Iran Raises Nuclear Tensions, US and UK Warn Against Threats from Tehran

Iran Raises Nuclear Tensions, US and UK Warn Against Threats from Tehran

Iran supported Recent Strikes on Israel

Iran is now threatening to pull out of some of its commitments under the nuclear deal with remaining participants in Europe and China and has increased nuclear weapons programming. Iran supported rocket attacks from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad came on Israel over the weekend causing the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to be deployed. The US European Command (US EUCOM) provided Israel its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system with a team of 250 soldiers in March. The Iranian leadership is hoping again that its nuclear weapons program will give them leverage for US sanctions relief. The US has responding with bold statements ready to defend the US and American interests in all areas where Iran is active and may attack US forces and allies.

The Iranian regime is risking scuttling any support they might maintain with Europe. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said, ““We are extremely concerned about this announcement and urge Iran to continue to meet its commitments under the deal.”  The JCPOA however does not specify adequate conflict resolution procedures leaving international disputes unlikely to be resolved using that agreement. Parties will likely have to negotiate a new deal, and Iran is not likely to be with rewarded such handsome trade terms after deliberately amplifying their belligerence in the region and against their own people. Iranians suffering under this regime continue to push for a change in leadership. The Islamic Republic could be entering into its final days. The would completely change the power distribution in the Middle East and stabilize a long tormented region in desperate need of calm to rebuild in Syria and conclude hostilities in Yemen where genocide and famine have taken claim to much of the population.

The history of Iran and particularly the Iranian clergy shows an over-dependence on terror. Most countries in the region throughout the 20th century have struggled to build modern armies. Iran’s military under the shah became a formidable force the legacy of which the Islamic regime has built upon. However, terror networks continue to perform the more successful operations having stronger ideology, better funding through transnational crime, borderless recruiting, and cooperation with other criminal organizations. As long as these operations continue intimidate others, Iran will continue to support them and utilize their asymmetric tactics in place of conventional warfare. With North Korea now denuclearizing with Russian President Putin’s assistance, Iran’s remaining friends are taking the country further away from their larger goals such as joining the World Trade Organization in China’s footsteps. These setbacks will continue cost the regime support at home, a crucial asset or liability in the escalation of military tensions.

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Military Spending Shows Where US Power Will Lead

Military Spending Shows Where US Power Will Lead

Defense Budget Maps US Influence

While the future of U.S. foreign policy and worldwide military involvement in the long-run may seem obscure and uncertain, if you know where and what to look for, you may be able to foresee the future as far as ten to twenty years ahead. Look no further than LOGCAP V, otherwise known as Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program-Phase 5, the U.S. government’s next multi-billion dollar contract award plan to get the military where it needs to go. If you follow these precursors, you can draw a pretty accurate picture of future U.S. involvement in the world. The way we look ahead is by figuring out where the federal government plans to spend the right amount of resources, then draw conclusions and perform analysis as to why.

Understanding how the government operates, what it’s long-term objectives are and how decisions are made requires a unique insight one only gets from having been inside the system itself. After multiple delays since 2018, the results of the fifth phase was finally announced in April 2019, to the tune of $82 billion over the next decade. The U.S. Army Sustainment Command, headquartered in Rock Island Armory, Illinois oversees the LOGCAP program and awarded 3 of the 7 contracts to longtime contracting partner KBRwyle. Their history goes back to the early days of Operation Desert Storm and their engagement peaked in 2003 at the dawn of Operation Iraqi Freedom during LOGCAP III. The latter program mobilized the largest civilian workforce into warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Awarded to KBR as a no-bid, cost-plus contract from the Bush administration, it was said that KBR received the contract because it was the only company large enough to handle a project of such unprecedented magnitude. Many argued that Vice President Dick Cheney’s company received the contract exclusively due to his connection to the company as Chief Executive. At any rate, LOGCAP’s 4th phase brought about change. With the Obama administration now in office, increased government oversight and competition were introduced. This opened the platform for companies such as DynCorp, CACI, TITAN and Flour Daniels to get involved.

LOGCAP V contracts will be capped at $82 billion spanning 10 years, said Jerome Jastrab, project manager, Acquisition Integration & Management Center, ASC headquarters.”

