• 2020-01-08

    Allies value dependability and transparency. Which is why President Trump's clash with Iran, which blindsided America's Gulf Arab allies, strengthened their sense that the United States is becoming a liability. 

  • 2020-01-08

    As of January 2020, the United States possessed an overwhelming advantage in conventional military capabilities in the Persian Gulf – dominating in both air and naval power. But Iran’s unconventional capabilities, along with its array of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, posed a threat to American assets and partner forces. 

  • 2020-01-07

    By 2020, tensions between the United States and Iran increasingly played out in invisible cyberspace. Both governments acknowledged that cyberattacks were central to their strategies. The scope was unknown, but cyberspace has turned into a near-unrestricted war zone. Cyber offered an alternative to kinetic military action that could lead to full-scale war – which both Washington and Tehran sought to avoid. 

  • 2020-01-07

    Iran has called upon the U.N. Security Council to denounce the Trump administration’s “criminal act” and “state terrorism” (both accurate descriptions of Trump’s drone attack on the sovereign territory of Iraq), but Security Council intervention is doomed to failure: the U.S. government would undoubtedly exercise its veto power to block any Security Council action against the United States There may be, however, another option. That option is United Nations General Assembly Resolution 377, known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution. Adopted in 1950, Resolution 377 provides that, in cases where the Security Council, due to a lack of unanimity amongst its five permanent members, fails to act as required to maintain international peace and security, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately and may issue any recommendations it deems necessary in order to restore international peace and security. Any such recommendations would not be binding upon United Nations members or the Security Council, but a strong, widely-supported denunciation of America’s latest act of criminal aggression against Iran, coupled with carefully crafted recommendations for defusing the crisis with collective measures, might just be enough to preserve Iran’s credibility as a regional power without obliging Iran to retaliate.

  • 2020-01-07

    “The general principle of the Chinese government on this issue was to “get the conflict under control,” said Jin Canrong, Associate Dean of Renmin University of China’s School of International Studies in Beijing. The US attack was against international law and should be condemned, he noted. […] China must also weigh its own interests in the region, according to analysts. Iran, located along the routes of the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative, is expected to play a more significant role in enhancing connectivity and trading between Asia and Europe. Globalisation has connected the world, not to mention China has overseas interests, Niu noted. “China’s oil imports from the Middle East and its construction projects in the region will all be seriously affected if the region becomes chaotic,” he said. China is Iran’s largest trade partner. The two sides’ trade reached $35 billion in 2018, according to the Chinese Embassy in Iran. China’s oil imports from Iran were 29.27 million tons in 2018, or $15 billion, increasing 21.8 percent compared to 2017. China-Iran economic ties were also seriously affected after November 2018 when the US government re-imposed full sanctions on Iran, a decision which the White House outlined as part of an unprecedented US economic pressure campaign. When unrest happened in the Middle East in the past, withdrawal was the only option for China, Niu said. Take Syria as an example. China suffered losses of about 18 billion yuan ($2.6 billion), he said. 

  • 2020-01-07

    Iran’s lawmakers unanimously voted for a motion to designate the US Army and the Pentagon as terrorist organizations in response to a recent move by Washington to assassinate Iran’s revered commander, Lt. General Qassem Soleimani.

  • 2020-01-07

    The review of an interview with former president of the Kurdistan Region five years after being published in a Turkish daily sheds light on how Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani literally saved Erbil after the Kurdish calls for help from the US, UK, France, Turkey and Saudis went unheeded when bloodthirsty ISIS forces were on the city’s doorstep.

  • 2020-01-06

    In a move underscoring that the U.S. Congress has the sole constitutional power to declare war, Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee and Ilhan Omar announced a War Powers Resolution in the House on Sunday as a companion version to that introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine in the Senate on Friday. "Let's not mince words: the assassination of Qasem Soleimani was an act of war undertaken without Congressional authorization, in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America," said Congresswoman Omar of Minnesota in a statement. "Following the assassination, thousands of additional troops were sent to the Middle East in one of the largest rapid deployments seen in decades. This follows years of saber-rattling and threats of war against Iran by President Trump and his accomplices. We in Congress must exercise our Constitutional duty—and do everything in our power to stop another disastrous war."

  • 2020-01-06

    As this report highlights with new data and analysis, the IRGC-QF has supported a growing number of non-state fighters in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Pakistan—including nearly a 50 percent increase since 2016. Thanks to Iran, these forces are better equipped with more sophisticated weapons and systems. This report also uses satellite imagery to identify an expansion of IRGC-QF-linked bases in countries like Iran and Lebanon to train non-state fighters. Iran has constructed more sophisticated and longer-range ballistic and cruise missiles and conducted missile attacks against countries like Saudi Arabia. In addition, Iran has developed offensive cyber capabilities and used them against the United States and its partners. In the nuclear arena, Iran has ended commitments it made to limit uranium enrichment, production, research, and expansion—raising the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons. [...] This report highlights a range of weaknesses that make Iran vulnerable to containment and lays out the political, military, economic, and informational components of such a strategy. The United States needs to credibly demonstrate that its policy toward Iran is not a blueprint for an endless struggle, but instead an effort to encourage Iran to be more democratic and open, as political and economic change must be driven by Iranians themselves.

  • 2020-01-06

    ... Furthermore, the rapport built by Moscow in the Middle East with Iranian rivals such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and even Israel can be come adversaries again leading to an unmitigated disaster of Putin’s grand strategy of keeping ties with American allies in the middle east. These circumstances will create twilight scenario to assess any possible moves by Moscow. […] All in all, Russia’s next move would not definitely be a blatant military assistance to Teheran as a brother in arms. But, Russia is likely to play a key role through its diplomatic means to impede any crisis that would be detrimental to its ally Iran.

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