With Self-Government Comes the Choice of New Friends against Old Enemies

Kurds Seek Independence After Iran Missile Strikes

With Iran not approving the Erdogan, Putin, Naroduchi negotiations to leave Idlib unharmed and intact suggests the rebel territory may be saved in order to compel the rebels to confront Iran or hold Iranian forces check. Meanwhile, the Kurds are moving closer to political independence. From this position, they could carefully negotiate peace even if temporarily with Assad and Putin while continuing to engage Iran or Iranian installations in Syria. Iran recently targeted Kurdish leaders with missile strikes.

The Iran-Russia alliance is weakening. “Russia is in the interests of its national interests and in coordination with the United States and other regional powers,” said Yadullah Islami after noting Russia’s restraint following the recent Israeli strikes on Latakia targeting Iranian forces, facilities, resources.

 

Anti Iran Sanctions in Iraq

In Iraq too, tension is burning among riots involving the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) intervention in protests in Basra. Congress is threatening Iran-backed groups in Iraq with sanctions as the US has amplified its presence there with the recent announcement of the “Iranian Proxies Terrorist Sanctions Act.” Iraq’s protests continue to point to the lack of infrastructure and poor quality of life.

 

Before Sadam Hussein’’s regional aggression against neighbors like Kuwait, Iraqi education especially in mathematics was among the top scores internationally. Now, the country ranks towards the bottom on TIMMS and PLRS international education tests showing another symptom of the dramatic decline in living standards compared to prior decades for average Iraqi households. Iraq’s current government is struggling to appease dissent while juggling its powerful neighbor.

 

The Washington Institute asserted, “many in Congress and the Trump administration see no prospect of either [the Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (HHN)] transforming into a political actor that prioritizes Iraq’s interests over Iran’s.”

While Iran still awaits the matter of sanctions at the Hague, Twitter conversation is buzzing with Iran’s continued rise in inflation. The housing market in Iran is expected to drift back into a recession. Iran’s economy may not have time to wait on the International Court of Justice. The UN can whip up a peacekeeping force faster than it can process a claim.

 

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Learn more about Archival Institute's mini series, Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

U.S. Sanctions on Iran mean freezing assets: Are there any left to freeze?

U.S. Sanctions on Iran mean freezing assets: Are there any left to freeze?

Iran and U.S. Sanctions
Credit: CBS News

U.S. Sanctions on Iran mean freezing assets: Are there any left to freeze?

With President Trump’s reinvigorated sanctions on Iran, the freezing of Iran’s assets anew would affect any ongoing or pending terrorism litigation. Usually when the media talks about victims of terrorism, they are referring only to Americans, when in fact, many of the victims of terrorism concerning Iran are members of the Iranian diaspora, people who have migrated from the Middle East in general and have been attacked by their native country while living in the US or Europe. The other issue left out of mainstream media is that there is legislative overlap: Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known as the nuclear agreement.

Most people think that sanctions on Iran began with the American Hostage Crisis during the Islamic Revolution in 1979, but actually started earlier leading to the taking of the hostages. To explain this and the interplay between the FSIA, the TRIA, and the JCPOA, it is necessary to go back further than the hostage situation. After the overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi became the sole figurehead of power in Iran and the last monarch. The overthrow was lead by the British and American intelligence operations:  Operation Boot and Operation Ajax. This event sealed a firm alliance with the Shah followed by the creation of Iran’s nuclear energy program, Iran’s membership in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and a friendly trade agreement known as the Treaty of Amity.

 

The Foreign Military Sales Account

As the 1960s and 1970s progressed so did Iran’s nuclear program. Iran saw an increase in the quantity of military equipment, particularly American-made aviation and weaponry. This equipment was purchased from private contractors through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) account with the US. This was largely paid for with income from oil exports which was Iran’s main source of income, and Iran eventually became a member of OPEC. The Shah also instituted an intelligence arm called SAVAK which was based on the American CIA.

However, with the overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister, leftist opposition to the Shah and militant Islamic groups active in the region were targeting the Shah and his allied western affiliates. These leftist and anti-western sentiments can actually be traced back to the end of the 1800s and early 1900s, but with the 1953 coup of Dr. Mossadegh, this opposition came into full flower in the form of underground nonviolent political intelligentsia and violent professionalized guerrilla groups.

 

The First Frozen Assets

By 1978, Iran was in the throes of revolution and defaulted on payments to the FMS fund. Emerging Iranian leaders canceled orders on major weapons systems. The US continued to carry the FMS and paid some contractors with funds diverted from other areas. While in default the revolution in Iran progressed, foreign-owned properties were confiscated and nationalized. Foreign investors like Pak Dairy sued Iran in the Hague. In 1979, 52 Americans were taken hostage from the American Embassy in Iran. US President Carter declared a national emergency and blocked removal or transfer of all property and interests in property of Iran subject to jurisdiction in the US. In turn, the US Treasury Department issued restrictions and newly installed Iranian officials repudiated Iran’s foreign obligations.

At the same time, the Iranian revolution instituted the Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS) and revolutionary courts in Iran to purge internal opposition to the Khomeini regime. Some members of the Shah’s government were being assassinated and others tried in the revolutionary courts and executed. Saddam Hussein chose this moment to invade the much weakened Iran but Iranians rallied behind the Islamic regime in solidarity. Some Iranians who opposed the new regime or for safety fled the country and headed for the US, Europe, or other safe havens. The US supported Iraqi aggression, because Iran continued to hold Americans hostage. By 1981, Iran filed a claim against the US and the US filed a counterclaim for $817m. The US Department of Defense froze the FMS account at 400m. With payments to US contractors not being issued, motions were made to pay contractors with assets in Iran’s FMS account controlled by DoD. Iran continued to execute member’s of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s regime in Iran and abroad.

