Category Archives: Iran

February 8, 2017

Iron Dome intercepts three rockets from Sinai headed for Eilat

Five people treated for shock, but no other injuries or damage caused by projectiles fired from Egypt; incident comes hours after mortar shell strikes Golan Heights

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three rockets headed for the southern city of Eilat late Wednesday night, while a fourth fell in an open area, the army said.

This fourth rocket was not shot down by the missile defense battery as it was headed towards an open field, a military spokesperson said.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iron-dome-intercepts-two-rockets-from-sinai-headed-for-eilat/

Pearl Harbor 2? China ‘has prepared for a preemptive strike against US military bases which would cripple American forces in the region’

  • An investigation of satellite imagery compares China’s missile testing grounds and US military bases
  • The images show that the test areas have been designed to look like the military bases, according to the report 
  • Earlier this week, a highly accurate Chinese ballistic missile capable of threatening US and Japan bases in Asia made its latest appearance 
  • The medium-range DF-16 featured in a video posted last week

The levels at which China appears to be planning a missile attack on US military bases in the Pacific have been detailed in a new report.

An investigation of satellite imagery comparing China’s missile testing grounds and US military bases shows a pattern – all of the missile tests have been aimed at destroying US carriers, destroyers and airfields in East Asia, the report said.

The images show that the test areas have been designed to look like the military bases, according to the report by Thomas Shugart on War on the Rocks.

Earlier this week, a highly accurate Chinese ballistic missile capable of threatening US and Japan bases in Asia made its latest appearance at recent Rocket Force drills

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4204262/China-prepared-pre-emptive-strike-against-US.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4204262/China-prepared-pre-emptive-strike-against-US.html#ixzz4Y8Y4RPV3
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EXCLUSIVE: Iranian Boat Had Guns Pointed at U.S. Ship, Commander Says

ABOARD THE USS MAHAN, ARABIAN GULF — Iranian forces in a fast-attack boat had their guns pointed right at a U.S. destroyer as it sped directly towards the ship, in a dangerous encounter in January, a U.S. Navy captain said.

Fearing collision, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Marc Davis was eventually forced to fire three warning shots from the ship’s .50 caliber guns, he said in a recent one-on-one interview with Breitbart News, where he shared new details about the incident.

The contact began early Sunday morning on January 8 when one of four Iranian boats harassing the Mahan began speeding straight towards the destroyer and its 330 sailors onboard, forcing a series of attempts to get it to stop.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/02/08/u-s-navy-commander-discusses-close-encounter-with-iranian-fast-attack-boat/

 

Russia sends Syria its largest missile delivery to date, US officials say

The shipment of 50 SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus along the Mediterranean Sea in the past two days, the officials said.

“For someone winding down a war, that’s a big missile shipment,” one official said.

Russia has fired two SS-21 missiles and four longer-range SS-26 Iskander missiles in the past two days into Syria’s Idlib province against “opposition” fighters, according to those officials. It was not immediately clear whether the U.S. was backing any of those fighters.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/08/russia-sends-syria-its-largest-missile-delivery-to-date-us-officials-say.html

 

French presidential contender François Fillon faces fresh claims over wife’s pay

Rightwing candidate disputes allegation that Penelope Fillon received €48,000 in severance payments

François Fillon, the rightwing French presidential candidate who has refused to quit over allegations he paid his wife from public funds for a fake job, has been hit with fresh claims that she was given generous severance payments.

The investigative and satirical weekly, the Canard Enchaîné, claimed British-born Penelope Fillon, who was highly paid from taxpayers’ money for 15 years as a parliamentary assistant, had received a total of €45,000 (£38,400) in severance payments at the end of two contracts

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/07/french-presidential-contender-francois-fillon-faces-fresh-claims-over-wifes-pay

Alexei Navalny: Russian opposition leader found guilty of embezzlement

Retrial conviction prevents anti-corruption activist and critic of Vladimir Putin from running in 2018 presidential election

in Moscow

A court has found Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement in a retrial, barring him from running in the 2018 presidential election.

As the judge read out the sentence on Wednesday, Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova told journalists the conviction would prevent him from taking part in the election, which he registered for in November.

Vladimir Putin, who has been in power since the end of 1999, is widely expected to run for president again, and his approval ratings remain well above 80%.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/08/alexei-navalny-russian-opposition-leader-found-guilty-embezzlement

Most Europeans want to STOP migration from Muslim countries, study finds, as controversy rages over Donald Trump’s US travel ban

  • 55 per cent of people in 10 European nations want to curb immigration
  • Research was done by the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs
  • 10,000 respondents were asked if they wanted to stop migrants arriving from predominately Muslim countries
  • It was carried out before Donald Trump’s controversial immigration measures 

‘Sobering’ new figures reveal that more than half of Europeans favour banning immigration from predominately Muslim countries.

A survey carried out by London-based think-tank The Royal Institute of International Affairs found that 55 per cent of Europeans across 10 countries  think further immigration from mostly-Muslim countries should stop.

The research by the institute, based at Chatham House, was carried out before Donald Trump introduced his controversial immigration ban in the US.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4199918/Most-Europeans-want-end-migration-Muslim-countries.html#ixzz4Y6935Zgp

Taliban murder two of our UK hero interpreters: One man was shot after being branded a spy while second was killed when UK failed to answer his desperate call for help

  • MPs heard one was ‘dragged from his car and shot twice for being a spy’
  • Another was killed despite UK unit being set up to ‘answer his calls for help’
  • Defence Minister admitted UK considering sending more troops to Afghanistan

Interpreter Rafi Hottak told the Commons’ defence select committee that one translator was dragged from his car and shot twice by insurgents after being branded a spy.

The other translator who risked his life to help British soldiers was killed after a UK unit set up to help desperate interpreters failed to answer his calls for help.

Details of the horrific killings emerged as defence minister Mike Penning admitted Britain’s policy towards Afghan interpreters is not as ‘generous’ as the US.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4201906/Taliban-murder-two-hero-interpreters.html#ixzz4Y69tZIo2

Yemen reportedly withdraws permission to allow US ground missions

Yemen has withdrawn permission for U.S. forces to conduct antiterror ground missions in the country after a deadly commando raid last month that reportedly resulted in civilian casualties.

