Sunday, July 15, 2012

'India and the Persian Connection'

There is a whole lot of talk about how India does not have a robust enough strategic culture. So "Geek at Large", in its own small way, has decided to start hosting guest posts, bringing to the fore varied perspectives in the realms of geopolitics and military affairs.
Today's post deals with the ongoing crisis in the Persian Gulf and the complex Indian response to it where Ananth Durai explains India's understated role in managing the crisis and how it has actually thrown up new opportunities for both widening and deepening our engagement with various players in the region.
India and the Persian connection
Much has been made of the recent move by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to extradite a terrorist who was involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks - many press reports cited the growing relationship in security and intelligence matters between the two countries. It is indeed true that the growing high-level intelligence interaction between Indian and Saudi counterparts has led to arrests of other wanted terrorists in the Kingdom (not just Lashkar terror operatives). But this is just one part of the multi-faceted relationship between the Kingdom and India.
One of the chief drivers of the growing relationship between the India and Saudi Arabia is the perceived Iranian threat to the latter. Over the past 15 years, Iran has managed to expand its influence into countries that were once perceived to be less of a security threat towards the Saudi Kingdom. Today, Iran is believed to have major control over Iraq - via influence over the politico- religious system (with Gulf leaders referring to the Iraqi PM as an "Iranian stooge"), and the two major Shia Iraqi militias (Mahdi Army and the SCIRI - Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq).Iran also has in place a strong alliance with the Alawite-led Syrian leadership and the oft-spoken-about relationship with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
With the removal of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt - a staunch ally of the Saudis and one who was relied upon as a strong pillar of support especially on the security and defence side of things - the Kingdom sees itself surrounded by emergent problems. The newly elected President of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, is overtly promising to strengthen ties with Iran and when you couple this with the continuing instability in Bahrain and Yemen, it is completely understandable why the KSA in particular and the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) states in general are looking increasingly nervous.
Indeed, one can but imagine the effect that a nuclear Iran would have on the security affairs of the various Gulf Kingdoms. As a result of this KSA has no choice but to build strong ties with regional powers such as India, Pakistan, Jordan and Turkey. It is also a time when the GCC with KSA, UAE and Qatar at its core is taking proactive steps to defend its security. One standout example of the same would be these countries lending support to Syrian rebels - by providing arms, finances as well as diplomatic support in order to break the Iranian alliance framework in Syria and Lebanon.
With all this happening in the Saudi neighbourhood, the last thing that the GCC needs is an Indo-Pak war which would remove two regional powers who have the capability to intervene favourably in the event of a war between itself and Iran. KSA of course also relies heavily on Pakistani military personnel to man its own armed forces in exchange for the transfer of military equipment, and perhaps for financing up to 30 per cent of the Pakistani military budget. However, it is likely that Pakistan would request these personnel to return in the event of a war with India, which would make the Gulf security situation even more precarious.
The quiet visitors to New Delhi
Last December saw some quiet visits by a few Gulf dignitaries to Delhi - one of whom was Prince Turki Al-Faisal (the former Saudi Intelligence chief) and another was a senior advisor to the Kingdom of Kuwait. Officially they were in India to interact with sundry mandarins in South Bloc and visit the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) but truth be told these visits were probably of much greater importance than is readily understood.
As it turns out, the GCC has been seeking a mediator with Iran for some time over the nuclear issue. Initially, the Sultanate of Oman was chosen due to its relatively close ties with Iran. However, as one Gulf official put it, "No big nation listens to a small nation". This then led to Turkey being asked to mediate between the Iranians and the Arabs. However, the Gulf Kingdoms have been disappointed as Turkey has been unable to deal with the Iranians effectively.
The message conveyed from these visits was that the Gulf leadership is impressed with the way India has been able to deal with the Iranians - particularly, the mechanism created to deal with the subject of Afghanistan (where all difficult issues are discussed) and also India's ties with the entire spectrum of the Iranian leadership. The Gulf Kingdoms, it seems, want India to utilise its relationship with Iran in order to mediate on the nuclear issue. In reference to this, sources have confirmed that India has indeed opened a channel with the Iranians although how effective this has been is, as yet, unclear.
As a quid pro quo, there is an expectation in Indian quarters that the Gulf Kingdoms who have considerable influence in Pakistan can help moderate Pakistani behaviour on terrorism (and other areas of concern), increase investments in Indian infrastructure which will help develop the economy (as it did for the US), growth in all areas of the strategic relationship and pave the way for a FTA to be signed shortly.
