How Iran, the Mideast’s new superpower, is expanding its footprint across the region – and what it means

raqi Shiites of the Mahdi Army militia vow to fight ISIS in a show of strength in a 2014 military parade in Baghdad. (Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor)

 

Iran has achieved milestones of leverage and influence that rival any regional power in the past half-century. While there are limits to how far it can extend its authority, Tehran’s rapid rise poses new challenges to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as it undermines their previous dominance. How far can Tehran extend its reach?

With opulent furnishings and the finest cut-crystal water glasses in Baghdad, the new offices of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia exude money and power – exactly as they are meant to. At one end of the meeting room is a set built for TV interviews, with gilded chairs and an official-looking backdrop of Iraqi and militia flags, lit by an ornate glass chandelier. Continue reading

Has Iran given cruise missiles to Hizballah as well as Yemen’s Houthis?

 

The maiden operational launch of Iran’s Soumar Kh-55 cruise missile was apparently entrusted to Yemen’s Houthis against a UAE target. Has it been given to Hizballah, another Iranian proxy?

Yemen’s Houthi rebels last week showed on their TV channel video footage of Iran’s most highly advanced Soumar.Kh-55 cruise missile, which can carry a nuclear warhead.  They claimed to have fired it at the unfinished Abu Dhabi power plant on Dec.3. The United Arab Emirates refuted this claim, saying that any missile reaching their air space would have been intercepted by advanced Emirati air defenses. Continue reading

New US military moves in the Mid-East & Israel’s Syria air raid were coordinated

 

The US hands-off to Iran’s top general in Iraq, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s changeover of sides in the Yemen war and Trump’s’ thinking on Jerusalem – all signal a new, proactive US strategy for the region.

Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo was uncharacteristically frank when he addressed high-ranking US military and security officials on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Reagan Presidential Foundation. He revealed that he had sent a note to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Qods chief, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and explained: “I sent it because he had indicated that forces under his control might in fact threaten US interests n Iraq.” Continue reading

Iran Deploying Warships to Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico

Iranian military frigate and light replenishment ship are seen docked for refueling / Getty Images

 

Iranian supreme leader instructs navy to expand presence

Iranian military leaders announced on Tuesday the country will send a fleet of warships into the Atlantic Ocean en route to the Gulf of Mexico, where the Islamic Republic aims to solidify ties with several Latin American states, according to the commander of Iran’s navy.

Following orders from Iran’s supreme leader, the newly installed commander of its navy, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, announced a fleet of Iranian warships would soon be making their way into the Atlantic Ocean, despite what Iran claims is opposition by U.S. officials. Continue reading

Iran in Europe MISSILE threat warning of WW3 rocket attack

Iran missile threat

THREAT: Iran has warned Europe that it will place its missiles in range of the continent [Getty]

 

IRAN has issued a chilling threat to Europe – warning it will increase its missile range so rockets can be launched at the continent.

The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned that it may increase the range of missiles to over 2,000 km – enough to strike Europe.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami said: “If we have kept the range of our missiles to 2000 kilometres, it’s not due to lack of technology – we are following a strategic doctrine. Continue reading

Saudi vows new Islamic alliance ‘will wipe terrorists from the earth’

Lowe and behold the ‘islamic NATO’ discussed in the previous posts:

Is Saudi Arabia building an ‘islamic NATO?’

Trump to unveil plans for an ‘Arab NATO’ in Saudi Arabia

 

A member of the Saudi Royal Guard stands on duty inside the hall where the first meeting of the defence ministers of the 41-member Saudi-led Muslim counter-terrorism alliance is taking place in the capital Riyadh on November 26, 2017 (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

 

Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s crown prince vowed to “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth” as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered Sunday in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.

“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries… with no coordination” among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.

