Category Archives: International

Why the Iranian Deal Makes Us Less Safe

The World in 2022; Consider this scenario.

The nuclear deal with Iran 7 years ago made us less safe because it lifted the Arms Embargo on Iran two years ago. This allowed Iran to undermine the Arab countries in the Middle East will turn the Middle East into a war zone between radical Sunni extremists and radical Shiite extremists. It enslaved 300 million people across Southern and Eastern Asia and Northern Africa in a radical reign of terror. It will not stay there. They will enflame Africa and Europe. The Americas will see more terrorism the more isolated they become. The West could see the end of its 500 year cycle and our experiment of liberty is under its greatest challenge since Hitler and Stalin aligned in 1939-40. Now Iran has had 7 years to enrich and consolidate its power over a quarter of the world’s oil, it withdrew from the framework. It used the 150 billion dollars freed up by withdrawing the sanctions to buy nukes from cash strapped Pakistan which fell to Iranian funded Taliban radicals as well as fissionable material. It used the research reactor, Fordo, to refine its techniques. It acquired ballistic missiles as now allowed by the agreement and sent up satellites that spy on Israel and its few remaining opponents in the region such as Kurdistan and Saudi Arabia. It mapped out their military and civilian assets.

Iran bought the plans to not only develop the atom bomb but secretly went straight to the neutron bomb after skillful espionage of old French designs. Instead of bombing its opponents traditionally, suicide bombers smuggled tactical neutron bombs into key locations in Western Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Riyadh. The support of the Ahrar al Najran movement in 2015 with Iran’s new wealth split the royal kingdom in 2020 and led to the defeat of the Saudi military in Yemen. That defeat toppled a half a dozen moderate Arab states in the region and is now threatening to bring back the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt which has joined with Hamas and taken over The Sinai and threatens the Suez Canal.

Israel has lost Palestine which is under Hamas and is bunkered behind walls and a state of military occupation. Schools are bombed, tourism is down, and fear is rampant. 300,000 Jews have left Israel along with a greater number of Arab Christians who have immigrated to America which passed as the last bastion of a new normalcy in the free world.

Today, Iran announced that it has 10 missiles aimed at Ankara, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, and key bases in each country. It demands that the 3 nations negotiate their surrender by converting to Shiite Islam or paying Jizya tribute. The Labor Prime Minister who succeeded Netanyahu after he was assassinated by agents of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who masqueraded as Hezbollah, put forth a tribute bill to the Knesset. His government fell and elections are in two weeks. President Hillary Clinton tried to snap back the sanctions but by then Iran and its agents had an economic stranglehold on the economies of Europe and China.

Clinton is in an untenable political situation. She endorsed the Obama deal in 2015 and now the world is coming apart because of it. She barely won reelection and is now the weakest President since James Buchanan. Former Governor Scott Walker, the Republican nominee was killed a week before the 2020 election in a bombing by an IED that looked strangely similar to those developed by Iranian intelligence in the Iraq War. The FBI suspected Iranian involvement but could never prove it. As it zeroed in on the cell, they committed mass suicide rather than be interrogated. They left traps which killed 10 law enforcement agents and 2 firefighters as the abandoned Muslim Community Center burned to the ground. The explosions, which set off dirty bombs, contaminated a city block in suburban Richmond, Virginia. An elementary school had to abandoned. 50 children were sickened and 5 died with others suffering long term. 3 mosques were burned during rioting in Richmond and a dozen others across America. 30 Christian Churches and 12 Jewish Synagogues were burned or bombed in retaliation. President Clinton declared a state of emergency and martial law. She rode the disorganization of the GOP losing its standard barrier and controls on crowds meeting to a narrow reelection. Now she is facing plunging polls and unrest from the militia movement who claims that she stole the election when she required federal marshals to count disputed ballots in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. She won the narrowest victory since 2000 by 2 electoral votes. With militia on the right and ISIS and Iranian terrorists on the other flank, America seems uneasy and ready to explode. 15 states have called for a Constitutional Convention to allow succession.

Her options are limited. She continued the Obama/Ryan defense budgets. In the words of former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the U. S. was no longer on a war footing, the Navy has only 8 operational carrier groups, the Army is at its smallest level since before World War 2 and eliminated the Ground Combat Vehicle program, and the Air Force eliminated the A-10 and reduced the C-5 Galaxy fleet. Meanwhile the IMF replaced the Dollar with SDR’s backed by gold, and a market basket of currency dominated by the Yuan and the dollar. No longer able to print money with impunity and export its inflation, America’s credit card has been cut off. Interests have soared to 20% after foreigners began to pull 6 trillion dollars from the American economy. The rising interest rates on the 20 trillion dollar federal debt and combined government and private debt which total 65 trillion dollars have sent the nation into a depressionary spiral. Cities rioted when food stamps were cut by 30% and people ran out of food 10 days before the month ended. 10 cities have been under martial law since 2021. While she was preoccupied, she did not snap back the sanctions when Iran made seemingly minor violations of the agreement.