While the Gulf nations are pushing us to help settle the Iranian nuclear file amicably - we can't obviously forget our very real interests in Iran. Since Pakistan has blocked India's access to Central Asia and Afghanistan, India has no choice but to build close relations with Iran. Iran is central to our trade with Central Asia and Afghanistan. Our interests there are not merely trade-oriented but also involve security and defence matters in Eurasia which have a direct impact on us.
The development of the Iranian port of Chabahar and multi-modal transport (rail and road) into Afghanistan as well as Central Asia will allow us access to a highly resource rich region that can be utilised to support our economy. It will also serve as a shorter route for Indian goods heading towards Europe, thus helping to increase the competitiveness of Indian goods.
However, there is also a military aspect to such infrastructure. Having access to roads and rail will give us the capability, should the need arise, to intervene in a large way (subject to Russian and Iranian support of course). All this suggests that India has tough decisions ahead in order to balance our interests in the Gulf with our interests in Iran.
The nuclear file: what lies ahead
Gulf sources acknowledge that sanctions need time to work and a long-term solution is required to fully resolve the issue. It appears there is both a short-term and a long-term strategy at play here with Gulf states, Israel and the west in agreement on these aspects. The short-term strategy is to do all that is possible to delay the Iranian nuclear project by any means possible (including a last resort military strike on Iranian nuclear sites). The long term one, that of regime change (without the need to intervene militarily), can delay the prospects of a nuclear Iran indefinitely if it ever comes to fruition.
A former chief of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, acknowledged that air strikes on Iranian nuclear sites will only delay the project by two years at the most. However, in a recent interview, Dagan admitted that an air strike or regional war will result in people getting behind the regime and hence extending its life. Many US, GCC and Israeli officials agree with the view expressed by Dagan and conclude that the Iranian regime is under deep pressure to deliver results to the Iranian people. Dennis Ross (former Special Advisor to the Obama Administration on the Persian Gulf), in a recent conference, described Iran as similar to the Soviet Union in 1981 where ideology is no longer believed and the veneer is wearing thin. Therefore it is clear that all sides consider a regional war is not the best option although it may get sparked of suddenly as we shall see below.
Concurrently, the aim of the sanctions regime on Iran is to force the Iranian leadership to give up their nuclear weapons programme. If they don't, the pressure on the economy and the Iranian people will result in some sort of Arab spring-type revolution. The use of cyber weapons by western and Israeli intelligence has been particularly successful in the case of Iran with US officials suggesting that they have managed to delay the programme by a couple of years. Going forward, we can expect to see the collective use of sanctions, cyber attacks as well as a naval blockade by the west and Israel.
Why a naval blockade?
A nuclear Iran is not going to be in the interests of either Russia or China as Iran would naturally compete in the same sphere of influence of these two nations, particularly what Russia considers as its back yard, Central Asia. As a result, a blockade imposed by the west will not be really opposed by these two and it will mean that the Iranians will have no option but to cooperate with the world powers on their nuclear programme. After all, attacking your only allies, Russia and China, will not help the Iranians.
Interestingly, the US military has apparently conducted a number of joint exercises off the coast of North Carolina with their Russian and European counterparts, dealing with the "repulsion of an attack by small-sized vessels, helicopter rescue operations, personnel transfer procedures and joint manoeuvring" - operational scenarios that could well describe an asymmetric naval showdown with the Iranian Navy.
After a strike
Some alarming estimates say that Iran is only 8 months away from achieving the capability to build a nuclear weapon and hence Israel as well as the west may be pressured to act militarily before then. In the event of such a scenario, India will have to prepare contingency plans to evacuate the millions of Indians in the region as well as secure energy supplies for itself in the event Iran chooses to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz.
Gulf forces are already on red alert in the region as war between the US/west and Iran could take place by miscalculation on either side, not to mention the high concentration of military vessels/aircraft in the Arabian Gulf where the chances of accidental shots being fired and escalating into a conflict are rather high. Contingency measures have been put in place for the last 6 months by the GCC fearing the worst.
One hopes preparations for such a scenario are being made by Indian military planners as well.
Summing it all up
The growing threat of war would mean that India will have to source oil from more stable neighbourhoods. Africa and South America are possible solutions. India will also need to develop its own shale oil and gas resources. The threat of war will also mean that oil prices will remain sticky at least for the next one to two years and the New Delhi will have to take this into consideration when drawing up its financial plans.

