WAR Main Persian Gulf Trouble thread

jward

passin' thru
AFP News Agency
@AFP

1m

Pope Francis starts a historic trip to war-battered Iraq today, defying security fears and the pandemic to comfort one of the world's oldest and most persecuted Christian communities. The 84-year-old says he is making the first-ever papal visit to Iraq as a "pilgrim of peace"
View: https://twitter.com/AFP/status/1367706198137397250?s=20





Baxtiyar Goran
@BaxtiyarGoran

16m

Pope's convoy on the way to the presidential palace in Baghdad to meet with Kurdish president of #Iraq, Barham Salih. #PopeInIraq #PopeInKurdistan
View: https://twitter.com/BaxtiyarGoran/status/1367808714762301441?s=20
 
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jward

passin' thru
CasualtiesOfTheDay
@Ayei_Eloheichem


Mother of God! I thought it was just a slip of the tongue when Pentagon press secretary said "Shia-backed militias" instead of "#Iran-backed militias." Nope: It is now US administration policy to no longer mention the word "Iran" in relation to IRGC Iraqi Shia militias.
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jward

passin' thru
Heshmat Alavi
@HeshmatAlavi

4m

#BREAKING Israel will not wait for the international community to stop #Iran’s “nuclear escalation,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday. “The Iranians are breaking everything that was agreed with them."
View: https://twitter.com/HeshmatAlavi/status/1367727035339128833?s=20


Joseph Haboush, Al Arabiya English

Published: 04 March ,2021: 05:30 PM GST Updated: 05 March ,2021: 02:57 AM GST



Israel will not wait for the international community to stop Iran’s “nuclear escalation,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday, adding that Tel Aviv was ready to act independently if needed.
“Iranians are breaking everything that was agreed with them; they are bluffing in any aspect that one can think,” Gantz said in an interview with Fox News.


For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
US President Joe Biden has been pushing for direct talks with Iran over the JCPOA, an acronym for the Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015. Former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement and imposed heavy economic sanctions on Iran.
Iran’s president says the sanctions have cost Tehran around $200 billion.
But Israel and other countries in the region have been skeptical of a new deal that doesn’t include consultation with Tel Aviv and the Gulf. Barack Obama did not negotiate or include regional countries in the discussions that led to the 2015 deal.
Now, Iran is spreading its nuclear capabilities all across the country in order to use it “God forbid, or to use it as a deterrence canopy” in the midst of potential negotiations with the US, Gantz said.
“The Iranian nuclear aspiration must be stalled. If the world stops them before, it’s very much good. But, if not, we must stand independently, and we must defend ourselves by ourselves,” he warned, in an apparent reference that Israel could act without coordinating with Washington.
Gantz said Israel was constantly improvising its capabilities to strike and defend itself.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah
Asked about the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, Gantz said the group had “hundreds of thousands” of missiles.
The Israeli official shared what appeared to be a classified map. “This is a map of Lebanon. What you see there are ground forces, headquarters, launching sites, et cetera. Everything is aimed to civilian targets, and it is being conducted from civilian infrastructure,” Gantz alleged.

EXCLUSIVE: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz shows Fox News a classified target map, revealing Hezbollah missiles amid civilian infrastructure Israel updating plans to strike Iranian nuclear sites: defense minister pic.twitter.com/fm4nOQ5yLm
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) March 4, 2021
Asked if the map was a target list for Israel, he said: “This is a target map. Each one of them has been checked legally, operationally, intelligence wise, and we are ready to fight.”

Lebanon's Hezbollah members hold party flags as they listen to their leader Hassan Nasrallah, Aug. 25, 2019. (Reuters)


Lebanon's Hezbollah members hold party flags as they listen to their leader Hassan Nasrallah, Aug. 25, 2019. (Reuters)

Hezbollah and Israel fought to a stalemate in 2006. Since then, both sides have greatly expanded their arsenal and fighting capabilities.
On Wednesday, Hezbollah’s deputy leader Naim Qassem said his group was not looking for a war with Israel.
Analysts fear an all-out war between the two is inevitable. And they warn that if the Biden administration proceeds to negotiate with Iran without coordinating with Tel Aviv, there could be uncoordinated action against Iran and its proxies from Israel.
“Israel will go all out and do crazy ****,” if the US strikes a similar deal to the 2015 one with Iran, a former Trump official told Al Arabiya English. “We stopped them from doing a lot of crazy **** during our time, but I’m not sure this administration will be able to because there won’t be coordination if they push ahead with a deal and don’t include Israel.”

Read more:
US State Department ‘closely’ watching situation in Lebanon as protests gather steam
Houthis and Iran are preventing solution to Yemen crisis, not Saudi Arabia: Schenker

 

jward

passin' thru
Kissinger: Biden Must Uphold Trump Admin’s ‘Brilliant’ Success in the Middle East

  • JACK BEYRER MAR 3, 2021 2:50 PM

Henry Kissinger said President Joe Biden should uphold the "brilliant" realignment in Middle Eastern politics achieved under the Trump administration during a Tuesday event.



Kissinger praised the Trump administration’s diplomatic corps for its strategy of pitting major Sunni Muslim countries in the Middle East against Iran. The strategy, Kissinger said, served to isolate Tehran and opened the door to a new approach to Middle Eastern foreign policy that advances American interests.

"I think that one of the great successes of the previous administration was that they had lined up, that they had achieved two things in the Middle East," Kissinger said. "One, to separate the Palestinian problem from all of the other problems so that it did not become a veto over everything else—and secondly, of lining up the Sunni states in actual or potential combination against the Shiite states, which is Iran, that was developing a capacity to threaten them. I think that this was a brilliant concept. We were just at the beginning of it."