On October 20, 2017, the U.S. Army Contracting Command announced their intention to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP V) logistical support services in support of the U.S. Military worldwide. The full list of services provided by LOGCAP V includes, but is not limited to:

  • Setting the Theater
  • Supply Operations
  • Transportation Services
  • Engineering Services
  • Base Camp Services
  • Other Logistics and Sustainment Support Services
  • Minor Construction
  • Food Services
  • Laundry
  • Morale
  • Welfare and Recreation Services
  • Billeting
  • Facility Management

The U.S. Government (USG) intends to award a minimum of four, and up to six, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to offerors whose proposals are determined to be the most beneficial to the Government. The LOGCAP V basic IDIQ contracts will consist of an initial five-year ordering period and options for five additional one-year ordering periods.

The estimated maximum dollar amount is $82,000,000,000.00 for all awards for the 10 year contract terms.

By way of context, the previous LOGCAP programs had the following “estimated maximum dollar amount[s]”:

  • LOGCAP I (1992): $815 million
  • LOGCAP II (1997): $42 million
  • LOGCAP III (2001): $38.5 billion
  • LOGCAP IV (2008):  $150 billion

So, while LOGCAP V is slated to be smaller than the LOGCAP IV, the estimated maximum amount awarded remains far more than what was awarded in LOGCAPs I – III combined. The current breakdown for the LOGCAP V award is as follows:

PAE-Parsons Global Logistics Services, LLC is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0047 and the following task orders.

– SOUTHCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $34,596,500.37

___________________________

Fluor Intercontinental, Inc. is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0046 and the following task orders.

– AFRICOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $137,222,537.90

___________________________

Vectrus Systems Corporation is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0045 and the following task orders.

– PACOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $349,187,574.26

– CENTCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $1,033,582,366.79

_____________________________

Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0044 and the following task orders.

– EUCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $183,304,831.67

– NORTHCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $393,988,697.66

– Afghanistan Performance Task Order: $1,372,043,984.72

As predicted, companies who responded to the government’s Request For Proposal but did not receive an award began a protest, leading with contracting giant DynCorp, who filed the protest on the morning of April 25, 2019. It is unlikely that the proceedings will have any bearing on the outcome as the approval process goes through multiple phases and redundancies before a decision is reached. The projected transition date for LOGCAP V is September 2019.

The interesting allocation of funds to Afghanistan shows that the United States plans to maintain a presence there for at least another decade, even if only in an advisory role. While the Trump Administration has stated that the United States has no interest in fighting needless, long-term wars, the earmarking of $1.3 billion shows different plans to keep the region stable.

NORTHCOM and PACOM are support roles with similar budgets, asserting that they will have similar program life spans. EUROCOM is essentially a staging ground for the Middle East operations in order to push assets through Iraq, Afghanistan and until recently, Syria. In addition to this, a U.S. military presence also serves as a deterrent from Russian aggression toward Eastern Europe.

SOUTHCOM, which includes South America, is a curious bag, in that it received an inconspicuous $35 Million award designated to PAE-Parsons, a relatively new contractor whose strategic acquisition prior to the Request For Proposal allowed for this win. Since this is a Setting The Theater contract, it leads one to wonder how many bases and where are projected. A safe bet would be in Columbia near the Venezuelan border, possibly 2-3 small bases. The signals for military intervention in Venezuela are pretty clear, and this contract award solidifies it.

With ISIS nearly destroyed, the terrorist organization had no choice but to move outside the region. Flour Intercontinental received a sizable contract award for AFRICOM which is where most of the ISIS ‘fighters’ have fled. The $138 Million investment shows a solid level of U.S. commitment in the region for both humanitarian and military operations.

Given that these earmarks represent only a fraction of the $82B budget, there is good indication these Setting the Theater contracts will likely endure and transition into Operations & Maintenance contracts in the future.

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Prisoner Swap? Hey IRGC, Go Flood Yourself!

Prisoner Swap? Hey IRGC, Go Flood Yourself!

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in New York for a meeting at the United Nations has invited President Trump to swap prisoners. Secretary Pompeo announced earlier this week that the U.S. will not allow further exemptions for its trade partners like South Korea and Singapore to purchase Iran’s oil exports. Now that Iran’s government is facing the full impact of sanctions, it wants to talk prisoner exchange. The nuclear agreement under the Obama administration saw the release of prisoners and frozen assets along with delisting a large number of companies for previous sanctions violations including airlines, freight companies, and banks among others. Under the Trump administration, U.S. intelligence communities are undergoing some much-needed house-keeping concerning Iranian influence. It is unclear how many are detained between the two countries.

