Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace

Yes sports fans Turkey and Iran have come top an agreement on the Syrian civil war…..

I know that countries and pundits alike have been looking for a way to end the death and destruction in Syria….among other countries….and it appears that Turkey and Iran have come to some sort of agreement on how to proceed…..

In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.

Both Yildirim’s speech and the Iranian corroboration were reported Tuesday by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Al-Hayat, Arabic-language newspapers published in London, but the potentially pivotal development has been unreported thus far in Western news media.

Source: Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

This is all well and good…..just I have one problem with this idea……

Where is the input of the Syrian people?  After all it is their country…..well at least for now…..I believe they should have a voice in any solution offered.

They had NO input in 1918 and look where that eventually came to…..maybe they should have the lead voice on any solution that involves their country…..just a thought.

Whatcha think?

But I guess since that plan is not what everyone wanted…….bullets are always easier then words……

A Middle East Cold War

2016 is shaking out as an election on foreign policy…..the winner will be ass deep in the Middle East for decades longer…..

The Cold War that we all know and love was  between the years of 1945 and 1991….when the US and Western powers would stand-off against the Soviet Union…….across the globe.

In 1979 with the Iranian revolution there began another Cold War….this one was for the hearts and minds of the Middle East…..waged between Saudi Arabia and Iran……

For years the Saudis had the upper hand thanks mostly to their close ties with Washington……but in the last decade or so……… that pendulum is swinging toward Iran……

Just as the US and the USSR fought proxy wars the Saudis and the Iranians are doing the same things……the battlefields are in such places as Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon….and the situation seems to be expanding…..

A cold war is taking place in a very hot place. A key component of the sectarian competition between Shia and Sunni Islam in the Middle East is geopolitical, with Iran facing off against Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies in a struggle for regional dominance.

As with the original Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, the conflict does not involve direct military confrontation between the main rivals, at least not yet. It is being fought diplomatically, ideologically, and economically – especially in the oil markets – and through proxy wars, such as the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. There are few problems in the wider Middle East that cannot be traced back to the power rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Source: Is Iran winning their Mideast Cold War with Saudi Arabia? | Informed Comment

truemapofmiddleeastThomas_Map-01

There are more observations of the “Middle East Cold War”……..

There are, at the present moment, four game plans colliding with each other in a terrain filled with hidden mines. The sum of the collusion will be totally different than the objectives of each of the players. Worst, no one has the ability to predict the outcome, not even the players themselves.

Let us examine briefly each game plan as seen by each player before addressing, in general, the potential paths of this dangerous game.

Saudi Arabia:

From the Saudi perspective, Iran has gone too far. Ideologically, Tehran enshrined the export of its revolution into its constitution. Practically, it has the Quds Force of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) to make sure that this principle is implemented. Furthermore, it achieved progress through infiltrating Iraq after the US-UK ill-advised invasion and it moved and it is actively present in Damascus now. This came after successfully creating Hezbollah in Lebanon and was followed by the Houthi rebellion in Yemen and the control over Sana’a. The Shia Crescent developed into a full moon.

Source: Washington, Moscow, Tehran and Riyadh: The Coming Conflict over the Middle East | Middle East Briefing

This is the region that the US created and the problems that our new prez will be facing….personally I do not see either one of the candidates capable of making the most important decisions pertaining to the region.

Do you?

Riverine Mystery Solved

By now most Americans will not recall this incident….they have moved on to other things……but…….

I waited a few days after a report to see how the blogosphere would react….especially those on the Right….and as I thought there was little mentioned in their daily regurgitation….so I guess it is up to me after all……but since it will not confirm the paradigm about our troops then it also was ignored….(go figure)….

Back in January of this year there was an international incident that sent the American press into a batcrap crazy frenzy……that situation was the capture of Americans sailors in Iranian waters….I wrote a couple of posts after I saw the vid that the Iranians provided……to get a little background may I suggest that you spend some time to familiarize yourself with the posts I wrote…..