(Ananth Durai is a London-based commentator on regional affairs with a special interest in West Asian political and security issues. He currently works for an accounting firm and has worked extensively within the financial industry. The views expressed by him are personal. You can catch him on Twitter@ADurai)

Originally reported here:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Regional Update 7th July 2012

7th July Update

- KASOTC, Jordan - site where CIA is training FSA to take over chemical weapons depot sites. Sites are spread across the country and are guarded by the Air Force Intelligence alawite units who are very loyal to the regime.

- 2 key objectives that western alliance is preparing for - break down of the Syrian govt and seizure of the chemical weapon depots

- Jordanian SF will secure the southern Syrian city of Mafraq (in the event of a collapse of the Syrian govt), currently a location for palestinians that are migrating from the Syrian camps (Yarmouk etc) into Jordan - they expect the flow to increase as the situation gets worse

- Beijing is building ties with the Syrian opposition - SNC delegation was discretely in Beijing and met the PRC Foreign min and other big wigs last month.

- State Dept met with FSA delegation on June 10th . Frederic Hof is the man to watch with regards to the US policy on Syria.

- Turkish MIT (Turkish intelligence) is coordinating delivery of weapons along with the CIA to the Syrian rebels. These weapons are financed by KSA and Qatar.

- Syrian Regime is struggling to pay Shabiha fighters who are at the front line of the battle against rebels. Funds from Iraq and Iran are not enough to cover the expenses so the Private sector is being roped in - businesses that are run by regime cronies are using funds to meet the shortfall in cash and foreign currency. Several businesses have so far continued to operate without any problems of sanctions etc.

- Syria is using cyprus to make short runs to pick up fuel. PDVSA (venezuela) has made the major deliveries of fuel.

- The Obama administration answer to issues on Syria/Iran is "no movement on the file until after the elections". President Obama doesn't want anything to happen to destroy his re-election chances.


- Expect more cyber attacks, Sanctions and eventually a naval blockade by world powers (incl. Russia and PRC).  Lets not forget a nuclear Iran will compete with Russia and PRC in their sphere's of influence, so a nuclear Iran is not in their interest either. The US along with Russia, France & the UK conducted a number of joint exercises off the coast of North Carolina to practice for the blockade. LINK and LINK

- Threat of war deterred the wise but not the desperate


- GCC/Kurds lobbying in the US together to prevent the sale of the F-16s to Iraq. Problem here is how can the GCC defend themselves when Iraq is under Iran's fold and in essence defend attack from Iraq (with decent air support) and Iran.

- Iran is trying desperately keep maliki in power and is making interventions.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Regional Update - May 5th

Our first topic of discussion today is Syria:

Protests have been reported in most of the Damascus neighbourhoods and violence is generally increasing against the people.

It is likely Syrian operations will slowly switch to a safe zone where the regime will protect the minority Alawite population against genocide, ethinic cleansing. The system will attempt to sell this to the international media and the UN Security council. This is probably the final card that the regime will play before its demise.

King Abdullah had told Hillary Clinton in their meeting in late march that they won't intervene in Syria via money and arms until early May because they wanted to give the Annan plan a chance. But we are here today and the Annan plan has largely failed as the bloodshed still continues.

Iraq's Maliki has begun to ensure Asad's soldiers receives their payments by the end of April (no public information has been released yet as to Maliki's role in Syria) in addition to allowing Iran to funnel arms.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

There appears to be a growing discontent in Iraq over the growing role of Iran's clerical establishment in politics and religious affairs. A slow alliance appears to be forming with Grand Ayatollah Sistani leading this coalition against the Iranian attempts. Tehran has attempted to push Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi as an alternative to Sistani! It is incredibly difficult to replace Al Sistani and also a rather stupid move by Iran as it is bound to evoke a lot of anger from the ordinary Iraqi.

The Kurdish government will also be joining the anti Maliki grouping, there is now a renewed effort to remove Al Maliki. There is a possibility of protesters demonstrating against the Maliki government corruption and inability to provide improvement to basic services such as healthcare and most importantly electricity as was seen last year.

Israel and Iran Clash

What can we expect in the coming weeks?

