Posts Tagged Iran

The Kurds Are America’s Forgotten Ally

From NRA News:

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Victim of CA Shooting Fled Religious Persecution In Iran

From Townhall.com:

Bennetta Betbadal, one of the 14 people killed in the San Bernardino shootingfled Islamic radicalism and Christian persecution in her home country of Iran.

The family released a statement calling her death an “ultimate irony” as she had fled to the U.S. as a teen to be safe from violent extremism.

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Condi Rice and Bob Gates on U.S., Russia Relations

From The Washington Post:

One can hear the disbelief in capitals from Washington to London to Berlin to Ankara and beyond. How can Vladimir Putin, with a sinking economy and a second-rate military, continually dictate the course of geopolitical events? Whether it’s in Ukraine or Syria, the Russian president seems always to have the upper hand.

The fact is that Putin is playing a weak hand extraordinarily well because he knows exactly what he wants to do. He is not stabilizing the situation according to our definition of stability. He is defending Russia’s interests by keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. This is not about the Islamic State. Any insurgent group that opposes Russian interests is a terrorist organization to Moscow. We saw this behavior in Ukraine, and now we’re seeing it even more aggressively — with bombing runs and cruise missile strikes — in Syria.

 

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BBC Didn’t Translate Iranian Official’s Admission Of Giving Weapons To Hezbollah

From BBC Watch:

The IranWire article details some of the interesting points made by Araghchi in that meeting, including the following:

“Araghchi confirmed that Iran is arming Lebanese Hezbollah: “We said that we cannot stop giving arms to Hezbollah, and we’re not ready to sacrifice it to our nuclear program. So we will continue doing it.””

Khodnevis attributes the information in its article to a report published by the BBC Persian service (“Araghchi what was said at the meeting with managers of radio and television?“) and another article concerning the removal of the reports by Persian-language outlets was also produced by BBC Persian.

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Allen West on Iran Deal

Former Congressman Allen West:

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Iran Trashes United States After Nuclear Deal

From Washington Free Beacon:

Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, who was handpicked by the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader to deliver the prayers, delivered a message of hostility toward the United States in the first official remarks since a final nuclear deal was signed between Iran and world powers in Vienna last week.

A Persian-language message on the podium declared, “We will trample upon America” while the English phrase “We Defeat the United States” can be seen underneath.

 

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The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

Last week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their Sunni partners, which include the majority of military forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. What made the strikes particularly interesting was what was lacking: U.S. aircraft. Although the United States provided intelligence and other support, it was a coalition of Arab states that launched the extended air campaign against the al-Houthis.

Three things make this important. First, it shows the United States’ new regional strategy in operation. Washington is moving away from the strategy it has followed since the early 2000s — of being the prime military force in regional conflicts — and is shifting the primary burden of fighting to regional powers while playing a secondary role. Second, after years of buying advanced weaponry, the Saudis and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are capable of carrying out a fairly sophisticated campaign, at least in Yemen. The campaign began by suppressing enemy air defenses — the al-Houthis had acquired surface-to-air missiles from the Yemeni military — and moved on to attacking al-Houthi command-and-control systems. This means that while the regional powers have long been happy to shift the burden of combat to the United States, they are also able to assume the burden if the United States refuses to engage. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East

The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to yield an agreement, but the deadline for a deal has been extended without a hitch. What would have been a significant crisis a year ago, replete with threats and anxiety, has been handled without drama or difficulty. This new response to yet another failure to reach an accord marks a shift in the relationship between the United States and Iran, a shift that can’t be understood without first considering the massive geopolitical shifts that have taken place in the Middle East, redefining the urgency of the nuclear issue.

These shifts are rooted in the emergence of the Islamic State. Ideologically, there is little difference between the Islamic State and other radical Islamic jihadist movements. But in terms of geographical presence, the Islamic State has set itself apart from the rest. While al Qaeda might have longed to take control of a significant nation-state, it primarily remained a sparse, if widespread, terrorist organization. It held no significant territory permanently; it was a movement, not a place. But the Islamic State, as its name suggests, is different. It sees itself as the kernel from which a transnational Islamic state should grow, and it has established itself in Syria and Iraq as a geographical entity. The group controls a roughly defined region in the two countries, and it has something of a conventional military, designed to defend and expand the state’s control. Thus far, whatever advances and reversals it has seen, the Islamic State has retained this character. While the group certainly funnels a substantial portion of its power into dispersed guerrilla formations and retains a significant regional terrorist apparatus, it remains something rather new for the region — an Islamist movement acting as a regional state.