Kissinger, who was secretary of state under the Nixon and Ford administrations, made the remarks during the first seminar of a new monthly series from the Richard Nixon Foundation focused on national security and foreign policy. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), and former deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger also participated in the seminar.

Kissinger pointed to Washington's pressure on countries in the Middle East to pivot away from Iran as the major achievement of the Trump administration. The Abraham Accords, which were brokered in August 2020, brought Israel together with Muslim-majority countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in an implicit rebuke to Tehran.
The Trump administration also confronted Iran directly through a "maximum pressure" campaign and "snapback" sanctions in an effort to slow the Iranian economy and halt the Iranian nuclear program.

Kissinger exhorted the Biden administration to keep the course on this new-look policy in the Middle East.

"We should not give up the pressures that exist on Iran until we know where they are heading," Kissinger said. "If we break out the Iranian issue from the overall Middle Eastern issue, we run the risk of losing the two achievements, namely of separating the Palestinian issue, which removes it as a veto over everything else, and the Sunni cooperation with Israel, which is unique in its openness."

The Biden administration has shown little interest in heeding Kissinger’s advice. Biden has elevated several Obama-era diplomats who argued for the Iran deal to senior positions, such as climate czar John Kerry, Iran envoy Robert Malley, and nominee for undersecretary of defense Colin Kahl. Even with strong bipartisan opposition from Congress, the White House has said it still hopes to reengage in nuclear talks with Iran in the coming months.

In February, Biden also spurned Saudi Arabia by halting arms deals with the country. Biden also removed the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen from terror watchlists, a move met with strong opposition from Republicans. Days later, Houthi militants bombed an airport in Saudi Arabia.

 

jward

passin' thru
Khamenei-Funded Daily Says More Attacks Likely On US Forces In Iraq

The Thursday edition of Khamenei-funded hardline daily Kayhan on March 4 called Wednesday's attacks on the Ain al-Assad military base in Iraq "a humiliation for the United States," but cautiously distanced Iran from the attack by naming "unidentified groups" as the culprits.
This was clearly a shift from the daily's stance last week when it attributed an attack on an Israeli ship and a Houthi attack on a Saudi target as Iran's revenge for a US attack on Iranian proxy groups in Syria.
Meanwhile, the daily said that more attacks are likely to be launched on US forces in Iraq during the coming days.

The difference in Kayhan's reporting of the event with international media was that while nearly all Iraqi, European and US sources had reported that 10 rockets were fired at Ain al-Assad where a civilian contractor died as a result of a heart failure, the Kayhan mentioned 14 rockets and reported the death toll as "at least 3 American military men including a US officer."
The Kayhan claimed that in all, four attacks were launched on US targets in Iraq on Wednesday.
The daily said, "The United States was first humiliated in Iraq by an Iranian missile attack on the base on January 8, 2020 in retaliation for the US forces' killing of IRGGC's Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani." After that, the daily opined, "everyone has been humiliating the US by attacking its biggest military base in Iraq."

On Wednesday, according to the Kayhan, an unidentified group fired fourteen 107mm rockets at the base. The daily quoted an Iraqi news source as Saberin News saying that US forces were not able to intercept any of the rockets. Saberin News said that those wounded in the attack were airlifted to Kuwait and then to Germany for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, Iran-linked TV station Al-Mayadin in Beirut claimed that the rockets were fired from a pickup truck parked in a nearby farm and that the truck was destroyed after the attack.
The Kayhan claimed that three other attacks were also launched on US forces in Iraq on Wednesday. A US logistics convoy was hit 40 kilometers south of Baghdad in Yousefieh. Two other attacks were launched in Samawah and Hollah, adding that the US forces have censored the news of the attacks.

The paper further quoted "experts" as saying that there will be more attacks on US forces in Iraq during the coming days. The daily quoted a "resistance commander" in Iraq as having said that all agreements about not attacking "US occupiers" have been annulled.
No group in Iraq or elsewhere in the region has so far claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks as of Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, probably in a bid to distance pro-Iran groups from the attacks, the Kayhan reported that Iran-backed Hashd al-Sha'bi groups have accompanied the Iraqi army on Wednesday in an extensive military operation codenamed "The blood of martyrs" against the Islamic State in various parts of Iraq.

A Reuters report said that tensions between Iran and the United States escalated following the attacks on Wednesday. According to the Pentagon, There were no reports of injuries among U.S. service personnel but an American civilian contractor died after suffering a "cardiac episode" while sheltering from the rockets.
US officials said they were investigating the case. President Biden told reporters on Wednesday: "Thank God no one was killed by the rocket ... We're identifying who’s responsible and we'll make judgments at that point."

However, other US officials told Reuters that the rocket attacks "fit the profile of a strike by Iran-backed militia." Nonetheless, he Pentagon said it was too soon to come to any conclusion.
Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "If we assess that further response is warranted, we will take action again in a manner and time of our choosing," adding that "What we won't do is make a hasty or ill-informed decision that further escalates the decision or plays into the hands of our adversaries."
 

jward

passin' thru
Jason Brodsky
@JasonMBrodsky

·
3m

Intriguing interview with former head of #Iran's IRGC Mohsen Rezaei in FT, saying #Iran would be ready to resume talks on the nuclear deal if U.S. and E3 provide a “clear signal” that sanctions will be lifted within a year. 1/3
Rezaei is a perennial conservative presidential candidate and is considering another bid, so there's a domestic political lens through which to view these comments. But this is the key quote from Rezaei on #Iran's national security decision-making: 2/3
“This time again there is one voice coming out of #Iran as happened during the nuclear talks [2013-2015] and that is what the supreme leader says.” 3/3
View: https://twitter.com/JasonMBrodsky/status/1367833751238156289?s=20
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Iranian Terrorists Claim to Have Active Cells in Washington, D.C.
‘Resistance cells are rooted even in America and its capital’

Adam Kredo - MARCH 4, 2021 12:00 PM
Free Beacon

Iranian militia groups claim to have active cells of operatives stationed in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities, according to chatter in online forums used by these groups.