Israeli escalations will continue in the coming days in the lead up to the meeting between the P5 + 1 and Iran. It is a fact that the Iranian concessions made as disclosed in the previous post was due to Israeli pressure and the unpredictability of the Israeli's.

What was interesting is that the Netanyahu had mentioned that 4 countries had made preparations for war against Iran. US, Britain and France are likely to be the main candidates.

Add this to the fact that polls show that the Israeli public opinion is that they want the Israeli government to conduct a pre-emptive strike against Iran.

AFP Link
"The poll, published in Haaretz newspaper, found that 65 percent of Jewish Israelis agreed with the statement that "the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would be greater than the price it would pay for attacking Iran's nuclear facilities."

The recent report by the Israeli Defence and Security Committee in the Knesset said that if war broke out, it would encompass Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran against Israel. The report further stated that they strongly believe that the proportion of civilian casualties as a result of Katyusha rockets will be 300 - down from 500 of the previous estimate. But lets not forget that Hezbollah have been provided with SCUD - D missiles provided by the Syrian regime after the revolution started.

I am sure many of you must be wondering about the recent public statements of Yuval Diskin (Former Shin Bet Chief) and Meir Dagan and their criticisim of Netanyahu's positions on Iran. Most recently Ehud Olmert has joined this chorus against the Israeli leadership claiming that this war would be catastrophic for Israeli national security.

What do would an Iranian intelligence analyst be thinking after watching and reading the statements of these officials?

They would be highly suspicious as to whether this is an Israeli attempt at strategic deception that has been used for a long time against the Arabs. Why?
Netanyahu is getting so popular to the extent that he is considering calling early elections.

The Likud party appears to be consilidating its position in the government so that it is less susceptible to pressure from smaller parties especially Kadima. Barak will remain the chairman of the Labour party and his team is already in the government. What does all this mean? The government is united to face the Iranian nuclear threat. Could this explain the reason why the Iranian ambassador mentioned that Iran would be ready to implement additional protocols of the NPT allowing suprise IAEA team visits to Iranian nuclear sites.

Also notable is the UAE's claim that they can restore the 3 disputed islands to UAE control via military power if the political decision is made (made by Dubai Police Chief Dhahi Khalfan).Technically it is possible, but the GCC strategists will not do this due to the political cost of the operation. Seizing control of the 3 islands would mean that the Iranian people would unite behind the regime.

For example. on April 23rd in the Journal of Middle East Studies, Ataollah Mohajerani (a person who spent his life in various positions in the Iranian regime )  wrote an article entitled "Israel's attack on Iran: A moment of Irony or truth"  in which he says that the Iranians will unite including reformers and supporters of the green movement if attacked because national security and independence of the state is more important than democracy.

What the gulf take away from this is that this will be the reaction of the Iranian people in the event of any clash - i.e. even the 3 islands issue.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ankara Whispers...

The latest from Ankara is the following:

The latest from Ankara is that Iran asked US/European powers to restrain Israel from striking as long as negotiations continue. There is also semi approval of stopping 20% enrichment and in return Iranians made a list of demands such as saying that they wont dismantle the reactor in Fordo and asking the west to gradually remove some sanctions in return.

Next will continue to talk in Baghdad: - why Baghdad? This is possibly due to Iran having an extensive intelligence network there in order to find out what the negotiators are thinking.

Why do the Iranians want to talk all of a sudden?
1. Possibility of an Israeli military strike and 2. Congress's decision to pass another batch of U.S. economic sanctions affecting the import oil from Iran.  Analysts believe that Iran has been accumulating during the last six months of Uranium enriched to 20%, giving it greater flexibility to withdraw from the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and putting together a bomb during a short period as did the North Koreans. The Iranians know that the Israelis know it and so the fear of Israeli strike seriously. 

India has started looking elsewhere for oil because it fears that Iranian oil may be disrupted as a result of a war.


Turkish strategists have released a report on the 10th of April regarding intervention in Syria. For more insight into what an intervention will look like please read the report:

However, the Turkish/NATO strategists know that action in Syria means challenging Russia hence are extra cautious on Syria. Challenging Russia is a big NO NO for NATO and don't really want to go into conflict with Russia. Plans are certainly in place. It is likely that intervention in Syria will only take place if NATO are with Turkey on the plans as they are challenging Russia.

