: Iran’s nuclear program designed to ‘finish off’ Israel, Hezbollah MP says (Times of Israel)

Saudis Obtaining Pakistani Nukes?

These links [1, 2] discuss the probability that Saudi Arabia may soon be taking delivery of Pakistani nuclear warheads to put in the Saudi military inventory, making Saudi Arabia an instant nuclear power. I have addressed this possibility in previous posts, but it looks like this may become a reality very soon. Obviously, Saudi Arabia wants the ability to become a nuclear power immediately if Iran becomes a nuclear power. Since Saudi Arabia reportedly financed much of the development of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program, the Saudis likely have a right to obtain a certain number of the Pakistani warheads for themselves when the situation warrants.

There are those who doubt that this arrangement exists, but the reported fact that “at least two giant Saudi transport planes…are parked permanently at Kamra [Pakistan’s nuclear air base]” gives strong credibility to the report that the Saudis are ready to receive an unknown number of Pakistani nuclear weapons at a moment’s notice if Iran’s nuclear program indicates it has reached the ability to produce nuclear weapons. Why else would Saudi transport planes be parked regularly at Pakistan’s nuclear weapon-equipped airbase? At the very least, the Saudis want to have as many nukes as Iran. It is also not impossible that Saudi Arabia so fears a nuclear-armed Iran that it would take delivery of the Pakistani nukes to perform a pre-emptive strike on the Iranian bomb facilities. Saudi Arabia is the guardian of Mecca of Medina and sees itself as the leader of the Sunni Islamic peoples. Iran is the leader of the Shiite Islamic people.

This report indicates that it is not only the Israelis and Americans that might be considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities. Sunni Arab Saudi Arabia has no intention of ever being dominated by the Shiite Persians. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are both Sunni Islamic nations.

Finally, remember the old adage: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That has historically been a truism in Mideast politics. Iran is the growing enemy of both Israel and Saudi Arabia, so the Iranian nuclear program is pushing the Israelis and Saudis together as friends of necessity in this matter…whether they expected this to happen or not.

Full article: Saudis Obtaining Pakistani Nukes? (Steven Mcollins)

U.S. intel: Iran developing anti-ship missiles with China’s help

The U.S. intelligence community has determined that the Iran Navy has
enhanced its missile arsenal over the last few years. In a report, the
community said Iran’s missiles, particularly its anti-ship weapons, were
increasing in range and accuracy.

The report, submitted by the Defense Department to Congress, was said to reflect a change in the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community. Until 2012, most of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies had dismissed Iran’s missile arsenal as inaccurate and ineffective against enemy military targets.

Signed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on June 29, the report said the Iran Navy was developing its anti-ship cruise missile capability. The capability was meant to allow the firing of missiles that could identify and loiter over targets before a strike.

“It is also developing and claims to have deployed short-range ballistic
missiles with seekers that enable the missile to identify and maneuver
toward ships during flight,” the report said. “This technology also may be
capable of striking land-based targets.”

China was said to have played a major role in enhancing Iran’s anti-ship
missile arsenal. The report cited similarities in Iranian and Chinese
anti-ship programs.

“Iran may be technically capable of flight testing an intercontinental
ballistic missile by 2015,” the report said.

Full article: U.S. intel: Iran developing anti-ship missiles with China’s help (World Tribune)

Big Russian fleet nears Syria. Iran to fight regime change as foreign forces pile up

Russian, Western and Arab forces were piling up on Syrian borders Wednesday, July 25, bringing closer a war confrontation which could spur the Assad regime into making good on its threat to use chemical weapons against “external aggression.”

Based on this reading, Moscow added its voice Tuesday to that of US President Obama and warned Bashar Assad against using chemical weapons in view of “its commitments under the international convention it ratified prohibiting the use of poisonous gases as a method of warfare.”

debkafile’s military sources: With operational intelligence deployment and electronic stations positioned inside Syria, the Russians are better placed than any other outsiders to know what is happening on Syria’s battlefields.

Their warning must therefore be tied to solid information confirming Washington’s assessment that Assad is dangerously close to deciding to use his chemical and biological weapons in a way that would precipitate a regional conflict.

Israel, Turkey and Jordan would be the first targets on his list.

The immediacy of the peril, debkafile’s military sources report, has speeded the arrival of Russian warships to Syria to counter a potential Western, Arab or Israeli assault on the embattled country.