Iran:  I Have Questions

Iran: The Riverine Mysteries

The government the other day has released its finding is the cause of this incident……

On Thursday, the US Navy released its official report on the 10 sailors detained by Iran last January, and the whole thing sounds like something out of Down Periscope. Problems started instantly, as the two Navy vessels left Kuwait for Bahrain four hours behind schedule, Fox News reports. The vessels then attempted to take a shortcut, veering off course without any apparent concern for where they actually were. According to Reuters, that’s how the vessels ended up passing through Saudi Arabian waters before suffering mechanical difficulties in Iranian territory. The report found that all it would have taken to figure out their location was for a crew member to zoom in on their navigation system’s map. Instead, 10 sailors were captured by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

And the problems continued. “It is clear that some, if not all, crew members provided at least some information to interrogators beyond name, rank, service number, and date of birth,” Reuters quotes the report as saying. Information given up by sailors included passwords to phones and laptops and the capabilities of their vessels. The detained sailors also shouldn’t have eaten on camera, as the video was used as propaganda by Iran, CNN reports. The problems with the mission were blamed on low morale, bad planning, and lack of oversight, among other factors. Or as CNN sums up: “Crews were poorly prepared, their boats not properly maintained, communication almost entirely lacking.” The Navy will use the incident as a “case study” in the future.

Having dealt with these agencies in the past I can say here and now…BULLSHIT!

First, if you believe these findings then I have a bridge that can be yours for the right amount of cash……

Now that it comes out that they (Iranians) were given laptops, passwords and other “sensitive” equipment and/or information…..that was the operation all along….false intel…..

Beyond that…we are told that the US troops are the best trained and armed force in the world, right?  Then how do they want to explain this statement…..“Crews were poorly prepared, their boats not properly maintained, communication almost entirely lacking.”  Is it a one time thing or is it a symptom?

When the original story broke I said there was something terribly wrong with the story as told to the press….how stupid do they think we are?

Mystery solved!

Anchors Aweigh–You’re Fired!

Sounds like something Donald Trump would say, right?  Well, not this time.

A few months back a couple Naval boats strayed into Iranian waters and were captured….of course the normal outrage at such an act….but for me I found it strange that it occurred and ask some questions that others failed to ask….How did both boats get lost?  If one boat broke down why did not the other come to their rescue and tow them to international waters?  What happened to both boat’s GPS system?

There was more to the incident than a simple confusion on navigation.

I mention all this because it seems that the Navy has found its scapegoat for this incident……

The commanding officer responsible for 10 sailors captured by Iran is no longer commanding anybody. The Navy says Cmdr. Eric Rasch of Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 has been fired because of a “loss of confidence” in his ability to command after the embarrassing international incident in January, the Navy Times reports. Sources tell Reuters that other sailors involved in the incident have also been disciplined.

The sailors were held overnight and interrogated after their two vessels ended up in Iranian waters around Farsi Island when they were supposed to be going from Bahrain to Kuwait. Officials blamed a navigational blunder, along with some serious errors in judgment, possibly including a decision to take an unauthorized shortcut. The Navy has yet to release its official report on the incident.

And even with the investigation more questions arise.

Like was the short cut authorized?  If not then why not discipline the sailors on the boats.

My guess is this will be the last we hear of this incident (except when the lunatics want to use it to further a conspiracy)……..we will probably not get to see just what the investigation revealed……

Any thoughts?

Give ‘Em Cash

I have heard all the GOP candidates go on and on about all this cash, taxpayer money, that the US will be giving Iran now that we have a nuke deal.  Have you?

I have been silent on this because it is all so ridiculous that I thought, erroneously, that the American people would be a little smarter than to buy a handful of billsh*t.

As usual I give the public too much credit.

So let me break it down for those with lesser minds……

As the 2016 election season gets into full swing in the US, the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran is becoming a focus, and with it the oft-repeated myth of the US having “given Iran $150 billion” as part of the deal, a claim often repeated by hawks looking to see the deal killed.

The reality is that the money and other assets belonged to Iran in the first place, and all that really happened under the nuclear deal was their unfreezing, allowing Iran to transfer the money to different banks, and spend it on infrastructure upgrades.

In the wake of the deal’s implementation, Iran moved a portion of the assets back into Iranian banks, in an effort to shore up their foreign currency reserves and curb the country’s previously excessive inflation. Most of the money remains in Western banks, however, because it’s easier to pay Western companies for their goods and services that way.

The notion, repeated by many but championed by Donald Trump in particular in recent days, is that this was somehow American money to begin with. It never was, and was never going to be, and the current situation is the default, allowing a foreign country to spend its own money, with no US interference.

(antiwar.com)

Let me put it simply, in case that above explanation was too deep.

It is THEIR money that we froze in American banks in 1979.

One more time!  It is Their money NOT TAXPAYER MONEY!

Anyone telling you that is taxpayer money is…..LYING!

Any questions?

Iran And Elections

As long as we are speaking of elections……

While the country, the US, was laser focused on the primaries and the media speculating who and what would happen afterwards and onward……Iran had an election and it could be good news for the rest of the world….