 A leak of a report by officials, giving an insight into failures by NATO in the recent campaign in Libya suggests that NATO is not onboard. 
The article in NYT can be read here:

PM Erdogan's visit to KSA also ended in numerous disagreements on financing of refugees, purpose of the safe haven and most notably Islamists ruling the Free Syria in a post Asad world.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hezbollah, Israel, Iran and the LIon - Regional Update - April 4th

Firstly, We at the Middle East Analysis would like to apologise for our long delay in posting information. This update will obviously slightly longer than usual to explain the complete scenario.

Summary of Regional Situation:

- GCC conveys message to Russia that either way the revolution will win either via a coup or a war of attrition
- Syrian intelligence has  increased support to the PKK, in response to Turkish logistical support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)
- Israel is on red alert based on intelligence inputs of Hezbollah preparing to launch a diversionary strike against Israel to get the Syrian people to divert their attention to Israel and also to any possible retaliation for an attack on Iran
- GCC on red alert in expectation of an Israeli strike which they believe can take place from any time now.
- Turkish government preparing for intervention in Syria - its a case of when, not if.
- Libyan veterans bought in by Qatar to join the ranks of the FSA


Contrary to news reports weapons have been reaching FSA and will do so in a faster way given that the US has decided to supply communication sets (that was previously being intercepted by Syrian intelligence).

Jordan and GCC intelligence mixed with western intelligence are running their intel/logistical/financial support from Iraqi sunni tribal areas.

PRC even though vetoed the UN resolution, they dont think Assad can survive. Damascus was the first major middle East Hub for the Chinese intel. The Syrian office of PRC state security Guanbu sent many messges to Beijing warning that Assad's fall is inevitable.

Apparently Guanbu has been on the ball on events in Libya and Egypt i.e. got it right. So the Top Brass at PRC  party HQ is listening.

Guanbu has a thinktank called the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations- they have been tasked with preparing for the post assad world. The think tank told leadership to be neutral on Syria as whoever comes in next will guarantee all the contracts with PRC. PRC role mainly civilian but russian contracts maybe cancelled as mainly military in nature.

So, the GCC have signaled that the revolution will continue until the Syrians win, Russia has escalated with naval exercises etc, but the hope is that Russia will reach an accommodation with the GCC to guarantee each others interests. It is clear that there will be only one winner in this battle.

Reports coming from Syria suggest that Libyan mercenaries are being bought in by Qatar. Libyan embassy has been posting adverts for hotel rooms in several turkish cities. Officially these are war veterans who are coming to Turkey for medical treatment and will likely join the FSA camps or join the front line. Rumour has it Qatar is prepared to pay $1000 per month. This was given further credence as Gulf nations pledged $100million in salaries for FSA soldiers.

What is taking place in Syria is a clear proxy war.

Massoud Barzani from the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government has promised Syrian Kurds that they will receive intelligence support for their cause.

The ultimate plan for the region under the GCC eyes is for Syria to become an independent Sunni power which protects the minorities. Then the next plan of attack is to ensure Hezbollah disarms in accordance to the UN security resolution. This resolution was agreed by Hezbollah originally. Hezbollah will become purely a political entity as a result.

Israel is likely/or will be encouraged to give up the Golan to the new "Free" Syria to push peace in the region.

Meanwhile, the next step will be to bring back Iraq from Iranian control and become an independent power. There is a renewed thrust to bring down Maliki of late hence why Maliki has begun to help Assad ever so slightly but remain neutral. Maliki knows he is next.

This is all to remove Iranian influence completely from the region. It is an open secret that the Gulf is in open conflict with Iran and they are determined to win!

Turkish General inspects troops on the Syrian border last week
Turkey in the next few weeks will be compelled to act by creating a humanitarian corridor as it sees the mounting number of refugees headed for Turkish refugee camps. Now that Damascus is giving money to the PKK to cause problems, Turkey will also have to act to prevent any miscreants from entering.

We predict that Erdogan would have conveyed to the Iranian leadership last week that the Turkish government is compelled to act in Syria and does not wish for conflict against Iran. So  All we can say Turkey is probably ready for intervention now and are ready to roll. It is communicating with Iran to prevent any escalation between them.


Israel continue to remain on red alert due to Hezbollah getting ready for a major offensive. Hezbollah hopes to deploy booby trapped drones and anti aircraft batteries. Also in expectation of a renewed confrontation with Iran, Hezbollah have been busy preparing. In order to mitigate their weakness on land and air, Hezbollah are currently busy doubling their underground tunnels and cave networks.