It is unclear whether the Islamic State can survive. It is under attack by American aircraft, and the United States is attempting to create a coalition force that will attack and conquer it. It is also unclear whether the group can expand. The Islamic State appears to have reached its limits in Kurdistan, and the Iraqi army (which was badly defeated in the first stage of the Islamic State’s emergence) is showing some signs of being able to launch counteroffensives.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Turkey Must Tread Carefully Against Islamic State

Turkey Must Tread Carefully Against Islamic State is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Summary

As the United States begins its full assault against the Islamic State in Syria, backed by Arab allies, the absence of NATO ally Turkey is drawing attention and comment. Just days before the Sept. 22 beginning of U.S. airstrikes, Turkey managed to broker a deal with the Islamic State to return 49 diplomats held in Iraq for 101 days. Contrary to diplomatic and media speculation, however, Turkey is not supporting the transnational, Syria- and Iraq-based jihadist movement known as the Islamic State.

While the details of just how Ankara retrieved its diplomats are sketchy, Ankara likely negotiated their release through its contacts among the Iraqi Sunni community and its ally, Qatar. This influence, especially among Sunni locals in not just Iraq but also Syria, will be critical if Turkey is going to be able to manage the jihadist threat long after the United States declares mission accomplished and moves on.

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In Iraq, the United States and Iran Align Against the Islamic State

In Iraq, the United States and Iran Align Against the Islamic State is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Summary

Since June, a great deal of international focus has been on Iraq, where the transnational jihadist movement Islamic State took over large swaths of the country’s Sunni-majority areas and declared the re-establishment of the caliphate. Despite the global attention on the country, especially given U.S. military operations against the Islamic State, U.S.-Iranian cooperation against the jihadist group — a significant dynamic — has gone largely unnoticed. A convergence of interests, particularly concerning the Iraqi central and Kurdish regional governments, has made it necessary for Washington and Tehran to at least coordinate their actions. However, mistrust and domestic opposition will continue hampering this cooperation.

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Israeli Special Forces Seize Rockets Bound For Gaza

From The AP:

Israeli naval forces on Wednesday seized a ship laden with rockets allegedly bound for militants in the Gaza Strip, and officials accused Iran of orchestrating the delivery in an elaborate 5,000-mile (8,000-kilometer) journey that included covert stops across the region.

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Kurds Want to Seperate from Syria

From SOFREP:

There are close to 30 million Kurds spread across northern Syria, northern Iraq, southern Turkey, and western Iran.  They are the largest ethnic group without a homeland in the world.  In the 1990s, the Kurds in northern Iraq, with the aid of the Coalition no-fly zone, began to develop their own autonomy, in what is now known as Iraqi Kurdistan.  The Kurdistan Regional Government is functionally now its own country, although it is still officially recognized as part of Iraq.

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The Iranian Navy: A Symbolic Show of Force in the Atlantic

The Iranian Navy: A Symbolic Show of Force in the Atlantic is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Summary

Tehran announced Feb. 8 that it had dispatched a frigate and a supply ship to the North Atlantic Ocean, where they will approach U.S. maritime borders. This is not the first time the Iranians have announced their intent to deploy naval vessels close to the United States. Iran made two such declarations in 2011 but never followed through.

However, following the most recent announcement, Iranian Adm. Afshin Rezayee Haddad said the Iranian fleet is actually underway, already approaching the South Atlantic Ocean through waters off the coast of South Africa. The Iranian decision to deploy naval vessels to the North Atlantic is largely symbolic; it does not pose any real military risk. Iran will use the deployment to show the flag in a non-threatening manner, looking to appease its hard-liners who are dubious about the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran Exploiting US Immigration

From The Washington Times:

The memo called the EB-5 program a weak point in the nation’s immigration security because visa holders can become green card holders and eventually citizens — without going through the background checks that most prospective immigrants face. The program is designed to attract foreigners who pledge to invest in the U.S. economy.

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Letter from Kurdistan

Letter from Kurdistan is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Reva Bhalla

At the edge of empires lies Kurdistan, the land of the Kurds. The jagged landscape has long been the scene of imperial aggression. For centuries, Turks, Persians, Arabs, Russians and Europeans looked to the mountains to buffer their territorial prizes farther afield, depriving the local mountain dwellers a say in whose throne they would ultimately bow to. Read the rest of this entry »

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