Kawtheryoon Electronic Team, a Telegram network used by Iranian militia groups and supporters, claimed in a recent posting that Iranian "resistance cells are rooted even in America and its capital," according to a copy of the English-language posting captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which tracks radical groups.

The group additionally claimed that terror factions associated with Iran are growing stronger and attracting more support than ever before. The group demanded the United States withdraw all of its troops from Iraq and the Middle East. The post included a picture of caskets containing U.S. soldiers.



The threat comes as the Biden administration seeks to directly engage Iran in pursuit of inking a revamped nuclear accord. Despite these diplomatic overtures, Iran has continued to sponsor terrorism. While the State Department has called on Iran to cease its terror operations, Tehran shows no signs of backing down from its active operations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern hotspots. It also has continued to support strikes on U.S. personnel stationed in Iraq, and was likely behind a Wednesday rocket attack on an Iraqi air base that houses American troops.

The militant group also threatened Israel and promised reprisals for the U.S. attack on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike authorized by former president Donald Trump.

This entry was posted in National Security and tagged Iran, Terrorism. Bookmark the permalink.


Iranian Terrorists Claim to Have Active Cells in Washington, D.C. - Washington Free Beacon
 

jward

passin' thru
We know; they ran the resistance from a nearby locale during the DJT years, and now have their hand so far inserted in the Biden-puppet we can see their fingertips move when he talks
(that's the real reason for the masques mandates, doncha know)
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Iranian Terrorists Claim to Have Active Cells in Washington, D.C.
‘Resistance cells are rooted even in America and its capital’

Adam Kredo - MARCH 4, 2021 12:00 PM
Free Beacon

Iranian militia groups claim to have active cells of operatives stationed in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities, according to chatter in online forums used by these groups.

Kawtheryoon Electronic Team, a Telegram network used by Iranian militia groups and supporters, claimed in a recent posting that Iranian "resistance cells are rooted even in America and its capital," according to a copy of the English-language posting captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which tracks radical groups.

The group additionally claimed that terror factions associated with Iran are growing stronger and attracting more support than ever before. The group demanded the United States withdraw all of its troops from Iraq and the Middle East. The post included a picture of caskets containing U.S. soldiers.



The threat comes as the Biden administration seeks to directly engage Iran in pursuit of inking a revamped nuclear accord. Despite these diplomatic overtures, Iran has continued to sponsor terrorism. While the State Department has called on Iran to cease its terror operations, Tehran shows no signs of backing down from its active operations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern hotspots. It also has continued to support strikes on U.S. personnel stationed in Iraq, and was likely behind a Wednesday rocket attack on an Iraqi air base that houses American troops.

The militant group also threatened Israel and promised reprisals for the U.S. attack on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike authorized by former president Donald Trump.

This entry was posted in National Security and tagged Iran, Terrorism. Bookmark the permalink.


Iranian Terrorists Claim to Have Active Cells in Washington, D.C. - Washington Free Beacon
So is this the "threat" they were having a fit over this week that they were calling a "domestic terrorist" threat?
 

jward

passin' thru
IIRC the threat was said to be from the 3%ers/oathkeepers, not the cells. It does make sense and fit the bill that the cohorts would be using one another to help flesh out their narratives, though.

So is this the "threat" they were having a fit over this week that they were calling a "domestic terrorist" threat?
 

Zagdid

Veteran Member
Missile Strikes Kill One in North Syria | World News | US News

Missile Strikes Kill One in North Syria

By Reuters, Wire Service Content March 5, 2021, at 1:48 p.m.
Missile Strikes Kill One in North Syria

BEIRUT (REUTERS) - Missile strikes in northern Syria near the Turkish border killed one person and injured 10 others on Friday, a monitoring group and a source from the Turkish-backed faction that controls the region said.
Explosions hit oil refineries near the towns of al-Bab and Jarablus, which are in the hands of Turkish-backed fighters, a witness and a state-run TV channel said earlier.

The Syrian Observatory monitoring group and the source in the National Army, which controls swathes of northwest Syria where Turkish troops also have a presence, said missile strikes had caused the blasts.
Turkey has backed fighters who sought to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, but the Syrian president, with Russian and Iranian help, has driven back the insurgents to a pocket in the northwest of the country.

Reporting by Alaa Swilam in Cairo and Khalil Ashawi in Syria;
 

Zagdid

Veteran Member
179th Airlift deploys to Middle East (msn.com)

Mansfield News Journal
179th Airlift deploys to Middle East
Submitted 20 hrs ago

MANSFIELD - Approximately 150 members of the Ohio Air National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing recently departed for a deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield, according to a news release.

a train is parked on the side of a road: Airmen from the 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, depart their home station in a C-130H Hercules, on Feb. 21, 2021. 164th Airlift Squadron and 179th Maintenance Group will be flying and maintaining the C-130H aircraft in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
©
U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Joe Harwood Airmen from the 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, depart their home station in a C-130H Hercules, on Feb. 21, 2021. 164th Airlift Squadron and 179th Maintenance Group will be flying and maintaining the C-130H aircraft in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

A majority of the members are from the 164th Airlift Squadron and 179th Maintenance Group who will be flying and maintaining the C-130H aircraft as part of intra-theater operations across the area of responsibility.