The New York Times, citing unnamed American officials, reported Tuesday that neither the White House nor the Yemenis have publically announced the suspension.  The report said  it is unclear if  the Yemenis  were influenced at all by President Trump’s travel ban order  that included Yemen on the list of banned countries.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/08/yemen-reportedly-withdraws-permission-to-allow-us-ground-missions.html

Yemen denies it has banned US commando raids

The Associated Press reported Yemen Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi said on Wednesday that reports that operations were suspended following a raid that killed multiple civilians and one Navy SEAL were not true.

“Yemen continues to cooperate with the United States and continues to abide by all the agreements, ” he said.

He added Yemen “is involved in talks with the U.S. administration on the latest raid.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/yemen-denies-it-has-banned-us-commando-raids/article/2614226

Trump to approve weapons packages to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain blocked by Obama

– The Washington Times

The Trump administration is poised to move quickly to approve major weapons packages for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that President Obama blocked during his final months in office over human rights concerns in both nations, U.S. officials and congressional sources say.

While the White House declined to discuss its plans, one U.S. official directly involved in the transfers told The Washington Times that a roughly $300 million precision-guided missile technology package for Riyadh and a multibillion-dollar F-16 deal for Bahrain are now in the pipeline ready for clearance from the new administration.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/7/trump-ready-to-approve-weapons-packages-to-saudi-a/

S-400 air defense systems mobilized near Moscow in snap exercise

Air defense systems around Moscow were put on high alert Wednesday as part of a surprise nationwide combat readiness drill for the Russian Air Force. The Russian capital is one of the best-prepared areas of the country in terms of nuclear strike defenses.

“Units of the air defense force responsible for defending Moscow and the central industrial region have been put on highest combat alert,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. “The air defense mission involves fully-manned combat crews.”

The check involves the redeployment of batteries of S-300, S-400 and Pantsir-S air defense systems to backup positions in a simulation of area contamination, the ministry said. The guards of the batteries also conducted anti-saboteur maneuvers and trained to operate in hard terrain.

https://www.rt.com/news/376694-moscow-air-defense-drill/

‘Macedonia not a country – sorry’: Skopje furious after US Congressman suggests partitioning

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia has expressed its outrage to the US State Department after Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher suggested it was not a country, and should be partitioned by neighbors such as Kosovo and Bulgaria.

According to Rohrabacher, the creation of Macedonia itself was a failed project, and the atmosphere is ripe for a fresh redrawing of the borders.

“My inclination is Macedonia is not a country. I’m sorry – it’s not a country,” the California congressman told Albanian TV channel Vizion Plus.

https://www.rt.com/news/376657-macedonia-split-rohrabacher-republican/

CIA chief to visit Turkey, discuss Kurds, Gulen — officials

In first overseas trip, Mike Pompeo will review Ankara’s request to extradite cleric accused of plotting coup, US support of Syrian rebels

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — US Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo will visit Turkey on Thursday in his first overseas trip to discuss security issues, including Turkey’s fight against a movement led by a US-based cleric accused of orchestrating the failed military coup, Turkish officials said, in a sign of improving relations between the allies.

Pompeo’s visit was decided during a 45-minute telephone conversation between US President Donald Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Tuesday, according to officials from Erdogan’s office. They briefed a group of journalists Wednesday on condition of anonymity, in line with government regulations.

The officials said Pompeo would also discuss the issue of Syrian Kurdish fighters — backed by the United States — which Ankara considers to be terrorists because of their affiliation with outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey

http://www.timesofisrael.com/cia-chief-to-visit-turkey-discuss-kurds-gulen-report/

‘Islamic Bonnie and Clyde’ charged with Australia terror plot

19-year-olds Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa accused of planning Sydney stabbing attack, manufacturing homemade bomb

A self-described Australian “Islamic Bonnie and Clyde” couple were Wednesday charged with planning a terrorist act, which reportedly involved a Sydney stabbing attack.

The pair, Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa, both 19, were already in custody accused of collecting documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts.

“Today’s charges follow an extensive investigation by officers from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team and on-going consultation with the Commonwealth DPP,” New South Wales state police said in a statement.

“The charge carries a penalty of life imprisonment.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-bonnie-and-clyde-charged-with-australia-terror-plot/

Germany’s new frontrunner: The Schulz

In a zany political climate, the former president of the European Parliament sees his electoral fortunes rise.

BERLIN — That a small-town mayor turned MEP could be a serious contender for Germany’s chancellorship would rank as nothing less than a political earthquake — that is, if it weren’t for Brexit, Donald Trump or the sudden implosion of François Fillon in France.

But in this zany political climate, Martin Schulz’s sudden surge in popularity is more par for the course than a surprise, the latest example of the punditry’s conventional wisdom being turned on its head.

http://www.politico.eu/article/germanys-new-frontrunner-martin-schulz-angela-merkel-election-chancellor/

Leonardo enters solo T-X bid following break with Raytheon

Leonardo will compete on its own to build the Air Force’s next trainer after announcing last month that it would no longer participate in the bidding process with Raytheon.

Leonardo DRS, the U.S. piece of the Italian defense company, announced on Wednesday that it will compete its T-100 for the contract to build the Air Force’s two-seat jet trainer. The T-100 is a modified version of the company’s M-346 aircraft, a trainer aircraft operated by Italy, Israel, Singapore and Poland.

The Air Force is expected to award the $16.3 billion contract sometime this year.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/leonardo-enters-solo-t-x-bid-following-break-with-raytheon/article/2614244

Moldovan President Warns Against ‘Rush’ To Closer Ties With NATO

RFE/RL


Moldova’s pro-Russia President Igor Dodon has warned NATO against moving too quickly to seek closer ties with Moldova and opening a planned liaison office in Chisinau.

Speaking after talks with NATO deputy head Rose Gottermoeller on February 7, Dodon said the liaison office would be of no benefit to the majority of Moldovans and NATO should not “rush” to open it.