Our New Leader,Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Smiling in Triumph

Our New Leader,Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Smiling in Triumph

While all of this is happening, neutron bombs unleash waves of gamma radiation in Western Jerusalem, Riyadh, and London. Those governments are made inoperable. Pending Israeli elections are on the verge of suspension. Iranian troops take over the land of Mecca 4 days later along with the wealth and oil fields left undamaged and free of hundreds of thousands of infidels who died from the blast which killed people but left infrastructure. The bombs also left the holy sites of Jerusalem undefiled while freeing it of 200,000 Jewish and Christian infidels with as many sickened. Khamenei declared the 50,000 Muslim dead in Jerusalem, who were collateral damage are Shaheed or martyrs because they died Istishhad–in a holy sacrifice to Allah. Turkey, Egypt, France, England, Bosnia, Albania, the stans of the old Soviet Union, and much of Africa, reel from coordinated riots. Governments sued for peace When terror cells in Brussels unveil Red Mercury suitcase Neutron bombs outside of the European parliament. 7 years ago they sat across from Iranian diplomats issuing terms, but now they beg for peace on the Supreme Leader’s terms. Europe is on the verge of agreeing to give 100 Billion Euros a year for the next 10 years as Jizya–tax on the pain of death. Mohammad Javad Zarif, who they once saw as a smiling moderate foreign minister, is now the new Caliph of Córdoba. Senator Rand Paul revived the Jeffersonian rally cry, with a new twist, trillions for defense, but not one cent for Jizya tribute. Millions demonstrate in the streets in defiance of Executive Order 12656 revised in 2019 under the War and Emergency Powers Act but the military refuses to recognize the suspension of the Constitution.

President Barack Obama and his 5 allies did indeed make a legacy agreement with Iran. Unfortunately, the world will curse them for the next 3 generations because 500 years of Western advance has fallen to the Islamic Caliphate and a new Holocaust has been unleashed.

Khamenei Says Iranian Foreign Policy Towards the US Won’t Change

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Speaking officially earlier on Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that “A landmark nuclear deal with world powers won’t change Iran’s stance toward the arrogant United States government.

While proponents of the recent nuclear accord may speculate that the statement was intended for domestic consumption, opponents will use the comment to strengthen their case.

No word as yet on White House or State Department reaction.

Delaware Congressman John Carney Comments on Iran Nuclear Agreement

Delaware’s sole U.S. Representative, John Carney, has issued the following statement on the nuclear agreement with Iran:

Congressman Carney Statement on Nuclear Agreement with Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman John Carney (D-DE) today released the following statement on the nuclear agreement with Iran:

“I’m pleased to hear that an agreement has been reached — I look forward to studying the details of it with skeptical and clear eyes. The central question is whether we are indeed better off with the deal than without it.

“As I’ve said all along, a good deal must curtail Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program and put in place a tough regime of inspections that will ensure that Iran is playing by the rules. International inspectors need complete access to Iran’s known nuclear facilities and to other secret facilities that might be used to get around the terms of the agreement.

“I look forward to classified briefings on the specifics of the deal so that I can better assess its merits. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to determine whether this agreement is, in fact, in the best interest of the U.S. and our allies in the region, especially Israel.”

Senator Chris Coons Comments on Iran Nuclear Deal

Posted by: Wolf von Baumgart

Delaware U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has released the following statement regarding the multinational nuclear deal with Iran:

“The United States must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability.  A nuclear-armed Iran would threaten our national security, the security of Israel, and the stability of the entire Middle East.

“I will review the details of this agreement promptly, and I will only support it if this deal prevents every Iranian pathway to develop a nuclear weapons capability.  In conversations with senior Administration officials, I have been clear about the specifics of what I want to see from this nuclear agreement.  The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must have timely and effective access to military and sensitive facilities in Iran, and be able to fully assess Iran’s past illicit nuclear weapons efforts.  The agreement must include strict limits on advanced centrifuge research and development to prevent a rapid upgrade of Iran’s future capacity to enrich uranium.  Any sanctions relief must be based on Iran first meeting its obligations under this deal.  Finally, the international community must maintain its ability to re-impose sanctions should Iran violate the agreement.

