Media sources reported on Saturday that several explosions occured at the US Victoria base near Baghdad International Airport which is considered one of the centers of deployment of American occupying forces in Iraq.
According to Iraqi sources, alarm systems sounded in Victoria base following these explosions.
No further details about the explosion have been released.
He noted that if such a deal is reached, the situation of the region might become “much more explosive” because “particularly Israel – Iran’s chief enemy – but also Egypt and Saudi Arabia – whom they see as principal competitors – were going to be driven into reactions.”
Saying that there is really “no alternative to the elimination of an Iranian nuclear force,” Kissinger emphasized that there is “no way you can have peace in the Middle East with nuclear weapons in Iran, because before that happens, there is a high danger of pre-emption by Israel, because Israel cannot wait for deterrents. It can afford only one blow on itself. That is the inherent problem of the crisis.”
“I was extremely doubtful about the original nuclear agreement. I thought Iran’s promises would be very difficult to verify, and that the talks really created a pattern in which the nuclear build-up might have been slowed down a little but made more inevitable,” he said.
The official would not go into the details of the Doha talks, during which European Union officials shuttled between the two sides trying to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement under which Iran had limited its nuclear programme in return for relief from economic sanctions.
Then US president Donald Trump reneged on the agreement in 2018 and restored harsh US sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to start violating its nuclear restrictions about a year later.
“Their vague demands, reopening of settled issues, and requests clearly unrelated to the JCPOA all suggests to us … that the real discussion that has to take place is (not) between Iran and the US to resolve remaining differences. It is between Iran and Iran to resolve the fundamental question about whether they are interested in a mutual return to the JCPOA,” the senior US official said.
“At this point, we are not sure if they (the Iranians) know what more they want. They didn’t come to Doha with many specifics,” he added.
Speaking at the UN Security Council, US, British and French diplomats all placed the onus on Iran for the failure to revive the agreement after more than a year of negotiations.
Iran, however, characterised the Doha talks as positive and blamed the US for failing to provide guarantees that a new US administration would not again abandon the deal as Trump had done.
“Iran has demanded verifiable and objective guarantees from the US that JCPOA will not be torpedoed again, that the US will not violate its obligations again, and that sanctions will not be re-imposed under other pretexts or designations,” Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told the council.
The Center for Compilation and Publication of Ayatollah Khamenei’s works will hold the event in cooperation with Al-Mustafa International University.
The Quranic character and Seerah of Ayatollah Khamenei, Quran and Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS), Quranic sciences, Quran contemplation, Quranic activities, Quranic lifestyle, and Quran recitation and memorization will be among the themes of the congress.
Other topics to be discussed at the scholarly event will include: Quranic foundations of the second phase of Islamic Revolution statement, Quran and the Islamic Revolution, Quranic foundations of governance and leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei, Quranic foundations of Ayatollah Khamenei’s political, economic, and social thoughts, and resistance and fighting global arrogance in Ayatollah Khamenei’s thought.
Those willing to take part in the congress can submit the abstract of their papers to the organizing committee by January 20, 2023.
The deadline for submitting full papers will be May 20, 2023.
Outsourcing Middle East Security to Israel Is a Bad Plan B
July 1, 2022
The growing push for stronger diplomatic relations between Iran and its Arab neighbors presents Washington with an opportunity to reorient regional security. By working closely with Arab states—not just signatories to the Abraham Accords, but those with a vested interest in Persian Gulf and the Red Sea security—Washington can build broader support for controlling escalation between Israel and Iran. It must couple the imperative of containing Iran militarily with encouraging regional diplomacy to influence its behavior. Israel is wooing Arabs to join an anti-Iran security umbrella. Iran has every reason to dissuade Arabs from taking that step. Arab states can use this leverage to encourage both Iran and Israel to desist from risky provocations and keep in check their shadow war. Biden should use his trip to the region to encourage them to do just that.
THE Russia-Ukraine war has not only created a flashpoint for the world, but has also torn apart the narrative of a united Europe. As the war prolongs, the global powers are puzzled about the future. Indeed, many wonder if there will be a future at all.