“For me, the opening of such an office is not helpful for the security of the people; it is a provocation set up by the previous government,” he told reporters at NATO headquarters during his first visit to Brussels.

http://www.rferl.org/a/moldovan-president-dodon-warns-against-rush-closer-ties-nato-eu/28297036.html

Strategy to ‘destroy’ North Korea missiles to be applied during exercises

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author  Feb. 7 (UPI) — A bilateral U.S.-South Korea strategy to detect, defend, disrupt and destroy North Korea missiles, also known as 4D, is to be applied to the upcoming Key Resolve joint military exercises.

The 4D operations, jointly approved in November 2015, were first employed in drills in 2016.

In March, the strategy is to become more “concrete,” according to Yonhap news agency.

The Command Post Exercises are to simulate a full-scale war scenario that assumes the deployment and readiness of THAAD, the U.S. missile defense system, at its designated location in central South Korea.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/02/07/Strategy-to-destroy-North-Korea-missiles-to-be-applied-during-exercises/1551486525158/

Mac malware, possibly made in Iran, targets US defense industry

The malware has also been found targeting a human rights activist

By

Just because you’re using a Mac doesn’t mean you’re safe from hackers. That’s what two security researchers are warning, after finding a Mac-based malware that may be an attempt by Iranian hackers to target the U.S. defense industry.

The malware, called MacDownloader, was found on a website impersonating the U.S. aerospace firm United Technologies, according to a report from Claudio Guarnieri and Collin Anderson, who are researching Iranian cyberespionage threats.

The fake site was previously used in a spear phishing email attack to spread Windows malware and is believed to be maintained by Iranian hackers, the researchers claimed.

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3166942/security/mac-malware-possibly-made-in-iran-targets-us-defense-industry.html

Russia completes S-300 missile systems supplies to Iran in 2016 – TASS

Moscow has completed supplies of S-300 missile systems to Tehran in 2016, TASS news agency quoted the Russian envoy to Iran as saying on Wednesday.

ISIS monsters burn 20 civilians ALIVE in ceremonial execution as crowd forced to watch

ISIS sickos have carried out a mass public execution on 20 civilians by burning them alive for treason.

Jihadis forced a crowd to watch as they tied up and burned the men and women to death in the occupied city of Mosul, Iraq.The stronghold remains in ISIS hands despite an ongoing siege from the Iraqi Army spearheaded by commando unit the Golden Division.

ISIS executions and torture methods in the city are becoming more brutal as the cult loses its grip – with their religious police Al-Khansa now armed with “metal jaws” to bite women to death.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/586411/ISIS-Mosul-Execution-Fire-Civilians-Burning-Spies-Iraq-Army-Siege-Battle-Liberation

Senators Recognize Reservist Cyber Skills in New Bill

[Editor’s Note: This is a very smart and positive move.  See our Defense News article on the subject at http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/commentary/2016/05/19/take-advantage-reserves-innovation/84587450/)

UK / EMEA News Reporter , Infosecurity Magazine

US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill designed to ensure the Department of Defense knows the exact cybersecurity capabilities of the National Guard and reserve forces, so that the government is better prepared to deal with a possible future incident.

The proposed DoD Emergency Response Capabilities Database Enhancement Act of 2017 will update current law, forcing the Pentagon to gain full visibility within a year.

The legislation follows a 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which highlighted the potentially significant cyber capabilities lying dormant in National Guard units.

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February 1, 2017

US puts Iran ‘on notice’ after missile test, won’t elaborate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. put Iran “on notice” Wednesday after the Iranian military tested a ballistic missile and allied rebels in Yemen attacked a Saudi naval vessel in the Red Sea, an early manifestation of President Donald Trump’s promise of a tougher American approach to the Islamic republic.

“Iran is now feeling emboldened,” Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters.

Delivering his first public remarks since Trump took office, Flynn didn’t elaborate on what actions the U.S. might take in response to Iran’s missile test earlier this week. But he made clear the administration’s view that President Barack Obama’s strategy of containing Iran’s destabilizing behavior while cooperating more closely on nuclear and other matters wasn’t working.

“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions — including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms,” Flynn said.

Asked to clarify what Flynn meant by putting Iran “on notice,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, “We felt as though their actions were both provocative and in violation.”

The statement makes “sure that they understood that we weren’t going to sit by and not act on those actions,” Spicer said.

Reports of the missile test emerged after Trump signed an executive order last week temporarily suspending immigration from Iran and six other majority-Muslim countries.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/national-security-adviser-puts-iran-notice-190944150–politics.html

The US may have to consider firing on Iranian boats after latest Houthi attack

saudi arabai navy houthi yemen strikeFootage 

On Monday, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels off the coast of Yemen launched an attack on a Saudi Arabian naval vessel using suicide boats, or fast attack craft laden with explosives.

According to Fordham University maritime law professor and former US Navy Commander Lawrence Brennan, “this attack is likely to impact US naval operations and rules of engagement (ROE) in nearby waters.”

The year 2016 saw an unprecedented spike in the number of incidents at sea between the US Navy and fast-attack craft of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), at least one of which required the US Navy to open fire with warning shots.

Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen had a blockbuster year in 2016, using an anti-ship missile to hit an Emirati naval vessel and then firing a salvo of missiles at US Navy ships in October.

The US Navy successfully fended off the Houthi missile attack and retaliated by destroying three radar sites in Houthi-controlled Yemen. At the time, US officials and experts contacted by Business Insider concluded that Iran likely supplied the missiles to the Houthis.

But the latest attack on the Saudis may give the US Navy pause in the future.

In a questionable video released of the attack, people near the camera can be heard shouting slogans like “death to America,” “death to Israel,” and “death to Jews!” One Pentagon officialtold the Washington Examiner that the Houthis may have mistaken the Saudi ship they attacked for a US Navy ship, though another official denied it.

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-navy-iran-houthi-suicide-boat-attack-yemen-2017-2

Trump Gets His Man At The State Department

President Trump has gotten his man at the State Department.