 

Diplomatic Immunity Granted

With his inauguration, President of the United States Reagan bartered for the release of the 52 American hostages. This deal was known as the Algiers Accord which in exchange for the hostages’ release granted Iran diplomatic immunity. In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, and Iran sent forces there for the fight against Israel. The UN put forth a peace-keeping mission of American Marines with some European support. With the trade embargoes in place and Iran granted diplomatic immunity, more American hostages were taken in Lebanon by Iranian terrorist proxies and exchanged for cash payments and embargoed material needed to fight Iran’s war with Iraq. Terrorist attacks were also executed on American military and civilians in Lebanon including the US Marine Barracks and the American Embassy in Beirut amidst the hostage exchange known as the Iran Contra affair. During this time, the Iranians restarted their nuclear program in response to Saddam Hussein’s WMD program. Underground material assistance came from the AQ Khan network, Pakistani models known as the P-1s. Iran’s main ally during the Iran-Iraq War was Syria.

U.S. citizens sue Iran over terrorist incidents
Credit: The Times of Israel
News Clipping Iran Chain Killings
Credit: independent.co.uk
Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar Assassinated
Credit: Parastou Forouhar
Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou Assassinated
Credit: Medya Magazine

The Iranian Chain Killings

Throughout the 1990s, Iran carried out a series of attacks on Iranian dissenters known as the chain killings. These took place both inside and outside the country known as, “extrajudicial killings.” The most famous of these is the assassination of the Shapour Bakhtiar in France and the Mykonos incident in Germany. Iran also continued to build up its military apparatus and nuclear program with black market goods as well as ongoing sponsorship for terrorist aggression. One of the most famous 1990s attacks that took place was the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. By 2001, numerous banks, companies, terror organization, mosques, charities, and individuals had assets blocked and frozen by OFAC constituting lists of entities providing material aid to Iran or illegally trying to access the US financial system from Iran. The September 11 attacks on the US brought about the US decision to hold foreign governments accountable in domestic courts.

US President Bush and later President Obama issued legislation making Iran’s government accountable for acts of terrorism through the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and later the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) which meant that survivors and family members who lost someone in a kidnapping or terror attack or extrajudicial killing could file claims on the Iranian government for damages and then attach writs to Iranian properties held in the US for those damages. This means that not only could hostages and victims of bombings file claims against Iran, but all of the Iranians who had suffered attacks from 1979 onwards, including from the 1980s reign of terror, the chain killings of the 1990s, and so on. Some like the wife of Shapour Bakhtiar whose husband was killed in France sued Iran through both France and the United States courts.

Some Iranian expats have struggled with the issue of citizenship in countries where they would like to file claims on the Iranian government, and so there are communities currently waiting in Canada or Italy, for example, on their citizenship status so that they may sue the Iranian government. Of the claims made by Iranians who successfully gained citizenship many were successful and judgments were awarded against the Iranian government. However, problems began to arise about the intel collected, the independence of certain terrorist organizations, and to what extent did the Iranian government own the property to which judgments were issued on. At this point in history, it can be said that these claims against the Iranian government were a core reason as to why some of the government’s property was dumped into the private sector and for some of its financial schemes like U-turn transactions. In U-turn transactions, Iranian clients move money through non-Iranian foreign banks, change the local currency from the foreign bank to dollars, and collect the dollars through the foreign intermediary. Through the operation of this system, the U.S dollars could freely move through the global market without putting American business in direct contact with Iran. The U-turn bank transactions are used to obfuscate the title on the funds subject to banking transactions.

One also has to keep in mind that as terrorism litigation was being fought by the Iranian government illegal transactions between companies created for example in the US, with the sole purpose of circumventing the U.S. stopping the flow of money into Iran, were being discovered and stopped from sending money to Iran. It is not uncommon to see in the indictments of sanctions violations a pattern of behavior as an entity usually one or more Iranian nationals with ties to the Iranian government would open a fake business on 5th Avenue in NYC for example with a fake bank account and run a number of transactions to Iran. Upon OFAC catching this, freezing the account and assets, the entity would then change the name and open a new account and run the scheme again.

The majority of indictments for sanctions violations are in fact on Iranian nationals including ex Iranian military and some charities including mosques operating in the US with ties to Iran. They also show common routing through Malaysia and UEA. So the “regime of sanctions” often depicting the US and Iranian companies as victims were really targeting entities of the Iranian government rather than alienating US-Iran peaceful trade. The illegal transactions were mainly defense articles and some dual use. So these accounts were piling up. However, it was the US banks that were paying out the heavy penalties, rather than Iran. This is why even after the nuclear agreement, many banks continued to be very dubious about facilitating any transactions with Iran.

 

85% of Financial Awards to the US Federal Government per TRIA

While the Iranian government has invested substantially in fighting terrorism litigation in the courts, this has taken place against the ongoing backdrop of covert narratives playing out in relation to Iran’s nuclear program and ongoing international conflict. Within this covert action dialogue problems have occurred over the handling and interpretation of CIA and FBI gathered intel and evidence used in the litigation and in the pursuit of writs on Iranian assets to pay claims. One could say that in the absence of diplomatic relations, Iran and the US were communicating instead through a mixed dialogue of covert action and legal dispute. What was happening in the courts would be responded to in the field and what happened in the field affected the outcome of the courts.

With respect to 9/11 and TRIA, the Obama administration reissued this legislation, he divided these assets so that awarded judgments to victims of terror would be split between the victims and the federal government introducing a government stake in the claims beginning at 85% to drop down over a period of time to 80%. This is a large commission on terror-related crime. At the same time, events are building up the nuclear agreement. The gesture perhaps made the sting of sanctions a tad bit stronger, but overall with Russia and China trading with Iran, and the cyber attacks on nuclear facilities being compromised, the nuclear negotiations proved a welcome site.

