Earlier today we reported that Saudi Arabia has made a “final” decision to invade Syria.
Of course they won’t use the term “invade.” They’ll say the same thing the US says, which is that they need to send in a limited number of ground troops to help fight ISIS.
The timing of the announcement quite clearly suggests that the Saudis are going to try and shore up the rebels who are facing imminent defeat at Aleppo where Hezbollah, backed by Russian airstrikes, is about to overrun the opposition. Continue reading »
Iran enjoys trolling the United States. In fact, it’s something of hobby for the Ayatollah, who has maintained the country’s semi-official “death to America” slogan even as President Rouhani plays good cop with Obama and Kerry.
The ink was barely dry on the nuclear accord when Tehran test-fired a next-gen surface-to-surface ballistic missile with the range to hit archrival Israel, a move that most certainly violated the spirit of the deal if not the letter. Two months later, the IRGC conducted live rocket drills in close proximity to an American aircraft carrier and then, on the eve of President Obama’s final state-of-the-union address, Iran essentially kidnapped 10 American sailors in what amounted to a truly epic publicity stunt. Continue reading »
On Thursday we brought you the latest from Syria, where Hezbollah and the IRGC have encircled Aleppo and cut off rebel supply lines to Turkey.
It was months in the making, but it now appears that the city – Syria’s second largest – will soon be retaken by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. As we’ve explained in the past, that would effectively restore the President’s grip on power as he would effectively control most of the country’s urban centers – even if that “control” is tenuous. Continue reading »
It appears that after a protracted fight, Russia and Hezbollah are poised to recapture Aleppo where militants are now surrounded. Critically, Russia and Iran have now cut off supply lines from Turkey. With the deck now stacked against the opposition, John Kerry and, to a greater extent Turkey, are getting visibly desperate.
Biting cold has brought snow to many places, including some that have never had it before.
The vice president of the Red Crescent society said that of the 9,515 injured in the country during the last week, 7,450 of the injuries were related to snow.
This included 283 road accidents due to snow and blizzard.
Applies to 446 municipalities
Snow has been reported across forested upland areas in northern Laos as extreme cold persists across much of Indochinese Peninsula,
Oil prices around USD 30/bbl mean that an increasingly significant volume of future oil projects no longer make sense. Although Deutsche Bank does not expect US crude inventories to reach capacity, rising US inventories and high US crude imports may heighten downside pressures to push prices closer to marginal cash costs of USD 7-17/bbl for US tight oil, with few plausible scenarios for a strong price recovery in the short term,
The main reason for oil’s torried surge over the past 2 days is that following yesterday’s Russia-Opec “oil production cut” headline fiasco, crude traders – who as we previously reported already had a record net short position – scrambled to cover their exposure on the assumption that where there is oily smoke, there will be fire. We can now put to rest any speculation that OPEC will proceed with any supply cuts, whether Russia requests it or not, because as the WSJ reported moments ago, not only will OPEC not support a supply cut but it will also not support an emergency OPEC meeting.
Iran plans to buy 114 civil aircraft from European manufacturing giant Airbus – Boeing’s major rival. The deal, reportedly worth over $10 billion and set to be signed next week, comes as Tehran emerges from years of international sanctions and isolation.
Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said Iran currently has just 150 operational planes out of a fleet of more than 250, AFP reported. He added that Tehran is seeking to modernize its ageing passenger plane fleet as soon as possible, as it has been hit by a shortage of parts due to trade bans. Continue reading »
(TFC) Tehran, Iran – The airwaves in the United States were filled with images of sailors on their knees while a US Navy vessel was searched. Unjustified outrage swept the nation. The US Secretary of Defense blamed the incident on a simple navigation error, however a chain of events leading back to 2009 demonstrates the facts are a little more complicated than first appear. The chain of events leads defense analysts to one unmistakable conclusion: Iran has the ability to disrupt US GPS systems. For western military analysts, the thought is terrifying. The West uses GPS for much more than replacing a compass and a map. Continue reading »
WASHINGTON – The United States is to repay Iran a $400 million debt and $1.3 billion in interest dating to the Islamic revolution, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.