Rex Tillerson was approved by a 56-43 vote Wednesday in the Senate. Four senators who caucus with the Democrats crossed the aisle and joined all of the Republicans in voting for Tillerson. They were Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as independent Angus King of Maine.

http://www.npr.org/2017/02/01/512856220/trump-gets-his-man-at-the-state-department

Brexit Bill is PASSED by MPs despite desperate bid by more than 100 Remoaners to block Article 50 from being triggered

  • Bid to wreck the historic Brexit Bill has been defeated in the House of Commons
  • MPs voted by 498 to 114 to give the crucial legislation its second reading
  • Two senior Labour MPs tonight quit Jeremy Corbyn’s top team to oppose Brexit 
  • Labour’s Neil Coyle earlier branded Tory MPs ‘bastards’ during the Brexit debate 
  • One Labour MP yelled ‘suicide’ as the result was announced in chamber
  • Prime Minister has said long-awaited White Paper will be out tomorrow

Britain passed the point of no return in its historic battle to cut ties with Brussels tonight as MPs backed the Brexit Bill.

The Commons endorsed the legislation by 498 votes to 114 after the government saw off a desperate bid by more than 100 Remoaners to block it.

In the first of a crucial set of votes in the Commons, a ‘wrecking’ amendment that would have effectively killed the law was defeated by 336 to 100.

The House then gave the Bill its second reading by another huge margin, despite the opposition from Labour MPs, the SNP and most Liberal Democrats.

One Labour MP yelled ‘suicide’ as the result was read out in the chamber.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4179940/The-Government-s-Brexit-plan-published-TOMORROW.html#ixzz4XT7dJNkJ

 

Soros’s bad bet against Trump cost his clients $1bn

Soros’s bad bet against Trump cost his clients $1bn
George Soros’s hedge fund was one of the biggest losers of 2016, as the Hungarian-born billionaire’s misplaced investments turned into a $1 billion loss for his clients, according to a report by hedge fund investor LCH Investments, cited by Bloomberg.

The only notable hedge fund which did worse than Soros is Paulson & Co, which lost $3 billion last year, according to LCH. The biggest winner is billionaire Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, which earned $4.9 billion for its clients.

After Donald Trump’s election victory, Soros made some bearish market bets. While Soros called Trump a “would-be dictator,” and predicted uncertainty and sell-off after his win, the markets rallied significantly.

“The overall returns from hedge funds in 2016 were disappointing. Even the managers with the greatest long-term records did not perform strongly, and their results were no better than average,” Rick Sopher, chairman of LCH, said in the report.

“This underperformance by the world’s greatest money managers reflects the difficulties experienced by most active managers for much of 2016,” he added.

https://www.rt.com/business/375925-soros-hedge-fund-loser/

 

China Steps up Opposition to US Missile Defense System

China is stepping up its efforts to stop South Korea from deploying a U.S. missile defense system on its soil, turning up the pressure on the economic front, while warning of the impact on diplomatic relations if the system is put in place this year.

The missile system and China’s objections are likely to be a hot topic this week during newly appointed U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ first trip to Asia.

Although U.S. and South Korean officials have long stressed that the key aim of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) is to counter North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, Beijing argues that in the long run it could do much more than that.

http://www.voanews.com/a/china-steps-up-opposition-to-us-missile-defense-system/3701349.html

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport hit by major computer outage

By Anthony Deutsch | AMSTERDAM

A major computer malfunction crippled traffic at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Wednesday causing the delay or cancellation of more than 100 flights at one of Europe’s largest transportation hubs.

Passengers faced hours of delays due to a technical problem at the Netherlands’ Air Traffic Control, forcing flights to be diverted to alternative European airports, a spokesman said.

KLM, the national carrier, canceled flights to Germany, Belgium, Britain and the United States, among others.

“We are not sure yet what the cause is or how long it will take to fix it,” said Schiphol spokesman Paul Weber.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-airport-delays-idUSKBN15G3PM?il=0

Deadly SEAL Raid In Yemen Signals Shift In Anti-Terror Strategy Under Trump

 Tyler Rogoway

A daring special operations raid into Yemen was approved by the White House and executed this weekend, leaving one US soldier dead and three wounded. Details remain sketchy, but a group made up primarily of America’s most notorious tier one counter-terrorism force, SEAL Team Six, flew into war-torn Yemen to raid an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) headquarters in the al-Bayda region of the country. The raid was supposedly a kill-capture and site exploitation operation aimed at the group’s key leadership, including AQAP kingpin Qasim al Raymi.

The SEALs experienced an hour-long firefight after arriving on target under a moonless night sky. The team supposedly killed 14 AQAP operatives in the surprise assault, but also suffered one KIA and three wounded in the process. A V-22 Osprey (it is unclear if this was a Marine MV-22 or USAF CV-22) that was evacuating casualties during the operation experienced a hard landing and was destroyed by choice as the team exfiltrated the target area. Multiple structures were also said to have been obliterated by airstrikes during different phases of the assault.

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January 21, 2017

Gen. James Mattis, Gen. John Kelly confirmed for Trump Cabinet spots

As President Trump’s limousine drove the Washington, D.C. parade route on Friday, the Senate was busy at work stocking Trump’s Cabinet – though not fully.

Gen. James Mattis was confirmed as Secretary of Defense and Gen. John Kelly was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security in a pair of Friday evening votes.

Mattis was approved by a vote of 98-1. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was the lone vote against. Kelly was approved 88-11. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., did not vote on either Kelly or Mattis. Sessions has been nominated to be Attorney General.

Trump signed the commissions for Mattis and Kelly later Friday. Vice President Mike Pence swore in both Generals.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/20/gen-james-mattis-confirmed-as-secretary-defense.html

US won’t sent delegation to Syria talks in Kazakhstan, will be represented by ambassador

US won’t sent delegation to Syria talks in Kazakhstan, will be represented by ambassador
The US will not send a special delegation to the Syria talks, which are due to be held in the Kazakhstan capital, Astana on January 23, according to the US State Department. Instead, the US will be represented by its ambassador to Kazakhstan.

Given our presidential inauguration and the immediate demands of the transition, a delegation from Washington will not be attending the Astana conference,” the US State Department acting spokesman, Mark Toner said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Russia’s invitation to the US to take part in the upcoming talks on Syria.

https://www.rt.com/news/374601-syria-talks-astana-washington/

Fox declines to renew contracts for several contributors

Fox declines to renew contracts for several contributors
© Getty

Fox News has declined to renew contributor contracts for longtime political commentator George Will, Republican strategist Ed Rollins and actress Stacey Dash, according to a network spokesperson.