Members of the 179th Airlift Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, will be the lead unit and augmented by active duty and reserve members in their forward deployed environments.

The primary mission for members of the 179th AW will be to provide direct support to the combatant commander.

179th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Todd K. Thomas said, "Our Airmen are combat tested and prepared to provide a high level of tactical air-land and airdrop capabilities to the deployed commander 24/7.”

Thomas said, “This past year has presented a unique and difficult set of circumstances to navigate and prepare for this but our Airmen have stepped up to serve and we're extremely proud of their commitment."

Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, deploying members left in smaller groups on separate aircraft over the course of several days. Each group was COVID-19 tested and restricted of unnecessary public movements leading up to their departure to mitigate any possible spread.

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris, Jr., Ohio adjutant general, was joined by Maj. Gen. James R. Camp, assistant Ohio adjutant general for Air, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Heidi A. Bunker, state command chief, in seeing the groups off.

All members are expected to return by early fall 2021.

Harris said, “Good luck on your mission. God bless you. I don’t exaggerate when I say that you’re in my family’s prayers every single night.

This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: 179th Airlift deploys to Middle East
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
November Sierra.........

Posted for fair use.....

March 4, 2021 | Foreign Policy
Biden Can’t Bring Peace to Yemen While Iran Keeps Sending Weapons
The latest round of U.S. diplomacy will fail without additional leverage.






Bradley Bowman
CMPP Senior Director


Katherine Zimmerman
American Enterprise Institute

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
announced the United States will provide $191 million in additional aid to the Yemeni people, who suffer from what he called “the largest and most urgent” humanitarian crisis in the world. Blinken said the United States has now given more than $3.4 billion in humanitarian assistance to Yemen since the conflict began in 2015.

This assistance will save many lives, but the sad truth is that no amount of aid will dramatically or durably improve conditions until Yemen’s conflict ends. Blinken recognized as much: “We can only end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen by ending the war in Yemen.” The United States, he said, is therefore “reinvigorating our diplomatic efforts to end the war.”

But diplomacy will fail without additional leverage. By ending support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to put pressure on Riyadh. But pressuring only one side in a conflict—while failing to apply real pressure on the other—simply leaves the latter emboldened.

That is exactly what we have seen in recent weeks. The Houthis have launched a massive offensive against Yemeni government forces supported by Saudi Arabia, seeking to break a multi-year stalemate in fighting on the ground. The Houthis control most of northwestern Yemen and have consolidated their rule from Yemen’s capital, Sana’a.

Why should we expect anything else from the Houthis? They see tremendous pressure on Riyadh while Washington recently removed the terror group’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization. Meanwhile, they continue to enjoy a reliable supply of weapons from Tehran. That allows the Houthis to continue fighting while refusing to negotiate in good faith.

The Biden team might point to Tuesday’s announcement of U.S. Treasury Department sanctions against the two Houthi military leaders as evidence to the contrary. The sanctions intend to hold the Houthis accountable for ongoing “malign and aggressive actions” made possible by Iran’s provision of weapons and training. Sanctions, though a good step, do little when targeted individuals are outside the U.S. financial system and see stigmatization by Washington as a badge of honor.
Applying real pressure only on Riyadh is a recipe for failure—and an invitation to the other side to redouble its fight.
Pressuring Riyadh while essentially giving the Houthis a free pass has created an asymmetry that no amount of shrewd shuttle diplomacy can overcome. Any successful effort to end the conflict—and thereby address the humanitarian crisis—must create new pressure on all parties. In particular, a more serious effort to interdict Tehran’s arms shipments would put greater pressure on the Houthis.

In the continuing conflict, Tehran has happily accommodated the Houthi demand for weapons. Consistent with its regional strategy, Iran seeks to establish a Hezbollah-styled proxy relationship with the Houthis, who are perched next to the Red Sea and on Saudi Arabia’s southern border. Characteristically unphased by the notion of violating United Nations Security Council resolutions, Tehran has undertaken a major arms smuggling effort.

U.S. naval interdictions in November 2019 and February 2020 uncovered Iranian weapons shipments that contained land-attack cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship cruise missiles. Last month, an interdiction uncovered weapons similar to those found in other Iranian shipments. Iranian security assistance to the Houthis is nothing new. In 2015, then-Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern regarding Iranian supplies arriving in Yemen “every single week.”

Those inclined to question such assertions by Washington should consider the Jan. 22 report by the Panel of Experts on Yemen to the U.N. Security Council. A “growing body of evidence,” the panel wrote, “shows that individuals or entities within the Islamic Republic of Iran are engaged in sending weapons and weapons components to the Houthis.” The report even depicts the maritime smuggling routes from Iran. The panel’s previous annual report identified a main weapon smuggling route as traveling overland from Oman.