US and Israel continue to exercise regularly - a few months ago US troops had joined Israeli troops on the ground to deter any Hezbollah strike.

We could expect a pre-emptive attack any time by Israel against Hezbollah. The aim of the Hezbollah's action against Israel is not only for diversion but also to expend any Israeli hardware destined for Iran.

The GCC is also on red alert in expectation of an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites at any time from now. A lot is being done to prevent this war - particularly the latest US intelligence assessment. This has not deterred the Israeli resolve. Although, US is keen to impress on the Israeli government that they should wait for the sanctions to bite. It usually takes 6 months for this to take place - hence by June/July we can start to see the effects. No one knows what the Israeli's are planning but the regional situation is such that Israel can attack Iran at any point.

Israel has also leaked the news that Israeli recovery crews will be based in Azerbaijan to rescue any downed pilots in a mission in Iran. Some Azeri politicians have also begun to call Northern Iran as Southern Azerbaijan!

We can also possibly expect Hassan Nasrallah to retire as the leader of Hezbollah after the Syrian war and be replaced by his deputy. But this is a story for another day.


Thanks for your interest - as always drop your comments at "eye.on.middleeast" "At" Gmail dot com

Friday, November 4, 2011

Regional Update - Nov 4th

This week has been particularly action packed with Israel testing a ballistic missile system, Turkey threatening to send its warships to escort aid ships to the port of Gaza, Syria - Arab League deals, UK stands ready to deploy its Trident equipped submarines in Arabian Gulf waters to support an allied mission to destroyIranian nuclear sites.


We continue where we left off from our 2 part series on the Syrian situation.

We are of the opinion that large number of alawite leaders (both businessmen and military) are of the view that it is now too late to save the system. However, the question they seem to be pondering is whether they will continue to have a role in a post Assad world? Will the wider public take it easy on them? Looking at Egypt,  businessmen who were allied with the Mubarak regime are today being prosecuted and targeted, so we should probably conclude that Syrian public will not go easy on the alawite community. Therefore It is likely that several Alawites may fight right to the end and prolong the brutal attack on citizens. This will lead to further growing international pressure. Just yesterday the Chinese asked the Syrian government to resolve the issue.

Is the Syrian government agreement with the Arab League to implement reforms a sign of strength or weakness? Probably weakness. In our opinion, this is just to buy more time, on the ground not a lot seems to have changed as more deaths were reported yesterday and today.

The Alawite military can still rely on a vast number of loyal soldiers, therefore this is a recipe for civil war. So therefore efforts are underway to convince the army to conduct a coup in order to have an orderly transition of power preventing a civil war from taking place. Will this be successful? Maybe.

Keep in mind, that for Obama and Sarkozy elections are coming up. It is easier for them to show external success than to show domestic economic successes, so you will see Sarko and Obama more active with regards to Syria.


The international pressure on Iran seems to be increasing. If the IAEA and western/GCC intelligence reports are to be believed it appears that Iran is speeding up its nuclear activity.   If this is not resolved diplomatically, war is the last option. Therefore, countries require more time to prepare for the eventual war.

The Gulf intelligence agencies have compiled an intelligence report titeled "The nuclearisation of Iran". This is meant to be issued prior to the GCC Defence ministers meeting in Riyadh sometime in November/December. According to the report, Iran has recently tested  a neutron initiator, which is used to detonate anuclear bomb at the Fordo site. It also mentioned that Khamanei has taken full contol of the nuclear file, away from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The report also notes that North Korea recently sold Iran an MCNPX 2.6.0 computer program that simulates the neutron and photon flows in nuclear processes.A North Korean team of engineers were in Tehran to train defence ministry officials on the program.

There appears to be a lot of deception and psy-ops going on. First Britain confirmed that it will take part in any operation to support an allied mission to destroy Iranian nuclear sites by deploying its Trident equipped Submarines. The British subs were in the Arabian gulf a few years ago conducting manuevers with other allied forces.

Raising the nuclear issue about Syria's attempts to acquire nuclear capability was also we think, a means to attack Iran diplomatically and also keep the pressure on the Syrian regime. Transfer of US troops from Iraq to the Gulf is also due to the fact that there is an estimate that Iran will respond to the removal of the Assad regime by retaliating in the Gulf. This will be done via proxy groups such as Mahdi army in Iraq (the IRGC is busy professionalising the Mahdi Army and building it on the lines of Hezbollah), Hezbollah and others.

