Small Wars Journal

Despite Nuclear Deal, US and Iran Locked in Regional Shadow War

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 12:30am

Despite Nuclear Deal, US and Iran Locked in Regional Shadow War by Missy Ryan, Washington Post

Even as their highest-ranking diplomats were shaking hands this week on a landmark nuclear accord, the United States and Iran continued moving weapons, money and fighters across the Middle East in an uninterrupted shadow war.

At secret CIA bases in Jordan, U.S. operatives continued to arm and train fighters being sent into Syria to oust a critical ally of Iran.

In Saudi Arabia, U.S. military advisers remained in place at a command center selecting targets for airstrikes in Yemen against Shiite rebels allied with Tehran.

At the same time, Iran offered no indication that it intends to suspend its support to Hezbollah, militia groups in Iraq or troops loyal to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad…

Read on.


Bill C.

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 11:29am

In reply to by Outlaw 09


Should we NOT expect that:

a. Much like the United States' move to integrate China beginning in 1972,

b. That our similar move to integrate Iran today will

c. Cause our old alliance relationships (with Taiwan and Japan then; with Israel and Saudia Arabia today) to take on something of a different aspect -- a different pallor?

In both instances (China then; Iran today) we acknowledge, accept and indeed have no heart burn about:

a. The folks that we are now going to snuggle up against (China then; Iran today) becoming

b. The premier powers in their regions and the main powers from their region acting also prominently on the world stage.

Such being the exceptionally well-understood "trade-off" for these states and societies (China then; Iran today) moving more in our direction -- and making concessions -- such as, in the case of Iran, their acceptance of a delay in their achieving nuclear status.

(In the case of China back then, one of the concessions being reduction of their support for North Vietnam?)

Outlaw 09

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 9:39am

From the land of unintended consequences due to the Iranian deal-----notice the Israeli use of the term---our Sunni Arab allies----

July 29, 2015 5:01pm

NEW YORK (JTA) – The director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, called the Middle East’s Sunni Arab nations “Israel’s allies.”

Gold used the term twice in a presentation Wednesday in New York focused on the shortcomings of the Iran nuclear deal.

“What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East,” Gold said of Iran, “and it’s not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbors — and you know what? I’ll use another expression – that is our Sunni Arab allies talking.”

Outlaw 09

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 11:54am

Bill C--and that strategy was again exactly what.......?

.@Martin_Dempsey says at no point did he advise @POTUS that the only alternative to his Iran deal is war.

Telling that @Martin_Dempsey wouldn’t answer question when he was informed about US collapse on conventional weapons embargo.

Outlaw 09

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 1:36am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--if you really read all of Khomeini writings especially his phase when in Paris and then from 1979- to about 1985 he repeatedly talks about and motivates the idea of "revolutionary Islam".

Then look at his writings about the "Green Crescent" which if one really over layers it--- matches nicely the old Silk Road--he envisioned a Green Crescent of Shiaism from AFG all along the Silk Road and ending in Lebanon.

Do not believe for moment Khamenei and his soon to be designated replacement who is a true version of Khomeini ie a version 2 that this group of Islamic thinkers have come off that idea laid down in Paris.

Then follow the IRGC and their foreign policy of supporting virtually anything that shots and is Shia in the entire ME again if one looks closely following the old Silk Road.

AND this is what Obama in his drive to embellish his legacy simply ignored as it requires if one wants to address it--a very long breath of air and he in this remaining two years did not have time for that long breath.

Again I tend to believe that this current Iranian deal vastly under estimates the cultural aspect of this "revolutionary Islam" that is just as dangerous as the IS and their brand of Islam.

WHY--- ask the many US military that got hit by EFPs that were manufactured in Iran as well as been shelled by the various Shia Iranian groups if they understand the effects of "revolutionary Islam" and go back as far as 1983 and check the historical development of this movement.

You can paint over the strips of a tiger but eventually the strips come back--he never forgets his "intuitive nature" in this case his religious ideology.

Bill C.

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 5:21pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


You said:

"World revolution is the brand of Khomeini and that will not change anytime in the next 20 years."

"World revolution," I believe, is a term most often associated with communism and the communists.

Many/most did not think, cir. 1972 and Nixon's visit to China, that the communists (Chinese or others) would stop pursuing their such revolution anytime in our lifetime.

Yet by 1979 (only seven years after Nixon's visit), Mao had died, Deng was in-charge and the then-version of the Chinese "communist world revolution" began movement which would find it soon consigned to the "ash-heap of history."

In stark contrast, and via the vehicle of the "capitalist world revolution" -- and the Chinese significant embrace of same -- the Chinese WERE able to did make great strides at becoming both a regional power and a global player as well. (This such development the United States/the West did not totally disapproved of?)

Should we say that it is this exact same "miracle" that President Obama seeks to set in motion -- for the benefit of the United States, the West and the rest of the world -- via his current initiative with Iran?

If one of the greatest (contrary) "world revolutions" in history (the communist version) was stopped -- dead in its tracks -- somewhat by this such approach in our lifetime,

Should not a (somewhat similar?) attempt be made -- to stop this lesser and remaining contrary "world revolution" (the Iranian version)?

Given the opening that we now appear to have, might not such a "failure to try" be seen (in consideration, for example, of the China example) as Presidential dereliction of duty?

(A reminder, Nixon would make the attempt with China, back in the day, even though China [1] already had the bomb and [2] was considered to be a very bad, if not terrible, actor on the world stage.)

Outlaw 09

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 3:01pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--it is great that he wanted to pull Iran back as a great and progressing nation -- and not as the epicenter of world revolution."

Here is the very large BUT---when one has contacts even with young 20-40 year old Iranians who love Mikey Dees, American music, world famous women's cosmetic brands and everything else about the US consumer world--push their buttons and they even if academic elites revert to the Iranian ideology of Khomeini.

You must remember Iran is a theologically driven system and that group is conservative and are not simply going to wave goodbye and walk into the desert.

They owe their positions to Khomeini and are backed up by the IRGC the "protectors of the realm".

In some aspects if Obama had looked at Vietnam he might have seen a similar model---they opened up to capitalism, allows a major flow in tourists BUT is still Communist with a strict internal security mechanism and one does see much in the way of dissent does one.

World revolution is the brand of Khomeini and that will not change anytime in the 20 next 20 years. To decouple from Khomeini means they would also decouple from their striving to be both a regional power and a global player as well.

In some aspect as Obama sought his legacy he also sidestepped any decisions in Syria that would have been seen as agitating the Iranians and especially the Russians.

So the moves that needed to be made were not and he is in the current mess that could have been avoided had he acted in a timely manner and in the interests of the US not Iran.

If true, evidence that US policy on Syria was constrained by considerations linked to Iran diplomacy

In some aspects this inaction has contributed greatly to the rise of IS inside Syria.

So legacy check, confusion in the ME check, strategy---nothing.

Bill C.

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 2:14pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


I am beginning to believe President Obama's strategy re: Iran -- however it is being "sold" -- has:

a. Much less to do with Iran getting the bomb (in five, ten or fifteen years hence),

b. Much less to do with President Obama's "legacy," and

c. Much more to do with (as per "Nixon-Goes-To-China" below) "pulling Iran back into the world community -- as a great and progressing nation -- and not as the epicenter of world revolution."

If my above depiction of the President's strategy re: Iran is indeed correct,

Then might this help explain why the Administration:

a. Appeared less interested in the exact specifics of the "bomb stuff" during the negotiations? And, likewise,

b. Appears less interested in addressing/answering questions re: the specifics of the "bomb stuff" now?

In both instances, the President and his Administration, with a wink and a nod, telling us that it is really NOT (1) the "bomb stuff" -- but rather (2) the re-integration of Iran -- that his/their strategy, this initiative and these negotiations have really been all about?

Outlaw 09

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 12:55pm

Bill C--does the following sound like "legacy", strategic strategy and simply absolutely no strategy?????

Kerry: I haven't personally seen the implementation agreement on the IAEA roadmap.

Can it get any worse?!

"Iran may take own samples at alleged nuclear site."
From managed access to no access in 2 weeks.

Now is taking own samples control and or no control????

So now the well known criminal in the neighborhood is allowed to define what is a crime and or what is not a crime--and that is strategy?

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/25/2015 - 11:43am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--here is why I am assuming we are still in the first Cold War --if we really look at how the Soviet business model was say up to 1990 we will see that all the former East Bloc countries were providing to the SU specific products both semi and finished as well as agriculture products into both the Ukraine and the Soviet Union as a sort of reparations for WW2 damages while the SU would not call them that

A sort of vassal country concept from the 1500s.

Say the DDR--they sent cargo ships to the SU at virtually no cost to the SU and the DDR losing money on every ship--then after potato harvesting all potatoes were shipped to the Ukraine and the SU as both of those countries were weak potato producers and the DDR citizens struggled to find them in their markets--was mostly if available under the table.

So every former East Bloc country became a direct supplier into the SU--this led to a total lack of development of their own internal manufacturing and food supplies which is still there today.

If that was the THEN business model--what happened during their collapse--the oligarchs usually former Communists that were high positions in that particular industrial chain stepped in and took control of the means of production for virtually nothing and took over the former existing contracts and continued marching and became super rich.

NOW what is interesting--the old model of vertical business contracts and contacts remained the same ie in the Ukraine who had specialized in say defense manufacturing kept right on delivering to the now Russia at "favorable" prices for Russia and not so favorable to the Ukrainians.

IE this is just the old Communist business model with a new date and called now "capitalism".

Really this was a form of Communist "globalization" practiced among "friends".

Now exactly why is Putin so angry against "neo liberalism"--because the concept of the new globalization requires business laws, courts, suits and counter suits and most of all formal business contracts and the fear of being charged under existing anti trust laws such as is the case now with Gazprom or neo liberal laws for say corruption.

Western neo liberal business forms or what I call the western globalization model thus became a direct threat to the current Russian vertical business model and his oligarchs.

Thus the hatred against "neo liberalism".

So really we never left the first Cold War --it just got a sheet thrown over the core differences and it was ripped off by Putin in the annexation of Crimea.
But this time the "values" debate is over "business values".

Outlaw 09

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 9:37am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--there is in fact a clear difference between one's personal political legacy and what one drives as a strategic strategy for the entire US and global world.

Beg to differ.

The core issue is when one attempts to substitute one's legacy as strategy then we are all in trouble.

Right now there is and I am not alone that is stating there is absolutely no apparent clear and concise national strategic strategy on any part of this globe or for any problem.

Hope that the Iran becomes more moderate, hope that the Iraqi government leadership sees the multi ethnic environment of Iraq, hope the Sunni's can pull out of their union with IS, hope the Libyans get a grip on themselves, hope the KSA will reign in their actions in Yemen, hope the Iranians will get of their revolutionary Islam kick, hope that the Russians will back off of war with the Ukraine--all I see is "hope" and "hope" has never been a strategy.

Basically solid evidence that there is no national strategic strategy whatsoever.

