Observations of Iranian Activities

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The US invasion of Iraq and the defeat of that nation was viewed from Teheran as “God’s Intervention” for Iran, which had difficulty handling the Iraqi menace.

There were those of us who tried to make the point back then, but Present Bush (and his friends) would not be deterred. The hubris and zeal that led to the invasion which cost the American nation so much blood and treasure over the past decade and a half can not be under stated. Some forget the situation, but I recall it clearly. I’m not going into details of who or why post September 11, 2001, but I was alarmed by the situation, but I was not alone in this.

Fast forwarding to the present (with a continuing dose of I-told-you-so), the multi-polar nature of the Middle East that includes the Islamic radicalization of Turkey, creates frustration when reading the tea leaves, because it’s like ten chameleons making love. Even with a program and a sound understanding of the history of the area and the players, the variables keep it all looking like the Gordian Knot (cut by Alexander-the-Great).

Iran is Open for Business

A shipment of 15,000 tons of Indian wheat aid to Afghanistan arrived on Saturday via Iran’s Chabahar/Chahbahar port. The shipment left India’s western port of Kandla on 29 October and reached Chabahar on 1 November. It was then transported by trucks to Zaranj, in the Afghan province of Nimruz, which borders Iran. From there, it will travel to Delaram to join the Afghan Ring Road for distribution.
A total of seven shipments are planned to deliver 110,000 tons of wheat in stages between now and the end of January. A second wheat shipment already is at Chabahar. “With the opening of Chabahar port, Afghanistan will no longer be dependent on Karachi port,” said Nimruz Governor Mohammad Samiullah. 
Context: India has committed $500 million to develop the sea route, which will allow traders in landlocked Afghanistan to bypass Pakistani restrictions on shipments via Pakistan’s Karachi port. The sea route also is much more secure than the Pakistani roads.
Earlier this year, Afghanistan opened an air corridor to fly tons of fresh fruit to India after Pakistan raised taxes on the goods.
The shortest and most cost-effective land routes between India and Afghanistan are through Pakistan, but Pakistan refused to permit India to trade directly with Afghanistan using Pakistani roads.
India tried for many years to create a transit corridor to Afghanistan that used Pakistani roads. Last year it tried to send a shipment of wheat to Afghanistan overland via the border crossing at Torkham, but Pakistani officials objected. India has promised 1.1 million tons of wheat as a gift to Afghanistan, of which 700,000 tons have now been delivered.
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed the north-south transit corridor agreement via Chabahar, rather than Bandar Abbas, Iran’s busiest port.

How does the US fit into this? The US in effect, remains the puppet master over the Afghanistani government. Thus all agreements of this nature must be ratified (at least tacitly) by USGOV.

Cause and Effect with China: Competition with China. China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor spurred India to get serious about developing its own infrastructure initiative with Iran and Afghanistan or lose opportunities for expanding trade into Central Asia. The transit corridor agreement is the result and a first step in India’s marketing plans.
The new route eventually will alter trade patterns in Afghanistan, away from Pakistan and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Chinese project will have some competition. 
An Iranian Base in Syria?

On 10 November, the BBC published a series of images taken between January and October 2017 that show the construction of a military base eight miles south of Damascus. An unidentified Western intelligence source told the BBC the facility is a permanent Iranian base.
The main features in the images are a series of 12 large garages on one side of the facility and six buildings that appear to be housing for personnel on the opposite side. These buildings are not newly constructed, but probably have been refurbished. Several new buildings have been constructed. No gun emplacements, security fences or other security measures are apparent. 
Israeli news services have lionized the BBC report, citing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s warning that Israel will not let Iran establish itself militarily in Syria. Some cited the BBC report as confirmation of many similar, unconfirmed reports about Iranian base construction in major cities of western Syria.
The BBC provided no additional evidence to support the allegation that the base is Iranian. The location is astride the main north-south route from Damascus to Amman, Jordan, affording easy access to Damascus, but not much else.
The facility is unfinished after 10 months of construction. The buildings show no sign of urgency in completion. There are no obvious checkpoints, security fencing or other measures that would suggest the facility has special sensitivity. Iranian military facilities are heavily guarded and have perimeter roads, checkpoints for access and are surrounded by security fences. Thus the evidence that this is a military base is unconvincing at this point despite the BBC’s assurances that it is. The buildings are organized but generic. Most importantly, the absence of security measures suggests this is not a sensitive facility. An obvious Iranian base in Syria would be a departure for Iran, which usually prefers to hide or disguise its personnel operating outside Iran.