“As Congress plays its rightful role in fully reviewing the specifics of this agreement, I urge the Obama Administration to continue to reach out to Congress to discuss the details of this deal.  Administration officials should participate fully in hearings and classified briefings to ensure members of Congress understand the parameters and consequences of this important agreement.”

Responses to Midlantic Dispatch requests to U.S. Senator Tom Carper’s and Congressman John Carney’s offices for public comments on the Iran nuclear agreement are pending and will be posted in their entirety.

President Will Veto Any Congressional Opposition to Iran Nuclear Proliferation Agreement

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

President Obama has vowed that he will veto any congressional legislation that would run contrary to the nuclear accord reached with Iran. He flatly stated that he was confident that the deal will meet the national security interests of the United States and its allies. He also advised members of Congress to tone down their rhetoric regarding Iran.

Under the terms of the agreement reached earlier Tuesday morning in Vienna between the US, Russia, Germany, China, France, UK and the Islamic Republic of Iran, most UN-imposed economic sanctions against Iran will be lifted under the following terms:

⁰ A 15-year delay on advanced nuclear research and production.

⁰ Lengthening of nuclear device breakout time from 2-3 month to 1 year.

⁰ Elimination of 2/3 of Iranian centrifuges.

⁰ IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.

⁰ Prevention of weapons-grade Plutonium production.

⁰ Reduction of Iranian stockpiles of enriched Uranium to 300 Kg with a cap of a 3.67% enrichment level.

⁰ Uranium enrichment to be limited to the existing Natanz facility.

⁰ No enrichment at the Fordow facility.

⁰ No acquisition of heavy water reactors or accumulation of heavy water stockpiles.

⁰ Redesign of the Arak reactor facility and export of spent fuel.

⁰ Re-imposition of UN, US and EU economic sanctions in the event of Iranian violation of the agreement.

The Administration and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, claim that the agreement is a victory as it will virtually eliminate the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons production.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the agreement “a stunning historical mistake” and stated that it is not binding on Israel. “ The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday”, he said. Isreal has opened a Farsi Twitter account to further communicate its concerns to the Iranian public.

House Majority Leader, John Boehner, stated that the agreement would provoke a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Former US UN Ambassador, John Bolton, stated that Iran would not keep its word and he alluded to Iranian/North Korean nuclear weapons development cooperation and the possibility of unknown nuclear facilities in the Zagros Mountains that are very difficult to monitor.

Other critics have pointed out that 24 days notice to the Iranian government is effectively required for IAEA inspections of known Iranian nuclear facilities, the influx of money into the Iranian economy will enable expansion of its external operations KUDZ Force (linked to state-sponsored terrorism) and the difficulty of reimposing sanctions.

The UN arms embargo is scheduled to be lifted over a 5-8 year period.

The Administration’s position can be read at https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/iran-deal

Secretary of State, John Kerry’s comments are available at: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/07/244885.htmlPresident Will Veto Any Congressional Opposition to Iran Nuclear Proliferation Agreement

The text of the entire agreement is available at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/271540181/Nuclear-Deal-Text

The agreement is subject to congressional approval. Concerned citizens should contact their congressional delegations.

Finnish Defense Minister Attends NATO Brussels Conference

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Finland’s Minister of Defense, Jussi Niinistö, participated in a major NATO ministerial meeting held in Brussels on Thursday, 25 June 2015. He took an active part in the Resolute Support (RS) discussions, focused on facilitating training and advice for the Afghan security forces and agencies and the future of the operation.

The meeting also discussed the general security situation in Afghanistan and assessed the progress of Resolute Support from an operational perspective. Finland currently has 80 peacekeepers and advisors stationed in Afghanistan.

Putin Announces That Russia Will Add 40 New ICBMs to its Strategic Nuclear Force in 2015

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Speaking at the Tuesday, June 16 opening of the International Military-Technical Forum ARMY-2015 in the newly-created military-patriotic recreation park in Kubinka, Moscow Region, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that forty new advanced ICBMs will be added to Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal in 2015.“This year, our nuclear forces are going to get more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of penetrating all existing, even the most advanced missile defenses.”, he said. He further elaborated that “The state would persist in paying specific attention to realization of a massive military rearmament program and modernization of the defense industry”.

putin-ballistic-missiles.si

Vladimir Putin opening the IMTF ARMY-2015 Exposition [Photo:RIA Novosti/Alexander Vilf]

This announcement comes in the context of significant Russian weapons systems development including but not limited to: next-generation Yak-130 fighter aircraft, T-14 (Armata) tanks, 40 new navy ships, microwave guns and advanced over-the-horizon radar systems. Putin further claimed that the new strategic missiles were capable of overcoming even the most advanced anti-missile defense systems. The arms buildup comes at a time of increased Russia/NATO tensions over the Ukraine and increasingly expansive Russian naval maneuvers and air force flights in the Baltic area.