DoS Kerry admitted recently he was about to walk away due to a bad deal, then as the legacy got closer suddenly there is a deal--come on.

From ‘No Deal is Better Than A Bad Deal’ to ‘This Deal or War’…

This comment above is just an example of how bad this President makes hope a strategy---next bad statement from 2014--"we will judge Putin by his actions not his words".

And what happened there--actually not much at all.

Corker told Defense One he finds these comparisons unhelpful.

“I’d love to hear what his Plan B was when just a few weeks ago he was discussing that no deal was better than a bad deal,” he said. “I don’t think anybody in the hearing today indicated that we’re strongly desirous of going to war, but if you say that we’re gonna negotiate a deal that doesn’t meet the standard, and if you don’t agree with that then you must want war…It’s rhetoric used to divide, which I know the president has been very good at doing throughout the period of time he’s been president, but it certainly has no place in this debate.”

BTW--what has Obama's response been to the OPM hack?--total silence why with good cause because if the US society as a whole fully understood the depth of the failure and that our entire security clearance process has been compromised for the next 20 or so years--in comparison IS is nothing to this OPM hack for threatening true long term US security.

AND who wants that blemish on one's legacy.

Bill C.

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 5:19pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


Re: President Obama and legacy or strategy re: Iran, let's look again -- for guidance -- at President Nixon and legacy or strategy re: China.

President Nixon's strategy, re: China, was designed to "pull China back into the world community ... as a great and progressing nation ... not as the epicenter of world revolution." It has been noted that "successive presidents have followed Nixon's lead, and to good effect." (Re: these quoted passages, see my link at my earlier post today above.) Certainly this grand strategic effort, also, enhanced Nixon's legacy.

President Obama's strategy today, re: Iran, would seem to have this exact same strategic goal, to wit: of pulling Iran back into the world community, as a great and progressing nation, and not one which forms the epicenter of world revolution. Certainly this grand strategic effort also has the potential (much as with Nixon and China) to enhance Obama's legacy.

If President Obama is successful re: his Nixon-like strategy re: Iran, then it is likely that the presidents that follow President Obama, much like the Presidents that came after Nixon, will also follow President Obama's lead and also to good effect.

The added bonus of President Obama's strategy re: Iran -- which was not available to President Nixon re: China -- is that, via President Obama's strategy, Iran may not get the bomb for another 15 years. This such possibility was not available to President Nixon as, at the time of Nixon-Goes-to-China, China already had the bomb.

By that time (after about 15 years) -- if greater integration of Iran into the world community has occurred -- then, much like China before it, Iran may be less likely to (1) use its nuclear capabilities to (2) achieve grand revolutionary purposes.

So: Strategy or legacy?

Based on the information I have provided above, I suggest that in both the case of President Nixon and China -- and the case of President Obama and Iran -- we consider that strategy -- and the long-term interests of the United States and, indeed, much of the modern and the developing world -- may come before considerations of legacy.

And, as we can clearly see, these matters -- legacy and strategy -- are often extremely compatible and not mutually exclusive.

Outlaw 09

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 12:33pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--legacies we have always made but the lack of a coherent strategic strategy is being seen by many and just not me.

Let's take the Iranian deal--if as the President argues it is either war or a deal BUT he has repeatedly stated the deal is to stop the march to nuclear weapons BUT then if one reads the deal and listens intently to DoS Kerry lately this deal does not truly stop their march to a nuclear weapon--just delays it.

So legacy or strategy---legacy is my choice.

But here is someone else.

"Therefore, the EU and NATO cannot allow the Black Sea to become a closed Russian lake or let Russian threats, whether they occur in energy projects or in military force, go unanswered. Just as we need a coherent strategy for Ukraine we need an equally compelling multi-dimensional strategy for the Balkans. And as Greece shows, we need it now, not tomorrow or the day after."

Reference OPM--the OPM director is a political appointed SES who headed one of the fund raising activities for Obama in the last election--actually not hard to fire.

Have you heard a single small apology?? I have not--actually there is simply silence out of the WH over the hack

1. all clearance data for anyone from 2000 onwards was compromised totally compromised

2. all US spies data was transferred two weeks before the hack to the OPM--so now would you travel back into China, Russia or for that matter Germany?
Notice no one is claiming responsibility for having it moved from a previously safe location into OPM--that type of move normally increases the power of the SES in charge.

3. all fingerprints from 2000 onwards were equally compromised

4. the US government cannot verify if the intruders are totally out of the network and cannot verify with certain level of accuracy if existing BI information was not tampered with ie the granting of a higher clearance for a penetration agent already in government employment

5. AND this tops it all--the database it all resided on was still in COBALT from the 60s

So the US Army throws out 6M USD to write a new massive database concept called DCGS-A which still does not work and the OPM who sits on massive sensitive data spends nothing and yet the SES still has her job--come on why cannot the current President simply accept responsibility fire someone and move on--no it has to be silence.

AND that does not cover the data revealed for a total of 21.2 million Americans who by the way are not receiving credit monitoring and ID theft protection but who are equally at risk.

Reference China--they have one of the most aggressive agent recruitment programs in the world.

On top of that one of the most aggressively organized state sponsored hacking countries in the world.

I just watched 269 global hacks being directed into the St. Louis area inside two minutes from Nanjing China--- last week monitored a 15 minute long constant bombardment of a specific US company.

AND it is just getting worse.

Bill C.

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 11:44am

In reply to by Outlaw 09


My guess would be that many/most presidents are concerned with their legacy -- President Obama not more so, or less so, than many/most of our presidents.

However, we must consider that (a) the achievement of a president's legacy may, in fact, NOT be (b) inconsistent with the achievement of our nation's larger national security goals.

Herein, the example of President Nixon and China might again be worth considering.

Nixon, certainly, was concerned with his legacy. But such concern, one might argue, was not, in the case of the integration of China, for example, inconsistent with our nation's larger national security goals.

"Regarding China ... Richard Nixon ... gave no ground in his opposition to communist China's politics and policies. But concluded that, 'for the long run, it means pulling China back into the world community -- but as a great and progressing nation, not as the epicenter of world revolution.' Successive presidents have followed Nixon's lead, and to good effect. The challenge for the United States today is how to ensure that China stays on the path of normalization and stability. Home to almost 1.3 billion people and a world power with nearly unlimited economic potential, China must continue to be encouraged toward even greater regional integration and global responsibilities."…

If one were to, generally speaking, substitute President Obama for President Nixon in the quoted item above --- and substitute Iran for China -- then might the logic of Obama's efforts today re: integrating Iran, much as was the logic of Nixon's efforts then re: integrating China, be understood:

a. Not only in terms of achieving one's legacy. But also

b. In terms of achieving the United States' larger national security goals?

(Herein to suggest that China, before Nixon's visit and re: such things as its support for North Vietnam, etc., etc., etc., being -- re: American lives and American interests -- at least as bad an actor as Iran is today?)

Finally and regarding the OPM hack. Should we say that if such had occurred during President Nixon's or any other past President's watch (democrat or republican):

a. It would be too early to expect any direct action as yet. And

b. Any direct action would be tempered -- then as now -- re: the overall goal of continuing to integrate China more into global community?

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/25/2015 - 2:22am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--IMHO with this isolationism and appeasement policy that Obama is on in order to build a "legacy" there simply will be no "political warfare" strategy ever implemented nor discussed as it would actually "upset" the "legacy" drive. "Legacy and political warfare" simply do not mix.

Plus really outside of SWJ and USSOCOM who else is even discussing "political warfare"--certainly not on the academic side which drove a lot of the Cold War thinking in the 50s through to the 80s.

We have if one really looks at it seriously-- not produced out of our major elite universities and yes even Harvard a core group of clear thinking international relations theorists who even speak the necessary foreign languages who could even discuss the concept of "political warfare".

While this President went to Harvard--simply going to Harvard does not make one a "great theorist" or "intellectually" strong in the field of international relations.

Sometimes "pundits" and social media bloggers have a better sense of what is going on in the world of reality than this administration does.

BTW social media was already seeing the "appeasement moves by Obama" literally many months ago while the US mainstream media is largely covering it up while they believe no one in the US is really interested nor cares what goes on in the rest of the world and they are probably correct in that assumption.

Heck let's take say just one example close to home on how little this President "really cares" about even US issues--take the OPM hack--one politically appointed SES who was repeatedly warned about the potential of her agency getting hacked is still in her job--how can that be??

The trust by over 8 million Americans that their most private personal information and financial information will be protected is totally destroyed and yet this President does what again??? Nothing.

Yet the US mainstream media which one would think would be all over it carries more front page articles on the SC Confederate flag debate than the OPM hack which has seriously damaged US Counter Intelligence abilities worse than anything Snowdon could ever have done--and yet silence from them as well.

The OPM cannot even state they are sure there is not a bot sitting in the network and they cannot even state that they are 100% sure no one can change anything in the electronic files and they cannot 100% state that it is impossible for an outside power to create/change BI records for hundreds of future agents.

The entire security clearance process has been called into question as being a valid tool to issue security clearances and yet this President does what--nothing.

Why is that??


Regarding my suggestions of a role-reversal (from containment to expansion) for US foreign policy post-the Cold war -- and the implications of this -- going forward -- for such things as our consideration of "political warfare" today,

Consider this 1993 speech ("From Containment to Enlargement") from National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, which addresses the post-Cold War sea-change/the about-face re: America's national security mission; a change that was going to be made to be so-clear and so-distinct that -- as NSA Lake believed -- everyone could understand it.

"During the Cold War, even children understood America's security mission; as they looked at those maps on their schoolroom walls, they knew we were trying to contain the creeping expansion of that big, red blob. Today, at great risk of oversimplification, we might visualize our security mission as promoting the enlargement of the "blue areas" of market democracies."


a. If we could not equate the Soviet's/the communists worldwide promotion of their values and associated way of life, back-in-the-day, to something called "globalization."

b. Then it would seem difficult to equate the United States/the West's worldwide promotion of its values and associated way of life -- today -- to something called "globalization."

This being the case, then I must, respectfully, return to my question of what are the implications of this "role-reversal" for such things as our "political warfare" thoughts and efforts -- today and going forward?

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/25/2015 - 1:56am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

So while Obama is full appeasement mode and is not demanding that Putin implement anything in Minsk 2 this the reality on the ground in eastern Ukraine--pay close attention to the last paragraph and ask the question does this look like a Putin who is trying to "freeze" or a Putin willing to use force to acquire the entire Donbas under his control??

Dmitry Tymchuk: Military update 7.24

Posted on July 24, 2015 by chervonaruta

Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Operational data from Information Resistance:

In addition to “traditional” shelling with 120-mm mortars as well as 122-mm and 152-mm artillery, Russian-terrorist forces in Donbas have stepped up the use of armored vehicles and air reconnaissance (at least 10 UAV flights recorded) during the past twenty-four hours. Active operations by “small groups” of militants in the “greenery” have not ceased, while terrorist sabotage and reconnaissance groups and raiding parties are active across the whole of the Luhansk sector (especially along the Severskyi Donets river).