 

Competition for Frozen Assets in the Nuclear Deal

While negotiations for the Nuclear Deal were playing out Iran was pushing for the frozen assets from Iran’s previous regime, under the Shah and frozen during the 1979 Revolution and from sanction violations after, to be released. Though some of the funds in question had been paid out already many were still going through the process of appeals. The primary focus for the nuclear negotiations for the US was nuclear weapons as such so many other factors that were deemed less serious by the U.S. were actually important to the Iranian government and were simply reduced to bargaining chips. Also in play were the companies that stood to gain from the reduction of sanctions and resumed trade between companies like Boeing and Bell Helicopter and Iran. It was argued in order to resume trade, most or all of the entities that were listed by OFAC would become delisted in the nuclear agreement including both companies and individuals. Obama released the frozen assets Iran requested and also made a large purchase of Iran’s heavy water for fear it could be sold to an enemy and reduced sanctions to open trade. Heavy water is used in certain nuclear reactors acting as a neutron moderator slowing down neutrons so that they are likely to react with uranium capturing neutrons without fissioning. Its essential to most nuclear programs and Iran’s threat to sell to countries that dislike the United States was worrisome.

On the heavy water, a market value was established, on the frozen assets, what soon transpired was that Iran had received part of these assets then filed a claim on the US in the Hague for the remaining sum. It is not unreasonable to gather that future trade partners of Iran had a competitive interest in the assets with Iran’s agenda to utilize international trade in order to invest in its port, mining, transportation, and other infrastructure facilities. With these infrastructure costs in mind, Iran appealed to the Supreme Court case hearing Bank Markazi vs Peterson.

 

Nuclear Agreement Does Not Hold

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Peterson, enabling the victim’s families and survivors to finally receive restitution. Of the cases that have been tried and judgment and compensation issued to victims families, there were complaints by critics of the rulings, who objected to the politicization of the trials and the perceived interference of President Obama in the judicial branch. It is possible or plausible that the frozen assets were to be divided between Iran and the US with Iran using part of its share of the money to pay US and European companies in resulting trade agreements and part going to victims of terrorism which 85% would go to the US federal government. The ICJ has yet to conclude matters on the U.S. in Certain Iranian Assets (the Islamic Republic of Iran v. the United States of America) ; meanwhile the Nuclear Agreement did not succeed on its chief mission to curb Iran’s military and terror belligerence leading to deteriorated diplomatic relations as predicted in a private study by Archival Institute Fellows. President Trump has pulled out the nuclear deal but one law firm remarked on the continued interest of the private sector in hearings involving Iran and the United States.

“But because investment treaties and arbitration have made international law more directly relevant to global business, the workings of such international legal institutions can sometimes matter more to the private sector than many companies may think.” speculated  Joshua M. Robbins from Baker & Hostetler LLP as Certain Iranian Assets (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) was scheduled for hearing in June 2018.

While the appeal is still pending in the ICJ at this point in time it appears President Trump and Iran will negotiate a new deal, hopefully, one that remedies previous legislative shortcomings to do with nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and international trade. The nuclear agreement did not pave the way for successful trade relations but left many obstacles and challenges facing the private sector and it was never ratified in the Iranian parliament. This tactic was used in the Azerbaijan Crisis in 1947 to keep Iranian oil from the Soviets. Nor did the agreement of 2015 specify a jurisdiction meaning it could not be enforced. The new deal will hopefully allow for closer monitoring of the nuclear program as well as an optimized environment for international trade.

 

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Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

U.S. Sanctions on Iran go into effect at Midnight tonight

U.S. Sanctions on Iran go into effect at Midnight tonight

Source: http://www.irna.ir

Midnight Sanctions on Iran

With Trump’s sanctions on Iran going into effect at midnight tonight, Europe appears to be coming around the attractiveness of the US market over that of Iran with major players like Mercedes Benz pulling out and more following soon. Iran’s recent naval demonstrations in the Gulf in place of talks with the US solidify the escalation of the conflict. Sanctions will target the Central Bank of Iran, an important extra-constitutional arm of Iran’s regime.

At the close of the Syrian Civil War, a long anticipated conflict with Iran is underway and with Syria in no fit shape to brace the coming impact on Iran. Even with President Assad now firmly seated, the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis remains stressed as Syria begins the long expensive road to reconstruction for which Putin requests US support. The end to the Syrian Civil War leaves many questions still on the table. Perhaps chief among them is the relationship of Israel and the CIA to ISIS.

 

After Syria, Questions Remain

The stream of evidence from wikileaks to mainstream media have called out the Israeli and CIA historic affiliation supported by or rather demanded from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the GCC in order to destabilize the Assad-Iran-Hezbollah regional alliance backed by Russia and China. It appears that ISIS was infiltrated early on at the leadership level and then steered in the interests of Israel, US, and Arab allies in Iraq, Syria, and Africa not always producing desired outcomes. With the fall of Assad was to come a Muslim Brotherhood arm from Egypt according to some reports with serious investigation needed.

Competition over resources and access routes has also taken place between allies in this conflict. Qatar’s interest in removing Assad regarded a pipeline for natural gas through Syria to Turkey but was blocked by Saudi Arabia. The reconstruction of Syria will solidify Russian continued presence there ensuring it’s leadership in the natural gas market. Qatar is the third largest producer of liquid natural gas after Russia and Iran. Putin may have bargained for his interests in Syria for Trump’s interests in Iran. The reconstruction of Syria and the Iran conflict in time will tell.

 

Left to the Mongols

However, China may not easily abandon its investments in the Iran including a major transit to Europe through both Iran and Pakistan and will likely dodge sanctions on Iran as before the nuclear agreement. If China’s loan agenda succeeds in Iran and Pakistan, it will be as another Mongolian occupation. The new sanctions will be sure to push the Iranian economy further into illicit trade and virtual currency.

Protesters have already taken to the streets to rage against the clerical leadership responsible. While sanctions have not worked in the past as a method for ensuring regime change, the Trump administration claims its goal is different. It seeks to change the behavior of the Iranian government not the government itself. The factor for consideration here will be its nuclear and missile programs. Threats of closing the Strait of Hormuz are first sign of provocation.

