• 2021-03-21

    Iran has made threats against Fort McNair, an Army post in the U.S. capital, and against the Army’s vice chief of staff, two senior U.S. intelligence officials said. They said communications intercepted by the National Security Agency in January showed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard discussed mounting “USS Cole-style attacks” against the Army post, referring to the October 2000 suicide attack in which a small boat pulled up alongside the Navy destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden and exploded, killing 17 sailors. 

  • 2021-03-19

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar on March 9-11 took place against the backdrop of uncertainty among these states about their future relations with the new US administration, which is rethinking many of President Donald Trump's approaches to Middle East affairs. Amid this context, Moscow is seeking to remind the leading Arab monarchies of its readiness to fill the possible "void" that could arise if their ties with Washington stagnate, both in the security sphere and in the military-technical and military-political spheres.

  • 2021-03-16

    Iran’s defense minister said on Tuesday that the country must be ready to defend itself against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks. “We should be prepared to defend our nation against all threats and whatever the enemy may one day use as an offensive tool, including chemical, nuclear and biological weapons,” said Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. Hatami said the “enemies of humanity” were prepared to use all means to achieve their military goals. Iran’s defense ministry “had adopted all the necessary measures against all threats,” he said. 

  • 2021-03-15

    RGC Commander-in-Chief General Hossein Salami spoke at a ceremony marking the unveiling of an IRGC Navy "Missile City," introducing the various weapons added to the IRGC navy arsenal. The unveiling was aired on Channel 1 (Iran) on March 15, 2021. He said that the IRGC has UAVs, land-based anti-ship missiles, anti-ship missiles, sea mines, and various types of naval systems for electronic warfare, intelligence, naval mine warfare, and weapons that cannot be unveiled. 

  • 2021-03-15

    Evidence suggests that Israel may have been behind a recent attack on an Iranian container ship in the Mediterranean Sea, the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said, warning that Iran would consider resorting to “all options” to protect its interests. Speaking at a weekly press conference on Monday, Saeed Khatibzadeh said the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces is competent to give a detailed opinion about the attack on Iran’s ‘Shahr-e Kord’ container ship in the Mediterranean Sea, although the location of such an act of sabotage points the finger of blame at the Zionist regime. 

  • 2021-03-14

    The dalliance between the Assad family and Iran’s Shia clerics began in the 1970s. But whereas the Syrian leader held leverage in those days predating Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the tables have now been turned. Observers of the decade-long Syria war understand the indispensable role Tehran has played in ensuring the Assad regime’s survival. But they may be less familiar with its stunning breadth—or its historical roots. The dalliance between the Assad family and Iran’s Shia clerics began in the 1970s, when the shah was still in power in Iran and then president Hafiz al-Assad, a member of the marginalized Alawite sect, sought religious legitimacy to lead his majority-Muslim country. But whereas the Syrian leader held leverage in those days predating Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the tables have now been turned. Lately, Tehran’s relationship with Damascus can be described as one of strategic dominance. In this deeply researched Policy Note, analyst Oula Alrifai, a former Syrian asylee, lays bare the extent of Iranian infiltration of Syrian religious and socioeconomic life. She details the spread of Twelver Shia ideology through seminaries, congregation halls, and academic institutions, while demonstrating Iran’s massive economic clout in Syria through initiatives such as the Marota City housing project. For Washington, only a determined effort to blunt Iranian influence can help deliver much-deserved peace for the Syrian people and enduring stability for the region.

  • 2021-03-13

    The WSJ published an exclusive article on covert Israeli targeting of Iranian ships and shipments going to Syria, going back several years. Here is the headline: “WSJ News Exclusive | Israeli Strikes Target Iranian Oil Bound for Syria” To shed some light on the matter and give some broader context to the WSJ exclusive, I produced a draft visual timeline of notable events, of maritime incidents occurring to Iranian ships or those connected to Iran in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea, as well as the timeline of some of the highly publicised sabotage attacks in the MEG / Arabian Sea / Gulf of Oman region.  The visual is not a complete list of the incidents but just an outline.

  • 2021-03-09

    By any historical measure, it was a game-changer: the first meeting since the 7th century between a Roman Catholic Pope and a Shiite spiritual leader regarded as a “source of emulation.” It will take a long time to assess the full implications of the immensely intriguing 50-minute face-to-face conversation, with interpreters only, between Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Sistani at his humble home in a Najaf alley near the dazzling Imam Ali shrine. An avowedly imperfect parallel is that for the Shiite community of the faithful, Najaf is as pregnant with meaning as Jerusalem is for Christianity

  • 2021-03-08

    Two years ago, Pope Francis signed in Abu Dhabi, with the Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, a document of "Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.” His Holiness the Pope had wanted to sign a similar document with one of the most prominent Shia community representatives globally, the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Al-Sistani, in Najaf. This did not happen for several reasons. How did the Iraqi authority view the Pope’s visit and the role of the representative of more than a billion Christian believers in the world? What would be Sayyed Sistani's message for Pope Francis and the Arab, Islamic and Western worlds now?

  • 2021-03-08

    The spokesman for Yemen’s army says a new missile fired by the country’s armed forces and fighters from Popular Committees has hit a "sensitive" military target at Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport with high precision. 

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