Israel Air Force planes participating in an aviation drill at Decimomannu air base, Italy, Oct. 2011.

Another interesting piece of news was the NATO exercise with the Israeli Air force, where F-16s travelled 1700km to bases in Italy, which was supposedly a dress rehearsal for an attack on Iran. Then also the leak of news to the media about PM Netanyahu convincing his cabinet to agree to military strikes on Iran. Our opinion is that this is nothing but strategic deception in order to maintain the pressure on Iran and divert its focus away from saving the Syrian regime. These exercises are also due to the fact that western alliance do not rule out some response by the Iranian regime to the removal of the Assad regime (their ally).

The decision for Erdogan to send Turkish Naval ships to escort aid ships to Gaza may also be strategic deception. Most people know that the Turkish Navy has no capability to take on Israeli navy, therefore there is a possibilitythat this serves as  a cover for some other action.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

India and the Syrian Imbroglio: Part 2

The conclusion in the GCC is that a civil war will strengthen the Asaad regime and allow his regime to last longer. This is why from the beginning the KSA has been telling the US that they don't want the MB in power in Syria (The US is busy cutting deals with MB in Egypt and Syria if some sources are to be believed but we'll leave that for another day) and that the KSA want a secular govt in power (another reason for this is that arabia has been at war with Mesapotamia and Persia since mankind).

So what’s the next step?
The next step is for the intelligence services of the GCC, Turkey and Jordan to contact the key movers and shakers within the Syrian military. Making them split and join with the protestors will actually strengthen the Asaad position and allow him to retain control for longer. Then Syria will descend into another Iraq. So the move is to essentially establish contact with the Syrian Colnols/ National Security Council etc and negotiate with them. Get their opinions together and eventually cripple the ability of the military to function. Then essentially ask for their support for the Syrian people's aspirations. This could be similar to that of Egypt or could even be via a military coup de etat.

This should occur when soldiers are sick off killing unarmed protestors to the point of disgust and start rebelling against illegitimate instructions from superiors.

The defection of Col. Maher Al Asaad showed that even minorities are against the Asaad regime. The protestors have decided not to take up arms and this is actually to prevent a civil war from taking place.

Asaad's response.

Syrian army operations in Northern Syria

Asaad's response has been quite smart. He is not afraid to kill many people. His forces in key positions are mainly from the Syrian minorities and from families that have been allied with the regime. This has brought an attitude where the soldiers are killing for the protection of their communities. The continued use of the terms 'fighting armed groups' is to project a legitimacy and maintain the morale of the military and avert pressure.

However, our sources suggest that the Asaad regime has decided to sideline the military from anti protestor operations. The regime has chosen to use the Hezbollah, Iranian police/troops and other Alawite militia's to conduct the anti protestor policing/killings. This is to prevent the military from splitting.

The Syrian intelligence has conducted several operations in neighbouring countries. Intelligence sources confirm that several key opposition figures (Over a dozen) have been kidnapped in Turkey and Lebanon by the Syrian intelligence. The well known case to date is that of Colonel Hussein Harmoush who has retracted all his statements that he made when he had defected.

Tehran's role

Tehran's role is to provide military support and also from a strategic perspective provide the Syrian regime with the experience (dealing with protestors, their communication, disrupting protesters via the internet) that was learned during the 2009 mass protests in Iran in the wake of Ahmadinejad's election victory. 

The Iranian National Security council have written a document on how they can provide support to the Syrian regime. These mainly involve economic projects such as the $10billion oil & gas pipeline from Iran to Syria of which lots of money had already been transferred to the Syrian government.

Iran will have to switch focus back to its internal problems eventually with planned demonstrations against Corruption and also how to organize future parliamentary elections. It is also important to note the last IRGC exercise was actually on how to deal with demonstrations across Iranian cities.


Our conclusion is that we expect to see this conflict being drawn out for a longer period than previously expected although the Turkish intelligence is telling its friends that Asaad's fall will come quickly. Is this because they have already began negotiating with key players?

As India is a relatively fringe player in this crisis, we should remain neutral and suggest that the Asaad regime must implement reforms or risk exhausting the patience of the international community. At the same time, we should begin establishing contacts with key elements of the regime to ensure our interests in the country are protected in a post Asaad Syria.