The Houthis have not been shy in employing these weapons, repeatedly targeting civilian and military infrastructure in Saudi Arabia with alarming effectiveness. This includes, for example, a June 2019 attack on Abha International Airport that killed one civilian and injured several others. Saudi officials claim to have intercepted a Houthi missile and bomb-laden drones on Feb. 27. And the United States should not forget that Houthis fired anti-ship cruise missiles at a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Mason, in 2016 while it was operating in international waters near Yemen.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni people’s suffering only continues. Yemenis are dying because food, water, and medicine are scarce and have often been wielded as weapons in the war. Almost half the population faces severe food shortages, with millions of people teetering on the edge of starvation. Cholera, dengue fever, and diphtheria have ravaged the population; polio has returned; and the health care system has all but shut down. Yet even as the crisis has worsened, donor money is drying up. And once assistance gets to Yemen, humanitarians face significant war-related obstacles to get life-saving support to those in need.

Blinken appointed a special envoy to the Yemen conflict, Timothy Lenderking, who has led a renewed push for peace. The Saudis and the Yemeni government have been eager to engage. But talk of peace will not bring the Houthis to the table. Blocking access to key weapons and technology from Iran, however, might increase the incentives for the Houthis to come to the negotiating table in good faith. At a minimum, reducing the flow of Iranian weapons to the Houthis could reduce casualties in the conflict.

To accomplish this, the U.S. Defense Department should position sufficient military resources in the region and provide commanders with clear instructions to prioritize the interdiction effort. The U.S. Congress should press the Biden administration on what it is currently doing to interdict Iranian weapons shipments—and ask what more can be done.

The newly confirmed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, should actively press the U.N. Security Council to do more to enforce its resolutions and raise the costs Tehran bears for its arms shipments to Yemen. If Beijing and Moscow obstruct, Washington should not mince words about what their obstruction will do to the Yemeni people.
If Beijing and Moscow obstruct, Washington should not mince words about what their obstruction will do to the Yemeni people.
If the U.N. Security Council cannot muster the ability to enforce its own resolutions, the Biden administration should work to build a coalition of countries to contribute military assets to detect and interdict weapons shipments from Iran to Yemen. The United States and like-minded partners should also press and help Oman to do more to stop overland weapons trafficking though its territory to Yemen.

Blinken is right that ending the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen will first require ending the war. But applying real pressure to only one side is a recipe for failure and an invitation to the other side to redouble its fight. The best hope for applying productive pressure to the Houthis is a genuine U.S.-led international effort to reduce the flow of advanced Iranian weapons to Yemen. This can be done in a way that does not significantly impede humanitarian assistance.

Such an approach would serve regional security interests and create the best opportunity for ending a conflict that has created one of, if not the world’s worst, humanitarian crisis. That is a policy around which both hawks and humanitarians should be able to unite.

Bradley Bowman is the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former advisor to members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees. Follow Bradley on Twitter @Brad_L_Bowman. Katherine Zimmerman is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.
 

Squid

Veteran Member
The Biden doctrine of confused bumbling will lead to chaos throughout the middle east.

Russia seems to be getting froggy.

And the morons who now run our foreign policy will stumble into new wars for nothing.
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Posted for fair use.....

Iran Ratchets Up Nuclear Program








March 2021
By Julia Masterson
Iran has started production of uranium metal, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed in a Feb. 23 monitoring report circulated to its Board of Governors and obtained by Arms Control Today. According to that report, Iran began production on Feb. 6 at its Esfahan fuel-fabrication plant.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during the inaugural session of the new parliament in Tehran on May 27, 2020. The parliament approved legislation in 2020 mandating that the government take certain steps to breach the limits of the 2015 nuclear deal in order to pressure the United States to return to the agreement and waive sanctions. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during the inaugural session of the new parliament in Tehran on May 27, 2020. The parliament approved legislation in 2020 mandating that the government take certain steps to breach the limits of the 2015 nuclear deal in order to pressure the United States to return to the agreement and waive sanctions. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

Uranium metal production is prohibited by the 2015 nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), for 15 years. Iran’s most recent technical violation of the accord is significant due to the fact that Iranian scientists are not believed to have engaged in uranium metal work prior to the JCPOA. Technical knowledge gained through the process of producing uranium metal could be applied to nuclear weapons development and cannot be unlearned.

Iran first informed the IAEA of its intent to pursue uranium metal production on Jan. 12, 2019. Iranian officials stated their intent to design an improved type of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which runs on fuel fabricated from uranium enriched to 20 percent uranium-235. After several exchanges between Tehran and the IAEA, Iran notified the agency of its modifications to parts of the Esfahan plant aimed to accommodate research and development into uranium metal work. The IAEA inspected the facility on Jan. 10, 2021 and confirmed in a Jan. 13 monitoring report that the processes for producing uranium metal had been initiated.

The Feb. 23 IAEA monitoring report highlighted that Iran has produced only a small amount of natural uranium metal, meaning that the metal was not enriched.
Iran’s recent step to produce uranium metal was taken in line with its December 2020 nuclear law, which was passed in an effort to increase leverage on the United States to reenter the JCPOA and on all JCPOA participants to lift sanctions imposed against Iran. The law requires the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to rachet up Iran’s nuclear program over the course of 2021 if sanctions relief is not granted.

According to the law, Iran must install and operate advanced centrifuges, resume enriching uranium to 20 percent U-235, and produce 120 kilograms of material enriched to that level every year. The AEOI must also build a new heavy-water reactor and inaugurate a uranium metal production plant. Most significantly, the law outlines the suspension of Iran’s implementation of the additional protocol to its comprehensive safeguards agreement if sanctions remain in place. Iran announced the suspension on Feb. 23 after the conclusion of a bilateral monitoring agreement between Iran and the IAEA.