The situation has intensified the most in the Donetsk and Horlivka areas, where the bulk of the shelling and armed provocations by militants occurred in the past day. In addition to the sector from Mar’inka to the northwestern outskirts of Horlivka, another area of especially heightened enemy activity consisted of the settlements of Svitlodarsk, Luhanske and Mironovskyi.

So, in the past twenty-four hours, militants repeatedly carried out fire strikes using 122 mm and 152 mm artillery in the Shyroka Balka – Novhorodske area. The enemy opened fire with 82 mm and 120 mm mortars on the advanced positions of Ukrainian troops from Ozeryanivka and the eastern shore of the Horlivske reservoir, at the same time as terrorists made active use of AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers along the demarcation line close to Leninske – Shumy.

Near the Donetsk airport and the settlement of Opytne, militants used several armored groups (each with 5-6 AFVs–armored fighting vehicles – IFVs–infantry fighting vehicles or APCs–armored personnel carriers). These armored groups opened intensive fire from their on-board weapons on the advanced positions of Ukrainian troops. The militants used 122 mm artillery to provide cover fire for their armored vehicles as the latter took firing positions. Firing was by two batteries of D-30 howitzers – one from the vicinity of Spartak, the other – from beyond the settlement of Vesele, and south of Stratonavtiv Street (Donetsk city).

Militants shelled the southern suburbs of Avdiivka, Opytne and Pisky using 120 mm mortars.

In the area of Mar’inka, Krasnohorivka and Lozove, the movements of small terrorist infantry groups, under cover of the “greenery,” were recorded. In particular, the enemy tried to approach the ATO forces’ positions in order to scout out the front edge of the Ukrainian troops. These groups opened small arms fire randomly to provoke retaliatory fire from ATO forces and in this way identify their firing positions.

Shelling from 82 mm mortars was recorded near the settlement of Luhanske. An enemy armored group was also operating in this area – fire strikes from tank guns were directed at the advanced ATO forces’ positions.

In the direction of Alchevsk, a militants’ mortar group (six 82 mm mortars and three 120 mm mortars) kept shelling the positions of ATO forces near the settlement of Krymske.

Armed clashes among the “greenery” were recorded in the Zolote, Orikhove, Vesela Hora and Shchastya sector and near the settlement of Stanytsia Luhanska. Near the settlement of Shchastya, the enemy used AGS-17 grenade launchers several times.

In the coastal direction (near Shyrokyne and east of Hnutove), militants operating as infantry groups opened fire several times using small arms.

The number of militant troops and armored vehicles continue to grow south of Donetsk and towards the coast. A manoeuvring of part of the Russian-terrorist troops and their materiel was recorded towards the Kulykove–Shevchenko–Kozatske sector from the Komsomolske–Starobesheve district. At least two additional units of “infantry-company” strength (totalling 160-180 men) accompanied by eight tanks and 16-18 AFV–armored fighting vehicles (mainly IFV-1 and IFV-2 armoured fighting vehicles and 1 MT-LB multipurpose light-armoured transporter) have been observed moving to the front line. Both units arrived from the north through Telmanove. Some arriving forces are in the process of deploying to the east of this sector as a tactical reserve (in particular, another subunit of a combat tank company of up to 8 tanks and a company of infantry troops unaccompanied by armored vehicles on Kamaz\Ural trucks).

Another tactical terrorist group has been spotted in the Bezimenne – Patriotychne –Samsonove area. It consists of 10 tanks, 25-26 AFV–armored fighting vehicles and 30 trucks and other transport vehicles.

To the east of Highway T0508, several militant artillery units (two 4-gun batteries of 122 mm D-30 howitzers, as well as six SAU 2S1 “Gvozdika” [self-propelled guns] have been identified. A terrorist two-battery BM-21 “Grad” MLRS division is being deployed near the settlement of Huselshchykove.

North of Luhansk (in the area of Vesela Hora – Khristovo – Pankivka) a new militant armored group has been spotted (10 tanks and 9 APCs–armored personnel carriers, including four of the latest Russian APC-82A model). The armored vehicles are being camouflaged and dug in.

The IR group concludes, based on operational information, that the terrorists are currently forming two large tactical strike forces: the first in the Volnovakha direction (south of Donetsk) in the section from Olenivka to Hranitne and Staromarivka. And the second, directly in the coastal area itself from slightly north of Bezimenne to Pavlopil and Chermalyk.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 5:35pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

You will notice the Obama "gratitude" towards Putin in his NYTs article praising Russian support in the Iranian deal.

Putin is playing nicely this "gratitude" and the US public sees nothing of this as the US mainstream media is not even watching it for whatever reason.

Biden and Nuland tag teaming the Ukraine in the name of appeasement for a proPutin Ukrainian settlement and that is called “US Foreign Policy”??????

What happened to the US signature on the 1994 Budapest Memorandum????

Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko: #UnitedforUkraine

AND one thinks the Iranian deal and the Ukraine ARE not in the same boat???

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 5:17pm

Bill C--right now the US FP is being driven only by "legacy" and has no strategy other than this "legacy".

I am not the only one seeing this.

Appears that the US/Obama is in fact throwing the Ukraine under the bus for Russian assistance in Iran and Syria---by making unilateral moves with no reciprocal demands on Russia.

Basically a new Munch 1938 appeasement in the name of "legacy".

AND this is not isolationism??

Obama Administration Undercutting Ukraine’s Position in the Minsk Armistice Negotiations

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 139

July 24, 2015 02:00 PM

By: Vladimir Socor

Urged by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Kyiv last week, Ukraine took a first step toward legalizing the secessionist authorities in the country’s constitution (see EDM, July 20). Concurrently, US Vice President Joseph Biden asked Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to accept local elections being held and possibly validated in the secessionist territory (Ukrinform, White House press release, July 17). In the Contact Group, in Minsk this week, Ukraine faced similar pressure to legitimize the Donetsk and Luhansk authorities through local elections there (UNIAN, July 22).

Russia, Western Europe generally, and the Barack Obama administration each seem to favor “freezing” this conflict as fast as possible, on terms acceptable to Russia, since these are the only terms presently available. But there are two possible ways of freezing this conflict.

One way, the Russian “classical,” is seen with local variations in Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Karabakh and Crimea. There, the secessionist authorities receive no international legitimacy, no status, no subsidies from the aggressed country, and no chance to subvert the latter’s political system.

The other way to freeze is Russia’s latest innovation, using Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s east. This kind of freeze—still not resolving the conflict—would legalize the secessionist authorities and re-insert their entities into Ukraine’s political system, with prerogatives that would ensure instability, Russian influence and even Ukrainian subsidies to the legalized secessionist authorities.

The Obama administration is now pushing for the second version, the one even more detrimental to Ukraine. The United States’ push tips the balance decisively. Berlin and Paris failed on their own to persuade Kyiv to move in that direction, but Washington apparently wields stronger leverage.

The White House has reordered its policy priorities toward working with Russia on the Middle East, correspondingly becoming more accommodating to Russia’s position on implementing the Minsk armistice in Ukraine. From May 12 (Secretary of State John Kerry’s overture to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi) to July 14 (signing of the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program), the rapprochement with Russia looks rewarding to the Obama administration. The latter now hopes for Russia’s “help” on Syria; while the European Union feels that it “needs” Russia on Libya. With or without direct tradeoffs over Ukraine, as Lilya Shevtsova observes, Putin has put Washington “on the debtor’s roll” (, July 16).

The administration portrays Russia again as a partner, a difficult but necessary, indeed “indispensable” partner to help “jointly resolve” common problems. It no longer describes Russia as “isolated,” nor as “merely” a regional power. The White House treats Putin as a desirable interlocutor again. Presidents Obama and Putin have conducted two long, detailed telephone conversations focusing on the Middle East. In their June 25/26 conversation, Obama did mention tangentially that Russia ought to remove its forces from Ukraine’s territory. Putin parried, as usual, that Russia has no forces in Ukraine, hence nothing to withdraw. In the July 15 Obama-Putin conversation, Ukraine was left unmentioned (White House and Kremlin readouts, cited by Interfax and RFE/RL, respectively, July 16).

Washington and Moscow have established an unprecedented, bilateral format of negotiations on Ukraine, but in which Ukraine is not represented. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Grigory Karasin and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland are in charge of this channel. The United States, as leading Western power, had recused itself from both of the existing formats, namely the Minsk Contact Group (Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe—OSCE) and the Normandy Quartet (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, where Ukraine is often isolated but at least represented). Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov had discussed Ukraine intermittently and inconsistently, never in a dedicated “format.”

Kerry proposed a bilateral US-Russia channel in Sochi (see above). In that location, fronting on the Russian-occupied Abkhazia on one side and on Russian-annexed Crimea on the other side, Kerry mentioned neither. Instead, taking his hosts’ bait at the news conference, Kerry warned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko preemptively, lest he breaches the armistice (, May 12).

Putin readily agreed with Kerry’s proposal on the Nuland-Karasin channel. This bilateral format excludes Ukraine while operating without publicity, below the principals’ level. Second, it equalizes Russia with the US in a superior league, above the European powers, while blindsiding these (Berlin in particular). Third, it enables Moscow to play this channel off against the “European” Normandy Quartet. Fourth, and of determinant significance, Moscow insists that the US alone could (if it only would) pressure Ukraine into concessions to Russia, e.g., by changing Ukraine’s constitution and legitimizing the Donetsk-Luhansk authorities.

Nuland and Karasin met several times during May and June on an exploratory basis. The chief of Russia’s presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, declared the bilateral Russia-US format to be more effective than the Normandy format (Rossiya 1 TV, June 20). In that vein, Lavrov urged Kerry “to influence Ukraine to establish a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Luhansk, which is key to the implementation of the Minsk agreements” (Interfax, July 1).

On June 25/26, Putin called Obama to discuss some details of “helping” the United States in the Middle East (see above). The Nuland-Karasin channel was fully activated as a direct by-product of that telephone call. On July 2, Nuland told a Russian interviewer that Kerry had proposed, and Putin agreed, on the Nuland-Karasin channel “to help facilitate the implementation of the Minsk agreements” (Ekho Moskvy, July 3).

The US, however, had never been a party to the Minsk Two document (February 12), nor to the accompanying declaration by the Normandy group, which pledged to facilitate that document’s implementation. In early July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande pressured the Ukrainian leaders to meet Russia’s main current demand, namely to start legalizing the secessionist authorities in Ukraine’s constitution (see EDM, July 9, 10). They failed momentarily; but, within days, Nuland scored a first success where Merkel and Hollande had failed (see EDM, July 20).

Washington had retained flexibility by keeping its distance from the deeply flawed Minsk process. The US, with commendable insistence, calls on Russia to remove its forces from Ukraine’s territory, citing the Minsk armistice, although that document stipulates nothing about Russia. The US had not, until now, asked Kyiv to legalize the secessionist authorities in Ukraine’s constitution, or to accept secessionist local “elections” in that territory. But Nuland’s visit to Kyiv and Biden’s phone call from Washington (see above) have shifted that position brusquely (see accompanying article).