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Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

Use of Responsibility to Protect Doctrine in the United Nations

Use of Responsibility to Protect Doctrine in the United Nations

United Nations R2P

The Creation of Responsibility to Protect doctrine in the United Nations

The United Nations responsibility to protect citizens rights worldwide has previously been limited to non-military engagements that happen in the form of sanctions. However, in some instances, military involvement is needed which is why Responsibility to Protect, also known as R2P, was introduced to the council. The UN University describes how this came about historically as the posing of the following question after the 1999 Kosovo War, “How to save people from mass atrocities when a State manifestly fails to protect them and the Security Council is paralyzed.”

In essence, R2P was incorporated to empower the United Nations to use military force provided there is enough evidence presented that shows a member state is either unable or unwilling to protect its citizens from crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide according to a Huffington Post article. R2P has been utilized by the United Nations in Iraq, Libya, and Syria to protect civilian lives from brutal regimes. The R2P doctrine, in particular, is concerning towards nations like Iran and Syria who for a number of years have been using violent means to suppress protests. In fact, Iran commented during a September 2017 gathering of the UN its general dislike for R2P.

“It is still premature to include this item in the formal agenda of the General Assembly. Before the prevention of the conflicts should be at the heart of the R2P concept. The war of aggression is illegal and military intervention without the authorization of the Security Council must be prohibited..” http://www.globalr2p.org/media/files/2017-iid-iran.pdf

 

R2P used in Syria

Syrian Protests

A recent article from Veteran’s Today released leaked information that the hunt for Syrian President Assad could begin soon. Whether this was simply a ploy to get Assad to show himself or a plan in action, it does show the inner workings of R2P in Syria and the aggression of the UN, whether this is a force for good depends the integrity of  who is controlling the situation. Assad has been a close ally of Iran since the Iran-Iraq War. With Iran and Hezbollah supporting Assad in Syria, there is a chance the conflict spills into the Islamic Republic.

The UN has measured and tailored its responses to current conflicts that could involve R2P after what it has learned from past conflicts. Let’s take a step back and look at the events of 2008 in Kenya. Violence following an election where accusations were made that the Kikuyu, the tribe of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, was unwilling to relinquish control after four decades of dominating the power structures of the country. Kikuyu farms and houses were torched by protestors and a peace agreement made by opposing sides quickly fell apart. In a 2008 statement by the President of the UN Security Council, “The Security Council expresses its deep concern that, despite the commitments made on 1 February {referencing the peace agreement}, civilians continue to be killed… The Security Council …calls for the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons.” The Washington Post further discussed specific details of the crisis that needed to be addressed before finding a peaceful solution would be possible.

“…dealing with the underlying causes of the post-election crisis. Issues to be addressed include constitutional reform, social inequalities and what some officials have described as the nightmarish issue of land reform, a particularly sensitive subject because many in Kenya’s political elite are implicated in illegal land grabs.” — Washington Post

The UN University also says, “If R2P is a matter for States only, POC can be an obligation for non-State actors. R2P, although narrow in scope, has a deep resource: everything in the domestic, bilateral, regional and UN system; everything from a power-sharing agreement (2008 Kenya) to the use of military force (2011 Libya) can form its arsenal.”

This is a transformation within the UN to put a stop to violators using military force poses an interesting question: will the United Nations involve itself in the current Iranian protests? During the 2009 Green Movement protests, the Obama administration was criticized for its silence and inaction. 

According to the New Yorker and Amnesty International, “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed Ahmadinejad’s victory and condemned the protests; riot police and Basij, armed with knives and guns, were sent into the streets to attack the protesters…, many detainees had been beaten, tortured, and raped by guards and interrogators, often at secret detention centers.”

Many Iranians do not want regime change forced on them from the outside, but nor do they wish to be abandoned in their long struggle to achieve freedom and safety. As recently July 31st, hundreds of strikers and protesters gathered in Esfahan confronting government financial corruption and the regime’s actions in Lebanon and Syria. While it has not acted, the UN is currently in a position to protect the international rights of Iranians and implement POC and R2P measures, and it is in a position to respond to the Iranian government’s threats to its own people.

 

 

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Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

Pakistan took out high-interest loan from China

Pakistan took out high-interest loan from China

China - Pakistan Economic Corridor
Source: en.mehrnews.com

China offering high-interest loans to developing countries

Pakistan is caught in the deep clutches of China’s predatory loans to developing countries in its expanding sphere of influence. A $50b high-interest rate loan to Pakistan from Beijing has been invested in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, but it may not benefit Pakistan until 40 years after the CPEC becomes operational. This is just one of China’s investments for its overall goal of economic and military superiority through which many countries have become compromised long-term.

To establish a road from China to mainland Europe, China has invited countries like Pakistan and Iran to take part in lines of credit aimed at helping them complete development projects. CITIC Group, China’s state-owned investment arm issued a US$10 billion credit line towards development projects in Iran from railways to hospitals reported in 2017 as part of Beijing’s US$124 billion Belt and Road Initiative to connect China with Europe and Africa.

The loan terms have a high interest and repayment rate which means the likelihood of these developing countries to default is high. If they do default China will be granted control over land and sea resources and with these gained territories in Pakistan, Iran, and other countries China would be able to build strategic military bases among other things. China’s plan has already proved viable in the Congo.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo & Pakistan took out a loan from China

In 2017, Bloomberg reported that “The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government failed to account for more than half a billion dollars of infrastructure loans received from Chinese institutions over a six-year period, according to the Carter Center.”

The copper-mining venture, Sicomines, received $1.163 billion in loans between 2008 and 2014 for infrastructure. Only $478 million was disbursed. Congo holds the world’s largest supply of cobalt and is Africa’s largest producer of copper. The $3.2b mining job for Sicomines operates on a 6.8 million-metric-ton deposit is only part of a larger China-Congo deal struck in 2007.

Pakistan has already received $1b in a new $2b loan announced on July 28. The Tribune reported, “The $2 billion loan is likely to ease pressure on official foreign currency reserves and the rupee-dollar parity. The rupee strengthened by 64 paisas against the US dollar in the interbank market, closing at Rs 127.86 on Friday,” adding that the military has already declared the economy a state of emergency. Mike Pompeo has warned Imran-Khan not to use any funds provided by IMF $12b bailout to repay loans to China.