The Russian Ministry of Defense, which rarely discloses Russian military movements outside its borders, announced early Wednesday morning, July 25 that a fleet of Russian warships had passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean.

The fleet is headed by the anti-submarine and anti-aircraft Admiral Chabanenko warship and consists of another three vessels carrying a large number of Russian marines. This fleet will rendezvous with a Russian flotilla standing by in the Mediterranean since July 21, detached from Russian Black Fleet and composed of the Smetlivy figate and  two large landing craft loaded with Russian marines. This group awaited the main force before approaching Syria.

The fact that Russia is massing large numbers of marines off the Syrian coast looks as though a landing on Syrian soil is on Moscow’s cards.

The Russian marine contingent,  debkafile’s sources say, will stand ready – either to come to the aid of the Assad regime or to serve as a bargaining chip for a last-minute deal between Moscow and Washington for ending the war by establishing a transitional military regime in Damascus whose makeup would be agreed between them and Assad.

Deputy Iranian Revolutionary GuardUS President Obama chief, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, warned on Tuesday, July 24, that Tehran would not permit regime change in Damascus and if Syria’s enemies intervened, Iran would hit them hard. The Iranian commander pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia and Qatar, adding that the US and Israel are at the forefront of the comprehensive campaign against Syria but are being beaten back.

This was the first time Tehran had explicitly threatened military intervention in Syria.

Wednesday, Turkey shut its border crossings to Syria. Military sources in Ankara confirmed that massive Turkish military strength had been on the move toward the Syrian border.

Full article: Big Russian fleet nears Syria. Iran to fight regime change as foreign forces pile up (DEBKAfile)

Iran Commander: Navy Ships to Deploy in Atlantic Soon

Iranian naval commander Habibullah Sayyari announced on Monday that Navy ships will be deployed in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the near future.

“The powerful presence of Iranian Navy in the high seas has proven the Islamic Republic’s [naval] might,” Sayyari said.

We have proved through continued presence of our vessels in free waters that we are capable of showing the country’s might in the international arenas, he added.

“Taking advantage of [available] potentialities in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean is among the most important ways of promoting sustainable development of the country,” the commander noted.

Full article: Iran Commander: Navy Ships to Deploy in Atlantic Soon (Al-Manar)

Report: Assad Transferred Chemical Weapons to Airports

Day by day, step by step, Isaiah 17:1 is slowly coming to pass:

Opposition forces in Syria reported, Tuesday, that the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad transferred some of its chemical-weapons arsenal and equipment for mixing its chemical components to airports in border areas, according to Agence France Presse.

A statement from the Free Syrian Army said, “We in the joint command of the Free Syrian Army inside the country know very well the locations and positions of these weapons.” The statement continued, “According to our information, the regime began moving its stocks of weapons of mass destruction several months ago…with the goal of putting pressure on the region and the international community.” The group said it was impossible to believe that the Damascus government would use the weapons against Israel.

Full article: Report: Assad Transferred Chemical Weapons to Airports (Arutz Sheva)

Anti-Israel attacks to mount in sync with Syrian war, looming strike on Iran

The tactics Iran, Syria and Hizballah have set out for escalating their terrorist attacks on Israel differentiate between “local” and high-value “strategic” targets. They have now decided to up the assaults on the latter to keep pace with the worsening war situation in Syria and the approach of an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. This is reported by debkafile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources.

Iranian terror planners classify the blowing up of the Bulgarian bus Wednesday, July 18 as “local” notwithstanding its “success” in killing at least seven Israelis and wounding more than thirty.

Israelis have learned in the three years of Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister that expressions like “strong,” “forceful,” “determined” “we cannot tolerate” etc. mean just the opposite. Israel’s enemies also understand him to mean that he will sit tight and do nothing.

However, an escalation of attacks on Israeli “strategic targets” predicted by intelligence experts in the coming days may make this do-nothing policy untenable. After all, talking to Obama won’t deflect Iran, Syria and Hizballah from their resolve to vent their urge for revenge on Israel.

Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has often managed to stay a step or two ahead of US and Israeli thinking – especially in his propaganda campaigns – ever since he surprised Israel by launching the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

A few hours after the attacks in Bulgaria and Damascus, Nasrallah had found his tongue and was crowing:

“We know what your [Israel’s] first strike will be and we promise you a big surprise.”

His words were a warning to Israel and a message to Washington that anyone trying to reach the bunker in which he has been hiding since 2006 was in for a big surprise.

