American “sailors” and “mechanical failures”

The wording sailors is quite amusing. If two Iranian ships full of highly armed soldiers would have had the same kind of mechanical failure both at the same time and would accidentally enter US waters, they would rather have been called: militants, elite soldiers, Qods-Force or what ever seems more threatening.

But in this case all the international press is repeating “sailors”, and even though in this case like in other cases it is clear that these sailors were most probably on a spy mission like in this case (the source is referenced: The Guardian) or like US drones that regularly accidentally enter Iranian Air space.

Guardian story about CIA Agent: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/12/robert-levinson-iran-missing-cia-secret

Anyhow Iran’s reaction has been very mild. Looking back at what Turkey did as a Russian Airplane entered its Airspace for a few seconds, it shows how much Iran has actually softened its stance. While this is good for the “Sailors” it seems that some GOP candidates are quite frustrated that the Americans were set free as easily:

http://lobelog.com/republicans-self-defeating-attack-on-obamas-iran-policy/

US “boats”: speed boats in full camouflage and highly equipped with weapons:

 

US boat camouflage coloring sailors Iran Persian Gulf

More info about the boats: http://www.popsci.com/what-were-boats-that-iran-captured?src=SOC&dom=fb

“On their way from Kuwait to Bahrain”:

US Sailors on the way from Kuwait to Bahrain

These highly trained professionals should be trained better in navigation.

And here their weapons:

US sailors weapons Iran Persian Gulf

Great article by Glenn Greenwald in the Intercept:

https://theintercept.com/2016/01/13/us-media-condemns-irans-aggression-in-intercepting-us-naval-ships-in-iranian-waters/

Glenn Greenwald is the holder of multiple awards including the George Polk Award

The origin of the “modern” Sunni Shia conflict

This conflict is not going on forever as stated by many people who lack the knowledge and hence oversimplify and trivialize. Less than two decades ago there was not such a violent conflict. Hence this is not an endless conflict and we can go back to the situation that we had not too long ago.

We have to take a look at the beginnings, analyze the ones who profited most and stop to listen to their rhetoric

http://qz.com/476191/remembering-the-bomb-that-started-the-middle-easts-sectarian-war/

Another interesting article on this topic is the following one written by Seymour Hersh the Pulitzer Prize winner for the New Yorker in 2007. What he wrote then can explain a lot of things that are happening today in the middle east:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

If you ask me the Sunni Shia conflict as it has gotten momentum after the Iraq war had three main reasons:

  1. It was a “good” way of divide and conquer used by the US who had big problems fighting Sunni and Shia insurgency. Violence between these two groups took the load off the US army in Iraq.
  2. After the invasion of Iraq, Iran had emerged as the winner of the happenings, neither the self called “leader of the Arab world” Saudi Arabia nor their partners, the US, could be happy about this outcome. Saudi Arabia as country that is suppressing its own Shia minority was not happy to have a Shia dominated Iraq, and a democracy as a neighbor. Democracy in Iraq would indeed be poised to put a Shia leadership on Shia majority Iraq.
  3. Arab public polls in 2006 (as effect of the war between Israel and Hezbollah) had shown that the Arab public was in fact favorizing non Sunni leaders. The most favorite politicians were Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar Assad and Ahmadinejad. (Two Shia and one Alawite).
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7347613.stm
    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Poll-Nasrallah-most-admired-leader-in-Arab-world
    This was a major blow back for the wannabe “leaders of the Arab world”. Strengthening sectarianism seemed to improve Saudi Arabia’s position in a Arab world that was favorizing non Sunni leaders that were in contrast to the leadership of Saudi Arabia not appeasing to the West and to Israel.

Iran was in its best position right after Saddam was removed, and a huge military threat next to Iran was removed make Iran the undisputed power after Israel in the region. With the start of the sectarian conflict Iran has only lost, as this conflict has inflicted huge costs on Iran. It is also interesting to point out that Iran was in its policies mainly opposed to Israel was never going against Sunnis. Infact Iran’s opposition to Israel was on behalf of Sunni Palestinans, who were supported by Iran and Syria more than by any country in the Persian Gulf region (mostly crazily rich countries that never took any Sunni refugees while advocating them selves as truly Sunni nations.

So, who profited:

  1. Saudi Arabia: With the US worried about Iran as emerging power in the region, arms sales to Sunni monarchies took off, making Saudi Arabia the biggest importer of US and European weapons. the result is a more and more aggressive foreign policy by Saudi Arabia. The positive or at least neutral views on Shia and the anger on Sunni monarchies are replaced with fear and hate mongering towards Shia, making Saudi Arabia the protector of Sunnis in the region (though Saudi Arabia has refused to take any Syrian refugees, leaving the load on the shoulders of much poorer nations in the region and on the shoulder of Christian European countries.
  2. USA: Through divide and conquer, the insurgency against the US turned towards violence between the insurgents.
  3. Israel: The opposition and hate towards Israel was replaced with hate between the two main factions of Islam, fighting off each other at heavy costs, while Sunni Arab countries and Israel moving closer together than ever before.
    Israeli official: Israel quite content if Syria war goes on

    Jerusalem Post: Israel treating al-Qaida fighters wounded in Syria civil war
    The biggest opposing Arab power and most dangerous neighbor set back for decades and thrown into a devastating civil war.

