Iran on the rise: Militarily, Technologically and Strategically. Did 40 years of US sanctions hurt or help?


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IRAN Helicopter Industries : Domestically built helicopters ? !!​

Aside from the empty talk in the video, none of the helicopters shown are combat-reliable.

In a large scale war with Israel, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, the Iranians would have no chance.

It is a well known fact that the Iranian army is armed with outdated equipment, for that reason they heavily rely on ballistic missiles which anti-missile weapon systems are heading towards making them useless.


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Iran opens new oil terminal in bid to bypass crucial Strait of Hormuz for exports

  • “This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, according to state-run media.
  • Iran has previously threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to former President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions.
WASHINGTON – Iran on Thursday opened its first oil terminal in the Gulf of Oman, a move aimed at making Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s regime less dependent on the Strait of Hormuz, often a source of international tension.
The location of the new oil terminal — a project that began in 2019 and will cost some $2 billion — will also reduce transportation and insurance expenses for oil tankers.

“This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports,” Rouhani said in a televised speech, according to state-run media.
The Strait of Hormuz, a crucial channel located between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, is used by oil producers to transport crude from the Middle East. Approximately 20% of the world’s crude oil passes through the waterway.
The new terminal gives Iran more space to operate. The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow strip of water between Iran and the United Arab Emirates that connects the Persian Gulf to more open waters. The new terminal is to the east on the wider Gulf of Oman, which opens into the vast Arabian Sea.
Iran has previously threatened to close the strait in response to Trump administration’s decision to reimpose sanctions.

“This new crude export terminal shows the failure of Washington’s sanctions on Iran,” Rouhani said, adding that Iran plans to export 1 million barrels per day of oil.

Washington placed sanctions on Tehran after former then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, nuclear agreement in 2018.
The JCPOA, brokered by the Obama administration in 2015, lifted sanctions on Iran that had hampered its economy and cut its oil exports roughly in half. In exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, Iran agreed to dismantle some of its nuclear programs and open its facilities to more extensive international inspections.
Alongside the United States, France, Germany, the U.K., Russia and China ⁠were also signatories of the agreement.
In 2018, Trump kept a campaign promise and unilaterally withdrew the United States from the JCPOA calling it the “worst deal ever.” Trump also reintroduced sanctions on Tehran that had been previously lifted.
The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign crippled Iran’s economy and slashed oil exports.
The Biden administration is working to revive the JCPOA with the deal’s other signatories.


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July 22, 2021,

Russian and Iranian Proxy Forces Are Baffling the U.S.

Drones, mercenaries and cyberattacks give rivals plausible deniability for damaging American interests.

What do rocket strikes by Shiite militias in Iraq, ransomware attacks on targets in the U.S., and Russia’s use of mercenaries on battlefields in the Middle East have in common? They are part of a trend in which America’s rivals are using nonstate actors and quasi-deniable means to put pressure on its interests.

Washington is frequently finding itself on the business end of a classic strategy — proxy warfare — for which it has yet to devise an effective answer.

Proxy warfare has been around forever. During the age of sail, contending powers commissioned privateers to deplete their enemies’ coffers. The British East India Company, while technically a private enterprise, brought large swaths of territory and global trade into London’s imperial grasp. During the Cold War, Washington and Moscow enlisted mercenaries, insurgents, activists and other nonstate groups in a fierce rivalry that they both hoped to keep within bounds so as to avoid a major superpower conflict.

Today, the U.S. has worked with nonstate actors to roll back the Islamic State and maintain a geopolitical toehold in Syria. More often, however, America is the target of this approach.

Iran has made a practice of arming and inciting Shiite militias to conduct rocket and drone attacks against U.S. bases and personnel in Iraq, as part of a larger strategy of proxy warfare throughout the Middle East. Vladimir Putin’s Russian government employs the mercenaries of the Wagner Group and other organizations to protect Moscow’s interests and expand its influence in Syria and Libya.

Russian criminal organizations have allegedly carried out cyberattacks against America’s critical infrastructure, most notably through the ransomware attack that shut down Colonial Pipeline earlier this year. The Kremlin’s connection to these elements is murky, but it seems unlikely that Putin would tolerate the attacks if he didn’t believe they were advantageous to the Russian state.