 

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Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

The Challenges of Continuity for Regime Change in Iran from Within

The Challenges of Continuity for Regime Change in Iran from Within

IRGC

Iran Post IRGC

With the ongoing possibility of an Iranian regime change it is worth discussing some of the challenges of change and continuity with respect to the existing power structure of the IRGC. Currently, the financial wealth of Iran is consolidated in either the IRGC or that of the Supreme Leader’s religious establishment. These two groups own and operate the majority of the country’s public and private economic institutions such as banks, oil, and construction companies. Many of these companies are in fact extra-constitutional organizations operating in the guise of private trade, but in fact, controlled by the Iranian government. Therefore the problem with reform or a soft regime change is the danger of this status quo being allowed to continue under a new form of the same old players, and this is what Iranians fear particularly with the IRGC. Taking possession of the banks and freezing account activity even for a limited amount of time could have devastating effects on the civilian population.

Recently in the online chatter surrounding the news of Trump and Putin, some discussion has acknowledged an interest to bring key players to justice who were involved in corruption going back to after the collapse of Soviet Russia when the private sector was being installed in the new Russian Federation. Putin is on a manhunt to sort out key benefactors who were selling Russia out around that time. The basic conundrum for any communist economy to suddenly privatize property is that the people of that country are too impoverished to purchase the country’s major enterprises and the opportunity to sell off these enterprises to foreign buyers would, in fact, be selling off the country to foreign interests who would ultimately have control of it. From 1989-1991 the Soviet Union was being dissolved and undergoing a soft transition to becoming the Russian Federation. Russia’s major assets were devalued artificially in order to avoid foreign control of the country’s industries. The Islamic Republic followed suit at the same time to transition from its communist economy to private trade as a postwar economy.

 

Privatization, the Erecting of Two Structural Columns of Power in Iran

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution in Iran took possession of all private companies and wealth nationalizing them. Foreign investors were squeezed out with astronomical losses for which they turned around and sued the Islamic Republic. These lawsuits were all settled in the Hague with the exception of a dispute over Iran’s FMS account.  The Islamic Republic used a communist economy to fuel the Iran-Iraq War and during the war, as Iran was under trade embargoes from the US, it secured commodities by establishing a significant black market network which was organized in part by the IRGC. At the end of the war, it was determined that a communist economy could not support the country after all, and Iran took steps to privatize its enterprises at the same time Russia was also doing so while these two countries entered into a major contract to rebuild the Bushehr nuclear energy facility for a large sum of money from Iran which Russia desperately needed at the time. It is worth asking rhetorically here, where did essentially two nearly bankrupt states get the money for such a large construction contract?

To privatize property In Iran, major enterprises were sold off to key players of either the religious establishment or Revolutionary Guards creating 2 groups of power financially and politically. At times, these establishments have been in competition with one another and at other times have combined strength against internal or external forces. The IRGC’s vast network has made it the leading exporter of oil in Iran and has developed global ties to skirt sanctions. In the long-term, the IRGC has benefited from sanctions on Iran.

 

Private Companies as Extrajudicial Government Organizations in Iran

Central bank of Iran (Markazi), Tehran, Iran. (Orijentolog via Wikimedia Commons)

Central bank of Iran (Markazi), Tehran, Iran. July 14, 2011. Photo: Orijentolog via Wikimedia Commons.

 

The nuclear agreement negotiated by Rouhani for the Supreme Leader Khamenei in some respects strengthened the religious establishment by allowing trade in Iran to compete with the IRGC and slowly chip away at its financial hold on the country while in the short term strengthened its power in the region by using the frozen assets as large cash injections in tandem with delisted and freed players for the IRGC and military to gain valuable footholds in the region particularly in Syria and Lebanon cutting off Iraqi and Saudi access to the Mediterranean Sea while maintaining a constant pressure on Israel, and Yemen (cutting off Saudi and Israeli access to the Red Sea). Rouhani, brilliant as he was in handling the nuclear file to make advances in missile guidance and satellite technology under the ruse of non-enrichment, miscalculated a few things.

In order for the Islamic Republic to get around some of its trade hindrances stemming from the Islamic integrity of its constitution from its inception, it created a number of extrajudicial entities and enterprises. These were involved in credit, banking, and investment services outside the parameters of Islamic requirements in its codified law. A prime example is Bank Markazi, also known as Bank Melli, Iran’s national bank. One of the reasons it was in Iran’s interest to privatize its banks was to show these institutions as non-government and therefore protected from terrorism litigation where Iran’s defense could argue that the accused entity operated independently from the Islamic Republic and therefore the Islamic Republic could not be held accountable. Often times in terrorism litigation it was ruled that the Bank Markazi was separate from the Islamic Republic, however, that decision was incorrect, because Bank Markazi routinely drafts and enforces financial regulations for all banking institutions in the country, it could be seen essentially as a Treasury Department for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“In many respects, the Central Bank of Iran functions similar to the Treasury Department in the United States. It issues licenses for private banks, including foreign banks, it deals with the ‘modality and conditions for inflow of capital endowed by foreign banks.’” Dr. John Vavai.

The nuclear agreement further delisted this and other organizations as state sponsors of terrorism and actors engaged in illicit weapons and other trafficking and removed sanctions. However, banking and investment practices continued to form major stumbling blocks for Iran’s international trade with Europe under the nuclear agreement. While the nuclear agreement lifted some sanctions, it did not remedy legal shortcomings in Iran’s legal and banking systems that would present problems for international trade. A symptom of this can be seen in the volume of arbitration that occurs between Iran based companies and foreign companies outside of Iran.