According to the official Russian viewpoint, the strategic buildup was made in response to a US move to station troops, armor, missiles, munitions and air assets (including F-22s) in Poland and at least one of Baltic States. Deputy Defense Minister, Anatoly Antonov, was quoted in Russia Today to the effect that the Russian Federation was responding to actions of NATO. “It looks like our colleagues from NATO member states are pushing us into an arms race.” he said.

Independent critics have raised the strategic counterpoint that active encirclement only increases friction and emergent Russian logic for a more aggressive defense posture, by violating the historical international security doctrine of buffer states.

For a comparison of Russian and US Nuclear Forces, see: http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/17/4587

Finnish Defense Minister Meets with Swedish and Estonian Counterparts

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Finland’s Defense Minister, Jussi Niinistö, is currently on his first official visit abroad on Friday June 5, 2015.

He is scheduled to confer with the Swedish Minister of Defense, Peter Hultqvist in Stockholm. Then, it’s on to Tallin for a meeting with Estonian Minister of Defense, Sven Mikser.

In the wake of a recent suspected Russian submarine incursion in Finnish waters near Helsinki and other air and naval incidents in the region, the Ministers will discuss current Baltic Area defense and security issues.

In the broader context, various NATO nations have reported increased aggressiveness, close encounters and diminished safety facors of Russaian Navy manoevres and Air Force flights, potentially affecting maritime and aviation traffic.

Finnish Defense Ministry Pledges Sustainable Development Program

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The Finnish Defense Ministry has pledged to implement a program of sustainable development in its planning and operations as part of a broader long term national program, documented in “The Finland We Want by 2050″.

“We have pledged to sustainable development with several measures and one is our aim at decreasing energy consumption in the premises by 20 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent between 2010 and 2020”, said Planning Officer, Sami Heikkilä.

The Defense Ministry program is aimed at reducing environmental damage resulting from training exercises and regular operations, facilities construction, as well as materials, energy and waste management (including increased utilization of renewable energy sources).

Upon further inquiry, it was revealed that the plan currently did not mention hydrokinetics as a possible energy source. However, Finland currently utilizes significant conventional hydroelectric sources in its domestic power production.

The Defmin pledge may be read in its entirety at:

http://www.defmin.fi/file/3159/THE_DEFENCE_ADMINISTRATION_S_COMMITMENT_TO_SUSTAINABLE_DEVELOPMENT.pdf

Information on advanced hydrokinetic turbine generators may be obtained on the uekus.com website or by e-mailing dorickards@aol.com .

Iranian Patrol Boats Fire on Singaporean Tanker in International Waters

by: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

In the third recent incident involving Iranian actions against international shipping this year in the Persian Gulf, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) patrol boats have fired shots across the bow of the Alpine Eternity (a Singapore registered petrochemical tanker) in international waters.

The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority issued the following statement on 5/14/15:

“With regard to the reported shooting incident on 14 May 2015 (Singapore time), involving a Singapore-registered tanker ‘Alpine Eternity’ that took place in international waters, Singapore is deeply concerned with such actions.”

The (MPA) has requested the Iranian maritime authorities to investigate the incident and prevent future recurrences. The freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce are of critical importance to Singapore and other maritime and trading nations. Such interference with navigational rights is a serious violation of international law.

As to the collision on 22 March 2015 (Singapore time) involving ‘Alpine Eternity’ and an oil platform located in the Persian Gulf, the ship manager, Transpetrol Ship Management Pte. Ltd., had reported the incident to MPA on 23 March 2015. As the Flag Administration of ‘Alpine Eternity’, MPA had immediately commenced a marine safety investigation into the incident in accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s Casualty Investigation Code, and the investigation is still in progress.”

http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/global_navigation/news_center/mpa_news/mpa_news_detail.page?filename=nr150518.xm

UAE Coast Guard vessels responded to the Alpine Eternity’s distress signal and the Iranian patrol boats disengaged shortly thereafter. The IRGCN craft inititally fired bow shots after the tanker’s captain refused a demand to alter course for diversion to an Iranian port.

Previous incidents involving Iranian interference with international shipping in or near the Straits of Hormuz have been executed under specific legal pretexts involving disputes over alleged non-payment of docking fees or similar maritime civil disputes; however, a geopolitical dimension is readily apparent as Iran clearly demonstrates its naval capability to impede a key strategic choke point and influence the spot market price of crude oil.

