• 2021-01-20

    The annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on January 5, 2021 culminated in the resolution of the Qatar crisis. The crisis began in 2017, shortly after President Trump’s visit to the region, as the so-called Arab Quartet (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt) imposed a blockade against Doha to pressure it to rein in its foreign policy. The blockading countries have started lifting their pressure campaign against Qatar, although the terms of the agreement have not been fully disclosed and it is unclear if any of their initial demands were met. Some possible regional implications of the latest Gulf reconciliation include: the GCC distancing Qatar from Turkey; a widening policy gap between the UAE and Saudi Arabia; or, if the reconciliation stalls, further evidence of the intractable frictions between Qatar and its neighbors. A successful resolution to this crisis could serve Israel’s interests by promoting a more unified GCC front against Iran’s malign activity in the region and greater restraint in Turkish foreign policy. However, Jerusalem should also be aware that this development could herald shifting fault lines in the Gulf.

  • 2021-01-15

    The US Department of Commerce issued an order on ensuring security in the field of information and communication technologies, according to which Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba are declared adversaries in this area.

  • 2021-01-15

    The Aerospace Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps started the first stage of large-scale military exercise code-named of Payambar-e Azam 15 (The Great Prophet 15) in the Central Desert of Iran on Friday by implementing a combined missile and UAV operation

  • 2021-01-15

    • Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. (Israel has more capable ballistic missiles, but fewer in number and type.) Most were acquired from foreign sources, notably North Korea. The Islamic Republic is the only country to develop a 2,000-km missile without first having a nuclear weapons capability. Iran is still dependent on foreign suppliers for some key ingredients, components and equipment, but it has the technical and industrial capacity to develop long-range missiles, including an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, or ICBM. The military utility of Iran’s liquid-fuel ballistic missiles is limited because of poor accuracy, so these missiles are not likely to be decisive if armed with conventional, chemical or biological warheads. But Tehran could use its missiles as a political or psychological weapon to terrorize an adversary’s cities and pressure its government. Iran’s indigenous Fateh-110 family of solid-fuel missiles have achieved the precision necessary to destroy military and critical-infrastructure targets reliably, as demonstrated during its January 2020 attack against U.S. forces stationed at Ayn al Asad airbase in Iraq using Zolfaghar missiles.  Iran should not be able to reliably strike Western Europe before 2022 or the United States before 2025—at the earliest.  Iran’s space program, which includes the successful launch of several small, crude satellites into low earth orbit using the Safir and Qased carrier rockets, proves the country’s growing ambitions and technical prowess. Since 2016, the larger, more powerful Simorgh failed to put a satellite into orbit during four launch attempts and remains a work in progress.

  • 2021-01-15

    „Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday at a press conference the United States is doing all it can to prevent convergence and dialog between Iran and the Persian Gulf region’s Arab countries. "We are interested in Iran and the Arab states [of the Persian Gulf] establishing a normal dialogue, reaching confidence-building agreements, transparency in military affairs and developing cooperating in general. <…> Unfortunately, our American colleagues up, at least the current administration, have been doing their utmost to thwart this dialogue up until now," he said. According to Lavrov, the Russian proposal to create a security strategy for the Persian Gulf is particularly aimed at developing dialogue between Iran and the Arab states. "It is crucial that no one interfere in this process and take actions aimed at undermining the very efforts to create this dialogue," he underlined. […]“

  • 2021-01-14

    The Israel Hayom report came a day after Likud minister Tzachi Hanegbi, considered an ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened that Israel could attack Iran’s nuclear program if the United States rejoined the nuclear deal, as US President-elect Joe Biden has indicated he plans to do. “If the United States government rejoins the nuclear deal — and that seems to be the stated policy as of now — the practical result will be that Israel will again be alone against Iran, which by the end of the deal will have received a green light from the world, including the United States, to continue with its nuclear weapons program,” Hanegbi said in an interview with Kan news. “This of course we will not allow. We’ve already twice done what needed to be done, in 1981 against the Iraqi nuclear program and in 2007 against the Syrian nuclear program,” he said, referring to airstrikes on those two countries’ nuclear reactors.

  • 2021-01-13

    In late December, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif signalled the Islamic Republic's readiness to defend its "security and vital interests" amid the US military buildup near the country's borders. He accused Washington of wasting hefty sums to repeatedly send B-52 bombers to the region instead of focusing on the fight against COVID-19. Hundreds of Iranian scientists have urged the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force to destroy any US warplanes, especially B-52 bombers, and American warships if they trepass Iran's borders, the FARS news agency reports. 

  • 2021-01-13

    A senior US intelligence official says recent airstrikes on eastern parts of Syria near the Iraqi border were carried out by Israel with intelligence provided by the United States. Syria's official news agency SANA said the air assaults were carried out on the city of Dayr al-Zawr and the town of al-Bukamal in the early hours of Wednesday. […] The US official with knowledge of the attack, who requested anonymity, told the Associated Press that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had discussed the raid with Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, at a public meeting in a Washington restaurant on Monday. The official claimed the attack hit Iranian-linked targets, alleging the strikes targeted a series of warehouses used to store and stage Iranian weapons. Israel has already claimed to have hit Iranian targets and positions in Syria. Iranian officials have vehemently refuted the allegations, stressing that such "lies" will not impede Tehran's advisory assistance to Damascus in its anti-terror fight

  • 2021-01-12

    Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of acting as al-Qaida’s “new home base,” the outgoing secretary of state’s latest attempt to advance a dubious claim that could justify a military strike against Iran or sabotage President-elect Joe Biden’s diplomatic efforts. The administration has tried several times to tie Iran to al-Qaida, a claim that has been called politicized or an outright lie. Pompeo made the latest allegation with less than two weeks left in office, and did not offer any new evidence to back it up. 

  • 2021-01-08

    On December 17, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi met in Ankara. During the joint press conference, President Erdoğan said that Turkey and Iraq have agreed to continue fighting against their "common enemies," namely the PKK, ISIS, and the Gülen movement. During the press conference it was also highlighting that Turkey and Iraq can easily achieve the $20 billion trade volume target. Lately, tension in Iran's relations with Turkey was given public expression in the Iranian media. The Iranian regime is alarmed by the expansionist ambitions of Erdoğan's Sunni Islamist government, which come at the expense of Shi'ite Islamist Iran and its resistance axis. 

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