The allure of proxy attacks is that they offer impact with (relative) impunity. Iran can use Iraqi militias to weaken the U.S. position in Iraq, or gain leverage in nuclear negotiations, without having to openly attack a superpower. Russian criminal groups can foment disorder within the U.S. without fully revealing the Kremlin’s hand. And the harder attribution is, the harder it has traditionally been for Washington to justify a sharp, punishing response.

Proxy attacks thus offer America’s rivals the ability to coerce the U.S. within limits: They are a classic “gray zone” tactic used to exert pressure short of war. At the same time, they offer countries such as Russia and Iran an opportunity to test the approaches — massive cyberattacks, large-scale violence against U.S. targets in the Middle East — they might employ if a bigger fight broke out.

So far, Washington has found it hard to formulate winning countermeasures. Proportional retaliation against the proxies themselves — pinprick airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias; arrests or financial reprisals against Russian criminal groups — doesn’t appear to unduly trouble their government sponsors. This is largely because it allows Tehran and Moscow to maintain the myth of deniability and deflect the costs onto more expendable actors. The obvious alternative for Washington is to hit back harder — and be willing to go after the sponsor as well as the proxy.

In 2018, the Department of Defense destroyed a contingent of 200 Russian mercenaries that got too close for comfort in Syria. In early 2020, President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, after his Iraqi proxies’ attacks on Americans crossed the line.

Similarly, President Joe Biden has reportedly warned Putin that he will retaliate against Russian state interests — perhaps through cyberattacks, perhaps through economic sanctions or other means — if large-scale cyberattacks continue.

The logic is sound. Proxy attacks won’t stop until U.S. rivals start to fear that they will suffer more from the American response than they gain from the initial probe. Showing that the U.S. will respond asymmetrically — that it reserves the right to strike back across multiple domains — can inject greater uncertainty into these countries’ calculus. And as analyst Michael Knights argues, if Washington can resist publicly crowing about its operations, it can avoid making its enemies feel as though they have no choice but to continue the cycle.

Even so, retaliating against a sponsor doesn’t always do the trick. Trump may have shocked the Iranian government by killing Soleimani, but the militia attacks resumed not long thereafter. The root of the problem is that it is hard for a distracted superpower to win contests of coercion and resolve against committed rivals — and the U.S. is the very definition of a distracted superpower vis-a-vis Russia and Iran right now, because it is so visibly trying to focus on China.
The Biden administration, like the Trump administration, is trying to signal that it is losing patience with proxy attacks. Proving that point may require a degree of sustained reprisal — and sustained confrontation — that will take Biden considerably further than he wants to go.


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‘Failure of US sanctions’: Iran launches first oil terminal in Gulf of Oman to bypass Strait of Hormuz

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Iran has opened its first oil terminal in the Gulf of Oman and referenced the “failure” of US sanctions to deter its progress. It will allow oil exports to bypass the Strait of Hormuz, which has recently seen multiple incidents.
The new oil terminal is located at the port of Bandar-e Jask, which lies just south of the strait. The faculty was inaugurated by the country’s President Hassan Rouhani, who announced the achievement in a televised speech on Thursday.
“This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports,” Rouhani stated.
The narrow and busy Strait of Hormuz has been a source of international tensions for decades, with a series of maritime incidents involving oil tankers occurring in it and the wider Persian Gulf region in recent times. The area has also seen a number of close calls between the US and Iranian military, with the two sides blaming one another for “unsafe” conduct in the troubled waters.
ALSO ON RT.COMIran ready to ‘revive’ its oil production within a month once US sanctions are lifted
The inauguration of the oil terminal constituted a “failure” of US sanctions against the country, Rouhani argued, as the new facility will allow swifter and safer exports.