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 4:32pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C---IMO the US is not pushing anyone to do anything unless we equate globalization as a US policy--it started out that way but has become basically an independent force that to a degree even controls the US if we look at the real estate bubble from 2006 thru to today with it's after effects.

The negative effects of globalization is what Putin uses to motivate his own civil society as does Iran and the Chinese. Even IS uses the negative effects to motivate it's narrative against the West.

While I was in Iraq a major 50 year old Iraq businessman who was a major supporter of AQI who we had picked up openly complained to me for over three hours that we the US should stop the super cheap sandals the Chinese were selling in Iraq and driving his shoe factory into the ground as he could not match their prices with his 50s shoe making equipment.

Ultimate example of the effects of globalization even in Iraq.


Let's look at these "regional shadow wars" in a more comprehensive manner:

To move the discussion forward a little further, let us say that it is, as you suggest, all about values, it is the Cold War Version 2.0, and that differing/rival globalization(s) do play a key role.

My question, however, is how do we account for the fact that:

a. During Cold War Version 1.0, and re: various lesser nations then, we viewed (generally speaking) as our "natural allies," the more-conservative individuals, elements and institutions of these states and societies?

b. While currently, in Cold War Version 2.0, re: we view these same individuals, elements and institutions as our "natural enemies?"

The answer to this question seems to be clear, to wit:

a. That during Cold War Version 1.0, and generally speaking, we were doing "containment" (of Soviet/communist values and associated ways of life, etc.).

b. While today, in Cold War Version 2.0, and again generally speaking, we are doing "expansion" (of our Western values and associated ways of life, etc.).

Thus, in Cold War Version 1.0 we were doing "defense." While in Cold War Version 2.0 we are doing "offense."

So my primary question remains:

How does this "role reversal" -- from Cold War Version 1.0 (primarily about defense and containment) to Cold War Version 2.0 (primarily about offense and expansion) -- effect our ability to do such things as "political warfare?"


a. In Cold War Version 1.0, the United States/the West might easily be seen and/or easily be portrayed (in the face of Soviet/communist attempts at expansion) as the defender of less powerful peoples; as defenders of their time-honored values, attitudes and beliefs; and the champions of their unique states, societies and civilizations.

b. In Cold War Version 2.0, and re: the United States/the West's attempts at expansion today, it is our enemies, it would seem, that can (1) be portrayed in such a manner and/or (b) make such a claim.

The Soviets/the communists demanded radical, comprehensive and complete state and societal "change" -- throughout the world -- in the Cold War Version 1.0. This put them, during this period, at odds with the conservative elements of virtually all populations worldwide. We used this, tremendously, to our advantage during the Cold War Version 1.0.

Today, in Cold War Version 2.0, the United States/the West is the one that is demanding, worldwide, radical, comprehensive and complete state and societal "change." This put us, in many cases, at odds with the same conservative elements of populations, throughout the world, that the Soviets/the communists faced in their expansionist era. Our enemies have -- and I believe will continue to throughout Cold War Version 2.0 -- use this to our tremendous disadvantage.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 1:22pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

BTW--they did not listen to me in Iraq when I constantly showed them we were in a phase two guerrilla war and did not accept at the national level a large number of my reports that years later appear to have been highly accurate and they definitely do not want to hear what I have to say about Russia, Iranian revoluntionary Islam, Ukraine and an utter lack of strategy for anything.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 1:23pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Deleted--was double entered.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 1:14pm

In reply to by Move Forward

MF--thanks for the compliment but I am more than comfortable dueling with Russian hackers and Russian cyber crime and yes on occasions even Ukrainian cyber crime with my own company where I can dictate my hours and interests not someone else's.

Have gone from a one man shop to five and we are busy 24 X 7 --and actually commenting in SWJ is my mental stress release time after watching zeros and ones and packets all day.

When I left Federal Service I asked them to actually kill my clearance for good because I was simply tired after carrying TS and higher since 1966 and I have proven my trustworthiness on way to many occasions in the past so it was actually time to quit for good on the government side.

Another reason for leaving was having a retired LTC who maneuvered a GS13 position for himself while on active duty until he could retire and go straight into it openly accuse me of "stolen valor" for having a SS and SM under a different name as he could not fathom having to work for the government and that work having to force one to change one's name in order to stay safe after certain activities here in Germany during the actual Cold War days that he was never involved in.

He was totally surprised when I retired in Germany and received within days from the Germany government a lifetime German residence permit and work permit because they did remember my previous work.

And what do I get for my past government work---OPM allows themselves the privilege of letting the Chinese take everything I ever and friends of mine ever provided to the OPM to include financials so OPM has opened me to ID theft, bank account hacking for myself and my immediate family and being potentially approached sometime in the future as the Chinese have a very active recruitment here in Germany--that was the thanks I got from my country when I left.

I know how to defend the net for others and yet OPM cannot defend my personal information and that of my immediate family??

And yes I hold a degree higher than a MA but that never earned me points as a DAC.

BTW--graduated from the predecessor of the NDU and I am not sure DC would like to hear my opinions on the failures of DC strategy here in Central Europe.

So Berlin it is until I tire of dueling and finally truly retire.

If you ever make it here let me know--- Starbucks is on me.

Again though thanks for the tip.

Move Forward

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 8:18am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Outlaw, given your Russian language skills and knowledge, if you have a Masters Degree, you would be ideal for this National Defense University job at Fort McNair in Washington D.C.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 3:54am

In reply to by Bill C.

IMO the main problem lies actually within globalization itself---while most of the global nations got into it Russia on the other hand decided at the oligarch level that stuffing money into their own pockets was the way forward--why not it was just another form of corruption practiced during the Communist days when "in" or "top" Communist Party members got a cut of everything.

Corruption in the former Soviet Union and most of the Warsaw Pact countries became systemic not just an occasional thing and it still is to be found in most of the new EU and NATO members--this was a core trigger for the Maidan.

If you think about it--Russia earned during the height of the oil boom say for 15 years 5T with a capital T USDs--with that amount of money they should have been able to drive a massive economic development that benefited all Russians but the elites went the other way and actually some are suggesting that the Ukrainian crisis is just a way for Putin to divert the civil society from realizing just how seriously their economy is in trouble--over 90 regions are basically bankrupt to the tune of 42B USDs and their economy contracted roughly 5% just in the last quarter AND the price of oil is dropping faster than a lead brick to an estimated 35-40 USD dollar range.

Still think that the old Cold War version 2 is correct for the simple reason the former Soviet Union and now Russia never went through a phase of seriously questioning themselves and the failures of Communism as have most of the former East Bloc--thus they are still locked into the "old concepts, fears and propaganda from the 80"s.

Until they break through that phase and open up discussions internally they are basically "stuck"--and Putin is doing his best to cut off anything that resembles that "discussion" thus his deep seated fears of a Moscow Maidan.

Out problem is much like the 20s when we even passed a law forbidding "going to and getting involved in a war" in about 1928 I think--we had our own globalization problems ie the real estate bubble coupled with two long wars that no one wanted to call wars thus the Obama concept of isolationism or pull back from providing global security as it cost to much money.

The problem is when the US decouples from a global security concept then we pay the price when we reengage into the security system --just as now we attempted starting in 2006 to disengage from Iraq, AFG, did not want to get involved much in Libya, or that matter Syria and now we are paying a hefty USD price to try to just stabilize the security system. Obama wanted to disengage the US militarily and yet right now the US military is involved in just about every corner of the globe and the troops that thought they were going to be bored after AFG and Iraq are on the highest ops tempo in a long time.

But in this drive towards isolationism we are causing from more problems than we are resolving as countries who had been our partners in this system for years are being cast adrift with not much guidance from the US.

It is interesting to go back and review Putin's many comments on his hatred of the US being the only unipolar nation---if one looks at globalization ---we are in fact the only unipolar nation--globalization is economic power, technology development power, international political power, military power and governmental power all wrapped into the concept of "globalization".

Putin simply forgot Russia is not in that league and yet he is challenging the unipolar system by his nuclear threats, annexation of Crimea and invading eastern Ukraine--he forgot that military strength is just one element of being a unipolar power.

He wants desperately to be recognized as a superpower based on the Cold War but failed to realize the elements necessary to joint that club.

His challenge is then declared a "war on neo liberalism" which really means a "war on globalization".

Historically there are few examples of a super power remaining a super power just alone on military might--remember Russia is basically a second rate developing nation based alone on being a "raw resources provider".

It could have been an economic power but the 5T USDs went into the pockets of the corrupt and Russia stagnated. That Putin cannot run from.

Still stand by Cold War v2.0 as it is still all about "values".

Bill C.

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 5:04pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


Some are referring to President Obama's approach re: Iran -- much like they referred to President Nixon approach re: China -- within the context of something called "retrenchment."…

As to our discussion re: whether a New Cold War (as I suggest), or a Old Cold War 2.0 (as you suggest), has commenced,

Can we not agree that the distinguishing feature this new Cold War period is:

a. The "role reversal" that I have outlined at my July 22, 2015 - 5:13 pm comment below? And

b. The difficulty this presents for us re: such things as "political warfare?"

Outlaw 09

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 7:39am

Bill C--based on what Khamenei has said over the last five days about the deal and this article from Bloomberg--tends to sum up what I had commented on--this President in his drive towards isolation has absolutely no strategy and has turned the ME into shambles.

Even Kerry was stunned by the Khamenei comments--why I am not sure as everyone else was not surprised in the least bit.

Mideast Allies Ask 'What’s Going On?' as U.S. Sells Iran Accord

by David J Lynch

July 23, 2015 — 1:00 AM CEST

Any doubt that U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has a tough job selling the Iran nuclear deal to Mideast allies was probably erased by an exasperated question from Jordan’s top military officer.

“Sometimes it’s difficult for us to know what the U.S. strategy is,” General Mashal al-Zaben told Carter in remarks overheard by reporters during a photo opportunity Wednesday evening in Amman. “What’s going on?”

Carter is traveling through the Middle East this week trying to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to traditional allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. His tour, however, only underscores the depth of discontent over an accord that is upending an already tumultuous region.

“Despite our best efforts, most of the region sees this deal as a glass half empty for them,” says Vali Nasr, a former senior adviser to the State Department. “There’s a very clear disjuncture between the way we see it and the way the rest of the region sees it.”

With much of the Arab world mired in conflict or chaos, the prospect of an Iran unfettered by international economic sanctions and exercising greater regional influence explains the disquiet that greeted Carter Wednesday in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Al-Zaben’s confusion is shared across the Arab world, though it’s felt perhaps most acutely in Saudi Arabia. Forces aligned with the Saudis confront Iranian allies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

‘We Feel Targeted’

This regional contest has both sectarian and historic overtones -- pitting the Sunni Muslims of the kingdom of Saud against Iran’s Shiites in a battle that recalls the ancient rivalry of the Arab and Persian empires.