It looks like the moderates are winning big time….that could seriously limit the influence of the hardliners…..

Though all the details are still emerging, the results of the Iranian parliamentary election were released by the Interior Ministry today, and showed a strong shift in composition toward the reformist wing, giving the supporters of President Hassan Rouhani a plurality

The split sees 85 reformist MPs, and 73 members of the moderate conservative camp, meaning the two factions combine for a majority, even without further possible gains in some districts during runoff votes. These factions both supported the nuclear deal, and are broadly supportive of international rapprochement.

The big losers are the ultraconservatives, the hardliners,  who had over 100 seats in the parliament last time, but are down to just 68. Turnout was 62 percent nationwide, according to the Interior Ministry.

The election also saw voting for the Assembly of Experts, a body which is responsible for selecting the next Supreme Leader. Though the experts aren’t split up by political alliance, they too appeared to be heavily moderates and reformists.

Another positive note for the Iranian election was that more women than ever have won……

Estimates based on the latest results show that as many as 20 women are likely to enter the 290-seat legislature known as the Majlis, the most ever. The previous record was set nearly 20 years ago during the fifth parliament after the 1979 revolution, when 14 women held seats. There are nine women in the current Iranian parliament.

Eight of the women elected this time were on a reformist-backed list of 30 candidates standing in the Tehran constituency known as “the list of hope”.

(the guardian.com)

Now with this election what will the scenarios for the region look like?  Could this be a positive sign?  Or will it be just more of the same rhetoric?

I found a piece written by a very good Iranian-American journalist, Hooman Majd……..

Iranians want a lot of things. What they don’t want is to be told that their vote doesn’t count or that it doesn’t matter.

Source: How much change do Iranians really want? – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Personally, I think this is a positive thing…..that the Iranians would move closer to the rest of the world and work with it in solving problems……it is too early to say for sure….but it does look like a promising change, at least to me……

The hardliners have been beaten by the reformists and the moderates…..that could be a positive thing for international relations…..but what if anything does this defeat mean……

Two important nationwide elections were held in Iran on Feb. 26. One was for the Majlis, or parliament, while the second was for the Assembly of Experts, a constitutional body that appoints the supreme leader and can, at least theoretically, fire him. To be sure, the elections were neither democratic nor fair. Thousands of candidates were disqualified from running by the Guardian Council, another constitutional body that vets all candidates for elections. The elections are also not fair because the hard-liners, who control many important national organs, use the nation’s resources for their own campaign and propaganda.

Source: What the Defeat of Iran’s Hard-Liners Means

This will be an interesting situation to observe……well at least for me…..

A Bigger Problem Could Brewing

First thing I would like to do is thank ALL my readers on the stats from yesterday……they were through the roof…..I appreciate all the fine folks that stopped by and helped make it a great day here on IST…….also it was one of my better days for comments and that is one reason I write a blog…..I like it when my readers reply to each other and the conversation begins……Thank you….thank you……

Most Americans are oblivious to what is happening in the Middle East…..well beyond the moron talking points that is……but there are bigger issues happening that we need to keep an eye on…..if we ignore it then the chances of them becoming out of control is a big possibility…..

What I am talking about is the chance that the Saudis are prepared to send in troops to fight in Syria…….

Saudi Arabia is prepared to deploy ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if US-led coalition leaders agree to the offer.

Saudi’s air force has targeted ISIL with air strikes since the campaign began in Syria in September 2014, but the Gulf kingdom is now ready to provide ground forces to defeat the armed group, a military spokesman said on Thursday

“Today, the Saudi kingdom announced its readiness to participate with ground troops with the US-led coalition against ISIL, because we now have the experience in Yemen,” Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told Al Jazeera.

We know that air strikes cannot be enough and that a ground operation is needed. We need to combine both to achieve better results on the ground.”

Asseri didn’t elaborate on how many soldiers the kingdom could send.

But there are others that say that this is not about the riff between the Saudis and Iran……

Despite media speculation about war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, several domestic and international factors make that prospect highly unlikely.

Source: Five reasons why Iran-Saudi conflict won’t escalate – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Whatever the outcome of this situation matters not….the consequences are a different story all together…..

I know Queen Bey’s performance at SB 50 is more important than anything happening  today….but tomorrow you could be ass deep in the sands of another conflict……Spend a little time and get to know the possibilities for the future…..when you are informed then you are seldom caught with your pants down…….