“We believe their charges are phony. The United States believes charges against these people in Iran are phony,… Fine, let’s not discuss that. Let’s have an exchange. I am ready to do it and I have the authority to do it.” Mohammad Javad Zarif

IRGC Floods Residents of Ahwaz

International human rights attorney, Irina Tsukerman, based in New York says the IRGC is once again violating human rights in Iran regarding recent flooding. To save oil facilities leased to China operated by IRGC, the waters were diverted to the province of Ahwaz.  “Videos and reports documenting the regime’s deliberate policy of changing the floodwaters’ course so that they would submerge residential areas and farmlands, causing a humanitarian catastrophe, rather than letting the waters run along the river beds to the delta area where oil and gas rigs and refineries are located” according to DUSC have inspired outrage. Tsukerman says the events also represent a land grab in the province by the Iranian regime which has already displaced some 300,000 people.  “It claims to have moved them to more secure locations; however, it is obvious that given the deliberate nature of the flooding the scheme was to deprive the Ahwazis of their land and to depopulate Ahwazi lands,” stated Tsukerman.

The IRGC is defending with tanks, heavy artillery, troops, and militia the berms and barriers securing the oil fields. The leasing of such properties to China [China also has significant leases for fishing in the Gulf.] is one of the Iran regime’s tactics to secure protection from the Chinese military protection should an invasion occur. It enables the IRGC and Iran backed militias to be more aggressive in the region, and against Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the U.S. globally.

“There has been no coverage of Ahwaz in the US media at all.”

Rahim Hamid

The media black-out in Iran and absence of coverage internationally is part of the liberal establishment media despite claims that they stand for human rights to regain power in 2020. This is at the expense of the Iranian people and global stability. It will not stand. The Iranian people are not alone.

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As Israel Votes: Sanctions on Soleimani, US Designates IRGC Terrorist Organization

As Israel Votes: Sanctions on Soleimani, US Designates IRGC Terrorist Organization

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters his 5th term after securing victory in the Israeli elections promising to establish a government quickly. Likud, United Torah Judaism, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, Right-wing Union and Kulanu- right-wing parties were elected into the Knesset; and Kahol Lavan, Hadash-Ta’al, Labor, Meretz and United Arab List-Balad- left wing parties were elected into the Knesset. Netanyahu has become the longest serving Prime Minister in the State’s history. Iran’s president criticized the election turn-out as meaningless.

Just before the Israeli election the Trump administration announced a long debated issue and the decision to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. This hit the guards with immediate sanctions targeting a number of segments in the Iranian economy, illicit trafficking, and global operations. Iran responded in kind by designating CENTCOM, Central Command, a terrorist organization. In a statement that came as no surprise from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iran’s long history of sponsoring terror has led to this decision and it has been in the works for years. This action also targets the leader of the IRGC, Qasem Soleimani personally for his involvement in multiple terrorist attacks on American troops in the Middle East. While many, including Iran’s regime claim this designation was in fact a gift to Israel in the wake of its elections, Secretary Pompeo stated that “it happened today because today was the day we were ready to make the announcement.” It is the first time the United States labeled another nation’s military this way. 

“This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognises the reality that Iran is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.” – President Donald Trump

“Today, the Americans understand well that the Army Navy and IRGC Navy are a united hand in the sea which enjoys much more power than the Americans.” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy

A recent IRGC Naval drill involved drone strikes using technology back engineered from a captured UAV, the US’ RQ-170 Sentinel. Russian and Iranian propaganda news Sputnik and Mehr News reported on the drills boasting the largest operation of its kind. IRGC claims the drones can hit targets up to 1,000 kilometers. Sanctions on the IRGC will hit their global oil exports, oil production, and hamper their ability to provide assistance to foreign militia groups and terrorist organizations they are currently supporting in Yemen, Palestine, African and Latin American countries. Iran exploits Turkey to funnel terrorists into the EU through a 2016 agreement designed to relocate refugees in Turkey in exchange for open borders between Turkey and EU countries. The IRGC is one Hezbollah’s primary supporters. Hezbollah operates two bases out of Germany in which Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to shut down. In Bremen, the Al-Mustafa Center raises funds for Hezbollah and another in the city of Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia. The German government announced at the end of this year it will pull public funding from the anti-Jewish organization, The Islamic Community of Shi’ite Communities of Germany, a a radical pro-Iranian-regime establishment. 