The war is disrupting the supply chain and the demand-supply imbalance is affecting the entire globe. Either the countries are involved in the war or they are impacted indirectly by rising fuel and food costs.
Amid all the differences that plague man’s current existence, one finds a consensus: matters are going from bad to worse. The world has a flashpoint and the time is ticking past. In case Russia gets hyper adventurous, or the United States and allies help Ukraine to the extent that Moscow sees it as a direct threat, or China decides to throw caution to the winds, one should be ready for the ringing bells of World War III.
The French president has already mentioned that Moscow should not be humiliated. China, although advocates the end of the war, has declared sanctions against Russia to be illegal. Ukraine, on the other hand, has been able to maintain its sovereignty. The West, therefore, should recalculate the cost of a protracted war and the gains it expects to have by making Ukraine a star in the eyes of the other states.
General Richard Barrons, a former commander of the United Kingdom Joint Forces Command, was unequivocal when he said, “No matter how this war turns out, and as cynical as it sounds now, historians will say that Putin’s attack on Ukraine gave Europe the time it needed to recover so it could confront Russia and, further down the road, China. Ukraine is paying a high price to buy us time.”
The current idea of Ukraine’s victory lies in scraping more territory, pushing Russia back to its pre-2014 position. However, putting aside the anger and following rationality, one may ask the cost that Ukraine has to pay for snatching those extra hectares back after fighting for, say, the next five years.
Limited victory for Ukraine lies in seizing the opportunity while it can by rapidly focussing on reconstruction efforts funded by the West, integrating itself into Europe, and enhancing security while floating towards a democratic future. Reconstruction is an uphill task and takes decades and funds worth billions of dollars. Every day of war exponentially increases the destruction in the country. Ukraine must try harder for a ceasefire so that the world may start moving on.
Needless to say, it will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Ukrainian leadership after suffering so grievously at Vladimir Putin’s hands, but it will make Volodymyr Zelensky’s country retain independence and prosper into a European future.
The US and Europe must encourage a pragmatic solution. The West must be willing to see Ukraine’s win outside the battlefield, in health, prosperity and democracy. If the war continues, friction between the US and regional powers — China and Russia — will only intensify. The US is closely monitoring China’s support for Russia which can lead to further divisions and the establishment of economic and geopolitical blocs.
Putin may yet be able to achieve some of his goals and there is every indication that, instead of acknowledging his mistake, he may choose isolation for Russia, and permanent instability for Ukraine and Europe. Defeat could call into question his political survival.
While Ukraine has received phenomenal support, it will not last forever. With time, the cost of war will be rising, destruction will be exponential and reconstruction will take ages. It is time the world leaders learnt from the past — distant and recent — about how wars play havoc with the lives of people.
The League of Nations was formed at the end of World War I, Nato was established after World War II. However, after World War III, there will be no end. Within minutes, nuclear missiles will be over London, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow and Washington. Mars will then be the only abode left for the humans. Do we want that to happen?
The resumption of indirect talks between a team of US negotiators and representatives of the radical regime in Tehran had been encouraged by the European Union.
Joseph Borrell, the EU diplomat responsible for the organization’s foreign policy, was in Tehran last week and wrote on Twitter that it was necessary to break the current “dynamics of escalation.”
Iran, however, remained coy about the ‘breakthrough’ and told the US to remain “realistic,” meaning all sanctions against the Islamic Republic must be lifted.
The US government of President Joe Bidenresponded to news that Borrell had managed to break the deadlock by making another concession to Tehran.
Media in the US and Israel reported that some members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps would now be re-allowed to enter the United States.
Lapid lashes out
Lapid, who this week will take over as Israel’s interim prime minister, condemned Borrell’s visit to Iran.
Lapid said Borrell’s position was “very disappointing” in light of the latest Iranian sabotage activity in the monitoring of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran recently removed IAEA cameras from a number of its nuclear facilities, and this led to strong condemnations from most members of the IAEA and the adoption of a resolution by the agency’s governors censuring the Islamic Republic.