“We feel targeted,” says Jamal Khashoggi, former media adviser to Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal. “Iran’s campaign and expansionism is aimed at us.”

Carter arrived in Jeddah, the Saudi kingdom’s second-largest city, after getting an unfiltered dose of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the deal during talks in Tel Aviv.

“The prime minister made it quite clear that he disagreed with us on the nuclear deal with Iran,” Carter said later.

In Jeddah, Carter met with King Salman and his defense minister and son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to discuss improved military cooperation, including on counterterrorism, special forces, cyber security, and air and missile defense.

Unleashing Funds

U.S. officials argue that by preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the agreement will make Israel and the Arab states more secure. In the U.S. view, the allies’ fears that the sanctions relief encompassed in the pact will unleash Iran to provide additional support for terrorism -- and eventually replace the Arab states at the center of the U.S. Middle East strategy -- are exaggerated.

“Even with this deal, we’ll continue to have serious differences with the Iranian government, its support of terrorism, proxies that destabilize the Middle East,” President Barack Obama told the Veterans of Foreign Wars this week. “So we can’t let them off the hook.”

Likewise, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to continue opposing U.S. policies, which he described as “180 degrees” away from those of Iran.

Despite such talk from both Washington and Tehran, Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, says the Iran agreement is forcing Israel and much of the Arab world to recalculate long-standing balance-of-power assumptions.

‘Seismic Event’

“Bringing a country the size of Iran, and with its broad regional ambitions and broad regional purview, out from the cold is a seismic event,” says Nasr. “It completely rearranges the chessboard.”

In Iraq, Iranian and American military forces already operate in a tacit partnership in the fight against Islamic State terrorists. A broader U.S.-Iranian rapprochement could facilitate a political settlement of the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 210,000 people and made refugees of an additional 4 million.

The nuclear accord, which begins to reverse more than 35 years of open hostility between the U.S. and Iran, comes as the Middle East already is immersed in multiple armed conflicts and profound historic change.

Century-old borders have been erased by the rise of Islamic State, leaving open the question of whether Iraq and Syria will stay intact. Elsewhere, largely ungoverned spaces in Libya and Yemen offer sanctuary for terror bands.

Frozen Funds

While congressional opponents of the nuclear deal focus on the prospect of Iran cheating, “the region is worried about what happens if Iran abides by it,” said Suzanne Dimaggio, director of the Iran Initiative at New America in New York.

A primary focus for critics is the more than $100 billion in Iranian funds held in restricted accounts outside the country. As Iran complies with provisions of the agreement, that frozen money will be returned to the Islamic Republic.

Netanyahu says Iran will use the added funds to arm regional proxies. The U.S. has branded Iran a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984 and just last month described Iran’s support in 2014 for groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Jihad as “undiminished.”

Some Israeli national security officials are less alarmed about any potential financial windfall. While more Iranian money may go to helping Iran’s allies, including the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Ami Ayalon, the former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, says “this is not the major issue to believe that the deal is good or bad.”

Saudi Spending

U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, note that the Arab states far outspend Iran on defense.

The Saudi military budget alone is almost six times that of the Islamic Republic. The six Gulf Cooperation Council countries collectively outspend Iran almost 10 to 1, according to an April report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“If they organize themselves correctly, all of the Arab states have an untapped potential that is very, very significant,” Kerry said in an interview with Al-Arabiya.

Any financial infusion also will challenge the Iranian government to balance its citizens’ desire for a better life against the regime’s regional ambitions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected in 2013 on an economic reform platform. With parliamentary elections scheduled for February, and his own re-election bid expected one year later, he faces popular demands to boost spending on domestic needs.

Economic Hole

Iran will start its post-agreement life in a deep economic hole. The economy shrank by 9 percent over the two years that ended in March 2014. Years of international financial and oil-related sanctions have left gross domestic product 15 percent to 20 percent smaller than it otherwise would have been, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in April.

Investment withered under sanctions, falling from about $30 billion annually to roughly $6 billion, said Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, an economics professor at Virginia Tech University.

“We had almost no investment for three years in a row,” he said. “You have hundreds of development projects, government-owned projects that are in a standstill, and the government owes private contractors -- the engineers who do all the work -- $30-to-$50 billion.”

Rouhani doubled investment in his first year in office, but Salehi-Isfahani says the remaining backlog could absorb perhaps $35 billion.

Managing Inflation

As Iran’s funds return, officials must keep the 16.5 percent inflation rate from soaring, says economist Heydar Pourian, editor-in-chief of Iran Economics magazine. The central bank will need to sell government securities to avoid an unhealthy expansion of the money supply, a “sterilization” process it lacks experience with.

Whatever eventually happens inside Iran, the Middle East is undergoing a slow-motion earthquake. For the U.S., the challenge is how to balance reassurance for uneasy allies against preserving the option for a better relationship with Iran.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 5:53am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill--this s where we differ--IMHO there is no "new Cold War" is it the "old Cold War" version 2.0 --why if one looks at both they are about the "battle of values" regardless how one defines those "values".

The core problem with "globalization" which if looked at economically was nothing more than a division of labor among states/nations into raw resource providers, semi finishers and high tech producers at low costs and that got the global upswing until about 2004/2005.

Political/economic elites especially in the US assumed that through "globalization" ie a rising economic improvement in countries would automatically lead to an increase by the civil society in the concepts of rule of law, economic development, good governance etc.

But with the European color revolts and the Arab Springs if you look closely "globalization" had in their countries failed and civil societies began to actually demand rule of law, good governance, economic security etc.---WHY because while "globalization" did drive economic development it's money benefits landed usually in the pockets of corrupt leaders, government officials and oligarchs who knew how and had the opportunity to "play the game" while the masses of their civil society never saw any benefits.

Obama's core problem as he really an "isolationist" as defined by say the USs 1920-30s international relations period ---he sees the need to create regional leaders in the conflict areas where the US could when needed work with to solve problems arising in those areas.

Thus his often stated "we cannot be a policeman for the world" thus our partners must step up and led.

Great idea but only an idea--what he seriously forgot that from the US period of 1920-30s is that when the US steps backward into itself at some point it has to come out and then historically the problems have been far worse than if the US had stayed in the game.

We simply are not a nation with a long breath--we want quick answers and simple answers and then move on----the current 21st century has become so convoluted that one has to engage for the long haul regardless of political and economic costs.

Just look at the ME--it is in shambles in a way not seen since say 1910--Obama tried and failed with a Palestinain solution, tried and is basically failing with Iraq and Syria and the Iranian deal has holes in the agreement that one can drive an Abrams tank through all in the name of "his legacy" just as his announced Gitmo moves--all legacy--see I said I would do it and I did thus I am successful.

In order to implement the thinking of Obama requires a stable strategic strategy built around a stable regional leader or leaders and a US that can when necessary willingly step in even militarily.

BUT since 2007 that has been absolutely no strategy whatsoever unless we count hope.

Obama has left the ME in shambles and has basically defaulted in the Ukraine to Russia which has allowed the genie to get out of the bottle and will cause problems for NATO and the EU for the next if some are right 20 or so years and or until Russia collapses a second time.

There have been so many "red lines" in Syria, Iraq and the Ukraine that there must be no more red ink in all of DC--and did you see anything come out of all that red ink?

And that famous "Asian pivot" see anything coming out of it lately--the Chinese are still merrily building their "defense islands" to claim the entire South China See.

The problem with political warfare is that it requires politicians to fully understand it and buy in--AND they have not thus nothing will happen.

Notice how the hype around "hybrid warfare" has completely died down??

Perfect example---the Baltics and especially Poland have a grave concern with Obama--namely he will abandon them just as he has done with the Ukraine BUT Poland fully understands Russian intent.

Poland has willingly stated it will sign a SOFA with the US and allow a US base for about a Brigade to be built --the US signaled potential intent to do this in order to "show their commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.

At the same time the Us announces heavy weapons to be sent and stored in the Baltics and Poland and the Army CoS states more Abrams and troops to Europe.

BUT all of a sudden it has gotten extremely still around the DoD and the US has signaled that at the NATO Warsaw meeting they will not bring these topics up for discussion. Obama seems to be willing to actually lose the Baltics and Poland to "save Putin's face".

WHY--check the Obama NYTs article on his praise of Putin--Obama has basically thrown the Baltics, Poland and the Ukraine under the bus simply for his "legacy".

This will go in history as the fastest shift to "isolationism" the US has ever experienced.

Ask the question WHY---the answer is both apparent and clear yet no one in the US has awaken to it.

Bill C.

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 6:13pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


Should we consider one important distinction -- one important difference -- re: the Old Cold War and our New Cold War; this being, that during the Old Cold War it was our opponents who were playing "offense" (attempting expansion) while we were playing defense (attempting containment).

Today it would seem that the reverse is true, with the United States/the West, in the New Cold War era, playing offense; this, by formally adopting an expansionist agenda (beginning with Clinton's "Engagement and Enlargement").

Our opponents, on the other hand, and as COL Maxwell suggests below, see themselves today as playing defense and attempting containment.

In support of this role-reversal concept, do we not see:

a. The United States/the West today looking for/appealing to the "soft" liberal elements of foreign populations for support; much as the Soviet Union/the communists did during the Old Cold War? While

b. Our opponents (China, Russia, Iran, etc.) today look to the "hard" conservative elements of -- not only their own populations -- but also foreign populations for support; much as we did during the previous Cold War?

If my above characterization of the principal difference/distinction between our Old and our New Cold Wars is accurate and true, then the questions becomes:

What are the implications of this role-reversal for how we, and how they, will be required to "do" political warfare?

This, to me, is where our contemplating a move to political warfare gets rather scary.

For the United States/the West to do political warfare -- in a defensive/containment mode -- that's one thing.

(Herein, we work with the conservative elements of the populations to prevent the Soviets/the communists from (a) eliminating, and then (b) replacing, the ways of life and ways of governance of the foreign populations.)

But for the United States/the West to do political warfare -- in an offensive/expansionist (i.e. Soviet/communist?) mode -- that is something else again.

(Why? Because, like our Soviet/communist opponents of the past, this would seem to require that we work with the liberal elements of the population, to overcome the conservatives, and to eliminate and replace the way of life and way of government of the natives.)

In this regard, consider this from the introductory memo to President Obama's 2015 National Security Strategy:

"Underpinning it all, we are upholding our enduring commitment to the advancement of democracy and human rights and building new coalitions to combat corruption and to support open governments and open societies. In doing so, we are working to support democratic transitions, while also reaching out to the drivers of change in this century: young people and entrepreneurs."

In the Old Cold War, the Soviets/the communists were attempting radical and complete state and societal change in other countries. Thus, they reached out to the "drivers of change" of that century.

In the New Cold War, the United States/the West seem to be the ones reaching out to the "drivers of change" of this century; thereby, attempting (as their Soviet/communist opponents did during the Old Cold War?) to achieve radical and complete state and societal transformations.