Will, 75, is a Pulitzer-winning conservative columnist who was with ABC from 1981-2011 before coming to Fox in 2013.

In June of 2016, he declared he was leaving the Republican party because of Donald Trump, a decision the then-nominee appeared to embrace.

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/315480-fox-declines-to-renew-contracts-for-several-contributors

Chinese selfie app raises red flags with security researchers over privacy concerns

Chinese selfie app raises red flags with security researchers over privacy concerns
A Chinese beautifying selfie app, that is taking the world by storm with it’s ability to turn mere mortals into anime characters, has raised red flags with security researchers for its apparent excessive collection of data.

Meitu, which is available for iphone and android, has been popular in China since its launch in 2008, but is only now gaining prominence elsewhere as selfie lovers have turned to the app in their droves sharing their perfected pictures across social media sites.

https://www.rt.com/viral/374479-chinese-selfie-app-privacy/

Raids in Austria as terror suspect grilled

Authorities say alleged Islamic extremist may have been planning an attack to be executed in the immediate future

VIENNA, Austria — Austrian police raided several addresses early Saturday as they grilled a suspected Islamic extremist thought to have been planning an attack, authorities said.

“There were several raids on homes in Vienna and Lower Austria (state),” interior ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck told AFP.

“Material recovered in these searches is now being evaluated… So far there has only been one arrest, the one which took place yesterday (Friday),” he said.

The 18-year-old man arrested on Friday evening in Vienna was meanwhile being questioned, Konrad Kogler, national security chief, said on public radio.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/raids-in-austria-as-terror-suspect-grilled/

Apple sues Qualcomm for withholding $1 billion ‘as retaliation’

21

Following FTC anti-competition suit against Qualcomm

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Iran Defense Minister’s Threats

Read the latest at Bryen’s Blog

Breeches are knee-length trousers, often with buckles or decoration at the bottoms, worn by men in the 17th to early 19th centuries. The American phrase too big for your breeches was invented by Davy Crockett. It applies perfectly to Iran’s Defense Minister who today threatened President-elect Trump.

http://www.bryensblog.com/irans-defense-minister-big-britches/

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Iran and MH370 Now on Bryen’s Blog

There is a strong circumstantial case that what happened with MH370 was covered up by Malaysian authorities who were being extorted by Iranian-backed terror organizations.

Likewise there is strong evidence to point to Iranian-backed terrorism as the cause of the crash of MH370.

To learn more, you can read the story here on Bryen’s Blog.

 

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Israel and the F-35

by Stephen Bryen and Rachel Ehrenfeld

Reprinted from American Center for Democracy

Like it or not, the increasingly aggressive Iranian posture toward Israel suggests that sooner or later their conflict will develop into a ground and air war. Actions by Iran and its surrogates in the area of the Golan Heights already caused some Israeli land and retaliatory air moves, and more provocations could set off broader fighting. Israel has little choice but to deter the Iranian and Syria armies, and Hezbollah, from creating a security nightmare.

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Hesa Sadegh. Where did the engines come from? By Shahram Sharifi – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24278303

Iran has around 265 front line combat fighter aircraft.  These consist of American F-14’s, F-4’s, F-5’s and 30 or more Hesa Saegeh locally made aircraft based on the F-5; Russian MIG 29’s; French Mirage F-1s, and Chinese F-7 Chengdu interceptors.  The F-7s and F-5s are not a significant factor of any kind today.  The F-14s and F-4s are old, but very capable, as are the Mirage and MiG planes.  The Iranian F-4s have been upgraded and have new, modern radars and avionics from China. The F-4s also have the new Qader cruise missile which may also be usable on the other planes.  The Hesa Saegeh F-5 knock off has engines that could have been smuggled into Iran from outside, no one is sure.

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A Fighter Squadron 211 (VF-211) F-14A Tomcat aircraft banks into a turn during a flight out of Naval Air Station, Miramar, Calif. The aircraft is carrying six AIM-54 Phoenix missiles. By Service Depicted: NavyCommand Shown: N0829 – EnWiki, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1138584

Of all these planes the most lethal is the F-14 because it carries Phoenix missiles.  The Phoenix missile was the first true beyond visual range air to air missile with a range exceeding 100 miles.  Such missiles were delivered to Iran under the Shah. But to assume they are not operational today would be a mistake because, in all likelihood, the Russians and Chinese have had their hands all over them. Can the Israelis knock such an improved Phoenix out? Possibly, if they use jamming. A better strategy would be to destroy the F-14s before they can do any damage. But this would depend on the quality of Iran’s air defenses, which have been improved lately by S-300 batteries that were delivered by Russia, and whether the Iranians can field an aircraft that can compete with Israel’s F-15s and F-16s. 

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S-300 (Slovakia) By EllsworthSK – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7039037

Can the Israelis knock such an improved Phoenix out? Possibly, if they use jamming. A better strategy would be to destroy the F-14s before they can do any damage. But this would depend on the quality of Iran’s air defenses, which have been improved lately by S-300 batteries that were delivered by Russia, and whether the Iranians can field an aircraft that can compete with Israel’s F-15s and F-16s. 

Furthermore, the possibility of a Russian sale of an advanced 4th generation plus fighter, like the Su-35 to Iran, could introduce a major problem for Israel, a problem that would not be solved by the F-35, which has  such serious limitations and needs so many fixes that there is doubt it could be ever ready for combat.  Because the F-35 cannot dogfight, the Su-35 has the key advantage especially in the role of territorial defense.

Before the F-35 sale to Israel, there was strong Israeli Air Force interest in the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle, an improved F-15 with stealth features and the same (or similar) advanced electronics as in the F-35.  However, Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the F-35 conducted one of the best lobbying efforts in U.S. military history and convinced the government to pressure Boeing into halting the promotion of the Silent Eagle. So for the next 20 years, barring some drastic reversal there is no room for Boeing or anyone else but Lockheed, locking the US into a single, questionable solution.  If Lockheed fails, so does America.

