Throughout 2019, the escalation of tensions surrounding the Strait of Hormuz confirmed that the stability of the Persian Gulf is not simply a regional, but a global problem. Though Iran’s HOPE advances an intra-regional format, any feasible and lasting framework necessitates the involvement of all littoral states including all Persian Gulf littoral states as well as external powers with vested interests in maintaining stability in the region. Europe, in conjunction with regional and external actors, can assume an instrumental role by facilitating dialogue and improving mechanisms for direct communication at the inter-governmental level while also providing a forum for flexible engagement that allows for the exchange of information and dialogue among experts, military officials, and bureaucrats.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman on Monday appeared to call out Mossad chief Yossi Cohen for leaking to the press Israel’s alleged role in a blast at an Iranian nuclear facility last week. The right-wing opposition MK did not identify Cohen by name during an Army Radio interview, but hinted at his role.
2020-07-01A New U.S. Paradigm for the Middle East: Ending America’s Misguided Policy of Domination; The Quincy Institute’s Middle East
Conventional wisdom holds that the presence of United States forces in the Middle East makes America and the region more secure. To the contrary, the U.S. military’s large footprint in the region, combined with voluminous U.S. arms sales and support for repressive regimes, drives instability and exacerbates grievances and conditions that threaten the United States. This presence has made Americans less safe and undermined U.S. standing abroad; it also leaves America less prepared to address more dangerous nonmilitary challenges such as pandemics and climate change, as the Covid–19 crisis makes clear. Given the manifest failure of the current strategy, growing calls for a demilitarized approach to the region should come as no surprise. However, translating concepts of military restraint into practical policy requires sustained effort. This paper is intended to move the debate forward by operationalizing a holistic approach to the region based on a narrow definition of vital U.S. interests, in accordance with a foreign policy centered on military restraint and responsible statecraft. U.S. policy toward the Middle East should be guided by two core interests: Protect the United States from attack; and facilitate the free flow of global commerce. While these objectives require the U.S. to prevent hostile states from establishing hegemony in the region, they are best served by enhancing peace and security within a framework of international law. Neither warrants a major U.S. military presence in the Middle East, let alone regional military dominance. A basic reorientation of U.S. policy is long overdue. Rather than allowing bilateral friends and adversaries define regional policy, the U.S. should center policy decisions across the region on their direct implications for U.S. interests, rigorously defined. Bilateral relations should be adjusted to this regionwide policy, not the other way around. A new approach based on responsible statecraft would not disengage from the Middle East, but would instead prioritize diplomatic and economic involvement over military domination, military interventions, and arms sales.
This issue of Red Diamond features a variety of articles focused on Iran. While our readers typically expect a tactical-level focus from our articles, this issue expands that context to a more strategic level as a result of real-time events at the time of production, and the expertise of our featured guest authors. Understanding why Iran behaves the way it does will facilitate faithful emulation of Iranian analogs in training scenario development and execution.
Of particular interest are feature articles by renowned Iranian subject matter experts Joseph Fallon and Michael Rubin. Joseph Fallon, currently at the think tank UK Defence Forum, places Iranian foreign policy in historical context, arguing that the present Iranian regime’s actions are consistent with the objectives of its predecessors—preservation of the regime by protecting independence and securing territorial integrity. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute explores the complexities of Iran-Iraq relations. He argues that Iranian interest in dominating its Western neighbor will never disappear, for myriad cultural, economic, and strategic reasons. Iran’s ability to exert influence is only thwarted by continued Western commitment to ensuring Iraqi independence.
Jerry England explores how Iran’s historically competing armed forces are becoming increasingly expeditionary and retaliatory, and improving their ability to coordinate their efforts. He highlights diverse Iranian capabilities and techniques, ranging from ballistic missiles to cyber-attack. Kevin Freese provides an overview of Iranian space programs, analyzing Iran’s ability to support military operations through space and counter-space endeavors. Brad Marvel provides a sneak preview of TRADOC G2’s upcoming Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 7-100.4, Iranian Tactics, planned for release in 2021. Finally, this issue provides a status report on updated entries within TRADOC G2’s Worldwide Equipment Guide.
Tehran Prosecutor General Ali Alqasi-Mehr has said that 36 individuals have been identified in connection with the U.S. assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani. “36 individuals who cooperated, collaborated, and participated in the assassination of Hajj Qassem, including political and military authorities of the U.S. and other countries, have been identified,” Alqasi-Mehr said on Monday, according to ISNA. Their arrest warrant has been issued and announced to Interpol, he added.
It’s looking like a long, hot summer, as tensions increase between Washington and Tehran, US elections approach, and the “maximum pressure” exercised by the US escalates. After Syria, it is Lebanon’s turn. The country’s financial failure has reached the point of no return. The US is trying to attribute the consequences of the severe economic situation to Hezbollah, the strongest of Iran’s allies even if US officials claim otherwise. However, Iran and its ally have resolved that the Lebanese society to which Hezbollah belongs will not be bullied or pushed into famine. No one should be surprised to see Iranian ships docking at Latakia harbour to supply Lebanon with much needed food, energy and medical supplies.
With Iran's influence growing and Russia making inroads even with once staunch U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia it seems that real U.S. influence in the Middle East is on a decisive downturn. Whatever Pompous Pompeo says or tweets will not change that. But there's a sucker born every minute. Some of those may still fall for the stuff he says.
Iran’s naval forces have successfully tested new-generation cruise missiles — designed and developed by experts at home — during military drills in the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called on countries to deny overflight rights to Mahan Air, an Iranian airline under U.S. sanctions, which he said recently delivered cargoes of “unknown support” to the Venezuelan government.
While the world waited for military conflict, on Saturday night after 7 pm local time, the first supertanker entered Venezuelan waters and is currently being escorted by the Bolivarian Republics’ military to port. The US did not intercept the tanker. […] While the victory of Iran and Venezuela is significant, it does not end the US economic war against the two countries. The US is persistent in its foreign policy goals and both countries need to be prepared for US escalation as a result of the Iranian supertankers going to Venezuela. Both countries cherish their independence and sovereignty. They will not give in. And they are building international solidarity. We in the US must demand that our government cease its hostilities and become a cooperative member of that global community.