I guess my bottom line question here is: Can we, will we, be comfortable doing "political warfare" -- given this new expansionist mission -- and given what political warfare, in this "role-reversal" context, will require of us?

Outlaw 09

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 1:19pm

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill--finally we can agree.

Thus when one thinks about it--the need to rethink political warfare and UW because those that supposedly oppose neo liberalism are not about to change their thinking anytime soon.

Not at least in my lifetime.

Soft power failed because those that preach it had inherently forgot that the ability to enforce soft power comes from the barrel of a gun--thus Che and Mao have always been right.

In some ways even as the sanctions hurt Iran badly they have never been 100 percent sure we would not attack their nuclear facilities.

With Russia we took that barrel of a gun off the table early on and now are attempting to reign in Putin via soft power and it will never work.

Putin is a barrel of the gun type of decision maker--thus his use often of the nuclear threat.

Bill C.

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 12:22pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


I think you have this pretty much right.

Our Old Cold War Opponents (Russia, China, Iran, others?) are now our New Cold War Opponents; this, given that they today, as in the past, oppose our "neo-liberal" version of globalization.

"Globalization itself has been defined by American leaders as the spread of free markets, open borders, liberal democracy and the rule of law -- in short, an essentially high-tech Wilsonian world in which the main elements of democratic peace theory are assumed ... major powers, in particular China and Russia, have declared that they oppose the American version of globalization."

(From "The Next NATO: Building an American Commonwealth of Nations," by James Kurth, in the Fall 2001, Number 65 issue, of "The National Interest." Sorry, I do not have a link.)

Thus we have, post-the Old Cold War:

a. Rather than an acceptance of a common globalization (the neo-liberal kind),

b. Competing globalizations (our neo-liberal version versus their "hybrid" types).

The fact that our opponents attribute their full bank accounts -- not so much to our version of globalization but rather to theirs -- this allows them to:

a. Try to avoid the "cognitive dissonance" label you have suggested and

b. Operate in a manner to promote "their" -- and thwart "our" -- globalization designs.

It is in this Old Cold War-like context (also competing globalizations) that we come to see both our opponents -- and now finally we ourselves -- returning to:

a. A New Cold War worldview, status and footing. One which, given this context, will,

b. Logically have/require a "political warfare" approach/component.

Thus to sum up:

When the Old Cold War ended, we abandoned a political warfare approach. This, because we believed that our version of globalization (neo-liberalism?) had or would soon prevail.

We now accept that this has not turned out as we expected (because our "soft power" failed us?). And that we must, accordingly, now return to the fight.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 5:34am

In reply to by Bill C.

Bill C--the US political and business elite after the fall of the Wall felt the "war" was over and "globalization" was the way forward.

Now we know it was not the "way forward". If anything the whiplash by Russia is in fact an "undeclared war" on neo liberalism as simple as that.

Putin has stated that fact in a number of ways over the last year. Khamenei as well.

In some ways if one looks at all statements coming out of Iran after the signing of the deal and the continuous unabated comments coming out of Moscow--we still are the "enemy" as we still represent to them "neo liberalism."

So in some aspects there is still an ongoing "war of values" being fought--just in a UW fashion ie just a tad under direct confrontation so it does not trigger war.

My inherent fear after watching Putin is that he really does not know exactly where "the trigger to war lies".

Remember Putin who served as a KGB officer in Dresden had direct access to the golden West and should have accumulated a solid bank account before returning to St. Petersburg after the Wall fell---it is rumored all he had in his bank account was 227 USDs--now he has amassed a value some say of over 40B USDs.

AND yet he hates "neo liberalism". Clearly a cognitive dissonance issue if you ask me.

COL Maxwell below, I believe, suggests that the problem lies with:

a. Iran (also China and Russia?), post-the Cold War, pursuing its interests rather well and via political warfare. While

b. Post-the Cold War, the United States/the West, in comparison and in stark contrast, seems to have sat on its laurels and took a breather.

There is, however, an important difference/feature, I believe, that we should consider -- re: our use of political warfare in the past (during the Cold War) -- and our lack of use of political warfare presently (during post-the Cold War).

This such difference/feature may best be described by Colin Grey in his 2005 article, "How Has War Changed Since the End of the Cold War." Therein, Grey notes that:

" ... the past 15 years comprised principally a postwar, or interwar, period. The political and strategic behavior of those years reflected the temporary context provided by a world abruptly deprived of its balance-of-power architecture. The US superpower found itself tempted to intervene around the world in wars of discretion, rather than necessity."…

Thus, should we say that:

a. The primary reason why the United States/the West adopted a political warfare strategy during the Cold War was because we were, then, involved in a "war of necessity?" While,

b. The primary reason why the United States/the West failed to adopt a political warfare strategy, post-the Cold War, was because there was, in our eyes, no such compelling reason to do so?

Outlaw 09

Sun, 07/19/2015 - 1:28pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Obama has now formally he has maneuvered himself in a corner with Putin--in his NYT article where he spoke of gratitude for Russian assistance in the Iran deal NOW Putin is demanding "that gratitude" be returned in the Ukraine.

Many in the social media side have been concerned that this would be the case as Obama does not understand the Russian idea of "gratitude".

Interesting that now that Russian "gratitude" is being presented in the form of "demands" not negotiations.

Boy did he blow it as a "strategist"---for the want of a "legacy" he actually damages US foreign policy in ways never seen in the last 100 years.

Sarah Hurst @XSovietNews
I just saw a tweet from @mfa_russia that said Lavrov told Steinmeier Ukrainian troops must leave Shyrokyne, but then it was deleted.

AFTER Russian FM delete THEN this via the same Russian FM

Lavrov, Steinmeier stress on phone need for soonest Ukrainian army withdrawal from Shyrokyne - Russian Foreign Ministry -- IFX

AND there was no direct threat to the Germans??--clear as a bell there was--and the Russians slipped up on their social media side of the house and forgot tweets can be tracked.

This fully indicates that the Russian FM threatened the Germans---notice how suddenly this announcement is bland and in typical FM style--vs the deleted tweet.

WHAT is interesting is that fact that there has been no verification by the Ukraine that they received a Russian FM call.

Russian FM Lavrov held phone talks with #Ukraine, US, German counterparts demanding 'demilitarization' of Shyrokyne

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has held talks with his counterparts from Ukraine, Germany, and the United States about the situation in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov held separate talks via phone on July 18 with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, calling for Ukrainian forces to "to begin the demilitarization" of the southeastern village of Shyrokyne, near the strategic port city of Mariupol.

Lavrov said he told his three counterparts that Russian-backed separatists had already withdrawn from the area, which is near the Azov Sea.

Lavrov also reportedly called on Klimkin to "resolve questions concerning the constitutional reform project," aimed at offering more autonomy to the rebel-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

More than 6,500 people have been killed in the fighting between Ukrainian and separatist forces since April 2014.

The Ukrainian military said on July 18 that "the situation has deteriorated sharply" in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov and Kerry also discussed the situation in Syria.

The true core question is why is this DMZ evidently so important to the Russians when they have not in fact fully withdrawn as they claim and are still shelling it?????

On July 1, Russian-backed rebel forces announced their withdrawal from the empty, war-torn village of Shyrokyne on the Azov Sea, about 40 kilometers from the Russian border. The rebels called the retreat an “act of good will” and declared the heavily mined town a demilitarized zone. But the gesture seems to have been fleeting: pro-Russian forces repositioned themselves a mere 1.5 kilometers away on higher ground. On July 8, separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko called Shyrokyne a “trap” for Ukrainian troops and said that his forces repositioned themselves at a “commanding point.” Ukrainian volunteer battalions continue to hold their positions in Shyrokyne, just east of Mariupol, a symbolically important Ukrainian-held port city of over 400,000 people.

Outlaw 09

Sun, 07/19/2015 - 12:11pm

Why is it that social media pointed this out immediately after the deal was done and yet it took a number of days for Congress to wake up.

This is a massive attack against the principles of how treaties have been done in US in the last 150 or so years.

There is always for a President risks involved when he submits them for approval--THIS simply depicts just how much this President "wants his legacy to be" at the cost of everything else--how can that be?????

THIS is the exact reason Clinton did not submit the 1994 Budapest memorandum to Congress AND it is exactly why the US is digging itself out of a self made ditch in the Ukraine.

For the want of a great "legacy" a President undermines US democracy in ways that have never been done before him-THAT is why there is no strategy--as he simply makes decisions by whim not strategy.…

The Iran Deal and the UN

Obama Lights Firestorm on Capitol Hill
Walter Russell Mead

President Obama seems determined to do an end-run around Congress by taking the Iran deal to the UN first. This is undoubtedly the wrong way to proceed.

The Obama administration’s determination to take the Iran deal to the UN Security Council before Congress votes on the agreement has set off a firestorm on Capitol Hill, with leading Democrats joining Republicans in calling on the President to wait. On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry boasted that by having the Iran deal incorporated in a UN Security Council resolution, President Obama could tie the hands of future presidents, legally obligating them to abide by the Council’s resolution.

From Foreign Policy:

“If Congress were to veto the deal, Congress — the United States of America — would be in noncompliance with this agreement and contrary to all of the other countries in the world. I don’t think that’s going to happen,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Tuesday.

Congress isn’t happy. Late Thursday, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee joined the Republican chair of the committee, Senator Bob Corker, in calling on the White House to hold its horses at the UN until Congress votes. As The Hill reports, Cardin told the press that:

“Acting on it at this stage is a confusing message to an independent review by Congress over these next 60 days. So I think it would be far better to have that vote after the 60-day review, assuming that the agreement is not effectively rejected by Congress,..”

On Friday, the House leadership spoke up as well. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (also of Maryland) issued the following statement:

I agree with Senators Cardin and Corker that the U.N. Security Council should wait to move ahead with a resolution implementing parts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action until after Congress has completed its review of the agreement with Iran. I believe that waiting to go to the United Nations until such time as Congress has acted would be consistent with the intent and substance of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

Neither Cardin nor Hoyer is considered part of the liberal wing of the Congressional Democrats, and the President can still count on significant Democratic support. But if the Administration decides to press forward at the Security Council before the 60 day review period mandated in the carefully crafted bipartisan compromise that Cardin and Corker worked out last spring, the White House could face a serious revolt.

Dissing Congress is a risky move for American presidents. There have been widespread reports that many Democrats on Capitol Hill would like to support the President’s Iran policy, but are worried about the political fallout among voters back home. In the end, many of these waverers would probably support the President on the Iran deal in a straight up Congressional vote, but if the President does an end run to the Security Council, the waverers could—and many will—oppose him on procedural grounds. Both the Senate and the House are jealous of their Constitutional prerogatives, and voting to uphold the powers of Congress is a much easier vote for Democrats than voting against the President on an important foreign policy issue.

This is not likely to end well.