“Today, the Americans understand well that the Army Navy and IRGC Navy are a united hand in the sea which enjoys much more power than the Americans.” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy

Meanwhile Iran Supreme Leader Khamenei reports to be staying in the nuclear agreement “hoping to wait out US President Donald Trump and then achieve a better diplomatic and economic position if a new US president is elected” according to JPost sources. Sanctions on the IRGC will introduce new evidence and financial assets into terrorism litigation many of which have reached the Supreme Court level. However, Iran’s regime has taken to providing substantial funding to universities in the U.S. to conduct legal research to defend its banks and other long arms of its regime. At Harvard, first year law students are invited to participate in terrorism litigation research on behalf of programs sympathetic to the Islamic Regime where prominent children of Iran’s regime attend and gather intel. Internationally, universities have been used as propaganda centers and radicalization hotbeds to recruit students and use the influence of the university to push policy agendas. At Harvard, this has triggered social and political clashes between student groups and between students and pro-regime faculty pressuring students to conform to pro-regime ideology and socio-political efforts according to confidential sources. This means that universities have opened themselves up to potential sanctions in the future.

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Iran Threatens Europe with Drugs and Migrants

Iran Threatens Europe with Drugs and Migrants

Iran Threatens Europe with Drugs and Migrants

When will Europe learn that helping Iran skirt sanctions will not reward them with economic gains nor the security they seek. President Rouhani is threatening Europe with floods of migrants to their borders and drugs. It’s called narcoterrorism and Iran is a major chemical producer of heroin from poppies grown in Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the region.

The trafficking in narcotics from Iran runs to Eastern Europe through Turkey and also includes human slave trade and arms smuggling. Though this drug war began in Afghanistan by the US efforts in the Cold War after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to compromise the Soviet Union. Today it is considered effective narco-terrorism by Iran and its allies to shift the drug flows west to destabilize western society. The US military and intelligence refers to this as blowback.

It is not a coincidence that rivers of heroin and other narcotics are invading western countries at the same time corrupt officials want to legalize drug use under the banner that sales can be regulated. This would simply be another service to sponsors of narco-terrorism and effectively turn these and other drug cartels into wholesalers to attack western states from within.

While conflicts and economic ruin are sending millions of migrants towards safer places in Europe and the US, loose border policies have been exploited and have enabled this blowback to reach maturity. The mainstream media is blaming this move by Iran to be the result of US sanctions on Iran, but this covert war has long preceded sanctions.

Europe is incurring tremendous expense in the efforts to stop migration from Africa and the Middle East including people escaping Iran, and these examples are chief reasons for the tougher border policies in the US and greater expenses by Congress to more quickly process legitimate asylum seekers amidst migration attacks.

Solutions Between Security, AID, and Development Problems

Solutions Between Security, AID, and Development Problems

[continued from International Security Crisis and Development in Africa: The Allure of Globalism to Fund the Pursuit of Peace and Africa’s Wealth of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, and Prior Development Attempts, and Weapons Flows, Regional Conflicts, Gun Culture, and Failures of Disarmament]

The US recently increased defense spending by $87 billion to $716 billion for 2019. US Africa Command is currently witnessing its 10 year anniversary and supports about 1,000 personnel operating in the Sahel region alone supporting African-led and French assisted missions. This is a significant percentage of the total of number of uniformed personnel, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors that work on any given day at 7,200 men and women.  US AFRICOM’s drone base is relocating from Niamey to the city of Agadez in Niger and is providing training and equipment to Nigerian Armed Forces under the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership. While enemy combatants in Niger are largely forces belonging to Al-Qaeda and ISIS-Greater Sahara, Chad is composed of mainly Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. The US AFRICOM mission in Chad includes logistics, sustainment, and maintenance with the Chadian Special Anti-Terrorism Group (SATG). In addition, the US military is also helping with intelligence, border surveillance and counter-IED capabilities according to a recent testimony before Congress.