According to Dr. Michael Gilmore, the Director of Operational Test & Evaluation of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), “the F-35s will be non-combat-capable until at least 2023 and more likely 2024 or 2025.”

While a new U.S. Administration may be able to correct the F-35 problems, Israel does not have extra seven or nine years to find out whether the plane is battle ready.  Anyway, the Su-35 is combat ready now.

Faced with the need to overcome the F-35 limitations, Israel may consider equipping its F-15s with new long range air-to-air missiles, if it can get them, and lots of jammers, and pray.  

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There are Military Catamarans and then there is Junk: Iran’s is Junk

by Stephen Bryen

Iran is making a big deal announcing the launch of a new military catamaran. So far we only have some glimpses of the ship, but it does not look like a successful design.

We know very little about this ship but one thing is for sure: this is not a real military ship. You don’t build a military ship with extensive glass windows on its side.

There is almost no room on the platform for weapons. Sitting in the harbor, the Iranians had a small helicopter parked on the deck. There were no weapons in sight.

If the ship is primarily fiberglass and is light, maybe it could obtain the speed the Iranians claim –24 knots. This is not as fast as conventional frigates and about the same as the patrol boats we have in the Persian Gulf.  Not very impressive.  The new Iranian ship looks like a knockoff of a commercial catamaran passenger vessel, maybe a small ferry.  (One wonders if Iran bought a ferry in Europe and converted it?) There is a YouTube video of the “launch” of what appears to be a commercial Iranian catamaran, which may give us some hints of its evolution.

In short the new Iranian ship looks mostly bogus. It appears to be far less capable than the much smaller fast attack boats Iran has been sending out on missions in the Gulf, threatening US ships. This new catamaran contributes less than nothing to Iran’s offensive capabilities. About its only possible virtue is that it may be hard to pick up on radar –but thankfully it is big enough to be seen through conventional optical sensors.

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Tuo Chang Corvette

While the Iranians are never short on boasting and awful propaganda, they may want to take a step back before their catamaran sinks below the waterline.

If you want to build a really capable military catamaran, take a look at what Taiwan has achieved in its new Tuo Chiang Class corvette. This is a truly beautiful and effective war fighting platform, loaded with firepower, very fast (43 knots +), great sea keeping, stealth design and long range. Most of the Iranian boats have crude firepower, short operational range, limited sea keeping, and probably cannot operate at night.

Taiwan has committed to building a dozen or more of the current version of its corvette. These will outperform the aged Perry Class and Lafayette frigates Taiwan currently has, are far faster, and carry significantly more weapons in a very small space. Thanks to a far smaller crew size and long endurance, the Taiwanese Tuo Chiang class corvettes make better use of limited manpower and optimize the punch these systems have in protecting the island.

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150317-N-SF508-627 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (March 17, 2014) The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Hurricane (PC 3) leads other coastal patrol ships assigned to Patrol Coastal Squadron 1 (PCRON 1) in formation during a divisional tactics exercise. PCRON-1 is deployed supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. These ships are old and relatively slow and have minimal firepower. Some have already been decommissioned.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Oki/Released)

The Tuo Chiang class corvette is a platform the US should have a serious look at. We only have old patrol boats which have minimal firepower and relatively low speed. These Cyclone-class patrol boats operate at a serious disadvantage to Iran’s speedy fast attack boats. Some of them have already been decommissioned and one was sold (or given) to the Philippines. Having a Tuo Chiang corvette in the Persian Gulf would give us a big advantage, far more than the LCS which we won’t even take into the Gulf because it is toothless and oversize.

The Tuo Chiang cost one fourth as much as the LCS and is fit for purpose.  Whether the LCS, apparently designed by too many committees, can function in a war environment is open to serious doubt.

As for Iran, it is time for us to let them know that they can’t run around calling America names and threatening our ships. We have been there and done that before and in the Reagan Administration we chased them out of the water. Let’s get the right equipment and do it again.

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Is It Time to Turn the Tables on Iran?

By Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

REPRINTED FROM American Thinker

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/09/is_it_time_to_turn_the_tables_on_iran.html

On April 24, 2004 the USS Firebolt, a Cyclone-class coastal patrol boat in the Persian Gulf, launched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) when its crew observed a Dhow – a traditional boat, in this case likely owned by Iran – fast approaching the Al Amaya oil terminal in Iraq.  Suspecting an attempt to destroy the terminal, the RIB’s seven-man crew pulled alongside the Dhow in order to board it.  The Dhow blew up in a suicide blast intended for the terminal.  Two sailors, Navy Petty Officers Michael Pernaselli and Christopher Watts were killed instantly.  Coast Guard Petty Officer Nathan Brukenthal died when the RIB turned over in the water. Brukenthal was the first Coast Guardsman killed in action since the Vietnam War.

Last week, the USS Firebolt was back in the news.

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A starboard side view of US Navy CYCLONE CLASS Coastal Defense Ship USS Firebolt (PC 10) underway as it returns to Little Creek Amphibious Base, Norfolk, VA. The Firebolt is returning from a deployment in the Mediterranean Sea.

On September 4th a swarm of seven Iranian fast boats, armed with guns and missiles, and belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval force, harassed the Firebolt and forced it to divert from its heading to avoid a collision. In an incident that lasted some eight minutes, three of the Iranian boats maneuvered within about 500 yards of the Firebolt and then pulled away. Another Iranian boat sped in front of the Firebolt and blocked its path. From what can be ascertained, the Firebolt sent radio warnings that were not answered and then – closing in at about 100 yards – the Firebolt turned away to avoid the “parked” Iranian attack craft. The Firebolt did not fire warning shots or blast its foghorn.

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ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. (MAY 7, 2004) — Pall bearers carry the casket of DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal during his interment ceremony. Bruckenthal was the first Coast Guard casualty in Operation Iraqi Freedom. USCG photo by PA2 Fa’iq El-Amin.

The Iranians were once again clearly testing swarm boat techniques and seeking to provoke the United States. It was the fourth time in less than a month. American official said there have been 31 similar events this year, almost double the same period last year. This incident follows recent harassment including of the guided missile destroyer Nitze, the patrol ships Tempest and Squall and the destroyer, the USS Stout.