The removal of the IAEA monitoring cameras rendered the inspection of Iran’s nuclear activities useless, said Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the UN nuclear watchdog.
Lapid personally told Borrell that his actions were a “strategic mistake that sent the wrong signal” to Iran.
The top Israeli diplomat accused his EU counterpart of a “worrying lack of concern for the lives of Israeli citizens.”
This was a reference not only to Iran’s nuclear threat but also to the events in Turkey, where members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) hunted down Israeli civilians last week.
What to do about Iran?
In Israel, top military and intelligence officials are divided over the usefulness of resuming nuclear negotiations with Iran in Qatar.
The same goes for David Barnea, the current head of Mossad, Israel’s foreign secret service.
Both Kochavi and Barnea believe that the only way to stop Iran from advancing its nuclear program and curb its imperialist actions in the Middle East is for Israel to use its military and intelligence superiority.
Others think, however, that a new nuclear deal could still keep Iran from breaking out to an atomic bomb.
The EU team in Qatar on Thursday morning announced that two days of indirect negotiations had failed to bring the anticipated breakthrough.
Iran reportedly stuck to old positions and even demanded new things not related to the nuclear dossier.
This shows again that the Israeli intelligence and military chiefs were right about Iran’s stalling tactics and the need to use covert warfare tactics to halt Iran’s nuclear and imperialistic drive.
Under Barnea, Mossad has recently stepped up its activities against Iran, especially within the borders of the Islamic Republic, and infiltrated the IRGC, a disgruntled top member of the organization admitted this week.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Hossein Ta’ab the head of the IRGC’s intelligence division, who was removed from his position last week, had told the paper that Israel’s actions inside Iran had “undermined our most powerful intelligence organization.”
Ta’ab’s admission finally confirmed that the Israeli intelligence organizations are aware of most of Iran’s terrorist plots against targets within and outside the Jewish state.
Ta’ab’s removal from one of Iran’s top jobs came after the secret arrest of another IRGC general, Ali Nasari, who also served in the IRGC’s intelligence service and was reportedly spying for Mossad.
On Monday, General Kochavi visited IDF Unit 8200, which is also known as SIGINT.
SIGINT is a special intelligence unit of the Israeli army that is responsible for most cyber attacks on targets in Iran.
These cyber-attacks are increasingly part of the so-called ‘covert war’ between Iran and Israel, which has escalated significantly in recent months.
This escalation was the result of a political decision by outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who in January said that Israel should take the fight against Iran to the “head of the octopus.”
Since then, not a week has gone by in Iran without sabotage acts, assassinations, or cyber attacks that were mostly attributed to Mossad or the SIGINT unit.
The latest cyber attack on vital installations in Iran took place last Monday, when three major factories producing steel were sabotaged.
The attacks were carried out by a group of hackers called ‘Predatory Sparrow,’ a group that was previously responsible for cyber attacks that paralyzed fuel supply and rail transport in Iran.
The group must have the backing of “a state-actor,” Israeli cyber experts say.
Without precise intelligence about the three steel factories and the physical presence of collaborators, these cyber attacks could not have caused the damage that almost destroyed the facilities.
Military commentators later stated that Israel was definitely behind the new cyber attacks on Iran.
The group of hackers was previously associated with the Israeli security apparatus, specifically the IDF’s SIGINT unit.
After the attack, the group of hackers released a statement on social media saying it was a response to “the aggression of the Islamic Republic.”
Iranian hackers thwarted
The new cyber attack on Iran’s metal industry came more than a week after sirens suddenly went off in the Israeli cities of Eilat and Jerusalem.
The IDF’s Home Front division later announced that the sirens were false alarms caused by a cyber attack from a group of hackers in Iran.
SIGINT’s deputy commander ‘Uri’ also made a rare appearance at the Cyber Conference of Tel Aviv University, where he explained how his unit prevented a group of Iranian hackers from poisoning Israel’s fresh water supply.
SIGINT was aware of the planned hack long before the attack was carried out and managed to neutralize it before scores of Israelis would have been killed, ‘Uri’ said.