“This ends today, with this alliance.” Continue reading

The Saudi-Iran Brewing War

 

The turmoil in the Middle East has been instigated in part by fiscal mismanagement. When the money was rolling in with high oil prices, it was assumed, as always, that whatever trend is in motion will remain in motion. Consequently, the government expanded their spending assuming money would continue to flow in. When oil broke, the fiscal mismanagement has been exposed for all to see if they care to look.

Falling oil prices have decimated revenues and trade in the region. Security worries about terrorism, particularly in the US, have led to cuts in airline routes. Then there has also been a long-running diplomatic and trade impasse between Saudi Arabia and its allies on the one hand, and Qatar on the other. Now the good-old-days of easy money and rapid growth has led to concerns about over-capacity, waste, and corruption that nobody cared about when money flowed like oil.

Continue reading

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis

 

Military tensions rise in the Gulf region amid Iranian threats and supplies of extended-range missiles to the Yemeni insurgents.

Tehran has warned Riyadh that unless the Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports is lifted, Revolutionary Guards missiles supplied to the Yemeni Houthi insurgents will be loosed against the seaports and airfields of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The warning was forwarded to their governments through the Omani back channel. Continue reading

Iran and Gulf nations prepare for war. Sudden reshuffle in Iran’s top army, naval commands

 

 

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir on Monday, Nov. 6 accused Iran of an “act of war” in reference to the Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi missile attack on Riyadh airport Saturday.

On Sunday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei secretly ordered a significant reshuffle in the high commands of the Iranian army and navy. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Dadras was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, with orders to boost the intelligence and operational preparedness of the Army. He came from the post of commander of ground forces. Continue reading

Saudi Helicopter Carrying 8 High-Ranking Officials & Prince Bin-Muqrin Crashed Near Yemen Border – All Dead

It’s unknown whether this was part of the ongoing purge in the kingdom but we shouldn’t be surprised if it is.

 

 

The shocking latest twist in what has been a chaotic weekend in Saudi Arabia is news that a helicopter transporting 8 high-ranking Saudi officials (including prince Mansour bin-Muqrin) has crashed in the south of the Kingdom, near the border with Yemen.

As PTI reports, a Saudi prince was killed today when a helicopter with several officials on board crashed near the kingdom’s southern border with war-torn Yemen, state television said. Continue reading

Saudis Call Missile Attack “Blatant Act Of Aggression” By Iran, “Could Be Considered Act Of War”

War is coming…

This weekend’s chaos in the middle east just got considerably more serious.

Yesterday we detailed reports that the Saudis intercepted a ballistic missile over the nation’s capital Riyadh… Continue reading

Iran on Pathway to Fully Restart Nuclear Weapons Program

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits among senior army staff / Getty Images

 

Top lawmakers urge Trump not to leave deal

Iran is on the pathway to fully restarting its contested nuclear weapons program due to insufficient international inspections of its military sites and caveats in the landmark nuclear deal that permit it to reengage in nuclear enrichment work within the next several years, according to experts who testified Wednesday before Congress. Continue reading

Iran Revolutionary Guards Find New Route to Arm Yemen Rebels

Member of a special force loyal to Houthi rebels holds RPG launcher / REUTERS

 

LONDON (Reuters) — Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route across the Gulf to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen’s civil war, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

In March, regional and Western sources told Reuters that Iran was shipping weapons and military advisers to the Houthis either directly to Yemen or via Somalia. This route however risked contact with international naval vessels on patrol in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi’ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say. 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 Saudi Power Balance Is On A Knife-Edge

 

The sweltering heat of Saudi Arabian summer will feel like a cool breeze compared to the geopolitical fire that could soon take over the country if ongoing internal power struggles destabilize the Kingdom’s Royal Family and national security in the coming weeks.

After his successful elevation to Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has been appointed by King Salman to be in charge during his holiday to Morocco. The King’s holiday comes at a time of relative instability in the Kingdom, as the effects of the removal of former Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef at the end of the Ramadan period continue to linger. Continue reading