Since resuming enrichment to 20 percent U-235, Iran has accumulated 17.6 kilograms of the material at the Fordow enrichment facility. Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile now totals 2,968 kilograms of uranium in the form of uranium hexafluoride gas, comprised of 1,026 kilograms of uranium enriched to 2 percent U-235, 1,890 kilograms enriched between 2 and 5 percent, and 17.6 kilograms of material enriched to 20 percent. Iran has also produced 13.3 kilograms of uranium in the form of uranium oxides, 10.5 kilograms of uranium in fuel assemblies and rods, and 10.9 kilograms of uranium in liquid and solid scrap. Under the JCPOA, Iran’s stockpile is supposed to be limited to 300 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride enriched to 3.67 percent U-235, or about 202 kilograms of uranium by weight.

Iran has also taken steps to implement requirements set out in the new law regarding centrifuges, the sensitive machines that enrich the uranium. On Dec. 2, 2020, Iran notified the IAEA of its intent to install three cascades, or chains, of 174 IR-2m centrifuges. The agency reported on Feb. 23 that Iran had installed two cascades and that installation of the third was ongoing. Iran informed the IAEA on Feb. 15 of its intent to install an additional two cascades. Once completed, Iran will have a total of six IR-2m cascades installed at Natanz.

At Fordow, Iran continues to enrich uranium using 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges. Iran alerted the IAEA on Feb. 1 that it would install two IR-6 centrifuge cascades to aid in the production of fuel enriched to 20 percent U-235.

According to the IAEA report, Iran is also installing cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges at Natanz, which are being transferred from the pilot fuel enrichment plant. As of Feb. 21, the IAEA verified that Iran had installed the IR-4 cascade and was in the process of installing the IR-6 cascade. The JCPOA limits Iran’s uranium-enrichment program to output from 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz, and the installation, operation, and accumulation of enriched uranium from advanced machines violates the accord.

Consistent with the requirements of the Iranian nuclear law, the government announced the construction of a new heavy-water reactor Jan. 11. Abolfazl Amouyee, spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the new “IR2M” reactor will be similar to the Arak heavy-water reactor. The law also requires Iran to eventually revert the 40-megawatt Arak reactor to its original design. Under the JCPOA, Iran has been engaged in efforts to modernize the reactor and convert it to a light-water design, which poses a significantly lower proliferation risk.

Had the Arak reactor been completed as originally designed, Iran would have had the capacity to produce enough plutonium for two nuclear weapons per year. If completed, reversion of the Arak reactor and construction of a new heavy-water reactor would pose a significant proliferation risk. As of Feb. 23, Iran has not pursued construction of the Arak reactor based on its original design. But its heavy-water stockpile grew 3.4 metric tons since the last reporting period and now measures 131.4 metric tons, which surpasses the JCPOA’s heavy-water limit by 1.4 metric tons.
Senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, maintain that each of Iran’s provocative steps are entirely reversible following full restoration of the JCPOA. But political tensions are rising, and the window for U.S. reentry to the deal may be narrowing.

On Feb. 5, the IAEA reported that samples taken from two previously undeclared facilities in the fall of 2020 revealed traces of radioactive material. Three unnamed diplomats briefed on the IAEA report told The Wall Street Journal the findings could indicate that Iran previously undertook work related to nuclear weapons. Although concerning, the ongoing IAEA investigation relates to Iran’s pre-2003 nuclear activities, and there is no evidence to suggest that Iran has pursued a nuclear weapons program while under the JCPOA.
 

jward

passin' thru

Pinecone

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Hmmm.
Mike
@Doranimated

1h

Pallets of Cash, Part Deux | Dollars are flowing to Iran courtesy of Mr. Biden. The US approved a $1 billion transfer from the Iraqi gov to the Iranian Treasury, for gas purchased by Iraq from Iran. This despite (or b/c of?) attacks orchestrated by Iran against US forces.
View: https://twitter.com/Doranimated/status/1368226227832692738?s=20
Somehow, the angry emoji just doesn't do justice to my thoughts on this matter, but I don't see confirmation. Yet. Cause I have no doubt that he would.
 

Squid

Veteran Member
The bumbling progressive foreign policy of the minions in the US State Department with no real leadership or constraint will allow these Ivy League morons to lead us to wars at many locations for unknown reasons other than shear incompetence.

While they demand and get cover from the puppy dog press. We will fumble and bumble our ways into wars and military actions all over the world and the American people will not really know why, as the media attempts to cover for the moronic fools running the country into the ground.

Meanwhile Bidens best’ies the Chicoms continue advancing courtesy of stolen US and Euro technology.
 

jward

passin' thru
Saturday, 06 Mar 2021 21:19
US Gives Green Light For Frozen Iranian Funds To Flow From Iraq, Official Says
Iran has received some payments from its funds frozen by Iraqi banks, including the state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq, after agreement by Washington, Hamid Hosseini, Secretary General of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, said on Friday [March 5] citing a “reliable source” in Iraq. Hosseini, who made the announcement in a tweet(link is external), said the funds would help Iran buy basic commodities ahead of the Iranian New Year (starting March 21).
Iraq owes Iran over $6 billion, mainly for electricity and gas imports, which has been frozen by Iraqi banks wary of possible United States secondary sanctions that under Washington’s ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran threaten anyone dealing with the Iranian financial sector.

