• 2020-03-27

    The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq, issuing a directive last week to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops. But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive and risks war with Iran. In a blunt memo last week, the commander, Lt. Gen. Robert P. White, wrote that a new military campaign would also require thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from what has been the primary American military mission there: training Iraqi troops to combat the Islamic State.

  • 2020-03-27

    Ever since the outbreak of the current crisis in the Persian Gulf in June 2019, starting with a series of attacks on commercial shipping and culminating in the detention of the British oil tanker Stena Impero by Iran in July, Europe has been under pressure to take a stance. Although most EU member states (with the exception of the UK) opposed joining the US-led naval coalition in the Gulf, there has been general agreement in Brussels on the need to ensure some sort of military presence in the regional waters. The idea to deploy a European Maritime Situation Awareness mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) was put forward by France in November 2019, after initial discussions between the UK, France and Germany. It finally took shape in January 2020 with the political support of eight other member states: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal. 

  • 2020-03-26

    CONCLUSION: Given the increasing securitization of Iran’s anti-virus measures, information pertaining to the spread and containment of the pandemic will likely be classified going forward, even if this approach hampers the wider international effort. Moreover, in light of the Supreme Leader’s hateful tone and the IRGC’s propensity to follow his lead, the United States needs to consider the possibility of retaliatory attacks by the IRGC and prepare proper deterrent measures. Potential acts of Iranian terrorism could include conventional attacks on biological facilities that result in the release of pathogens, or even direct bioterrorism in the worst-case scenario. Finally, the pandemic’s serious effects inside Iran should not be regarded as evidence that the Iranian military threat has decreased. Washington should continue taking the IRGC threat to its regional military presence seriously, deploying a viable air and missile defense capability in Iraq and perhaps even Afghanistan in order to deter any attacks. And while it cannot maintain a two-carrier force posture in the region indefinitely, it still needs to maintain a demonstrated qualitative and quantitative advantage in Iran’s neighborhood—and, perhaps more important, credibility that it will respond at the right time and place.

  • 2020-03-25

    On March 25, 2020, researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks issued the final report of a four-year computer modeling study on the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7. The 47-story WTC 7 was the third skyscraper to be completely destroyed on September 11, 2001, collapsing rapidly and symmetrically into its footprint at 5:20 PM. Seven years later, investigators at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) concluded that WTC 7 was the first steel-framed high-rise ever to have collapsed solely as a result of normal office fires. Contrary to the conclusions of NIST, the UAF research team finds that the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11 was not caused by fires but instead was caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building. Following the release of this report, AE911Truth and 10 family members of 9/11 victims submitted a formal request for correction to NIST’s report on WTC 7 based partially on the UAF findings. The request is currently pending.

  • 2020-03-22

    On a blisteringly hot summer afternoon in 2006, Reza Sadeghi ran into an old friend at the Iraqi headquarters of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, an exiled Iranian militant group better known as the MEK. The two men had not seen each other in over a decade. Sadeghi guided his friend, who had just arrived from Canada, on a stroll through the desert compound known as Camp Ashraf. He was glad to catch up with an old comrade. But he also had a burning question. Sadeghi had effectively given his life to the MEK, which means “People’s Mujahideen of Iran.” A 26-year veteran of the group, he had not left Camp Ashraf for over a decade. During that time, he’d had no contact with his family or news of them. The MEK leadership had forced him and most of the other cadres living at Camp Ashraf to abandon even their closest relationships. Most painful for Sadeghi were thoughts of his son, Paul, his only child, now 16 years old. Sadeghi hadn’t seen or spoken to Paul since he’d arrived in Iraq.

  • 2020-03-19

    Seventeen years ago, the U.S. armed forces attacked and invaded Iraq with a force of over 460,000 troops from all its armed services, supported by 46,000 UK troops, 2,000 from Australia and a few hundred from Poland, Spain, Portugal and Denmark. The “shock and awe” aerial bombardment unleashed 29,200 bombs and missiles on Iraq in the first five weeks of the war. […] Here is a look at 12 of the most serious consequences of the U.S. war in Iraq.

  • 2020-03-06

    Psychological operation (PSYOP) is a form of information war that is defined as “planned operations to convey selected information to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals,” which is often achieved through creation of dissidence and disaffection within their ranks and society. There are three key reasons that the U.S. government has recently chosen to capitalize on PSYOP in the case of Iran among other foreign policy tools.

  • 2020-03-06

    As European governments push for negotiations to restrain Iran’s missile programme, a new ELN policy brief assesses its missile developments, analysing which capabilities Iran deems vital, which it could limit, and recommends how European negotiators could achieve a deal. Through a detailed analysis, author Fabian Hinz highlights a dilemma for Europeans. Iran has publicly declared a 2000km missile range cap, making missiles capabilities beyond 2000km a promising basis for a limitation agreement. These capabilities, while able to be developed and deployed much more rapidly than assumed, are still latent and not central to Iranian defence. However, most missiles below this range are technically mature, mass-produced, and deployed in large numbers. They are more destabilising yet more difficult to negotiate because of their core role in Iranian general deterrence.

  • 2020-03-06

    Robert David Steele, a former Marine Corps infantry officer and CIA spy as well as an activist for Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE), contributes regularly to Tehran Times.

  • 2020-02-21

    In recent weeks, US military and diplomatic officials have tried to mend fences with the Iraqi leadership and to press NATO countries to play an enhanced role in Iraq, especially in terms of the training of the Iraqi military. Pursuing the NATO angle would make the US military role less conspicuous and have the added benefit of so-called “burden sharing.” For this to work, Trump Administration officials need to state clearly that they respect Iraqi sovereignty and have no designs to “keep bases” in the country, thus communicating that they are not interested in using Iraq as a battlefield in Washington’s conflict with Tehran. In addition, Trump officials need to desist from lecturing to their European allies if they want their support in Iraq. […] To curry favor with the Iraqi leadership, on February 10 the Trump Administration decided to extend sanctions waivers to Iraq for another 90 days. a move that will allow Iraq to continue to import Iranian natural gas, which supports the production of about a third of Iraq’s electricity needs. This is especially crucial for the country’s stability, as electricity shortages in recent years have sparked widespread anger and protests. In return, the Iraqi cabinet approved six contracts awarded by the oil ministry that would increase domestic gas supplies—long a US goal to make the country less dependent on Iran—though the actual contracts with the companies have yet to be signed.

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