According to Rouhani, Iran is seeking to export around a million barrels per day from the new facility. The project – which includes the oil facility itself and a pipeline reaching it – was worth some $2 billion, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh revealed.
“The implementation of the Goreh-Jask port crude oil transfer project took place with about $2 billion investment,” Zanganeh said, as quoted by the oil ministry’s Shana website.
READ MORE: Iran fuel pipeline explosion caused by gas leak kills 3, injures 4 – state news agency (PHOTO, VIDEO)
Iranian oil industry has been targeted with numerous sanctions over the past few years, after then-US president Donald Trump walked away from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under the terms of the deal, Iran had agreed to strictly limit its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions and the receipt of other economic benefits. In response to the US actions, Tehran has gradually suspended its obligations under the JCPOA, expanding its nuclear activities and installing new uranium-enriching equipment.
ALSO ON RT.COMRouhani says Iran can enrich uranium to 90%, equivalent to weapons-grade
Later, Trump vowed to bring Iranian oil exports – which account for a sizeable chunk of the country’s income – to zero. While it has heavily hit the Iranian oil sector, Washington has so far failed to achieve that goal.
After the change of the US administration, Washington and Tehran set up indirect talks on the fate of the comatose JCPOA. The negotiations have not yielded any tangible results, however, with Iran maintaining that only the full and unconditional lifting of sanctions would persuade it to observe the JCPOA-envisioned bounds once again.
It's not Strait of Hormuz they need to bypass, it's sanctions.


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Mossad cell’ arrested over plans to provoke violence during ongoing protests in Iran,


Members of an armed cell who allegedly worked with Israel’s Mossad spy agency and planned to provoke violence during protests in Iran have been detained, Tehran’s Intelligence Ministry has told local media.
The group, which allegedly had access to a heavy shipment of weapons and ammunition, was recently apprehended after entering Iran through its western border, an official from the ministry told the Fars news agency.
The official didn’t elaborate on the size of the unit or the nationality of those arrested, but they insisted that the suspects were acting in cooperation with Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.
The weapons seized from the alleged agents included pistols, grenades, rifles, shotguns, and ammo. The arms were being brought into Iran to be used during “urban riots and assassinations,” according to the ministry official.
The announcement comes after several weeks of demonstrations in Iran against water shortages in the southwest of the country, caused by severe drought. The unrest has resulted in at least five deaths among the protesters.
ALSO ON RT.COMIran accuses Israel of June sabotage attack at nuclear site, says it caused 'no damage to equipment'
The Intelligence Ministry representative also claimed that Israel had been intending to carry out “acts of sabotage” during the Iranian presidential election in mid-June, which was won by hardline candidate Ebrahim Raisi. The country’s security forces prevented those activities, he added, and “dealt a blow to the Mossad terrorist network.”
He also thanked Iranians for their “constant vigilance,” while urging the public to remain wary of any "suspicious offers," particularly if made online.
Tehran has long accused Israel intelligence of undertaking malign activities on Iranian territory in an attempt to undermine the country’s stability and derail its nuclear program.
The two blasts that rocked the Natanz nuclear site in April 2021 and July 2020, as well as the assassination of a top scientist in Iran’s nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in November 2020, have been linked to Mossad by Iranian officials.
While the Israeli government has not claimed or denied responsibility for those incidents, recently retired Mossad chief Yossi Cohen implied last month that his agency could well have played a part in them.
ALSO ON RT.COM‘This madness mustn’t be tolerated,’ Tehran says after ex-Mossad chief implies Israel played role in blast & assassination in Iran
In a bombshell TV interview, Cohen remarked that the Natanz facility didn’t “look like it used to” after the explosion crippled its centrifuges, and confirmed that Fakhrizadeh had been a target for intelligence-gathering by Mossad “for many years” because Israel was “most troubled” by his work.


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Mossad cell’ arrested over plans to provoke violence during ongoing protests in Iran

I understand, regime is going to accuse everyone opposing it - apparently Iran is full of Mossad agents.


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It's not Strait of Hormuz they need to bypass, it's sanctions.
Apparently they don't give a damn about what you think...
And the sanctions are making them stronger every day looking forward for the big boom thanks to your buddy Trump...

Khamenei Adds to Doubts on Iran Nuclear Deal Talks

“Trust in the West does not work,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, signaling further problems with stalled negotiations to salvage the country’s nuclear agreement.


July 28, 2021Updated 4:52 p.m. ET

Iran’s top leader injected new doubts Wednesday into the stalled effort to save the country’s 2015 nuclear pact with major powers, accusing the United States of duplicity and chastising the outgoing Iranian president as naïve.