The developments here as reported by the BBC are worth watching.

Those Pesky Muslims

An Iranian I know said that the assailant was a Sunni Muslim. He says that horses are off the menu for Shiites. You can make of that what you will.

16 thoughts on “Observations of Iranian Activities

  1. I hate to say it, but I don't see how the loss of life in Iraq was worth it. Then again, it made some people rich. War is a Racket saod the General…

  2. Estimates have emerged recently that put the U.S. expenditures on war in Afghanistan and Iraq at $5,600,000,000,000.00. And counting. For those of you in Rio Linda, this would be $5.6 TRILLION DOLLARS! And as those of you in Rio Linda who can do basic arithmetic (maybe half of you or so), you know that this kind of scratch can buy a whole lotta double wides.

    When did the rank and file American figure that this would be good for us? Going to war in these God forsaken backwaters was the biggest and worst blunder in the history of blunders.

    And we can lay this all on Dubya, and to a lesser extent his daddy, 41. Both of these elite blue bloods gave the U.S. a black eye that may never go away, and have bankrupted us for generations.

    And now those two are bad mouthing The Donald? Who also wanted nothing to do with these wars?

    Somebody here is right, and somebody is wrong. And I know which is which, just ask me.

  3. Who's right?

    Yes, the question is rhetorical. There's a reason that both ex-prez Bushes and Jeb! backed Hillary Clinton, who was itching to be a "war president" in her own right. The only difference between Jeb! and Hillary was their plumbing (and possibly the size of the pantsuit).

  4. You are correct: there's not a dime's difference between the Bush Clan and the Clinton mob. Look how chummy Daddy Bush was with Bubba after both were out of office.

    Maybe the only difference between Jeb! and The Old Crone was the size of their cankles: Hillary had a bit more meat and gristle on hers. Other than that, they were identical.

  5. PS: speaking of gristle, the family and I are headed down to Houston to have Thanksgiving celebrations at Aunt Sally's; I am starting to coat my stomach with Pepto-Bismol now, so that my gastro intestinal tract is fully insulated and I can gag down some of her blech and still have some gumption in me to say 'uummmmm, Aunt Sally, good stuff!!'

  6. The freezer burned hot dogs coated with corn meal will make fine appetizers for the main attraction. Mind you, don't chip a tooth — and visit your new compound while you're at it.

  7. Hillary's rack was just about the same size as Jeb!'s. you didn't mention that because you're a gentleman, so I'm doing it for you.

  8. I appreciate your posts more than you know.
    As for Fredd isn't it about time to do a recovery mission to get him away from the perils of Aunt Sally's gastrointestinal terrors.

  9. The way that I see it, what does not kill you only makes you stronger. His semi-annual trips to be purged gives him the body of a 21 year old. Ancient kings used to ingest poison (in less than lethal doses) to insure survival in the event of an assassination. My sense is that's how Fredd operates. After all, he is building a large defensive compound in Texas where he will rule and reign.

  10. The 'other' benefit of Chabahar is they don't have to transit the Straits… Just in case, don't ya know…

  11. Ah, yes: Aunt Sally's famous freezer burned colachis. But she doesn't believe in the freezer burn theory – 3-year old frozen stuff is simply properly aged. And we kicked the dirt on the new digs when we were down there in June: 95 degrees out, 80% humidity – God's Country.

  12. Read somewhere the total cost of the Vietnam War was equal to giving every Vietnamese, North and South, $1,000,000 per person. Wonder what the math is on our various Middle East efforts.

  13. They're still ongoing, so that butcher's bill can't be tabulated correctly. One thing is sure. The Beltway Bandits all bought new corporate jets, chalets in Switzerland and beach houses on Bali.

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