The repayment, which settles a suit brought under an international legal tribunal, is separate from the tens of billions of dollars in frozen foreign accounts that Iran can now access after the end of nuclear sanctions. Continue reading »
Iran has freed four dual-nationality prisoners, including an American/Iranian pastor and an American/Iranian Washington Post reporter who had been accused of working for the U.S. to foment regime change in Iran. The release was part of a prisoner swap, in which seven Iranians imprisoned in the U.S. over sanction violations were also freed. A fifth American was freed by Iran outside of the swap.
Within hours of the release, devastating international sanctions on Iran were lifted after international inspectors verified its compliance with the terms of last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers. Continue reading »
The two US Navy riverine command boats intercepted in Iranian territorial waters yesterday were sent on their way along with the crew of 10 US sailors after brief detention on Iranian soil. According to news reports, the well-armed warships either suffered mechanical or navigational difficulties which caused them to enter Iranian territory (although it may well have been a game of cat-and-mouse to test the Iranian response). The US sailors were apparently treated well, enjoyed what appeared a decent meal in relaxed surroundings, and in the end apologized for the mistake and praised their treatment by the Iranians. Continue reading »
“Even if oil hovers between $30 and $35 a barrel, Iran will be pulling in some $3 billion a month by summer and nearly $4 billion a month by December.”
On Saturday, Iran marked what President Hassan Rouhani called a “golden page” in the country’s history when the IAEA ruled that Tehran had stuck to its commitments under last year’s nuclear accord.
Moments after the ruling was handed down, the US and the EU each lifted nuclear-related financial and economic sanctions on the “pariah state,” much to the chagrin of Israel and Tehran’s regional rivals who view the West’s rapprochement with the Iranians with deep suspicion.
“Everybody is happy except the Zionists, the warmongers who are fuelling sectarian war among the Islamic nation, and the hardliners in the U.S. congress,” Rouhani said, referring directly to Israel, the Saudis, and GOP lawmakers in the US. Continue reading »
“Following technical and operational investigations and in interaction with relevant political and national security bodies of the country and after it became clear that the US combat vessels’ illegal entry into the Islamic Republic of Iran’s waters was the result of an unpurpuseful [sic] action and a mistake and after they extended an apology, the decision was made to release them.”
The Seahawks/Viking game on Sunday started at -6 F (-21 C) at the stadium with a -25 (-31 C) wind chill.
Polar vortex on the way. Icy nucleus for Europe.
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ZeroHedge’s continuous propaganda against Iran (and I am not talking about the article below) is disturbing
‘Iran Hasn’t Invaded Another Country In More Than 300 Years.’
Tensions were already running high between Tehran and Washington in the wake of Iran’s move to test-fire a next generation surface-to-surface ballistic missile with the range to hit Israel.
And then the IRGC conducted a live-fire rocket test within 1,500 yards of a US aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz.
Now, in a further escalation, Iran has reportedly seized two US Navy ships.
- 2 U.S. NAVY BOATS IN IRANIAN CUSTODY, PENTAGON SAYS: AP
- RHODES SAYS U.S. WORKING ON RETURN OF CREW
- RHODES SAYS U.S. WORKING TO RESOLV
But nobody panic, because Iran has promised to return the crew “promptly” and as CNN adds, according to Iran the sailors are safe:
— CNN (@CNN) January 12, 2016
That appears to contradict a statement from Fars which says the US has “repeated” calls for the crew’s release. Continue reading »
The US Navy has released footage purportedly showing the Iranian Navy firing unguided rockets in the strategic Strait of Hormuz near the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and other Western warships and commercial vessels.
The 45-second black and white video shot from a Seahawk helicopter reportedly shows “fast inshore attack craft” of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard firing rockets close to the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, the USS Bulkeley destroyer, the FS Provence French naval frigate and some commercial ships on December 26. The video was declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
In a further escalation of tensions with Saudi Arabia, Iran on Thursday banned Saudi imports and forbid Iranian citizens from making the annual trip to Mecca.