 

How Iranian Opposition Could Prevent IRGC Continuity in Form of New Regime

Even with IRGC military and economic entrenchment in Iran and the region, there may still be a way for Iranian factions inside who want regime change from within to counter this force. This would require Iranian opposition to the regime to put pressure on the UN to initiate asset freezes and travel bans among other sanctions and military intervention through R2P doctrine would be a crucial step in paralyzing the regime and assist with regime change. While most Iranians are against any form of sanctions, sanctions could actually work in their favor in the event of an attempt at regime change and pave the way for an IRGC free Iran in which assets, as well as its FMS account, could then be restored to the Iranian people.

An update from Archival Fellow Dr. Vafai

Corruption in the Islamic Republic of Iran is not only pervasive but is also institutional and politically organized. Two credible studies indicate the degree of Iran’s institutional corruption.

First,  “The  Money Laundering Index” (AML Index Point),annually prepared by the Switzerland’s Basel Institute, indicates that  at the end of 2017, of all the 146 countries of the world under evaluation, Iran’s money laundering index was 8.60—the highest in the world (The lowest rate for the same year was Finland with 3.04 index point).

Second, according to Transparency International– an international think tank organization which does research on corruption throughout the world–the rank of Iran’s corruption in 2017, was 130. This rank was equivalent to countries such as Gambia, and Ukraine. Of the 135 countries in the world subject to research in 2017, only four countries (Honduras, Mexico Kyrgyzstan and the Dominican Republic ) were recognized as more corrupt than the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran’s corruption became institutionalized at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and through the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The Islamic  Revolutionary Guard started at the beginning of Khomeini’s uprising. Ayatollah Khomeini did not trust the Iranian conventional military.

Thus, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (at the time one thousand in total) were established primarily for maintaining security. The Iran Iraq war was the beginning of the economic blossoming of the IRGC. The Construction Jihad, also known as the Crusade for Reconstruction of Iran, developed exponentially. The IRGC originally served as combat engineers and built roads, bridges, buildings for Iran’s strategic operations and defensive emplacement. At present, the IRGC’s activities are both military and commercial. According to a study by Rand National Defense Research Institute, “from laser eye surgery and construction to automobile manufacturing and real estate, the IRGC has extended its influence into virtually every sector of the Iranian market. The subtext of this apparent economic populism is the IRGC’s control of Iran’s shadow economy. Further,  A substantial degree of Iran’s illicit smuggling networks, kickbacks, no-bid contracts and accumulation of wealth by the commanders and administrators of the IRGC  remains largely unseen by the Iranian public. According to a study by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank organization, in recent years “the risks for foreign investors in Iran ….. risks of exposure to money-laundering, and terror finance ……have only increased. The Revolutionary Guard lies at the heart of these risks. The IRGC launders money from the “legitimate” business to fund its illicit activities; it finances terrorist groups across the world; and it enriches itself at the expense of the Iranian people through corruption and kleptocracy”.

The fact is that, contrary to common belief, the imposition of sanctions against Iran could result in substantial profits in terms of economic rent, for the IRGC or its affiliated groups. This point needs an explanation. As a result of President Trump’s decision to discontinue the nuclear deal with Iran and subsequent re-imposition of the U.S. sanction, Iran will not have the customary and institutionally recognized credit access to large global banks. In the past, that is, prior to lifting the sanctions by the Obama administration, the IRGC’s affiliates such as Quds Force engaged in bartered commodity transactions with various countries. For example, the Iranian supplier, would export crude oil to countries such as Bangladesh or Pakistan, and in turn would receive manufactured products such as computers and electronic gadgets. Transactions on part of the Iran were arranged and implemented by the IRGC or one of its affiliated “nonprofit” organizations. Thus Iran’s corruption in institutional in nature.

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Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

Two Choke Points Critical for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran Shipping

Two Choke Points Critical for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran Shipping

Iranian Missile Program

The Missile Site Opposite Oman

One of Iran’s most important missile bases sits directly opposite an important loading platform in Oman. This loading platform may act as the main oil export facility in the event Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz for the Arab countries opposite of Iran on the gulf.

Map of Persian Gulf

If Trump uses Iran’s threat to close the strait as a premise to engage Iran at sea to take out Iran’s missile systems, nuclear program, and attempt to bring about a regime change, he will risk diffusing the internal opposition among Iranian society and cause them to rally behind the regime they once protested this happened once before when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980 ultimately solidifying Khomeini’s position in power.

If Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz and Oman’s oil loading platform becomes the fountainhead of the oil-producing Arab countries, it risks attacks from Iran either at that location or other tactical location(s). Many of the oil pipelines are already routed around Iran as a result of the Iran-Iraq War when Saddam Hussein convinced the Saudis to form the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) in opposition to Iran. Saddam began orchestrating the flow of the oil pipelines in the region in an effort to isolate Iran. So even after the Iran-Iraq War ended, these oil and natural gas pipelines would continue with minimal reach through Iran with the exception of Turkey. The GCC was formed as a military collective between Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, however, it never achieved substantial military effectiveness relying on the backing of superpowers to protect their interests in the region.

 

The Strategic Interest of the Strait of Bab Al-Hamdb

 

Oil & Gas Pipelines Middle East

Source: Mondialisation.com

Iran’s strategy since the Iran-Iraq war and while under sanctions has been to combat economic isolation by establishing military dominance of major access points for shipping in the Middle East. Competition for the Strait of Bab Al-Hamdb originated in Egypt between the Islamic Republic and its allies and Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, the Islamic Republic’s control of the straight was ended by the United States and Saudi axis in Egypt, and the Islamic Republic turned its focus to the conflict in Yemen and Djibouti, and to some extent Somalia. If the Iran-Hezbollah-Assad axis takes control of the strait Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt access to the Gulf of Aden through the Red sea will be at the behest of Iran-Hezbollah-Assad axis.

South Front and Al-Arabiya TV reported that Iran backed Houthis refused to withdraw from the strategic Port of Al-Hudaydah on the western coast of Yemen, and a Saudi led coalition is assembling to attempt to secure the Red Sea Shipping Lines on July 28.

 

Source  | Source  | Source

The source South Front ,used in this article, may have ties to the Russian military and is being used to feed misinformation to the world. Read more about how misinformation is being used by governments to alter peoples opinion on various politically hot topics.