Israel was painfully reminded of the Iranian C-802 shore-to-ship missile fired from the Lebanese coast which surprised and crippled the unready INS Hanit missile ship exactly six years ago.

Full article: Anti-Israel attacks to mount in sync with Syrian war, looming strike on Iran (DEBKAfile)

Loudon’s Upcoming US Speaking Tour

For those that are interested, global political expert Trevor Loudon of the New Zeal blog will be speaking in the United States with the aim, as he puts it:

My aim is to alert Americans to the high level of communist and socialist infiltration of their government and the huge national security implications if this state of affairs is allowed to continue.

Locations include, but aren’t limited to: Washington DC, Oregon, California, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Ohio.

Mr. Loudon’s patriotic, continuious and persistent efforts to reach the public and inform them on the danger these political ideologies pose to America would make a visit entirely worthwhile.

The following video is a sample of the discussions you’re likely to hear:

Note: Global Geopolitics will never ask you for money, therefore assistance via donations to Trevor Loudon is not a requirement of this site and are purely based upon your own merit. This post serves as an informational piece.

Full article: Loudon’s Upcoming US Speaking Tour (New Zeal)

Endgame in Syria and Iran Risks War with China and Russia

Dominique de Kevelioc de Bailleul of Beacon Equity Research predicts that the coming conflict with Syria will be the trigger event that takes down the U.S. dollar. A military response to Syria and Iran would likely draw in Russia and China, he warns, and the result would be a conflagration the world has not witnessed since the Second World War.

“Cold War-like comments made at the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference in Paris by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toward Russia and China strongly suggest that a showdown between the former Cold War rivals, now to include China, is on.” he writes. “The prize: oil – and by implications the future of the U.S. petrodollar standard and the American way of life.

Though, Russia and China have already agreed to a peaceful resolution to the Syrian civil war, signing off on the Security Council plan drafted by former-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, it’s more likely that Moscow and Beijing are playing politics of cooperation to buy more time for the Assad regime. Russia and China do not want regime change in yet another Middle Eastern country for a host of economic and political reasons, of which, the primary one is to stop the U.S. from controlling the region’s oil supplies to Russia’s ally and co-founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), China.

“Syria and Iran have been targets of interest of the U.S. for quite some time, as Washington under the George W. Bush Administration had known that a day would come when the U.S. and China would bang heads for precious crude supplies in the Middle East,” writes de Kevelioc de Bailleul.

Despite the risk of finally toppling the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and destroying dominance of the petrodollar, Obama and Clinton (and, if selected, Romney and his virulent clan of neocons) are determined to push forward with an endgame involving Syria (the fifteenth largest military in the word; 325,000 active troops) and Iran (the ninth largest military at 523,000 active troops).

Either the U.S. dollar temporarily withstands an all-out war against the most formidable foes since the Germany-Japan-Italy axis of WWII, or it doesn’t,” Dominique de Kevelioc de Bailleul concludes. “But in the end, odds heavily favor an abandonment of the dollar as the world’s premier reserve currency; it’s just become too much trouble for too many nations, now. The conditioning of the U.S. population to expect a heavy-handed government continues unchecked and unchallenged by the Congress, because internally Washington knows the dollar’s days are numbered – and it could be as close as the day of next scheduled military conflict in the Middle East.

Full article: Endgame in Syria and Iran Risks War with China and Russia (Hamsayeh)

Iran’s War Games Showed Missile Accuracy

Several Iranian news websites reported on Friday that 90 percent of the missiles hit their targets and said this showed their increased accuracy.

Another achievement, the reports said, was Iran’s capability of firing multiple missiles within seconds. The reports said this would create a challenge for the U.S. or Israel to intercept incoming missiles should a war break out.

“Within 10 minutes, a considerable number of missiles were fired at a single target. The achievement, called high firing density, makes it impossible for anti-missile systems to intercept and destroy them. In the end, the target is definitely hit,” said a report on irannuc.ir.

A June 29 Pentagon report to Congress said that Iran’s military continues to improve the accuracy and killing power of its long- and short-range ballistic missiles, including designing a weapon to target vessels.

“Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads” that extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead, the report signed by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says.

Full article: Iran’s War Games Showed Missile Accuracy (Arutz Sheva 7)

Why America Should Not Have Toppled Mubarak

Apparently, President Obama has a compatriot at heart in Egypt’s new president Mohammad Morsi. Don’t like what the nation’s judges rule? Just issue an executive order and ignore the constitution. On Sunday, Morsi ordered Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament back in session—boldly defying the nation’s Supreme Court and the military leaders who enforced the order.