Due to the military censor, the full name of the SIGINT commander was barred from publication.
Israel’s National Cyber Directorate has now launched a new project called “Digital Iron Dome” to protect companies and other civilian projects from cyber attacks.
The name Iron Dome was taken from the successful anti-missile shield of the IDF.
Don’t mess with Israel
Bennett addressed the Iranian cyber threat to Israel during a speech at a week-long Cyber Conference in Tel Aviv.
“We are not causing havoc on the streets of Tehran, that has never been our policy. Our policy is that if you mess with Israel, you will pay a price,” Bennett said.
He added that just as there is a nuclear deterrent, there is also deterrence in the Cybersphere.
It was clear that Bennett also disagrees with Borrell’s position that negotiations with Iran will “break the dynamics of escalation.”
Bennett will continue to be in charge of overseeing the covert war against Iran after handing over the task of Prime Minister to Yair Lapid, who is not an expert on military issues.
That’s a more forceful warning than the analogous section of the 2010 document, in which the alliance emphasized that “circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated are extremely remote.” The revision also placed more emphasis on France and the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons in an apparent effort to signal that the threat of nuclear retaliation for a Russian nuclear attack wouldn’t depend solely on an American president.
“The independent strategic nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France have a deterrent role of their own and contribute significantly to the overall security of the Alliance,” the 2022 document now reads. “These Allies’ separate centers of decision-making contribute to deterrence by complicating the calculations of potential adversaries.”
The new document also shows more fundamental shifts in the strategic outlook of the allies. In 2010, NATO leaders could agree that “the alliance does not consider any country to be its adversary” and identified “the proliferation of ballistic missiles” as the most salient “real and growing threat to the Euro-Atlantic area” — an apparent reference to Iran’s non-nuclear military capabilities.
Where the arms control section of the 2010 concept could thus declare that “NATO seeks its security at the lowest possible level of [nuclear] forces,” now the allies see a need to deter multiple nuclear powers.
“We will individually and collectively deliver the full range of forces, capabilities, plans, resources, assets and infrastructure needed for deterrence and defense, including for high-intensity, multi-domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitors,” the new document reads.
The allies made their misgivings about Beijing’s nuclear weapons explicit elsewhere in this year’s concept document. “The PRC is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal and is developing increasingly sophisticated delivery systems, without increasing transparency or engaging in good faith in arms control or risk reduction,” NATO said.
The negotiations in Doha were an attempt to reboot long-running European Union-mediated talks on a return to the 2015 agreement between Tehran and world powers.
No time limit was previously announced on the most-recent negotiations, which had been taking place in a Doha hotel with special envoy Robert Malley heading the US delegation.
But by Wednesday night, a US State Department spokesperson said the “indirect discussions in Doha have concluded”.
The New Arab Staff & Agencies
“While we are very grateful to the EU for its efforts, we are disappointed that Iran has, yet again, failed to respond positively to the EU’s initiative and therefore that no progress was made,” the spokesperson told AFP in an email.
EU coordinator Enrique Mora had earlier said the parties engaged in “two intense days of proximity talks” in Doha that had “not yet” yielded the progress the EU team sought.
The comments came after Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said that the talks would last only two days.
The parties have “exchanged views and proposals on the remaining issues”, he said.
An EU source told AFP that the discussions, which come two weeks before US President Joe Biden makes his first official visit to the region, were supposed to last several days.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had said Iran was “serious” about finalising a deal in Doha, but that it wouldn’t cross its “red lines”.
“If the American side has serious intentions and is realistic, an agreement is available at this stage and in this round of negotiations,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA earlier Wednesday.
IRNA has previously described the “red lines” as lifting all sanctions related to the nuclear agreement, creating a mechanism to verify they have been lifted and making sure the US does not withdraw once again from the deal.
“Yet in Doha, as before, Iran raised issues wholly unrelated to the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) and apparently is not ready to make a fundamental decision on whether it wants to revive the deal or bury it,” the spokesperson said.