Fascism doesn’t often sweep in overnight and take over some hapless nation’s government; rather, it gradually seeps into the cultural fabric — as is quietly taking place all around the globe, evidenced by an upsurge in sales of riot equipment that has gone largely unnoticed.
A new report from analysts with industry research group, Sandler Research, forecasts the Global Riot Control System Market for the next four years — but beyond a burgeoning market to parallel the expanding global police state, it appears world governments are also keenly aware of civilian discontent. Sandler predicts the market will have an annual growth of 3.5 percent, and makes a telling juxtaposition, emphases added, involving the United States:
“Law enforcement agencies around the world are the biggest market for riot control systems. This market is expected to generate revenues of over USD 3.5 billion by the end of 2020. Countries such as the U.S., Iran, Egypt, Russia, China, and Thailand have started procuring riot control equipment and are investing heavily in [non-lethal weapons]. Moreover, special vehicles that are equipped with water cannon and reservoirs have been designed for security personnel, for use in areas of conflict to handle large crowds and demonstration. Demand for such equipment is expected to rise during the next few years.”Continue reading »
In what appears to be a Doha party-pooping statement, Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman stated unequivocally that The Kingdom won’t restrain its oil production unless other producers, including Iran, agree to freeze output at a meeting this weekend in Doha. This a major problem because – if you remember – this week’s melt-up in oil (and thus stocks) was predicated on an anonymous diplomat cited by Interfax saying a deal will get done without Iran (which the Russians refused to confirm). All that hope crushed by a reality that has been painfully obvious that no side will be given in the Iran-Saudi tete-a-tete… and now, as Citi warned “expect a sharp sell-off.”
Over the past year, the US State Department had repeatedly objected to the proposed Russian delivery of S-300 missile defense systems to Iran. One year ago, the issue first came up when as CNN reported then John Kerry raised objections with Moscow over a plan to sell advanced missile defense systems to Iran. The White House said Kerry made the US opposition clear in a phone call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
It wasn’t just Kerry: the Pentagon also expressed concern about the move, saying it was “unhelpful.” At the time, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that “our opposition to these sales is long and public. We believe it’s unhelpful. We are raising that through the appropriate diplomatic channels.” Continue reading »
The Iranian Army’s elite 65th Airborne Brigade (NOHED) reportedly arrived to the southern Aleppo town of Al-Hadher on Tuesday after the recent announcement of their deployment to Syria in order to advise the Syrian Armed Forces.
The official page of the pro-government militia “Liwaa Al-Baqir” was the first to report their arrival; however, there has been no official confirmation from the Iranian Ministry of Defense. Continue reading »
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.
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 »
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 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.
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.
As BBC notes, Bahrain “has frequently accused Iran of supporting a low-level Shia insurgency that flared following the regional Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.” Continue reading »
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 »