President Obama was stretching both his Constitutional powers and his political mandate when he decided to short circuit the treaty process for one of the most important decisions that American foreign policy has taken in many years. There is precious little doubt that the Founders would have considered this a threat to the system of checks and balances they wrote into the Constitution. In modern times, presidential authority has expanded, largely because American foreign relations have become so complex and the world moves so quickly that it would be impractical to subject every significant agreement between the United States and other countries to the treaty process. But given the length of this negotiation process and the enormous stakes involved, the Iran agreement really ought to have been framed as a treaty. The President, to be fair, knew very well that he could never get a two thirds vote in the Senate for this agreement, and, believing as he does that this step is necessary to the safety of the United States, he framed the deal as an executive agreement to avoid exactly the scrutiny and vote that the Constitution requires.

Congress grudgingly went along with that, passing the Corker-Menendez law as a way of regularizing the President’s irregular choice. This tilted the playing field toward the President, as opponents would need a two thirds majority in both houses (instead of only a one third majority in the Senate) to block the deal for good.

That the President is blowing off this concession by Congress is a serious matter—more serious perhaps than the White House realizes. He is really requiring Congress to accept a permanent and significant diminution in its power for the sake of an Iran deal that few members view with enthusiasm. The precedent he is setting changes the Constitution, essentially abrogating the treaty power of Congress any time a President can get a Security Council resolution to incorporate the terms of an executive agreement.

Regardless of the merits or demerits of the Iran deal, this is the wrong way to proceed. If President Obama chooses to go this route, he is provoking a constitutional crisis in order to get sanctions relief to Iran sixty days faster than would otherwise happen. The Congressional Democrats calling on President Obama to refrain from this mischievous and foolhardy course are quite right; this is a bridge too far.

Outlaw 09

Sun, 07/19/2015 - 5:18am

We have no strategic strategy for Russia, China, IS and especially not in the ME with Iran other than "legacy".

Just further proof of that.

Foreign Policy-online

Why Asia Should Fear the ‘Persian Pivot’

By Daniel Twining
July 17, 2015 - 5:36 pm

Why Asia Should Fear the ‘Persian Pivot’

In defending the nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama likens his outreach to Tehran to President Nixon’s opening to Beijing in the 1970s. But at the time, China was a weak and defensive power, seeking an alliance against a stronger Soviet Union that was pursuing a revolutionary foreign policy that was destabilizing its region and the world. The president’s analogue to today’s Iran is not correct: it is Iran that is pursuing a revolutionary foreign policy that is destabilizing its region and the wider world. The U.S.-China rapprochement in the 1970s did help create a balance of power against the Soviet Union, while the U.S.-Iran rapprochement today creates an imbalance of power in the greater Middle East — tilted toward the regime that has done more than any other to violently destabilize it.

This points to one reason why Asian allies concerned about China’s regional ambitions are worrying about the precedent the Iranian nuclear agreement sets for U.S. leadership in their region.

Energy-starved countries such as Japan and India may welcome the opening of Iran’s oil and gas markets. But the U.S. U-turn in the Middle East, from a policy of working with allies to contain Iran to one that facilitates Iranian leadership at their expense, should make its Asian friends anxious.

The deal lifts tough international sanctions immediately, in return for long-term pledges of Iranian nuclear restraint — pledges whose sincerity and verifiability are both in doubt. The effect will be to unshackle constraints on Iran’s military power and regional influence, enabling it to pursue its designs for primacy in the Middle East more aggressively.

Meanwhile, President Obama has pledged to employ stronger military alliances and new economic coalitions, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to constrain China’s ability to pursue parallel designs for Asian primacy.

In Asia, Obama pledges that the United States will stand by its friends and cede leadership to no other power. In the Middle East, he has broken with our friends, striking a deal that will facilitate Tehran’s accumulation of military and economic strength in ways that will undercut the security of allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, and of pivotal states like Iraq. The fact that President Obama is already preparing to veto a bipartisan congressional resolution disapproving the agreement suggests that his judgment of U.S. interests is less-than-fully convincing.

Obama’s approach would be less problematic if Iran were not so aggressively pursuing policies that have destabilized the Middle East. It is the chief sponsor of President Bashar al Assad in Syria, whose war on his own country has caused its collapse and led to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. Authorities such as General Jim Mattis, the former top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, say that Assad’s regime would have fallen several years ago had Tehran not deployed forces to fight on his behalf.

The Syrian fire fanned by Iran has indirectly spurred on the rise of the Islamic State — an enemy of Iran — and the spread of its villainy across the region. Iran is also the chief sponsor of the Houthi rebels, who have ushered the collapse of Yemen. It is the dominant external power in Iraq, where its forces filled the vacuum created by Obama’s withdrawal of all military forces in 2011 — securing for Iran the gains that had previously accrued to the United States and Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Iran is also the sponsor of Hezbollah, which has helped to construct a violent “Shia crescent” across the Middle East, turning much of it into an Iranian sphere of influence and igniting proxy wars between Iran and U.S. allies there.

This week’s agreement in Vienna between Iran and the U.S.-led negotiating coalition, which also includes the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, will nullify previous U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, including some that are unrelated to the nuclear issue such as those concerning support for terrorism and Tehran’s proliferation of ballistic missile technologies. The deal will also lift an international arms embargo on Iran, including one on its ballistic missile program.

The deal calls for a complex regime of inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities. But Iran has the right to object, with conflicts between Tehran and international inspectors ultimately refereed by the Security Council, where they will be subject to Russia’s veto. The agreement also includes a “snapback” mechanism to reimpose sanctions should Iran violate its terms. But the re-imposition would need to be negotiated between many countries whose corporations are preparing to invest in Iran, creating domestic lobbies that will oppose any renewal of sanctions in the face of Iranian noncompliance.

Most importantly, in return for the partial (but not total) and time-limited (not permanent) suspension of Iran’s production of nuclear fuel, the agreement will open Iran’s economy, after biting sanctions had largely closed it off to the world and undercut the standing of its leaders among a young population hungry for change. Removing economic sanctions will produce rapid growth and bring in waves of foreign investment. This influx of capital and technology could give a new lease on life to the regime in Tehran, providing substantial new resources for it to use to further its aggressive foreign policies.

In Asia, nuclear deals with North Korea in the 1990s and 2000s, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, offered sanctions relief that enabled the Pyongyang regime to consolidate power and resources, only to reject elaborate international inspection mechanisms and push on to test and deploy a growing number of nuclear weapons. In Iraq, it was Saddam’s expulsion of nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency that precipitated repeated Security Council condemnation, followed by the invasion of that country by the United States and its allies in 2003.

This points to the danger that the United States and its friends are setting themselves up not for a new era of peace and harmony with Tehran, but for a potentially escalating series of confrontations over nuclear inspections by international monitors, leading to conflicts rising from the current agreement.

In Asia, American allies such as Japan worry that a U.S.-China agreement could produce a separate peace that would undercut the interests of other regional powers — just as the Iran nuclear deal has been met by opposition in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States threatened by Washington’s “Persian pivot.” They see a U.S. government that has tired of maintaining a regional military posture to balance Iranian power, and has instead chosen to do a deal with its primary strategic competitor to ease the burden on Washington — allied concerns notwithstanding.

Asian friends worry that Washington may ultimately make the same calculation in their region, striking a bargain with China that leaves U.S. allies exposed to that country’s unchecked power without an American counterweight.

Obama and his team believe that a nuclear settlement with Iran will allow the United States to focus its diplomatic and strategic energies on Asia, a region that will do more to determine the history of this century than the morass in the Middle East. But if the deal liberates Iran to cause more regional mayhem, the United States will have less time and energy, not more, to manage its intensifying strategic competition with China in Asia.

Japan, India, and other regional states will take note, and will make their own arrangements, just as America’s allies in the Middle East are now doing. The results may produce exactly the proliferation, proxy wars, and great power conflicts that the Iran deal is designed to prevent.

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/18/2015 - 5:07am

First results of the Obama "hoped for Iranian moderation"????

REMEMBER--Khamenei has been ill for a long time and there is talk he will be replaced in the coming months--"often mentioned successor" is a Khomeini version 3 hardliner--so I am not sure just where the President got his "hope"???

Seems the hardliners have not clearly made up their minds on whether the deal is worth it AND together with the IRGC they rule Iran-and they are definitely not "moderates"?

Notice the comment about "revolutionary principles"--Khomeini's voice from the past still rules.

DUBAI/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei withheld his verdict on Iran's nuclear deal on Saturday but in a fiery address vowed enduring opposition to the United States and its Middle East policies, saying Washington sought Iran's 'surrender'.

In an speech at a Tehran mosque punctuated by chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel", Khamenei said he wanted politicians to examine the agreement to ensure national interests were preserved, as Iran would not allow the disruption of its revolutionary principles or defensive abilities.

An arch conservative with the last word on high matters of state, Khamenei repeatedly used the phrase "whether this text is approved or not", implying the accord has yet to win definitive backing from Iran's factionalized political establishment.

"Whether the deal is approved or disapproved, we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. Even after this deal our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change," he said.

Under the agreement reached on Tuesday, sanctions will be gradually removed in return for Iran accepting long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb. Iran denies it seeks a nuclear bomb.

Khamenei's combative remarks about U.S. policies in the Middle East may sit awkwardly with a diplomatic offensive Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans in coming days in the wake of the deal.


Iran regards its nuclear program as an emblem of national dignity and dynamism in the face of what it sees as decades of hostility from Western countries that opposed its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Khamenei did not echo criticisms of the deal made on Friday by a top cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, who said in an address broadcast on radio that it reflected excessive demands by world powers that were an "insult".

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/18/2015 - 4:52am

In reply to by thedrosophil

This is what happens when you as President have a total disconnect with your DoS/NSC and DoD.

Unintended consequences is also what one gets when one only addresses single problems at a time--this President and his NSC are not even capable to multi tasking.

Russia is moving to a full phase eight of their UW strategy--open state on state war is about to begin in the Ukraine if it has not already started via the Russian artillery prep and ever increasing Spetsnaz missions over the last three weeks.

Putin signed decree on mobilization in Russian Federation …

ALL reservists, all men btw 18 and 60!

Russia was quick to define their "mobilization". The question remains WHY now??? Answer --he is signaling his clear intent to attack if necessary if he does not get his way in the Ukraine.

Full mobilization was one of the Cold War indicators that had military planners on edge as the Russian military can go immediately on the attack knowing their reserves forces are coming online and can backfill attack units.

Interesting to find out if the reservists are airborne and or armor or both.

Putin signed decree on manpower mobilization of Russian Armed Forces (part of new system of training of reservists)

'Full mobilization' turns out to be a call to 5000 soldiers from the reserve + more information here:

not necessary that they will go to war, but everyone must update/add their records in new database

they changing system of reserves, so men who are in "reserve" must go to their enlistment office and join "mobilization reserve"

Outlaw 09

Sat, 07/18/2015 - 4:00am

In reply to by thedrosophil

thedrosophil--it is not perplexing--the is President wanted badly a "win for his legacy"--the Europeans know it, the Ukraine knows it and Putin knows it and especially the Iranians knew it and even voice it recently--the only ones that seem to not "know it" are in fact Americans.

