Monday, March 2, 2015

Re: Big powers courting Iran; Moscow building bridges with Balkan states


Big powers courting Iran; Moscow building bridges with Balkan states

Like Orthodox Christian Greece, Serbia and Montenegro


A few days ago I had circulated articles underlining the growing importance of Iran as a regional power, since the Shia revolution in Iran in 1979, when the Shah of Iran, Washington policeman in the region was overthrown by Ayatollah Khomeini. U.S.-led West and Sunni powers in the region with vociferous support from Israel have tried to squeeze and browbeat the Iranian nation, which had survived Arabs ,Mongols ,Turks, Russians ,British and others has done so again by remaining steadfast  in face of vile propaganda and sanctions against Iran. Since 1979 the importance of Israel looms very large as the outpost of Western military power and corporate houses. Tel Aviv has been most obdurate and callous and criminal in dealing with Palestinian rights and aspirations.


It was unwise of the Indian government to have voted against Iran in the International Atomic energy agency in Vienna, according to reports on the basis of a telephone call to IMF pensioner Manmohan Singh. Even Pakistan and Morocco had abstained.




India thus lost the leadership of those countries which are opposed to demonic power of five nuclear weapon states who have veto power in the United Nations Security Council, including such pygmies as United Kingdom and France. The word United Nation itself came from the alliance of those countries which had fought against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan. The United Nations needs overhaul, but will take place only when there is a tectonic change in world military and economic power balance or a serious economic crisis in the United States, which as jokes go produces little except green backs and military hardware .


By signing the Indo US nuclear agreement, New Delhi gained little than it lost, as it is becoming apparent every day, but those who suffer from IMF syndrome keep on supporting their masters in Washington.


Some seven years ago when the so-called grand daddy of strategic thinking in India K.Subrahmanyam was chiding the Indians for supporting Saddam ,a constant friend of India and badmouthing Iran, I sent him my article on Iran and some other reading material on Islam and regional situation. He was generous enough to acknowledge that he had benefited from that article URL reproduced below.


Dear Mr.Gajendra Singh

I read your article on Iran with great personal benefit. I shall certainly go through ypur list of articles. Thanks a lot

With best wishes. 2 May8



I am now reproducing below two articles about how, USA, Russia and China are courting Iran and on Russia which in spite of being pressurized somewhat like Iran and kept pre-occupied by blatant and open intervention in Ukraine bringing US troops up to 300 m to the Russian border. Putin has been withstood all attempts, including economic warfare and sanctions and criminal interference in Ukraine and in Middle East. In fact, with the change for a New Leftist government in Greece, Moscow is now trying to establish a partnership with Athens. Moscow is also trying to come back Serbia and Montenegro, countries which like Russia believe in the Orthodox form of Christianity.

The Turkish Stream gas pipe will go upto the Greek border .Putin has already visited Hungary.


K Gajendra Singh, 27 February 2015, Delhi

The Bidding War for Iran

February 24th, 2015 - 1:00 pm

By Spengler 

The world now anticipates that the U.S. will reach a strategic agreement with Iran. Russia and China are responding by offering their own deals to Tehran. A possible game-changer is Russia's offer of the Antey-2500 air defense system to Iran. After canceling the planned delivery of the older, shorter-range S-300 system in 2010, Russia has now escalated drastically by proposing to sell Iran a much more effective system. Western air forces have never engaged the Russian system, so we don't know how exactly good it is. No-one I know in the military wants to find out; by Western estimates, the Russian systems are extremely good. It is possible that Russia's unwelcome intervention might make Iran effectively impregnable from attack by Israel. The Antey-2500 can take down missiles as well as airplanes.


In addition, Russia is retaliating against the West's stance on Ukraine. Russia has made it clear all along that it would respond to Western efforts to remove Crimea from Russia by making trouble in Iran, as Russia's deputy foreign minister warned last March. Russia, unlike the U.S., views the world as a single chessboard: attack my position here, and I will hurt you somewhere else where you are not prepared. Putin isn't crazy; he's a Russian commander in the classic mold, forcing the burden of uncertainty onto his adversary, muddying the waters and leaving his opponent guessing. His countermoves on the global chessboard include a prospective alliance with China as well as mischief in the Persian Gulf. My conservative friends who urge us to "stand up to Putin" should take a cold, dispassionate look at the whole of the chessboard and anticipate moves of this sort; otherwise, the whole thing is a lot of beery blather. As I wrote recently, Israel takes the brunt of American policy blunders. What happens if Putin gives Iran the means to shoot down anything Israel (and a good deal of what the U.S.) might throw at it? No-one in Washington seems to ask such questions. I've been warning about such a development for the past five years (see "When the Cat's Away, the Mice Kill Each Other," Oct. 20, 2009).


China, which depends on Persian Gulf oil more than any other major economy, is watching these developments with alarm, as a Feb. 22 Xinhua commentary makes clear (hat tip: M.K. Bhadrakumar):


U.S. President Barack Obama, who admitted that Washington "brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine" a year ago, has warned that a collapse in the peace process could push his country into approving deliveries of weapons to the East European country. Such a proposal is not only counterproductive, but also dangerous. Indeed, the Americans might be the only one poised to gain from the Ukraine crisis with both Europe and Russia being weakened, but they should be mindful that one who sees the crisis as a power game would only drag itself into the quagmire. By antagonizing Russia, for instance, Uncle Sam might lose a possible – and powerful – partner in its ongoing anti-terrorism drive in the Middle East.


That hardly needs translation: Beijing is worried about instability in the Persian Gulf, whose oil China needs more than any other major economy, and observes that Russia is in position to stir up instability in retaliation for Western intervention in Ukraine. Russia may be a second-rate power, but it still is a power in the Middle East, as well as the purveyor of game-changing military technologies.