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Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

Tehran Taboo: Exploring the Daily Struggles of Iranians

Tehran Taboo: Exploring the Daily Struggles of Iranians

Tehran Taboo Iranian Film

A Scene From Tehran Taboo

Set in post-revolutionary Iran, Tehran Taboo is an animated film following the severe hardships people face living in Iran. The film’s poster shows a young couple leaning against a wooden wall engaging in sexual acts, in the background the frowning faces of Iran’s 2 Supreme Leader dictators stare down at them. We are introduced to a young struggling musician who is trying to save enough money so he can pay for a black market surgery for a girl he just had sex with. She wants a medical procedure that will turn her into a virgin again so that she can sell herself to a sex trafficker and escape the country.

Tehran Taboo Film Poster

It’s late in the evening and the profile of a crowded, dilapidated, apartment complex stands sullenly in the polluted city of Tehran. On the roof, a neon sign buzzes and flashes angrily. A mute boy is sitting on a sagging balcony watching a starving cat. An old woman complains about the cats saying they are an infestation in the apartment complex. The small black cat is skeptical, wary of the boy’s affection. The boy puts out a small piece of meat and watches while the cat timidly approaches.

 

The Merciful End

The old woman swoops up the cat while its distracted by the meat and tosses it into a plastic garbage bag. Crossing the room she throws the cat and bag outside onto the street while the boy watches passively at the inhumane scene playing out before him. As the night grows heavier, the cat crouches in the plastic bag waiting. The maintenance man, middle-aged, weary of work and stress, picks up the bag with the cat in it and heads for the large dumpster at the end of the street. The cat cries out trying to escape while the man dispassionately looks on and recalls an earlier conversation with a doctor. A pregnancy, an unwed mother, the father’s shame, and the high cost of an abortion.

Slamming the bag with the cat over and over again on the metal wall of the dumpster bin the thrashing cat dies an agonizing death leaving this world with a terrified yowl. Opening the lid of the trash bin he tosses the trash bag filled with the lifeless body of the cat and after a short pause filled with his despair he confesses to the stray cat he had killed, “I wish I were you.”

 

The Language of Adversity

The cat that died was a representation of Iran, the countries border mimics the outline of a cat, such is the symbolism that underpins many Iranian films with lamentations on the quality of life in post-revolutionary Iranian society. Confrontations with the Morality Police, problems in marriage and gender segregation, the secret lives of sex workers, youth and innocence are some of the expressions reaching across the borders of Iran. Much of what happens in closed bordered societies the rest of the world is unable to see and understand until long after those regimes collapse. This was the case for many art films and artistic media from Russia that express deep regrets of the dreary Soviet “situation.” With Iran, technology has thwarted both the production of artistic media and the distribution of it globally. Today’s challenge, however, is still overcoming the massive propaganda and information campaigns run by mainstream and state media internationally.

In part, this is why the creators of Archival Institute took on the prodigious task of documenting Iran’s illustrious history. Filled with war, economic and political upheaval, and a nation’s rediscovery of national identity Iran is a complex country that has never been properly documented. Iran: The Third Path is a series that sets out to provide a historian’s view of the events that have shaped Iran into the country it is today.

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History and news of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa straight to your inbox!

Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

Trump Sanctions on Iran lead to threats to close Strait of Hormuz

Trump Sanctions on Iran lead to threats to close Strait of Hormuz

China Oil Storage Tanks

China’s Unofficial Drawdown of Oil Storage

 

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal is part of his plan to impose maximum pressure on Iran with an over all goal to reduce Iranian oil customers to zero by November 2, 2018. Concerns are being raised that Trump’s sanctions, and pressure on his allies to not buy Iranian oil, would plunge the world into recession destabilising the oil market and sending oil prices sky high. Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative within the Atlantic Council, weighed in on the matter agreeing that there is a great possibility of a global recession with her concerns being echoed by other leading oil & gas experts. However, a satellite image was posted by TankerTrackers comparing July 2017 data to July 2018 against official reports. The satellite images show a massive drawdown of crude oil being stored in China over the last year while the official reports say the opposite.

Satellites to Track Commodities

Satellite images are used by companies like Orbital and Bloomberg to asses the actual volume and flow of oil globally and this isn’t the first time that its been reported that China’s actual numbers differ from what they officially report. China’s drawdown in crude oil storage is timely with the loss of Iranian oil and coming sanctions. How many sites may indicate further supply discrepancies and will Iran’s oil truly be missed?

Iran, in counter suite to President Trump’s most recent power play, has been frantically meeting with other nations in attempts to secure trade deals before Trump’s sanctions go into effect. From meetings with Switzerland and Austria to discussions with Russia on investing in Iran’s oil industry Iran’s incompatibility with other nations legal systems is severely reducing the probability of Iran being able to close a trade deal before the sanctions go into effect.

TWITTER ENTENTE Between Rouhani and Trump

“America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” — Rouhani

“NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN… WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE AND DEATH.” — President Donald Trump

Imagine reading these tweets as a soldier on a ship in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranians are threatening that if Iran isn’t able to export oil then no other country will be allowed to do so. Iran’s military strength to actually close the Strait of Hormuz has been debated in the media but according to this article that cites a U.S. Naval intelligence report if you combine all the recent efforts of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) naval division they will have enough manpower through modern fast attack craft, small boats, and anti-ship cruise missiles and mines that within the small confines of the Strait they would have a good chance of closing it, at least for a time.

The Curses of Isolation

Iran is down to the wire with sanctions going into effect in just a few short weeks and with the media pressure on Iran to respond to Trump’s power play Iranian national security official Naghavi Hosseini told the Al Jazeera that “the United States will only hurt and isolate itself with these sanctions. Europe, China, and Russia, according to Iranian government, still have interest in trade agreements with Iran.” Some of these countries are asking for waivers from sanctions. Now this could allow for trade agreements to move ahead, though even with waivers, companies still face issues with difficulties in banking, credit, intellectual property, shipping, and other areas. These were experienced in some of the trade deals that emerged from 2015. Isolation in truth goes both ways.

