2016-08-29

Iran

Why Obama let Iran's Green Revolution fail. '... Obama wasn't just reluctant to show solidarity in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran. In his new book, "The Iran Wars," Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran's green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America's support.'

The Iranian naval threat. '... Meanwhile, the Iranians keep improving the firepower of their fast patrol boats and adapt Western technology to further raise the threat level. They now have a semi-submersible fast patrol boat they acquired from North Korea and improved. This carries significant firepower and is hard to find and hit. They have taken British technology from the superfast Bladerunner speedboat and turned it into the Seraj-1, which exceeds 55 knots on the surface. A newer version, thought to be the Seraj-2, may reach 80 to 85 knots, far faster than anything in the U.S. inventory. And the Iranians appear able to acquire diesel engines, surface drives and other sophisticated gear from Western sources without any practical interference.'

200 yards is too close. '“Too close” has to be publicly defined. The Iranians should be put on notice that if they close to within 500 yards of any ship or boat, they will be fired on, not just given the courtesy of warning shots. Five hundred yards is about the range of a rocket-propelled grenade (though it’s hard to hit anything smaller than a large ship from that distance).'

2016-08-22

Morning Report: 2016-08-22

Turkey promised to "cleanse" its southeastern border area of Islamic State following Saturday's attack at Gaziantep, which killed 54 people at a Kurdish wedding. A security official linked the attack to earlier Islamic State bombings targeting Kurds.

Libyan government forces claim capture of mosque and prison from IS in the terrorist group's stronghold of Sirte. Long War Journal has background:

US Africa Command announced today that the US has carried out 62 “precision” airstrikes since Aug. 1 in support of “Operation Odyssey Lightning,” which seeks to dislodge the Islamic State from its stronghold in Sirte, Libya. On Aug. 17, the US bombed 13 “enemy fighting positions” and a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

Al Bunyan Al Marsoos (“Solid Structure”) operations room, which draws fighters from militias based in Misrata and is allied with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), is the main ground force seeking to clear the city. Special Forces from the US, and possibly other Western nations, are on the ground in Sirte as well. ...

Afghan government claims to have captured Khanabad district in Kunduz province.

Russia is suspending use of Iranian base at Hamadan. "Russia first used the base last week to deploy long-range bombers last week and faced international criticism for it" as part of the joint Russian / Iranian campaign to support Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Debka has more:

Monday, Aug. 22, just a week after the Russian defense ministry proudly released images of the first Russian bombardments in Syria to be launched from Nojeh airbase, which Tehran had granted Moscow near the Iranian town of Hamedan, the Iranian defense ministry snatched the concession back in a public rebuff for Moscow. The Russians had presented its Iranian acquisition as the twin of the air base granted by Syria at Kmeimim near Latakia.

However, the Iranian defense ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi announced baldly on Monday that the Russian mission “is finished for now.” He added that the Russian air strikes in Syria were "temporary, based on a Russian request;" they were carried out with "mutual understanding and with Iran's permission" and that the Russian mission "is finished, for now.” Iranian sources claimed that this stinging slap to the Kremlin was prompted by mounting Iranian popular and parliamentary criticism ...

Israel continues to attack terrorist targets in Gaza in response to a rocket explosion in Sderot.

2016-08-17

Morning Report: 2016-08-17

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production. 'North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production by reprocessing spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as perceived U.S. threats remain, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday. ...'

Munich raises beerfest security after jihadi threats. 'Organizers of the world's biggest beer festival, Munich's Oktoberfest, have raised security after Islamist attacks in Germany last month, including banning rucksacks, introducing security checks at all entrances and erecting fencing. ...'

Leaked Soros memo on refugee crisis. 'A leaked memo from left-wing financier George Soros’s Open Society Foundations argues that Europe’s refugee crisis should be accepted as a “new normal,” and that the refugee crisis means “new opportunities” for Soros’ organization to influence immigration policies on a global scale. ...'

2016-08-14

Morning Report: 2016-08-14

Hafiz Saeed Khan gets his virgins. Islamic State's emir for Khorasan province (eastern Afghanistan) was killed in a July 26 airstrike in Nangarhar, the US military has confirmed. LWJ observes that 'Khan and his followers were so violent in Nangarhar that he even alienated Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who served as an unofficial spokesman for Khorasan province.'. Stratfor adds that 'Khan's death has been falsely reported before, but Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal said he had confirmation from security forces.'

Russia / Turkey rapprochement. Late last week, Turkish and Russian officials met in St. Petersburg to discuss cooperation on economic and Middle East issues (chiefly the Syria situation).

Totten: Iran payment wasn't ransom ... ... but it was ransom.

Simon: Which is worse ... ... an October surprise or a December surprise?