While conflict areas in Africa remain high priorities for global security, local civilian populations in these areas will continue to demand AID. However, the current state of AID remains the subject of wide criticism for corruption. In an effort to address internal corruption within many AID programs, Congress is in the process of possibly rolling up some organizations. In addition to this, the US government and international community addressing the security and humanitarian crisis should institute a multilevel program that begins in AID provided at the crisis phase and ends in development finance upon reaching increasing levels of stability. Results should be measured at milestones and benchmarks along the way in order for local governments to be provided the opportunity to qualify and meet expectations for future development that require outside countries and the businesses to take risks. These milestones showing incremental progress along targeted benchmarks in stability and growth will drive the risk of development down and increase interest for private investment. Currently AID programs do not require local governments to set goals that can reached to show investors and risk assessors progress which could drastically affect credit and financing and offer collateral.

Further, no coordination exists between local governments, public private partnerships, private companies, and NGOs working in the same geographic areas with each investing resources in its own agenda irrespective of opportunities to pool resources, divide costs, and promote shared or common interests. This lack of coordination increases the overhead of each organization and can even create imbalances or introduce new problems between multiple institutional efforts. This coordination should be taking place across the continent as well, because opposing visions for the security and development of Africa are currently contributing to the instability of the region which has reached a global scale.

This can be seen currently in mass migration movements. While terrorism is shaping the Horn of Africa and the Sahel and West Africa, the other more stable Sub Saharan countries are undergoing large scale development but in such a way as to contribute to the security and humanitarian problems on the continent. Large scale land purchases in Tanzania, Guinea, Gobon, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, D.R. Congo, and Mozambique by foreign entities in Korea, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and others for industrial farming has contributed towards continental deforestation, desertification, other ecological problems, as well as mass migration. Land purchases in order to carve large industrial farms have been recorded as lows as US$0.80/hectare/year in Ethiopia and $0.50 – $7.10 per hectare/year in other countries. These land conversions to industrial farms is also sending the majority of the continent’s food supply for export while requiring increasing quantities of food from AID programs to import food or cash injections to buy it.

The distribution of food needs to be reorganized with public and private sector cooperation regionally and internationally, because relatively few infrastructure projects are being built in compensation for these low values of land, and the creation of industrial farms has driven many of the local populations including local farmers into migration. The quantity of land purchased for industrial farms measures almost the size of the United States. Migrants pushed out of these lands show a high probability of inflating numbers to conflict areas where rebels recruit a steady stream of fresh fighters among migrants. With unemployment being one of the big drivers of migration, the lack of education and job training are secondary problems of employment to the issue of employable men being former combatants from violent extremists networks. NGOs working in disarmament and reeducation of former al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram, or al-Shabaab servants discuss the difficulties of having such a large percentage of the workforce in a country or region being former combatants whom nobody wants.

African migrants who are also former combatants will continue to be a problem for African countries and foreign interests much the same way that Idlib is in Syria, but on a much larger scale. Idlib currently houses some 30,000 terrorists of differing nationalities ranging from European to Middle Eastern and Asian in which their country of origin will not accept their reentry.  Often disarmed former combatants are driven from their families and neighborhoods and employers do not want to hire former terrorists. Thus the placement of former al-Qaeda, IS, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab or other violent extremist group will continue to limit the size of the region’s desirable work force and hinder the progress of security, law enforcement, and border protection. Thus, the manner in which large land purchases are made and development projects commence should target local populations for work and attract peaceful migrants to new jobs instead of continuing to displace workers that could potentially fuel rebel militias.

Development and foreign investment also needs to fuel the local economy and the local government’s ability to finance further infrastructure and industry development. Stable countries that are undergoing economic transformation should serve as a model for countries currently engaged in conflict. African countries should leverage the competition between foreign interests to maximize their development capacity and negotiate reciprocal engagements within public private partnerships and close loopholes that fuel corruption on multiple sides. With critical infrastructure needed in the US, Europe especially UK, Russia, and China as well as throughout Africa, the resource development of mining minerals, oil, and gas in African countries should be organized with the cross-development of infrastructure in both Africa and outside countries.

This would create a new development model for the continent that could reduce risk to foreign investment and head off further instability caused by imbalanced state agreements, loans, or one-sided business deals. In other words, the development of oil, gas, and mining industries in African countries should fuel infrastructure development in both the African country and foreign country investing in security and AID. This way, the African country receives security, AID, infrastructure, and industry development, and the foreign country receives raw materials needed for infrastructure development in its country. Private companies get the domestic and international business to build the infrastructure and develop industries. The cross-development of infrastructure between Africa the outside country would lower the risk factor for investment. This approach serves the peace and stability of the region and the global community.

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