China, meanwhile, is courting Iran. Visiting Tehran Feb. 15, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi "said that increasing relations with Iran is one of his country's foreign policy priorities….Cooperation between Beijing and Tehran is of strategic importance and beyond bilateral relationship, Wang added. The Chinese foreign minister also said that the nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany) have entered final phases and nothing should be done to prevent the talks to yield a result….Wang also expressed his country's opposition to Western-led sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program." China operates on the principal that one should keep one's friends close and one's enemies closer. It has sold a great deal of weapons to Iran, but sold much better weapons to Saudi Arabia, including top-of-the-line intermediate range missiles that give KSA "a formidable deterrence capability" against Iran, in the words of one Chinese analyst.


Now Beijing faces the prospect that Iran will become the dominant regional player with de facto help from the United States, and is trying to reposition itself as an Iranian ally — while Russia does the same thing. It's a bidding war for the good graces of the craziest regime on earth.

Read more:

Russia's Quest for Balkan Influence and Bases

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 35

February 25, 2015

By: Stephen Blank

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Russia has long harbored an expansionist drive to the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. And the prelude or precondition for Moscow to be able to make real progress toward securing its influence in these areas has been its domination of Ukraine and the Black Sea (see EDM, September 22, 2014; October 16, 2014). Furthermore, it is quite apparent that Moscow believes its main geopolitical threat is European integration (see EDM, May 29, 2014). Therefore, it is no surprise that Russian foreign policy has invested heavily in raising its influence throughout this entire geographic expanse in order to break up the Euro-Atlantic community.


No sooner had the new Greek government been elected, Russia made clear its interest and readiness to support Greece in its economic crisis and to expand military-technical collaboration with the country, should Athens request it (, February 11). This led to a great deal of, as yet, unconfirmed speculation that Russia is asking Greece for a naval or other base there. What these reports have apparently done is conflated the more authoritative accounts, based on statements by Cypriot Prime Minister Nicos Anastasiades, which were originally presented in Greek and Cypriot sources (, February 10). These reports then led RIA Novosti to claim that an agreement would soon be signed from Paphos Air Force Base (RIA Novosti, February 9). Russian interest in Paphos and acquiring Cypriot and Balkan military bases is longstanding. Moscow has sought Paphos as a base since at least 2012–2013, as well as a naval base on the Adriatic at Bar in Montenegro. And it has previously acquired a land base at Nis in Serbia, ostensibly for humanitarian operations (see, November 30, 2011).


So far, Moscow has apparently not reached host-country agreements for any of these Mediterranean-region bases—with the exception of Nis—and the recent reports about Russo-Greek talks on the subject raised a media firestorm. Numerous Western and Russian sources have commented on the new extreme-left-and-right Greek government's links to figures like Russian neo-imperialist and Eurasianist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin as well as other members of Russia's elite establishment. Consequently, Russian interests in splitting Greece from its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union make perfect sense for Vladimir Putin, especially as he has been trying to accomplish this goal for a decade now, if not longer (Moscow Times, February 4). But while these incidents have received the most Western media coverage in the past few weeks, they are not isolated developments.


The Russian press has lately been particularly exercised over events in the NATO-aspirant Balkan country of Macedonia, whose ongoing discord with North Atlantic Alliance–member Greece over Macedonia's constitutional name could open it to Russian influence. In particular, reports of an attempted coup in Macedonia in late January–early February by the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Zoran Zaev, have led Moscow to attempt to intervene politically there. Macedonian intelligence declared, on January 31, that it had foiled this coup, which involved the Social Democrats and foreign intelligence services that were not identified. And on February 2, Moscow called for a thorough investigation into this thwarted coup plot (Skopje, MAKFAX, February 2). Russia accepted the Macedonian government's allegations that a coup had, indeed, been attempted. And through its direct involvement, Moscow demonstrated its obsession with what it believes to be continuous Western activities aiming at sparking coups across the Eurasian space (such as the "coup" the Kremlin believes the United States and the West initiated in Ukraine one year ago). Accordingly, Russia intervened in this case to show its support for the Macedonian regime, while simultaneously attacking the US and its allies for purportedly interfering in Macedonia's internal affairs (Skopje, Lajm, February 3). Ironically, Moscow adopted this position just three months after protesting Macedonia's efforts to join NATO and the EU, claiming they would be regarded as a mistake and a provocation (Skopje, Utrinski Vestnik, February 3).


In other words, for all the obsession about Western-sponsored coups, Russian policy is supremely opportunistic and anti-Western and is willing to exploit any opening to enhance its status and influence throughout the Balkans and the adjoining seas: Adriatic, Aegean and Mediterranean. This relates, as well, to Russia's contemporary efforts to increase its leverage in the Levant and Middle East (see EDM, August 16, 2012). Meanwhile, Russian militarization of the Black Sea continues unabated, and the second Minsk ceasefire agreement covering the war in eastern Ukraine, which Russia will almost certainly not abide by in the coming weeks, looks particularly fragile. Taken together, these intersecting regional trends have only intensified existing Western and, especially, Balkan concerns that Moscow is seeking to destabilize the Balkans to prevent these states' integration with the wider Euro-Atlantic community.


Increasingly, the Kremlin's grand designs in the Balkans—embracing energy deals, subversion, military bases, arms sales, organized crime and intelligence penetration—are becoming ever clearer. President Putin and his subordinates have been active throughout Southeastern Europe, deploying all these instruments of Russian power for over a decade. The invasion of Ukraine makes all these activities even more topical and dangerous. Consequently, Western inability to devise a coherent response to Russia simply exacerbates the threat to the Balkans as a whole and to individual states within it.