But how would these profiteers fuel the conflict and keep it rolling:

  1. Use proxies in Iraq to start attacks on Shia, trying to provoke counter attacks. Thanks god for the most counter attacks remained quite rare, also because Grand Ayatollah Sistani the most important Shia leader called for Iraqi unity and discouraged counter attacks for almost a decade until finally calling for resistance, not against Sunni Iraqis but against IS.
  2. Declare a for the Arab world NOT uncommon way, of putting down demonstrations in Syria, as a sectarian war towards Sunnis, even though Assad had been the most secular leader in the Arab world and the only one standing up against Israel. Hosting the biggest share of Sunni Palestinians for years,  having a Sunni wife he was hardly some one fighting Sunnis. Using opinion building tools like Al Jazeera and Al Arabia (controlled by the Qatari and Saudi monarchs) the Syrian conflict was miss portrayed of an Army of Alawites fighting the Sunni people of Syria. 5 Years into the conflict it is clear that the Syrian Army is consists of a big share of Sunnis who rather fight against the opposition who is more and more non Syrian with the biggest and most mighty groups (IS and Al Nusra) being mainly foreign mercenaries from Chechnya, Tunisia, … , where as Sunni Syrians often flee from rebel owned areas to Government controlled areas.
    Read more about this: here

 

“Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years” sais head of the International Red Cross

Five months of war in Yemen has wrought destruction similar to that seen in Syria after five years, said the head of the International Red Cross on Wednesday.

Returning from a visit to the war-ravaged nation, Peter Maurer told the Associated Press that entrenched poverty, months of intensified warfare and limits on imports because of an international embargo have contributed to “catastrophic” conditions.

“The images I have from Sanaa and Aden remind of what I have seen in Syria,” said Maurer. “So Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/yemen/11813169/Yemen-already-looks-like-Syria-after-five-years-of-war.html

An interesting anecdote from the Iraq-Iran war

Saddam Hussein’s goal for attacking Iran was to conquer Iranian oil fields.

Saddam was thinking that (Sunni) Arab Iranians would be oppressed in Iran (as Shia are oppressed in many Arab countries) and would join forces with their Arab “brothers” from the Iraqi Army, but the opposite was the case Arab Iranians felt more as Iranians than as Arabs and fiercely defended their homeland Iran and stopped the mighty Iraqi Army until the surprised Iranian army could finally send help to the Iraqi border.

This story beautifully shows how Arab leaders speculated and finally invented an oppression of the (Sunni) Arab minority in Iran, and were surprised by the realities on the ground, that these allegedly oppressed minorities felt pretty much Iranian, and nearer to their fellow Shia Iranians than to external Sunni and even Shia Arabs.

Great book that covers the Iraq-Iran war and other conflicts in the Middle East:

http://www.amazon.com/Great-War-Civilisation-Conquest-Middle/dp/1400075173/ref=la_B001IXS5RS_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1443905977&sr=1-1

Executions in Saudi Arabia on the rise. Nearly half of the executed foreign nationals. Foreigners 8 times more likely to be executed for the same crime.

Saudi Arabia has executed at least 175 people over the last 12 months, on average one person every two days, according to a report released on Tuesday by Amnesty International.
The report said at least 102 people had been put to death in the first six months of 2015, compared with 90 across the whole of 2014.

Saudi courts allow for people to be executed for adultery, apostasy and witchcraft.

People can also be executed for crimes committed when they were below 18 years of age.

In May this year, Saudi Arabia advertised for eight new executioners to cope with an increasing number of death sentences. The role, posted on the civil service jobs portal, was described as “executing a judgment of death” as well as performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences.

Although foreigners make up just one quarter of the oil rich state’s population, Amnesty reported they made up the majority of all those sent to death row. Its report revealed that at least 1,695 executions were carried out between 1985 and May 2008, with the number of non-nationals totalling 830, compared with 809 local citizens. It was impossible to ascertain the nationality of the remaining 56.

But it is in the number of reprieves that the greatest disparity lies. Amnesty claimed that a pardon is granted in one in every four capital cases involving a Saudi citizen but only one in 30 of each foreign case. Many of those foreigners lacked the Arabic skills to understand court proceedings and charges.

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/3192085/Foreigners-eight-times-more-likely-to-be-executed-in-Saudi-Arabia-report-says.html

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/25/saudi-arabia-executed-175-people-amnesty-international

http://www.nairaroot.com/saudi-executes-175-half-been-foreigners/#.Vf3EfigqSNk