All Muslims financially and physically capable of doing so are required at make a pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city at least once in a lifetime. Continue reading »
First and foremost, a disclaimer: I don’t normally comment on an event right after it has happened, if only because in most cases the key information needed to make an evaluation is missing. In this case, however, I am confident that three things are already obvious:
First, the murder by the Saudi Wahabis of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other Shia was a deliberately planned provocation. The Saudis knew, knew full well, that it would result in an explosion of rage in the Shia world. Not only that, but the timing was also carefully chosen. Continue reading »
Over the weekend, a geopolitical black swan landed in the Mid-East where Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric set in motion a series of events that led Riyadh to sever diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Protests broke out almost immediately after news of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr’s death hit the wires. Tensions reached a boiling point on Saturday evening in Tehran where demonstrators torched the Saudi embassy. In Bahrain, angry Shiites burned tires and confronted riot police who used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Earlier today, Saudi Arabia announced it had staged its largest mass execution in 25 years.
43 al-Qaeda conspirators were killed along with 4 Shiites accused of shooting policemen in the anti-government protests which broke out during the Arab Spring. Among the Shiites killed: prominent cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
His death drew sharp criticism from Iran and Hezbollah with the latter calling the execution a “grave mistake.” Protests erupted in the Qatif district of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as well as in Bahrain, where hundreds took to the streets, burning tires and braving tear gas fired by police. As we reported earlier today, protesters had also converged on the Saudi embassy in Iran.
Now, in what looks like a repeat of the Iran Hostage Crisis, the protesters in Tehran have reportedly broken into the Saudi embassy and set it ablaze with Molotov cocktails.
On Christmas Day, 2015, we told our readers the fascinating tale about the Turkish-Iranian gold smuggling ring – perhaps the biggest and most brazen in history, one which lasted for years, which saw billions in gold transported out of Turkey and into Iran to allow Tehran to circumvent the western financial sanctions using gold as a medium for bater, and which was all made possible thanks to the tiny Emirate of Dubai.
What made this particular instance of gold smuggling especially memorable is that it reached to the very political top in both Turkey, and Iran, and Dubai. Continue reading »
After a last minute delay by the White House of new sanctions on Iran connected with its ballistic missile program, a top Iranian official wrote on Friday that Tehran will develop missiles with a range of 5,000 kilometers – if they are imposed.
“Iran has dismantled thousands of centrifuges to prove its right for enriching uranium. The new sanctions come as a slap to our country,” wrote Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei in an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani, according to Mehr news agency. Continue reading »
The US is hostile towards Islam and tries to create divisions between Muslims, said Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, also accusing Washington of conceiving the Islamic State terrorist group.
“One of the main tools used by the enemies to prevent the birth of modern Islamic civilization is through creating divisions among Muslims,” Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday, as cited by Fars news agency.
Khamenei believes that the US is against the principles of Islam and promoting terror groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Continue reading »
Earlier this week, we told a fascinating story about an unprecedented, multi-year smuggling ring involving Turkey, Iran, and Dubai (as well as China, Russia and countless other nations) which saw corruption reaching to the very top of the political and financial establishment: from president Erdogan in Turkey, to one of Turkey’s richest people, Iran-born Riza Sarraf, to Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the son of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and one of the world’s richest people. The smuggled object in question was gold, billions of dollars worth of gold. Continue reading »
Long before Turkey was flagrantly arming and funding the CIA-created “terrorist organization” known as ISIS, there was another, far more elaborate way in which Turkey was flaunting international sanctions against an ostracized state – in this case Iran – which involved an epic gold smuggling triangle of Hollywood-thriller proportions, all made possible thanks to the United Arab Emirate city of Dubai.
Best known known for its luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture including the world’s tallest building, a lively nightlife scene, and a facade of openness and decorum, what Dubai is less known for is its unprecedented seedy underbelly of corruption and untouched criminality among the handful of billionaire oligarchs, princes, sheiks and sultans, who quietly dominate the local (and global) power and financial structure.
But first, a little history. Continue reading »
It surely looks like the destruction of Turkey is the plan of TPTB.
As those who frequent these pages are no doubt aware, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lost his mind.
To the extent Washington’s favorite autocrat had any sanity left going into the summer, he lost it completely in the wake of June elections that saw AKP lose its absolute majority in Parliament. That meant Erdogan would have a more difficult time rewriting the political rule book on the way to consolidating his power in an executive presidency.
Adding insult to injury, the election showed increased voter support for the pro-Kurdish HDP which Erdogan equates with the PKK, Ankara’s terrorist boogeyman. Continue reading »