I will only point to the "gratitude" comments in the NYT when Obama "thanked Putin" for his efforts--Obama stumbled all over himself in that article and you do not believe for a moment Putin will hold that "gratitude" over Obama's head.

He has three pressing problems right now;
1. the looming legal fight over his shot down of MH17
2. the sanctions which have actually become lately accumulative and are seriously impacting Russia now
3. the Ukraine and "saving his own face".

Obama is already indicating quietly he is going down that path--the UNSC US Ambassador has throttled back her previously constant critique of Russia in the UNSC, Nuland forced this week the Ukraine into a compromise position that should have never been without some reciprocal move by Russia in the Donbass, DoS Kerry "upgraded" the image of the "so called isolated Putin" by going to Sochi and Nuland as well in her Moscow visit and the US has been distinctly very quiet about the MH17 shot down.

Has anyone in the US asked the simple following question--the US has spent literally Billions on new ISR and satellite technology and we have constant sat surveillance of the Ukraine as well as AWCS coverage and you tell me we missed the BUK launch and the massive GMTI movement of the Russian Army into the Ukraine--this includes everything the NSA is hearing
AND yet we use the constant social media open source analysis to destroy every argument the Russians come up with on MH17--instead the US side has been interestingly SILENT on all fronts--why is that???

I fully agree with a very recent editorial in "The Moscow Times" this week--will the US follow "principles or legacy"--IMHO Obama does not care about so called "American principles when it comes to his legacy".

I was recently reading in a 2002 book written by Max Boot--was struck by a comment made concerning US foreign policy from 1924---which if we layer over the current Obama FP---it is virtually the same--basically stated that the US has a tendency to withdraw from the world and allow the world to figure it out and when they do it forces the US to completely jump back in to repair the damages they caused by their withdrawal.

Our own political history has when we are honest with ourselves spun around the cycles of isolationism and then expansionism--we never seem to find a happy middle.

Right now Obama is pulling the US FP towards isolationism under the argument we cannot continue to go it alone as the world's policeman as it costs to much blood and treasure--he is to a degree correct but right now the world is sorely in need of a stable, open, clear and concise thinking/talking policeman and that we are not under this President.

Let's admit it our policies since 9/11 have not engendered "trust" around this globe.

Just look at the KSA foreign policy of just the last month and how they have spun to counter our inherent "drift{".

Obama in sending his SecDef to the KSA is not going to be able to repair the massive damage he himself has actually caused by wanting "his legacy".


Fri, 07/17/2015 - 1:34pm

My biggest concern about this accord is precisely what this post alludes to: this is a technical agreement, rather than any substantive resolution of long-standing political disputes. Iran's nuclear program is quite obviously aimed at producing a nuclear weapon, and that impulse on Iran's part - thus far, at great political and financial expense to the regime - stems from longstanding political anxieties with both the West and its neighbors, rather than some trailblazing drive to research new technologies as Iranian propaganda perpetually claims. This accord does nothing to settle that political impasse. A review of what did and didn't work when the United States was negotiating arms control treaties with the Soviet Union in the 1970's and '80's would have been helpful, but that doesn't appear to have happened. Quite perplexing.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 10:33am

Seems the KSA is now joining the ranks of political warfare strategists---maybe the Iranian deal that the US assumed was great has unleashed some rather interesting "unintended consequences" that will ripple is US politics for decades to come as this President fully does not understand UW nor political warfare.…


Concerns that Saudi Arabia has communicated privately to the United States have been enough to prompt US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to announce a trip to Riyadh designed to allay the House of Saud’s fears and avert any military escalation.

However, observers say the visit will not be enough to prevent a fundamental shift in Saudi foreign policy. Analysts say Riyadh will now put substantial resources and effort into its own diplomacy to expand its influence beyond the US and Europe – namely with Russia and China.

“You have heard the word ‘diversify’ recently in relation to Saudi foreign relations, and the Obama administration has brought home the thought that Saudi must branch out and see the support of other powers,” says Salman Sheikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center.

“With this deal, Saudi by necessity will reach out to other world powers,” he says. “Now the only question is how Russia and China will respond.”


The shift began in the lead-up to the nuclear deal, with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman making a high-profile visit to St. Petersburg in June and inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to Riyadh.

Now, rather than sending a “warning signal” to the US, officials say Riyadh is preparing to go all-in, embarking on a full diplomatic push to build alliances with Moscow and Beijing. The hope, Saudi officials say, is that in return for oil supplies as well as trade and investment opportunities – such as the government’s $10 billion investment in the Moscow-controlled Russian Direct Investment Fund this month – Russia and China would lessen their support for Iranian-backed Shiite proxies in Syria and Yemen.

There is a far larger war coming in the next few months--all triggered by the US deal and that is not "unintended consequences"?

“After four decades, we are finally realizing the importance of world powers beside the US – and this is the key to ending the Iranian-supported conflicts in the region,” the Saudi military official said.

“If Iran can expand its influence in the region through diplomacy and negotiations, so can we.”

Dave Maxwell

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 9:39am

Perhaps an example of one side conducting unconventional and political warfare and the other side not playing it or not playing it very well..

Political Warfare: George F. Kennan defined political warfare as “the logical application of Clausewitz’s doctrine in time of peace.” While stopping short of the direct kinetic confrontation between two countries’ armed forces, “political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation's command… to achieve its national objectives.” A country embracing Political Warfare conducts “both overt and covert” operations in the absence of declared war or overt force-on-force hostilities. Efforts “range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures…, and ‘white’ propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of ‘friendly’ foreign elements, ‘black’ psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.” See George Kennan, "Policy Planning Memorandum." May 4, 1948.

Here is an excerpt from the USASOC SOF Support to Political Warfare from March 2015 that describes in a little more detail Iran's asymmetric, political, and unconventional warfare (…):

Iran is distinct from Russia and China. Nevertheless, it practices a mode of continual warfare indicative of the emerging and future operating environments characterized by asymmetry, the pursuit of political goals, and the avoidance of large-scale conflict. Conceived by its developers as defensive, Iran’s military doctrine combines the use of conventional, guerrilla, and special operations forces, in order to “deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions that challenge its core interests.”20 While fielding more capable ballistic missiles to counter threats from Israel and other actors in the region and developing the capability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles,21 Iran has sought anti-access and area denial capabilities through asymmetric means, to include “hit and run attacks with sea and land-launched anti-ship cruise missiles, mines, mini-subs and suicide boats,"22 as well as cheaply-produced fast attack craft amounting to little more than speed boats—able to endanger much more expensive and slow moving U.S. vessels.23

A major element of Iranian asymmetric warfare involves covert support to proxy forces in the region and beyond, whose activities support Iranian national objectives. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is funded through an annual military budget of $5 billion as well as through funds based on widespread legal and illicit economic enterprises estimated at $13 billion per year.24 The IRGC provides material support to terrorist or militant groups whose goals are broadly aligned with Iranian interests—including countering U.S. regional engagement. 7 These include HAMAS, Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, and Iraqi Shia groups.25 The IRGC has also enabled targeted execution operations in the U.S. and European capitals.

Along with the UW mission of support to proxy forces, IRGC and other regime-affiliated elements have provided funding to Shiite educational initiatives and political dissident groups in the Arab Gulf region, and have perpetuated an influence campaign seeking to discredit regional rulers on religio-ethical grounds.

Finally, Iran has rapidly developed its defensive and offensive cyber capabilities. Part of this effort seeks to keep Iranians from encountering Western ideas and content, which would contribute to the development of a “soft revolution” that would harm the stability of the regime.26 Iranian asymmetric warfare is thus directed against domestic, regional, and global perceived threats, and clearly mobilizes resources beyond the traditional military sector.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 6:25am

In reply to by Mark Pyruz

Regardless of the evidently "legacy driven agreement"--look at the argument of the President---either war or my way--and that is again what kind of "logic"?--the third way ie heavy handed long term sanctions is what brought Iran to the table not some major masterly negotiating skills on the part of the DoS and the WH.

Really pay attention to the WH words--they are "hoping" that the 30% of the Iranian population 30 and under will with increasing wealth and business opportunities "will become more moderate"????

They were so busy getting the "legacy" in place the idea of using 150B USDs in order to free US Iranian prisoners did not occur with this President???

As one who has close Russian friends who could be considered elites in Russia who have studied here in Berlin, speak fluent Germman, English and French and who make great salaries from German/US companies--when talking about the Ukraine "it was American snipers who killed the Ukrainians on the Maidan and the CIA is using that to attack Russia and Putin for regime change".
QUOTE/UNQUOTE--Propaganda is one heck of a motivator even for elites.

Iran for their 30 and under year olds was built after 1979 on "Revolutionary Islam" from a Shia point of view and these "liberal Iranians" when pushed and shoved revert back to that concept just as Russian elites do. Just because they like western products, music and speak fluent English does not necessarily translate into a "more moderate" Iranian foreign policy. In some aspect they argue "see we Persians forced the West to allow us to join their nuclear club when they did not want us to" --there is some strong national pride in that statement.

There has in fact been a "shadow war" since 1979 and most Americans do not or cannot imagine that it is there--ask any US service member about the effects of EFPs when they were hit with them--used by the Iranian backed Shia groups in Iraq what they think?? We seem to forget all the solid intelligence reports of the EFPS parts being mass manufactured in Iran and then smuggled into Iraq by the Shia militants.

One can think what they want about the UAE and KSA foreign policies but they thoroughly understand the "Revolutionary Islam of Khomeini and now Khamenei"---remember the so called "moderate" current Iranian PM right before the deal was done led a major Teheran demo that was shouting death to the US and Israel and we are victorious over the Great Satan.

Can a wolf change it's habits--not really--will the IRGC change it's habits as well?--seriously seriously doubt that as they view themselves the defenders/protectors of "Revolutionary Islam".

What this President has not answered in his interviews after the deal is--does he know for a fact Iran will change it's wolf habits??--not a word was lost on the topic and the word "hope" was always mentioned.

The second critical point that this WH failed to understand but many in the ME do--Obama views Iran as a "regional" power--some of us say--no it definitively has global desires/wishes and acts globally when it so deems it necessary--ie to protect the global Shia community.

Shadow wars do in fact exist and sometimes they go public ie Yemen.

Fact of life in the ME that this administration has thoroughly failed to understand.

Mark Pyruz

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 2:14am

Locked in a shadow war?

In Iraq, Iran and the U.S. are supporting forces against ISIL.

In Syria, Iran and the U.S. are supporting forces against Al Qaeda and ISIL.

That's not much of a "lock".

What the writer doesn't seem to grasp is that reducing tensions with Iran offers the potential to bring Tehran into conflict resolution efforts for the region as a whole. While this may not currently be perceived by allies KSA and Israel as being in their interest, it can be argued to be in the interests of the United States. Surely it offers the possibility of better results than that rendered the past 14 years.