 

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History and news of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa straight to your inbox!

Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.

Clinton Coverup of Iran & Syria’s involvement in Khobar Towers Bombing

Clinton Coverup of Iran & Syria’s involvement in Khobar Towers Bombing

Khobar Tower Tweet

Prince’s Tweet Threatens to Expose Long Time Cover Up

As tensions escalate with Iran, Al-Arabiya released an article recently about a twitter thread from Prince Khalid Bin Salman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, planting renewed interest in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia which was covered up by the Clinton administration. The bombing of Khobar has long been a testament to the independence of Hizbollah from Iran and has kept Iran safe from lawsuits like the Bank Markazi VS Peterson ruling in the United States Supreme Court. Prince Khalid’s tweets openly plant some of the details of the attack in 1996 that were buried in a covered up by the Clinton administration and imply that these details may soon come to light. Odds are it won’t look good for Iran or the Clinton’s, and it may be justice at long last for the 19 airmen who died that day and for those who survived only to be stonewalled by Congress for the last 22 years in their efforts to find justice.

June 25, 1996 The Night of the Bombing

An indictment against Saudi Hizballah for the tragic events on the night of June 25, 1996 documents the deliberate planning that went into the attack. It started in late 1994 when three members of Hezbollah relayed to Al-Mughassil that the Khobar Towers was an important infrastructure to the American military presence in Saudi Arabia, its location and extensive surveillance details were sent to Al-Mughassil. The building targeted was #131 an eight-story structure that housed United States Air Force personnel, among other branches of the military, and was a residence for them while stationed in Saudi Arabia. Surveillance continued into 1995 when more reports were presented to Al-Mughassil where it was then determined Hezbollah would strike the Khobar Towers utilizing a tanker truck loaded down with a powerful mixture of explosives and gasoline, a crude but efficient bomb. It wasn’t until June of 1996 that they were able to purchase, through a co-conspirator, a tanker truck from a Saudi Arabia dealership using stolen identification. It took two weeks working from a remote farm in Qatif to properly outfit the truck into a mobile bomb.

Around 10:00 on the evening of the 25th two conspirators in a Datsun entered a parking lot adjacent to Khobar Tower Building #131 scouting out the area and then signaling the getaway car to enter the lot. After both the Datsun and the getaway car were parked the tanker truck outfitted with the bomb entered the lot and parked against a fence that was in front of building #131. Quickly the drivers of the tanker truck exited the vehicle entered into the getaway car and both the getaway car and the scouting car exited the parking lot.

 

The Attack through U.S. Servicemembers eyes and the aftermath

This was witnessed by United States Airmen, a Staff Sergeant at the time, Alfredo Guerrero who was on the top of building #131 keeping watch. Across the way 1st Lt. Michael Harner also spotted the truck from his balcony. Harner had only been stationed there for several days and he thought it odd that a parking lot that had little traffic now had three cars in it on one night. When two men exited the tanker truck and entered the white getaway car both Harner and Guerrero knew that something was wrong.

Staff Sergeant Guerrero made the call on his radio informing the control center of what he saw and mid-report he came to the realization that it had to be a bomb. Shouting into the radio that he was evacuating the building the airman on the same radio frequency quickly responded to the evacuation order. There was four minutes from the time the terrorist abandoned the tanker truck to when the bomb exploded, four minutes for Guerrero and his men to evacuate an eight-story building. The time frame was just too small and they only made it a few floors before the blast hit and the repercussion from the explosives laced with fuel decimated the north side of the building killing 19 U.S. airmen and 1 Saudi Arabian soldier, 372 individuals of various nationalities were injured.

 

The Clinton Administration Cover-up

“Syria’s involvement in these terror activities was essential, as another senior member of Hezbollah’s recruiting team, Ali al-Houri, had transported explosives needed for the operation, and had acted as a liaison officer for the Saudi Hezbollah cell with the Iranian embassy in Damascus.” — Tony Duheaume

In the aftermath the United States sought to identify those responsible, however, the Clinton administration attempted to cover up Iran’s part in the Khobar bombing. The Clinton’s needed a scapegoat and they found one in Brigadier General Terryl Schwalier, the wing commander of the 4404th wing, a report by General Wayne A. Downing managed to paint a vivid picture in which the Brigadier General Schwalier was solely responsible. Later Schwailer was exonerated through two investigations but the Clintons didn’t only betray the Brigadier General in their efforts to cover up Iran’s involvement they betrayed the soldiers of the 4404th Wing. Extensive investigation by the United States up to 2001 lead to an indictment against those behind the attack, FBI documents showed Iran and Syria backed Hezbollah in carrying out the attack. In August 2015, the capture of the mastermind of the bombing was arrested and provided evidence of Tehran’s involvement, but the nuclear deal was adopted that October prolonging the silence. For 22 years Iran and Syria have avoided blame for involvement in the attack on the US site and its serving military personnel. The Iranian government has threatened in the past to go public with a cable by President Clinton if they were exposed. Price Khaled’s tweets and increasing suspicion surrounding the Clinton’s may be an indication that the survivors of the Khobar bombing and the many government agents who worked on the investigation may finally see these details brought into the open.

 

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Learn more about Archival Institutes Mini-Series Iran: The Third Path

Producing a groundbreaking historical series, the Archival Institute has brought to life Iran’s history using narrative animation and documentary culminating in the release of Iran: The Third Path, which is now available for purchase through Archival on Demand. Committed to educating and entertaining audiences worldwide Archival on Demand is a multimedia streaming platform, including written and video content, for world history focused on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, some of the most conflict heavy regions of today. The release of the documentary series Iran: The Third Path will provide historical context for Iran’s current internal conflicts and international rivalries. These long-standing cultural clashes include democratic social movements, the evolution of political and militant Islam, economic struggle, and relations with superpowers throughout the events of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the global conflicts of today.