KGS Nightwatch Report on Growing Iranian Military Provocations

This note comes from KGS in a recent edition of their excellent Nightwatch report:

Iran-Egypt-US: A US Defense Department spokesman said the US has no indications that the Iranian naval ships which transited the Suez Canal with Egyptian permission ever reached a Syrian port this past weekend. Two Iranian frigates with a support ship supposedly transited the Suez Canal en route the Syrian port of Tartus, to join Russian ships there. Iranian media bragged about the out of area deployment.   Comment: The Iranian media claim the ships reached the Syrian port of Tartus, but the US says they did not. Neither side apparently is willing to divulge to open source news services the present location of the ships.   The US spokesman said there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the latest deployment of the warships. That statement is not accurate because the Iranians showed they are prepared to use military power, such as it is, in support of their allies. That is not a trivial demonstration of intent.   The navy’s execution seems to have fallen short, but the leadership’s intention is clear, which is backed up by the decision to cut crude exports to France and the UK. Iranian threats look serious, never mind that they also are potentially suicidal.   Iran is struggling to protect its interests simultaneously on two fronts – in Syria and against the international community. Iran seems comfortable confronting the international community, but is struggling to support effectively its proxy in Damascus.   The attempted deployment of naval ships to Syria measures the importance Iran attaches to the survival of the al Asad government. Cutting oil to the UK and France, by comparison, appears to have been a much less burdensome executive decision. Syria represents Iran’s greatest strategic vulnerability. The banking sanctions on dollar-delimited transactions are a close second and the oil export embargo is a distant third.   Iran-Europe: Iranian National Oil Company head Ahmad Qalehbani said on 20 February that Iran could cut crude exports to other European Union nations, in addition to France and the United Kingdom, if the member states continue to take hostile action against Iran.      Comment: Iran is playing hard ball. A cut in Iranian oil exports to Greece, for example, would undermine the austerity measures enacted by the Greek government as a condition for the European bailout. Greece could become insolvent even with the European bailout.

The report goes on to highlight China’s tepid support of sanctions. China and Russia can both be counted on, in my humble opinion, to side with the Iranian allied communist and Islamist countries if a larger war breaks out. These allies include Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia, Zimabawe, North Korea and other states which are Chinese and Russian clients. Many African communist countries were the beneficiaries of Chines and Cuban “advisers” in the 70s so I expect Chavez is willing to do take up that cause. Reports of Venezuelan allied FARC fighters aiding the regime in Libya bolster that opinion.

A war in Iran, which is inevitable, could drag the entire world into a world war.