The remarks by the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, come one week before President Hassan Rouhani — an architect of the original nuclear accord — will step down after eight years.
The fate of Iran’s negotiations with the United States to revive the accord, which have been suspended for more than a month, now falls to Mr. Rouhani’s successor, Ebrahim Raisi, an arch-conservative disciple of Mr. Khamenei who takes office in a week.
The tone and timing of Mr. Khamenei’s remarks, which he delivered in person to Mr. Rouhani and his cabinet in a meeting reported on Iranian state media, amounted to a public rebuke of the departing president. The remarks also sent a message that the negotiations are likely to face further challenges under Mr. Raisi.

“A very important experience in this period that the future generations should use is distrust of the West,” Mr. Khamenei said in lecturing the outgoing president and his aides, according to an account reported by Iran’s Fars News Agency.
“In this government, it became clear that trust in the West does not work and they do not help, and they strike a blow wherever they can, and if they do not strike somewhere, it is because they cannot,” Mr. Khamenei said.
The 2015 nuclear deal with major powers including the United States granted Iran relief from onerous economic sanctions in exchange for verifiable pledges to severely restrict its nuclear work and vastly reduce its stockpile of uranium, which can be used to make bomb fuel.
President Donald J. Trump repudiated the deal in 2018, calling it insufficiently strict and reimposing American sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s economy in what he called a “maximum pressure” campaign. Iran has since suspended compliance with the accord’s key provisions.

While Iran has insisted its nuclear ambitions remain purely peaceful, nonproliferation experts say the country is now much closer to bomb-making capability than it was under the agreement.
Talks aimed at saving the agreement from collapse began under the Biden administration. Early hopes for a restoration quickly faded, with Iran demanding the United States first rescind the sanctions and guarantee it would never repudiate the agreement again.
Mr. Biden’s negotiators have said Iran must return to full compliance with the agreement and be prepared for further negotiations aimed at limiting Iranian missile development and support for militant groups in the Middle East. American officials have also ruled out the guarantee demanded by Iran.
Both sides said progress was made but they appeared to remain far apart when the talks, held through intermediaries in Vienna, were suspended in June.

Mr. Khamenei, who as Iran’s top leader has the final word on national security issues, said the United States was responsible for the impasse in reviving the agreement, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“In these talks, the Americans stood firm on their stubborn position and did not take a single step forward,” he said.
The State Department rejected Mr. Khamenei’s assertions, saying the Biden administration has been “sincere and steadfast to achieve a mutual return to compliance.”
“We have made clear that we are prepared to return to Vienna to resume negotiations,” the department said in an emailed statement. “The same could not be said of Iran. No amount of deflection can obscure that.”

Signs of trouble in the talks have started to emerge among the countries that were part of the original agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. They have played a prominent role as intermediaries.
Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for France’s Foreign Ministry, Agnès von der Mühll, laid the responsibility on Iran.
“If it continues on this path, not only will it continue to delay when an agreement to lift sanctions can be reached, but it risks jeopardizing the very possibility of concluding the Vienna talks and restoring the J.C.P.O.A.,” she told reporters.
Analysts who have followed the history of the nuclear agreement noted that Mr. Khamenei, in his remarks on Wednesday, did not terminate the talks, which they regarded as a sign he still wanted them to succeed — and that he wanted his protégé, Mr. Raisi, to get any political credit for such an achievement.

“He hasn’t hesitated to ban such engagements in the past when he feels that negotiations are pointless or damaging,” said Henry Rome, a Middle East expert at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.
But the message of Mr. Khamenei’s remarks, Mr. Rome said, “really underscores the point that getting back into the deal was never going to be easy or immediate.”


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Actually there is a lot of substance and especially in sudden convenient capture of supposed spies and saboteurs.

It is better to blame "outside forces" rather than admit your own failure.

@Viral , see how many Mossad agents there are. Go, try stopping that.


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How US military pullback in Iraq could benefit Iran


First Afghanistan, now Iraq. As Iraq's prime minister visits the White House for talks with President Joe Biden, an announcement has been made that all remaining US combat troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year as part of an ongoing "US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue".
This prompts two key questions: what difference will this make on the ground, and does this open the door for a return of Islamic State (IS), the group that terrorised much of the Middle East and attracted recruits from as far afield as London, Trinidad and Australia?
Eighteen years on from the US-led invasion of Iraq, America only has about 2,500 regular troops left in Iraq, plus a small and undisclosed number of Special Operations forces fighting IS.
Concentrated in just three bases, they are a tiny fraction of the 160,000-strong force that occupied Iraq post-invasion - but they are still subject to rocket and drone attacks from suspected Iranian-backed militias.
The US military's job is training and assisting the Iraqi security forces who are still battling a sporadic but deadly insurgency by IS jihadists.