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One type of Iranian fast attack boat firing a missile. The Iranians have also acquired speedboat technology from Britain (via South Africa)

General Joseph Votel, Commander, US Central Command, said the Iranians are conducting “unsafe maneuvers” to exert their influence in the Gulf. He is correct.

There are major political, psychological and military gains for the Iranians from these provocations.

On the military level the Iranians are learning a lot about the speed of the U.S. Command Structure – how long it takes for a warning to be made and what happens when the first radio broadcast, foghorn or gun is fired.  One can imagine the Iranians with stopwatches.  A successful swarm attack that can do real damage to major U.S. naval assets needs to be correctly sequenced, as the Iranians surely know.  Even though U.S. warships are poorly equipped to deal with swarming fast attack boats, they are not without resources.  And air power can be called in to augment U.S. ships under attack.  If Iran’s objective in such a situation involving a real attack is to cause serious damage to a U.S. aircraft carrier or a guided missile cruiser, by now they know pretty much what they have to do and what price they will pay.

The sight of U.S. warships running away from Iranian fast boats is great political propaganda that, for the Iranians, plays well at home and abroad.  It is the perfect David and Goliath moment in which the Great Satan is forced to turn and run. Iran, in fact, made a video purporting to show the sinking of the Nitze as a result of Iranian “courage and righteous anger” at an “American invasion.” Internally, such propaganda boosts the Revolutionary Guard, increasing its leverage. Outside, it helps Iran spread its influence in the region and as far afield as South America.

American allies and clients in the Persian Gulf and Middle East feel the opposite impact. If the United States does not stand up to aggression, smaller and less capable countries may find it necessary to accommodate Iran. President Obama and American policy compound their distress. The President told Jeffrey Goldberg in an Atlantic Magazine interview that Saudi Arabia – a U.S. ally and Iranian adversary – “needs to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace.” Reflexively backing the Saudis against Iran, he said, “would mean we have to start coming in and using our military power to settle scores. And that would be in the interest neither of the United States nor of the Middle East.”

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Jeffrey Goldberg interviews President Obama

The President quickly eschews the idea of military force in the Gulf, but what other response is there to the problem posed by Iranian-created incidents?  The Iranians have already captured American sailors, and it is only a matter of time before an American is killed by Iranian action – on purpose or in error.

To stop an evolving and increasingly dangerous game, the United States has to take aggressive action against Iranian fast attack boats before they come after us. The goal is not to start a war – the Iranians are already working on that – but low passes by fighter planes or helicopter gunships, rapid firing guns, and aggressive chase will make it clear to the Iranians “this far and no farther.”

The U.S. must not be chased out of international waters. The U.S. Navy surely has the assets to do the job.  We just need courage from our politicians.

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Humiliation on the High Seas

REPRINTED FROM US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-08-25/stop-allowing-iran-to-humiliate-america-on-the-high-seas

By Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

Aug. 25, 2016, at 5:30 p.m.

The United States was humiliated this week when the USS Nitze came under simulated attack by four Iranian missile and torpedo-equipped speedboats in international waters. Despite American warnings, radio calls, flares and foghorns, two of the boats came within a few hundred yards of the Nitze. Iran is harassing American naval warships in the Persian Gulf while Washington refuses to acknowledge Iranian threats for reasons that are both political and practical.

 

The political reason is that Washington still entertains the idea that Iran can be a friend of America. This view, strongly held by the White House, State Department, Pentagon and CIA, is a true fantasy. No matter how many Iranian statements from top Iranian political and military leaders proclaim their total hatred of the United States, Washington persists in fostering the illusion. There is no immediate cure for a political disease: We have yet to invent an anti-regime-biotic that, when injected into the insane, returns them to normalcy.

 

As there is no solution, the Obama administration will explain the Persian Gulf incident as some sort of aberration or unauthorized action by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, or a mistake, but not an act of overt hostility.

Second is the practical reason. The attack on the Nitze, described by the Navy and Pentagon as “unprofessional” and “unsafe,” actually was a test of an Iranian tactic called the “swarming boat” to destroy U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

The swarming boat attack is just what it sounds like: a number of fast boats equipped with missiles and torpedoes attack enemy ships from multiple angles to damage or destroy them as quickly as possible. Recently the Iranians added another dimension to the swarming boats: a vessel known as the Ya Mahdi, a remotely piloted fast patrol boat that can fire rockets or be stuffed with explosives. It is a new version of the boat that attacked the USS Cole in Aden in 2000 at a cost of 17 lives, 39 injuries and severe damage to the ship.

Fast patrol boats are maneuverable and operate up to 75 knots, making them hard to hit, particularly as they are built mostly of fiberglass, so they are not so easy to locate with radar. In addition, the defensive weapons on board most U.S. naval ships are inadequate. The old Mark 45 five inch guns fire too slowly and are not optimized against this kind of threat. They also are linked to aged fire control and radars that probably won’t pick up the patrol boats until they are in range to fire their missiles. The rapid-fire Phalanx gun, the gun of last resort on ships like the Nitze, has the same sensor-shooter problem, although some improvements have been made. It is questionable whether the Phalanx can actually stop an intense and multi-vessel attack.

 

Most important, none of these weapons can shoot down unguided rockets and missiles. The Phalanx fails because its range is too short and its ability to stop a high-speed kinetic round is very poor. And there is no good defense against torpedoes except to try and evade them, which is hard to do in a complex attack.

The Pentagon has known about this threat for a long time, and has opted to do next to nothing about it. Focused on big blue water operations, the Navy is behind a curve 20 years in the making.

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

The Pentagon needs to get its act together and come up with tactics and weapons systems to solve the problem of swarm boat attacks. So, too, must the administration stop pretending Iran is not a real threat. Above all, it is time to end America’s humiliation on the high seas.

