• 2020-04-22

    On Wednesday morning, just a few hours after once again threatening to go to war with Iran, President Donald Trump shared a tweet from an account from someone by the name of Heshmat Alavi. Like many of the tweets the president circulates, Alavi was praising Trump, this time for his hard-line stance against the Islamic Republic. Trump’s amplification of the post was bad enough on its own: Alavi is a supporter of a militant Iranian cult called the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, known as the MEK, an organization that was designated for decades as a terrorist organization and is widely hated inside Iran. What makes it even worse, however, is that Heshmat Alavi does not exist.

  • 2020-04-19

    Trump wanted to change the Rules of Engagement and aimed to “have it all”. He will end up asking the Iraqis for an “honourable withdrawal” from Mesopotamia. The assassination of Soleimani offered the “Axis of the Resistance” what Iran could otherwise never have obtained from Iraq – US withdrawal. The loss of Soleimani and Muhandes has strengthened Iran’s position on several fronts. Iran returned to its previous “best policy”, a tried and tested tradition of reaping successes from US missteps in the Middle East.

  • 2020-04-18

    Iran’s defense ministry has made mass delivery of new combat and surveillance drones, including a jet-powered multipurpose UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to Army’s Air force and Air Defense Force. 

  • 2020-04-18

    The strategic consequences of Soleimani’s assassination and the Iranian direct bombing of the US bases are boosting the “Axis of the Resistance” as never before. Iran’s allies seem now to have no fear of confronting the US face-to-face on any platform. Soleimani was not killed on the battlefield but by a drone guided from afar. Iran gave notice to the US about the timing of the bombing of its bases and fulfilled its plan, allowing US and coalition forces to hide in their shelters. The assassination of Soleimani turned against the US and in favour of the “Axis of the Resistance”- despite its loss of an important leader.

  • 2020-04-14

    Conclusions: For years U.S. policymakers have stated that it is imperative that the United States push back on Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the Middle East. However, one administration after another has focused almost exclusively on sanctions—a relatively ineffective tool to counter what is ultimately a financially cheap strategy on the part of Iran. The concern always was that even highly limited and unattributed kinetic actions by the United States would lead to uncontrolled escalation. While these concerns are legitimate, the Israeli experience in Syria suggests that American freedom of action to strike Iranian targets in the gray zone may be greater than previously assessed. The United States may have more options than it has realized, providing it is willing to replicate the Israeli model, both against Iran and, possibly, against adversaries such as Russia or China in other gray zone conflicts. At the same time, U.S. policymakers will have to be careful to not “overlearn” some of the lessons of mabam. As analyzed in this report, certain conditions that have made the Israeli campaign successful may not apply, or may not be executable because of differences in how Israel and the United States fight wars.

  • 2020-04-13

    New anonymous organisations in Iraq have threatened to strike US forces if they refuse to withdraw from Iraq. One of these newly emerged organisations released its first video of an attack against a US military convoy transporting vehicles on the road between the Kurdish province of Erbil and the northern Salahuddin province, where the US maintains large military bases. US Ambassador Matthew Tueller has met with caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, expressing the will of his country to begin strategic talks with Baghdad. The US did not disclose that the US diplomat informed Mr Abdul-Mahdi about the US intention to pull out forces from Iraq and his request not to be attacked during the withdrawal of troops. Indeed, the US has already evacuated forces from 6 bases and centres of control in different places in Iraq. This is what prompted the Iraqi Kataeb Hezbollah (Brigades) to ​​announce particularly that the organisation does not intend to strike US forces as long as they completely withdraw from the country. 

  • 2020-04-13

    This time – after three failed attempts to nominate a prime minister  – Al-Kazemi will be supported to form his cabinet and will have the parliamentary support needed. However, he will face severe difficulties and challenges.  The US is redeploying its forces and not showing any intention of complete withdrawal. Al-Kazemi will not be able to seek an easy US withdrawal and won’t be able to disarm Iraqi organisations as he promised to do. Moreover, he will face a real economic problem because Iraq suffers from a low oil price and external debts. The income of Iraq is just over 30 billion dollars whereas it needs 80 billion to pay salaries and maintain the infrastructure as it is. Al-Kazemi will not be able to respond to demands from the street because he simply does not have enough money.  Iran is not afraid who sits at the top of the Iraqi government; today’s friend may turn out to be tomorrow’s enemy. Tehran enjoys enough connections with political leaders and military commanders and head of organisations in Iraq. Iran has experienced an aggressive Prime Minister in the past, Haidar Abadi, and managed its way in Iraq, a country sensitive to a balance among its political leaders. The US doesn’t have enough leverage in Iraq to match the leverage of Iran.

  • 2020-04-06

    The US Central Command officially confirmed deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Iraq. However, the US military announced that it will not provide “providing status updates as those systems come online” for security reasons. At least two Patriot batteries are now located in at the US military bases of Ayn al-Assad and Erbil. Two more Patriot batteries will reportedly be deployed soon. As part of its plan to redeploy forces to larger, more fortified bases, the US evacuated its troops from the al-Taqaddum Air Base in the province of al-Anbar. It became the fourth US military facility abandoned in Iraq within the last few weeks. The previous ones were located in al-Qaim, Kirkuk and al-Qayyarah. Iraqi sources say that the US actions demonstrate that Washington is preparing for a new round of military confrontation with Iran and its allies in the region. Recently, President Donald Trump stated that the US was expecting attacks by Iranian-led forces on US troops and facilities, claiming that Iran will ‘pay price’ for this. Following the statement, Iran deployed additional anti-ship missiles and multiple rocket launchers on the Qeshm Island in the Strait of Horumz.

  • 2020-04-02

    Iran continues to escalate proxy attacks against the U.S. in Iraq, demonstrating that it remains undeterred despite the January 3 strike that killed IRGC - Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and key Iraqi proxy leader Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis and subsequent U.S. strikes. Iran’s proxy network in Iraq is advancing its campaign to compel an American withdrawal by increasing the operational tempo of its attacks on U.S. and allied personnel. Iran’s proxies are responsible for at least 15 attacks on American and U.S.-led Coalition personnel since January 3. A new militia group, Usbat al-Thairen, claimed several recent attacks, indicating that the proxy network may be reorganizing in observance of the shared vision of Soleimani and Muhandis and that Iran may have reached a new phase in its campaign to expel U.S. forces form Iraq.

  • 2020-03-31

    Turkey's state news agency Anadolu said the explosion occurred near the Gurbulak border gate with Iran in Agri province. Turkish broadcaster TRT Haber also said the cause of the explosion was unknown. […] The report added that security forces are investigating the incident. Most recently the line was closed following an attack by PKK militants in July 2015, while a subsequent attack on the line in April 2018 was foiled by Turkish security forces. […] Iran is Turkey's second-biggest supplier of natural gas after Russia. Tehran sells about 10 billion cubic meters a year of gas under a 25-year supply deal to Turkey which it uses for electricity generation. The gas exports are carried out via a 2,577 km (1,601 miles) pipeline running from Tabriz to Ankara. Turkey imported 7.7 billion cubic meters of gas from Iran in 2019, or some 17% of its total gas imports.