On June 14, the Supreme Court ruled that one third of the members of the lower house had been elected unlawfully—that they had been elected to seats that were reserved for secular and minority religious groups. The interim military rulers subsequently dissolved the lower house.

A few days later, Morsi was elected president. And now, one of his first moves is to annul the court’s decree and order lawmakers (most of whom are members of his party, or other ultra-conservative Islamists) back to work.

Can he legally do that? Probably not. But who can stop him?

Morsi’s move was a direct challenge to the former military rulers. It shows his strength. But more importantly, it shows the direction Morsi wants to take Egypt—away from the more secular constitution and into a fundamentalist Islamic future.

Astoundingly, America doesn’t seem concerned. Morsi’s defiance of the courts and Egypt’s constitution comes just days before a high-profile visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Morsi has little reason to fear. The moment America decided to embrace the “Arab Spring” and push former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power, it was consigned to dealing with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

But it is actually worse than that. America is embracing Morsi.

If America was truly interested in supporting parties that are committed to nonviolence and the way to peace, it never would have worked to overthrow Hosni Mubarak in the first place.

Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak administrations have done more than any other Muslim regimes to work toward real peace. Neither were perfect men, but they both risked their lives for their beliefs—and actions—that actually brought peace to a region. In fact, Anwar Sadat was assassinated by terrorists with links to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood (and Iran) for making peace with Israel. Isn’t peacemaking the ultimate nonviolence? After Sadat’s death, Mubarak upheld the peace treaty that was the foundation for the last 30-plus years of peace.

But Egypt’s new President Mohammed Morsi embodies the total opposite of what Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak stood for. And if people understood history, that would scare them.

Morsi is also a 9/11 “Truther” who doesn’t believe terrorists blew up the World Trade Towers, but that it was some sort of U.S. government conspiracy.

This is America’s new ally. This is the man whom America helped put in power.

Full article: Why America Should Not Have Toppled Mubarak (The Trumpet)

DEBKAfile: Simultaneous Iranian, Syrian military exercises – unprecedented

Although Iran completed a missile drill as recently as July 5, it is launching another big exercise Monday, July 8, against alien aircraft and missile incursions. Never before have Iranian and Syrian armed forces carried out simultaneous and coordinated exercises. They are both devoted to the same objective of repelling foreign intervention, having apparently accepted the Russian intelligence presumption that Western military intervention in Syria would create a beachhead for attacking Iran.

Full article: DEBKAfile: Simultaneous Iranian, Syrian military exercises – unprecedented (DEBKAfile)

Turkey orders buildup on Syrian border, changes rules of engagement

ANKARA — The Turkish military has been ordered to prepare for a
shooting war along the border with Syria.

The government said it was prepared for a border war with Syria in wake
of the downing of a Turkish Air Force fighter-jet.

Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said he revised the rules of engagement for the Turkish military amid its buildup along the Syrian border.

The rules of engagement of the Turkish armed forces have changed,
Erdogan said. “Any risk posed by Syria on the Turkish border, any military element that could pose a threat, will be considered a threat and treated as a military target.

Erdogan has also ordered a military buildup along Turkey’s 900-kilometer border with Syria. Since June 26, dozens of U.S.-origin M-60A3 main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery batteries have amassed along Turkey’s southeastern border.

“As Turkey, the Turkish nation, we have no intention of attacking
[Syria],” Erdogan said on June 27. “We don’t have any hostile attitude
toward any country.”

“From now on, the rules of the game change,” an official said.
The Turkish military has declared 13 areas along the border with Syria
as closed zones. A government statement said military exercises would be
held in these areas from July 6 until Oct. 6.

“If Syria keeps its soldiers off the Turkish border so as not to
increase the tension, then de facto buffer zones through the border will be
inevitable,” Turkish analyst Nihat Ali Ozcan wrote in the Hurriyet daily on
June 28.

“Moreover, a buffer zone with Turkey behind it will be a strategic
problem for the Assad regime because it may turn out to be a safe haven for
insurgents. If Assad decides otherwise and chooses to be active along the
border, he will have to deal with the constant probability of conflict.”

Full article: Turkey orders buildup on Syrian border, changes rules of engagement (World Tribune)