Despite the US several times issuing sanctions wavers including a 90-day waiver for energy trade(link is external) with Iran in January, monies owed to Iran have been stuck in branches of different Iranian banks in Iraq or deposited in a special account at the Trade Bank of Iraq, to which until now Iran has been denied access.
Iraqi officials have not reacted to Hosseini’s claim. Earlier on Friday the Arabic Twitter account of Aljazeera quoted an adviser(link is external) to Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, that Washington had agreed to Tehran using some of the funds held in Baghdad for humanitarian purposes.
Following Kadhimi’s visit to Tehran last week, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian told reporters that Iraq’s debts had been discussed and there was “no cause for worry” over payments in future.

Iran’s Central Bank Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati, after visiting Baghdad on October 12, said Iran had $5 billion in assets blocked in Iraqi banks. “Tens of billions of dollars of our assets are frozen in foreign banks,” he said. “Even countries that have good relations with Iran cannot cooperate with us due to the US pressure.”
Iran has been in a stand-off with South Korea since February 2020 over billions of dollars frozen there. On February 24, Hemmati said $1 billion of Iranian assets was going to be transferred from South Korea to Iran “in cash,” while Seoul stressed that releasing the funds required Washington's consent(link is external).

On October 22 Aysar Jabbar, spokesman for Iraq’s Central Bank, told Iran International that before the US in 2018 left Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and imposed ‘maximum pressure,’ Iraq had paid for Iranian imports with US dollars. The amounts were substantial, with Iran’s exports to Iraq between March 2018 and March 2019 amounting to nearly $9 billion.
But when the US then threatened any country against using the dollar in trade with Iran, Jabbar explained, Iraq paid Iran in Iraqi dinars. With the subsequent deepening of US sanctions, the Iraqi Central Bank restricted all banking transactions with Iran. Jabbar said that dinar payments to Iran were ruled out, even through the Iraqi branches of the Iranian banks, Melli, Parsian and the Islamic Bank, which hold most of the frozen Iranian assets.
Hmmm.
Mike
@Doranimated

1h

Pallets of Cash, Part Deux | Dollars are flowing to Iran courtesy of Mr. Biden. The US approved a $1 billion transfer from the Iraqi gov to the Iranian Treasury, for gas purchased by Iraq from Iran. This despite (or b/c of?) attacks orchestrated by Iran against US forces.
View: https://twitter.com/Doranimated/status/1368226227832692738?s=20
 

jward

passin' thru
The Jerusalem Post - Israel News
Jerusalem Post
Middle East
Ballistic missiles target north Syria oil facilities in rare attack
Many alleged Russia and the Syrian regime were behind the attack which appears aimed at denying Turkish-backed Syrian groups from trading oil.
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
MARCH 6, 2021 19:08


Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria May 10, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria May 10, 2018.

(photo credit: REUTERS)




An unusual attack on oil facilities in Turkish-occupied northern Syria occurred on Friday evening. Locals reported large explosions near Al-Bab and Jarablus. Turkey invaded this area in the fall of 2016 in Operation Euphrates Shield. The use of ballistic missiles points to a sophisticated state-backed operation against the oil facilities. Many alleged Russia and the Syrian regime were behind the attack which appears aimed at denying Turkish-backed Syrian groups from trading oil.

Turkish media and reports did not speculate on who fired the missiles.



Anadolu, a state-backed channel in Turkey, said that three people were killed and dozens were wounded. It said that “ballistic missiles were fired at the Tarhin region of al-Bab district and Al-Hamran region of Jarablus district on the border with Turkey.

In the past, Russia has targeted oil facilities in Syria used by ISIS. In 2015, Russia accused Turkey of shooting down a Russian plane out of a desire to protect “oil supply lines to Turkish territory” that come from ISIS-held areas. In December 2015, Russia carried out airstrikes on areas where ISIS was conducting oil trade.

The missile strikes on March 5 were large and included video that showed explosions. Those videos appeared online on Friday night. Ballistic missiles have been used increasingly in the region. Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen often fire ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia. Iran has also been testing improved and more precise missiles.

Russia, like Iran, is a ballistic missile powerhouse. However the use of these kind of missiles has been rare in recent years in Syria. Russia has hosted talks on Syria with Iran and Turkey in what is called the "Astana Process". Russia and Turkey have worked on various deals in Syria, in September 2018 regarding Idlib, in October 2019 over areas in northern Syria that the US withdrew from, and in the spring of 2020 after clashes between Turkey and Syria. Russia and Turkey have also conducted joint patrols.

However, the Syrian regime and Russia both argue that ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other extremists operate in Turkish-occupied areas of northern Syria. Turkey says it backs the Syrian National Army, however the SNA is made up of a plethora of armed militias, some of which are extremists.



On February 28, the White Helmets asserted that the Syrian regime and Russia used Tochka missiles to target an area east of Aleppo. Video posted online on March 6 showed the wreckage of a Tochka missile allegedly used in the March 5 attack on the oil facilities.

Video from March 5 showed the strikes and the aftermath as well as missile fragments that were found. Social media accounts asserted that the Tochka missile fragments found near Tarhine in Syria indicate Russia was behind the attack. Others said it was the Syrian regime. Such a large attack would likely not happen without both being aware of it, regardless of which forces fired the missiles. Some said the missile were fired from the Kuweireis air base which is 30km east of Aleppo.

Ballistic missiles target north Syria oil facilities in rare attack
 

jward

passin' thru
BREAKING NEWS

Saudi Arabia vows to take 'all necessary measures' to protect itself
By REUTERS
MARCH 7, 2021 23:05

The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia will take all necessary measures to protect itself, and to ensure the stability of energy supplies and maritime traffic.

The attacks on a petroleum tank farm at Ras Tanura port and on Aramco facilities in Dhahran were cowardly terrorist attacks, a defense ministry spokesman said in a statement on state news agency SPA.