But the US military's presence in the country is controversial.

Iranian-backed politicians and militias want them out, especially after the US assassinated the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani, and a top Iraqi Shia Muslim militia commander at Baghdad airport in January 2020.
Even non-aligned Iraqis would like to see their country rid of foreign forces; the notion of foreign occupation is an emotive one.
This suits some in Washington just fine, although not at the cost of "handing over Iraq to Iran".

The US has long been trying to extricate itself from what President Biden calls its "forever wars" in the Middle East. Hence the accelerated withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, as the US and its allies turn their attention increasingly towards the Asia-Pacific region and the South China Sea.

Islamic State 2.0?

Lurking in the background here is the spectre of an IS revival and the possibility of history repeating itself.
In 2011, President Barack Obama announced that US troops were pulling out of Iraq.

Although a small number have remained since, that drawdown, combined with a toxic Iraqi political mix and a burgeoning civil war across the border in Syria, created the perfect space for IS to eventually seize Mosul, the second city, and then control territory the size of a European country.
Could this now happen again? Could a reconstituted IS 2.0 once again sweep aside a demoralised Iraqi army deprived of US combat support?

It's a lot less likely, for several reasons.
IS was able to capitalise back then on the massive discontent felt by Iraq's Sunni Muslims towards the highly partisan Shia government of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. He ran the country from 2006-2014 and systematically disenfranchised the Sunnis, pushing many into the waiting arms of IS.
Today's political equation, while far from perfect, is more acceptable to Iraq's competing ethnic groups.
Since the defeat of IS, the US and Britain have also spent a lot of time and effort in training up Iraq's counter-insurgency forces and that training is set to continue, with Nato backing.

Thirdly, IS' strategic leadership, or what's left of it, appears to be more focussed on exploiting the ungoverned spaces in Africa and Afghanistan than battling well-armed security forces in its Arab heartland.
"Attacks by IS insurgents appear to be containable by Iraqi government forces," says Brig Ben Barry, a former British Army officer and now defence analyst at the think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.
"Although," he adds, "without a political settlement with Iraqi Sunnis the root causes of the insurgency will remain."
IS was able to conduct a successful lightning campaign across the region in the summer of 2014 partly because the West had taken its eye off the ball in Iraq.
It then took an 80-nation coalition five long years and billions of dollars to defeat it and no-one wants to go through all that again.
So despite the US drawdown, which may still see small numbers of American troops remaining, the West will be watching to see if IS or any other jihadist groups look like using Iraq as a springboard to carry out transnational attacks, especially in the West.
"Should the US detect that IS in Iraq were preparing an attack on US interests outside Iraq, Washington would probably unilaterally attack," says Mr Barry. And with sizable resources nearby and offshore in the Gulf, the Pentagon certainly has the means to do so.

Iran's long game

The bigger, long-term picture here is one that favours Iran.
Ever since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979 it has been trying to evict US forces from its neighbourhood and become the premier power in the region.
It has had little success in the Arab Gulf states where mistrust of Tehran runs deep and where the US military has facilities in all six countries, including the headquarters of the US Navy's powerful 5th Fleet in Bahrain.


But the US-led toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in 2003 removed the most effective obstacle to Iranian expansion, and Tehran has not passed up on the opportunity since then. It has successfully inserted its Shia militias into the fabric of Iraq's security establishment, and its allies have a powerful voice in parliament.
Syria's civil war has opened the door for a major Iranian military presence there, while next door in Lebanon Iran's ally Hezbollah has become the most potent force in the country.
Iran is playing the long game. Its leaders hope that if it keeps up the pressure, both overt and covert, it will eventually make the Middle East a region not worth America's effort to stay engaged in, militarily.
Hence the frequent rocket attacks on US bases and Iran's support for civil protest calling for US troops to leave.
An agreement that sees the end of US combat operations in Iraq will be seen by many in Tehran as a step in the right direction.
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Sayyid Muki

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Just saying :cigar:.