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Iran Could Soon Dominate the Persian Gulf

by Stephen Bryen*

Russian sources are now confirming what the Iranians have already said, that Iran will sign a deal to buy Su-30’s from Russia. The result of this deal is that Iran can soon dominate the Persian Gulf, a radical change with seriously negative consequences for the oil producing countries, for those who depend on them, and for the United States. Downstream from the immediate regional impact is that Iran’s Sukhois will give them an answer to Israel’s air power.

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SU-30 SM

There is a lot we do not know about the Su-30 deal: indeed there are so many variants of the Su-30 that it is likely that Iran will customize its purchase to meet its needs, just as the Indian and Chinese Air Forces came up with their own variations. Almost certainly the Iranians will want a plane that is equal or superior to the airplanes flown by their neighbors, most importantly Saudi Arabia. And they will want a plane that can challenge US carriers operating in the Gulf, which today are flying F-18G Growlers and F-18 E/F Super Hornets. Downstream Iran will want an aircraft that can contend with the F-35 and, perhaps, the F-22.

[Indian SU-30’s visited Saudi Arabia where they showed off their capability.]

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SU-30 manufacturing at Irkut, one of two factories producing the Su-30

The most modern of the Su-30’s are close in performance to the latest Russian fighter, the Su-35. Russia has sent Su30SM’s to Syria along with Su-35’s. The SM is a new model, manufactured by Irkut in Russia, and first deployed in 2012. As Air Force Technology reports, “The multi-role Su-30SM can be deployed in counter-air strikes, counter-land and counter-sea missions. It can conduct electronic counter-countermeasures and early warning tasks. The aircraft also acts as a command-and-control platform within a fleet of combat aircraft performing joint missions.”

There are many choices for weapons, systems, radars, power plants and advanced cockpits for the Su-30, making it hard to be sure what the Russians are going to be willing to release to Iran, and the impact of what it sells in the region.

The Su-30 is regarded as an analogue to the F-15 (latest versions) and the F-18 (latest versions). It is an open question whether it can be effective against the F-22, which remains America’s most advanced (and most expensive) fighter; it probably could successfully challenge the F-35 provided it is equipped with the right long range missiles, the best radar, and top notch jammers.

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Indian pilots Su-30 in background

India flies a variant of the Su-30. When India participated in US Red Flag exercises, one of India’s ground rules was that it would not turn on its radar because it did not want to expose its capability to the US or other Red Flag participants. The Indian Air Force Su-30’s are equipped with the Russian No. 11 BARS-R radar, which has a passive electronically scanned array. Even more modern radars are now appearing in the Su-35 and the forthcoming Su-50 stealth platforms, which likely have the capability to pick up the F-35, and maybe the F-22 at longer range.

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NIIP N011M BARS Prototype.

Russia is now producing a number of long range air to air missiles and should be able to challenge the US reliance on beyond visual range (BVR) tactics. The Iranians are quite familiar with BVR. They were the only foreign country to receive the Navy’s F-14

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Iranian F-14’s

equipped with Phoenix air to air missiles (beginning in 1976 near the end of the Shah’s regime). Some Iranian F-14’s are still flying. The Iranians cloned the Phoenix missile (AIM-54) in 2013. Called the Fakour, these missiles may end up on the Su-30’s. They have a range of 100 miles. The missile’s seeker head is thought to be a knock-off of the Hawk SAM, a US ground launched air defense missile.

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Iranian Fakour 90, a clone of the US Phoenix air to air missile.

One of the outstanding characteristics of the Su-30 is its maneuverability and range. Its maneuverability gives it an edge in close combat situations. Its range is enough for Iran to have good coverage of the Persian Gulf and sufficient range to hit local airfields in Saudi Arabia. Because it is a multirole platform, it can carry out everything from air intercept to ground attack roles, with both precision and “iron” bombs; it is a direct threat to US Navy assets operating in the Gulf, including US aircraft carriers. It manifestly changes the game because the US no longer will have air dominance in the Gulf, and Iranian power will be more readily felt by the other Gulf players, already deeply concerned about Iranian long and medium range missiles, and by the virtual likelihood of ongoing atomic and unconventional weapons research sponsored by the Iranian regime.

All of this raises a huge shadow over the Iran nuclear agreement. It is objectively a very bad deal for the following reasons: (1) uncertainty it will really stop or slow Iran’s atomic weapons development, some of which may be hidden and other components likely offshore; (2) permits Iran to develop its long range missiles; (3) permits Iran to develop WMD such as chemical and biological weapons; (4) arms Iran with the latest weapons denying the US and its allies airpower superiority.

Once these modern weapons are delivered, it gives the Iranians greater options to cause trouble in the Gulf, just as they have done recently by capturing two US RIB boats and

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Iranian unguided missile fired near CVN-75

sequestering the crew, by hostile unguided missile launches over the bow of the US Aircraft Carrier Harry Truman (CVN-75) and by frequent efforts to humiliate the United States, the latest claims by Iran’s military leaders that the US is now subordinate to Iran in the Gulf. As the US has not responded in any concrete way to these threats, there will be more not less of them ahead.

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Iran captures US Navy Sailors

Russian motives in supplying arms to Iran is probably more related to the sinking Russian economy than to any concrete political objective. When Iran was desperate and about to be routed in Syria, the Russians came to their rescue (and to the rescue of Assad and Hezbollah). That rescue seems to be working, but it has also freed up the Iranians and set up a situation that could lead to war with Israel. Israel won’t tolerate an Iranian presence on or near the Golan Heights, nor will they allow the supply of additional sophisticated long range rockets to Hezbollah. The Russians have to be very careful, for while the Russians have their latest airplanes in Syria, they don’t have enough air power to challenge Israel successfully, nor does Putin want that to happen. To some degree, the Russians face the risk of the tail wagging the dog. Iran has an immense capacity to cause trouble, and its behavior could well spin out of anyone’s control.

It would make sense for the United States and Israel to take up the issue of the supply of advanced arms to Iran with the Russians. But to have this dialogue and make it successful, the US must, above all, start acting like a real power. Running away from the Iranians in the Gulf is not just cowardice: it is hugely dangerous to peace and stability.

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Stephen Bryen is the author of the new book, Technology Security and National Power: Winners and Losers (Transaction Publishers).  He served previously as a senior official in the Department of Defense.

 

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