 

jward

passin' thru
Yemen’s Houthis Fire Missiles, Drones at Saudi Oil Facilities
Middle EastReuters Mar 7, 2021 ShareFacebookTwitterCopy Link
Yemen’s Houthis Fire Missiles, Drones at Saudi Oil Facilities
General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia, on May 21, 2018. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)


SANAA—Yemen’s Houthi forces fired drones and missiles at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Sunday, attacking a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura in an assault the kingdom said was aimed at the security and stability of global energy supply.
Announcing the attacks, the Houthis also said they attacked military targets in the Saudi cities of Dammam, Asir and Jazan.
Houthi military spokesmen Yahya Sarea
Houthi military spokesmen Yahya Sarea speaks in Sanaa, Yemen, on March 7, 2021. Sarea said they carried out an attack the same day on the Saudi Aramco facility in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia. (Screenshot/Houthi Military Media Center via Reuters)
The Saudi energy ministry said an oil storage yard at Ras Tanura, the site of an oil refinery and the world’s biggest offshore oil loading facility, was attacked with a drone but there were no casualties or property loss.
It added that shrapnel from a ballistic missile fell near Aramco’s residential compound in Dhahran.

Saudi state media earlier said the Saudi-led military coalition battling the Houthis had intercepted 12 armed drones aimed at “civilian targets” without specifying a location in the kingdom as well as two ballistic missiles fired towards Jazan.
Saudi attack
Smoke billows from the site of Saudi-led air strikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on March 7, 2021. (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)
Two residents in Dhahran told Reuters they heard an explosion. The U.S. mission in Saudi Arabia issued an advisory, citing reports of possible missile attacks and explosions on Sunday evening in the tri-city area of Dhahran, Dammam and Khobar in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

The Eastern Province is home to most of Aramco’s oil production and export facilities. In 2019, Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, was shaken by an unprecedented missile and drone attack on key oil facilities in the east of the kingdom which Riyadh blamed on Iran, a charge Tehran denies.
That attacks forced Saudi Arabia to temporarily shut down more than half of its crude output.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Sunday that the group had fired 14 drones and eight ballistic missiles in a “wide operation in the heart of Saudi Arabia”.
Escalation

The Houthis recently stepped up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia at a time when the United States and the United Nations are pushing for a ceasefire to revive stalled political negotiations to end the war.
Last Thursday, the Houthi movement said it fired a missile at an Aramco petroleum products distribution plant in the Red Sea city of Jeddah which the Houthis had attacked in November 2020, hitting a storage tank. Aramco and Saudi authorities have not commented about Thursday’s claim.
a damaged silo at the Saudi Aramco oil facility
A view of a damaged silo at the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Jeddah, on Nov. 24, 2020. Yemen’s Huthi rebels launched a missile attack on the facility on Nov. 23, 2020, triggering an explosion and a fire in a fuel tank, officials said. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty Images)
The military alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from power in the capital, Sanaa. The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudi-led coalition said on Sunday it conducted air strikes on Houthi military targets in Sanaa and other regions on Sunday and warned that “civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom are a red line”.
Saudi-led coalition launches air strikes on Yemeni capital after foiling drone attacks: witness
Smoke and dust rise near buildings from air strikes launched by Saudi-led coalition on Sanaa, Yemen, on March 7, 2021. (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)
It said the Houthis had been emboldened after the new U.S. administration revoked a terrorist designations on the group in February, state media reported.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Houthi military leaders following the increase in attacks on Saudi cities and intensified battles in Yemen’s Marib region.

In Sanaa, a Reuters witness reported several air strikes. The Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said coalition warplanes bombed al-Nahda and Attan districts.
The war, which has been in a military stalemate for years, has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Brent jumps past $70 for first time since pandemic began after Saudi facilities attacked
By Florence Tan
MARCH 7, 20217:11 PM UPDATED 4 HOURS AGO

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent crude futures surged above $70 a barrel on Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, while U.S. crude touched its highest in more than two years, following reports of attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities.

Brent crude futures for May hit $71.38 a barrel in early Asian trade, the highest since Jan. 8, 2020, and were at $71.11 a barrel by 0255 GMT, up $1.75, or 2.5%.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April rose $1.60, or 2.4%, to $67.69. The front-month WTI price touched $67.98 a barrel earlier, the highest since October 2018.

Asian stocks also rose after the U.S. Senate approved a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill while positive economic data from the United States and China bode well for a global economic rebound.

Yemen’s Houthi forces fired drones and missiles at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Sunday, including a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura vital to petroleum exports, in what Riyadh called a failed assault on global energy security.

“We could see further upside in the market in the near-term, particularly as the market probably now needs to be pricing in some sort of risk premium, with these attacks picking up in frequency,” ING analysts said in a report, noting that this was the second attack this month following an incident in Jeddah on March 4.

Brent and WTI prices are up for the fourth consecutive session after OPEC and its allies decided to keep production cuts largely unchanged in April.

Despite fast-rising crude prices, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister has voiced doubts on demand recovery.

“The decision to keep quotas unchanged signals the group’s intent to drawdown inventories further, without concern of overtightening the market,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“It also suggests they see little threat from rising output elsewhere.”

However, the energy minister in the world’s third-largest crude importer, India, said higher prices could threaten the consumption led-recovery in some countries.

Higher prices have also encouraged U.S. energy firms to add oil and natural gas rigs for a second week in a row, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday.

Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Brent jumps past $70 for first time since pandemic began after Saudi facilities attacked | Reuters
 
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