‘LASER DOME’: Rafael, Lockheed Developing Next-Gen Missile Defense System To Make Israeli Airspace ‘Impregnable’


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‘Highly likely’: UK & US accuse Iran of ‘deliberate & targeted attack’ on Israeli-operated tanker off Oman, threaten a response

FILE PHOTO: The Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned Liberian-flagged tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime that was attacked off Oman coast. © / Johan Victor / Handout via REUTERS

It is “highly likely” that Iran was behind the deadly drone attack on the Israeli-operated tanker MV Mercer Street off the coast of Oman, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, threatening Tehran with a “concerted response.”
“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran,” said a statement, released by the Foreign Office on Sunday.
It went on to say that “it is highly likely” that Iran attacked the Mercer Street tanker with one of its drones as the vessel was passing through neutral waters off the coast of Oman.

“We are confident that Iran conducted this attack," US State Secretary Antony Blinken said in a statement, adding that the conclusion was reached “upon review of the available information.” He also accused Tehran of taking actions that “threaten freedom of navigation” through a “crucial waterway.”

The MV Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged tanker operated by the London-based Zodiac Maritime company of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, was targeted in an attack on July 29 northeast of the Omani island of Masirah. Two people were killed in the incident: one of them reportedly the Romanian captain and the other confirmed as a British security guard.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which operates in the region, blamed the attack on what it called a “suicide drone.” Raab did not cite any new evidence that could shed light on the circumstances of the incident, but said instead that “UK assessments have concluded” that Tehran was likely behind it.
London condemned what it called “the unlawful and callous attack,” and demanded Iran “end such attacks,” but stopped short of taking any retaliatory steps. Instead, the foreign secretary said the UK was “working with our international partners on a concerted response” to the incident.
Blinken also vowed to deliver an “appropriate response” to the attack on Sunday.

ALSO ON RT.COMIsrael has ‘proof’ Iran behind deadly ship attack off Oman, PM Bennett claims

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid had previously called for a “harsh” international response to the attack, laying the blame for it squarely on Iran, and the Israeli ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, said he had discussed with Washington the possibility of a “real” response.
It remains unclear what exactly happened to the vessel, though Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed there was “intelligence evidence” proving Tehran was behind the incident. He did not make this evidence public, however. Iran has denied responsibility for the attack and, in turn, accused Tel Aviv of creating
“insecurity, terror and violence.”


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السفن الاسرائيلية تفقد حرية التنقل في البحار/ انقلاب الصورة


Ashrafieh LF

New Member
Israel and Iran are on a collision course! It’s only a matter of months before Iran is neutered. Then the vultures will swoop down and finish HA.
It would be another example of Aoun betting on the wrong horse. He’s an expert in this!


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Recent Israel-Lebanon escalation shows Iran & Hezbollah are attack against one is seen as an attack against both

Scott Ritter
Scott Ritter
is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of 'SCORPION KING: America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter


Israel has started talking tough about going to war with Iran. Then Hezbollah sent a reality check. 2006 will forever haunt Israel as it confronts the fact that, when push comes to shove, it's not as capable as it claims to be.
Israel has been waging a covert war against Iranian shipping for months now, conducting more than a dozen attacks on Iranian vessels over the course of the past few years. The attacks appear to be targeted against vessels delivering oil to Syria in violation of US and international sanctions. During this time, there have been similarly mysterious attacks against Israeli-owned shipping. While Iran has officially denied any role in such attacks, it is believed that they are part of a program of retaliation against Israel for its attacks on Iranian shipping.
The most recent incident of suspected Iranian retaliation took place on July 31 against the Mercer Street, an Israeli-owned, Liberian-flagged oil tanker transiting the Gulf of Oman. The drone attack, which killed two crewmembers, was immediately condemned by the US, UK, and Israel. While no physical evidence has been presented to sustain the allegation, the US Navy has claimed that the attack was conducted by Iran using a so-called ‘suicide-drone’ that was deliberately flown into the vessel.
The Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pulled no punches in casting the blame on Iran. “I declare unequivocally: Iran is the one that carried out the attack on the ship,” he said, adding that Israel had its “own way to relay the message to Iran.” Tehran immediately responded by threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz to all shipping should it be attacked.
The Israeli muscle-flexing comes at a time when CIA Director William Burns is in Israel for meetings with his Mossad counterpart, David Barnea. Iran is expected to top the agenda, but not in the way Israel would like. Rather than pushing for greater confrontation and containment, Burns is expected to try to sell the Iranians on the merits of a new approach by the Biden administration to breathe life into stalled negotiations concerning the US re-entry into the Iran nuclear deal.
Burns’ meeting comes on the heels of statements by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz labeling Iran as a threat to Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world. “Iran seeks to pose a multi-front challenge to Israel, as such is building up its forces in Lebanon and Gaza, deploying militias in Syria and Iraq and maintaining its supporters in Yemen,” he told the Israeli YNet. “Iran is a global and regional problem and an Israeli challenge” that Gantz said Israel was ready to go to war to deal with.
As if to drive home Gantz’s point, the very first meetings between Iran’s newly sworn in President Ebrahim Raisi were with representatives from both Hamas and Hezbollah, a clear signal what the foreign policy priorities were for the incoming administration.
But the biggest shock to Gantz and Bennett apparently came when Hezbollah responded to an Israeli air attack on targets inside southern Lebanon. Israel had been trading artillery fire with unidentified militants in southern Lebanon who had fired three rockets into northern Israel (Gantz stated that he believed the rockets were fired by an unidentified Palestinian group.)
While Hezbollah had denied it had anything to do with these attacks, the Israeli airstrikes appeared to target known Hezbollah military sites in southern Lebanon. Such strikes had long been seen as a red line by Hezbollah, and Israel’s resumption of this tactic drew an unexpected response in the form of a dozen unguided artillery rockets fired into northern Israel which Hezbollah not only took responsibility for, but also used as a point of emphasis that any future Israeli airstrike would be met in kind.
Indeed, in a speech marking the 15th anniversary of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Movement, declared that Hezbollah’s “victory” in that conflict, which saw thousands of Hezbollah rockets strike Israel over the course of the 33-day conflict, had created a de facto “2006 deterrence” which compelled Israel to cease its aerial bombardment of Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon. Nasrallah declared that the aim of Hezbollah’s retaliatory attacks was to reimpose the 15-year status quo, warning that any future airstrike by Israel in any area in Lebanon would be met with the appropriate response.
Israel appeared to get the message,
limiting its response to an artillery barrage deliberately targeting an empty field (the Hezbollah rockets had likewise been deliberately targeted at empty terrain inside Israel, the goal being to send a message, not inflict casualties.) An Israeli military spokesperson told reporters that Israel has “no intention of going to war,” noting that Hezbollah had intentionally fired the rockets at open areas. In an interesting play on words, the Israeli spokesperson declared that “The incident shows Hezbollah is deterred, as it fired at open areas.”
What the spokesperson didn’t say, but which was obvious to all, was that, using this same formulation, it was Israel that was deterred, since the artillery shells it fired into Lebanon were likewise fired into empty fields.

While Israel and Hezbollah were exchanging artillery and rocket fire, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Hossein Salami, met in Tehran with Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem. Salami stated that the Hezbollah rocket attack was a clear message to PM Bennett: “Israel does not set the agenda in the region.” The fact that an Iranian general, and not a Hezbollah official, spoke about a Hezbollah military action was a clear sign to the Israelis that Iran and Hezbollah were interlinked, and that an attack against one would be considered an attack against both.
Israel has been laboring for some time under the fantasy that it could somehow trigger a larger war between the US and Iran which would shut down Iran’s nuclear program once and for all, while also starving Hezbollah of the funding provided by Iran that underwrites much of that organization’s activities. By involving the US, Israel hoped that US military power would help blunt any Iranian retaliation targeting Israel, and whatever Iranian missiles that were able to be fired would be intercepted by Israel’s air defense systems.
The wild card in this calculation has been Hezbollah, which since 2006 has acquired an arsenal of precision guided rockets and missiles which would devastate Israel economically, militarily, and politically. Israel currently has no response to this Hezbollah arsenal, despite having waged an open war on Iranian support to Hezbollah in Syria and on the open seas. Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on northern Israel did far more than reestablish the principles of the “2006 deterrence”; it put a marker down that this deterrence extended to any regional conflict involving Iran.
For the moment, the situation appears to be calm on the Israeli-Lebanese border. Hezbollah’s deterrence may serve to prevent a broader regional conflict. But nothing, it seems, can stop the ongoing war in the shadows between Israel and Iran over the future of Hezbollah in Lebanon.