Without much notice from the international community — except Israel — Iran has been slowly building up its military capabilities in Syria. Their proxy in the region, Hezbollah, has been constructing military bases and Israeli intelligence thinks that the Iranians want to build an air base and possibly even a naval base.
Days away from the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry boasted about the success of the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy achievement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on putatively “preventing” Iran’s nuclear capability. “In reaching and implementing this deal,” Kerry said, “we took a major security threat off the table without firing a single shot.”
On the contrary, anyone who examines the JCPOA closely and honestly will come to the conclusion that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the mullahs got just about everything they wanted, while the U.S. got a dubious promise of good behavior that expires after 10 years.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has issued a fatwa declaring that women are forbidden to ride bicycles in public, Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on November 26.
In response to a religious inquiry, Khamenei also said it is prohibited for women to ride bicycles in the presence of strangers and those who are not their immediate family.
It’s too early to count chickens, to be sure, but there’s hope that Saudi Arabia may transform itself from a pre-modern tribal entity into an Arab nation-state in pursuit of modernization, and from a major (if not the major) source of terrorist financing to an American ally willing to find a modus vivendi with Israel. I hailed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s purge of corrupt and rogue family elements as an unsung success of the Trump Administration in this space November 14. Since then, Saudi Arabia’s chief religious official denounced Hamas as a terrorist organization and declared that it was permissible for Arabs to collaborate with the Israeli Army against Hezbollah.
I wonder if this was Obama’s plan all along:
After eight years of Obama’s Mideast policy, this is the outcome. The Saudis, Egyptians, Israelis and others in the region learned from Obama’s snubs that they can trust no one but themselves and have made it very clear that they will confront Iran, whether or not the West continues to cling to its illusion of moderate Iranian leadership. It could all get very ugly, very quickly.
Read the whole thing.
Saudi Arabia and other Arab foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss ways to confront Iran and its Lebanese Shi’ite ally Hezbollah, who the Arab allies say are interfering in their internal affairs.
Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Sunni monarchy Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Islamist Iran over Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s surprise resignation and after an escalation in Yemen’s conflict.
Canada has a history of going tough on Iran.
But now we’re softening our approach to a country long criticized for human rights abuses and questionable nuclear ambitions.
Interviews with al-Qaeda members and bin Laden’s family reveal a pact that allowed the group to prepare for its next phase.
Make the bunny Foreign Secretary.
The Foreign Office is studying a package of measures to ease relations with Iran before a visit to Tehran by Boris Johnson that has been billed as the foreign secretary’s chance to win the release of the jailed British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
On Friday, the FCO was playing down the chances of a breakthrough in the visit later this year, and stressed that any measures to ease Anglo-Iranian relations had already been under consideration before Johnson said incorrectly that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “teaching people journalism” in Tehran. Her family and employer have always said she was on holiday at the time she was arrested.
…The Iranian judiciary and media seized on Johnson’s remarks, made at a foreign affairs select committee hearing last week, to claim that he had revealed the truth about her activities in Iran.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe had already been sentenced to five years in prison and Iranian officials had threatened to add extra charges even before Johnson’s remarks to MPs. However, his error gave Iranian hardliners a further incentive to take a tougher line with her.
It has been reported that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been hooded and interrogated, had cried uncontrollably when she was separated from her two-year-old daughter and had spent her first eight months in solitary confinement.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah’s leader said on Friday that Saudi Arabia had declared war on Lebanon and his Iran-backed group, accusing Riyadh of detaining Saad al-Hariri and forcing him to resign as Lebanon’s prime minister to destabilize the country.
Right now, with marches and fiery speeches, the Islamic Republic in Iran is marking the 38th anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran and the holding of American diplomats as hostages for 444 days.
As the US Congress seeks new ways of tightening the screws on Iran, the Tehran leadership remains prisoner to old illusions. Most of those illusions are centered on the United States, which has frightened and fascinated the mullahs since they seized power almost 40 years ago.
The mullahs are frightened of the US because their view of history is shaped by their belief in conspiracy theories. They regard the US as a heavily-centralized diabolical machine controlled by a small coterie of conspirators, determined to rule the world. Internal political fights in the US are seen as part of a carefully scripted scenario to confuse the outside world.
A newly released trove of documents recovered from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound have revealed “secret dealings” between Iran and al-Qaeda.
Nearly half a million files found on the computer seized in the May 2, 2011, US raid on the al-Qaeda founder’s hideout in Abbottabad were released by the CIA on Wednesday.
A never-before-seen 19-page document purportedly written by a senior member of al-Qaeda details an arrangement between Iran and members of the group to strike American interests in “Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.”
In exchange, Shia Iran offered Sunni militants “money, arms” and “training in Hizbollah camps in Lebanon.”
Justin is so keen on Iran, this will have him panting!
Iran says it has foiled an online plan to organize an “illegal gathering” at the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the first king of Persia.
Iranians gather every year on October 29 at the pre-Islamic king’s tomb, located in the ancient city of Pasargadae in the central province of Fars, to celebrate Cyrus Day, an unofficial holiday.
Last year, scores of people were reported to have been arrested and some later sentenced to prison after thousands had assembled at the site of the ancient monument to celebrate Cyrus Day.
Iranian religious fighters see the fight against ISIS as a great way to subjugate the Sunni areas of Iraq and bring them under Iran’s influence and even control.
We have a Shia militia problem in Iraq. By we, I mean the United States, the Kurds, the Sunni citizens, and any Iraqis who don’t favor Iran paying for and leading sectarian slaughter.
An alleged spy for Israel’s Mossad intelligence service has been sentenced to death in Iran after he was found guilty of being involved in a string of assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists, according to prosecutors in Tehran.