Iranian Naval Force Reaches Bab al-Mandeb

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

According to the Iranian news agency, IRNA, Iranian naval forces of the 34th Fleet have reached the Bab el-Mandeb, a strategic strait and oil traffic choke point between Yemen and Djibouti, Iran’s navy commander said earlier today. The force consists of the frigate, Alborz (F-72) and the light replenishment ship, Bushehr (AORLH-422).

81591243-6422709V_IRIN_Adm Sayyari

IRIN Commander Vice Admiral Habibolla Sayyari (IRIN Photo)

Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, stated that the IRIN ships are on an anti-piracy patrol mission. “We are present in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with international regulations to ensure the safety of commercial ships of our country against the threat of pirates,” he said. Iranian merchant shipping has been attacked by Somali pirates in the past. Sayyari also stated that the Iranian Navy has maintained a continuous presence in the Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Strait and western India since 2008.

http://irna.ir/en/News/81591243/

IRINS Frigate, Albroz (F-72) FARS Photo

IRINS Frigate, Albroz (F-72) FARS Photo

Last week, Pentagon sources indicated that nine-ship Iranian convoy, suspected of carrying weapons to Houthi insurgents in Yemen had reversed course, but did not indicate the disposition of the Iranian naval vessels.

The 34th Fleet usually rotates anti-piracy operations in the area with the IRIN 33rd Fleet, according to www.arrse.uk

[NOTE: Bab al-Mandeb means “Gate of Tears” in Arabic.]

US Response to Iranian Seizure of the MV Maersk Tigris

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The US is prepared to deal with increasing naval tensions in the Persian Gulf in response to the Iranian seizure of the Marshall Islands registered Danish container ship, MV Maresk Tigris, according to Pentagon sources.

The US State Department, after consultation with Marshall Islands officials, has clarified its position. “The U.S. continues to have “full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands,” according to the State Department’s website. The Marshall Islands gained independence from the United States in 1986, but continues in the US sphere of defense, according to a treaty.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/04/30/state-dept-pentagon-send-conflicting-messages-on-us-response-to-iran-cargo-ship

Subsequently, FOX News televised reports that the US Navy will escort American-flagged commercial vessels through the Straits of Hormuz.

US and Marshall Islands Weigh Options Over Iran’s Seizure of the Maersk Tigris

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

In response to the recent Iranian seizure of the Danish-owned, Marshall Island registered container ship, MV Maersk Tigris, US State Department and Marshall Islands officials are considering various options in this matter.

Currently, the US Navy has a maritime security task force in the Persian Gulf monitoring the situation consisting of : the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, USNS Farragut, (DDG-99,) and Typhoon class coastal patrol ships USNS Thunderbolt (PC-12), USNS Firebolt (PC-10) and USNS Typhoon (PC-5) operating in the area near the Strait of Hormuz following the Iran’s detention of the cargo ship, according to Pentagon sources.

http://news.yahoo.com/u-marshall-islands-discuss-way-ahead-iran-detains-174331669.html

According to an Iran Project report, The US State Department has announced that it was “premature” to say whether the use of force is needed in this matter.

http://theiranproject.com/blog/2015/04/29/us-rejects-use-of-force-over-ship-boarded-by-iran-in-strait-of-hormuz/

It is likely that the US Defense Department is also evaluating contingency plans in this matter in case the situation intensifies.

Iranian Naval Force Seizes Danish Cargo Ship

US Navy Responds

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Elements of the Iran Revolutionary Council Guard Navy (IRCGN) have boarded and seized a Danish-owned cargo ship, MV Maersk Tigris (originally bound for the UAE from Saudi Arabia) in the Persian Gulf, earlier today.

An earlier report from the Iranian FARS News Agency claimed that the MV Maersk Tigris was a US-owned cargo ship. The report also claimed that the trade vessel was seized by the Iranian naval forces at the request of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization after a relevant court order was issued for its confiscation. The order was officially issued regarding alleged long-standing overdue payments that the vessel’s account owed to the IPMO. The ship was reportedly boarded and directed to the southern Iranian Port of Bandar Abbas.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940208001509

According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, the container ship was in Iranian waters [near the Straits of Hormuz] when it was approached and surrounded by a group of Iranian patrol vessels at approximately 0905 Zulu (GMT). Subsequently, the Maersk Tigris reportedly sent out a distress signal that was monitored by US Navy forces in the Persian Gulf area.

“The [ship]master was contacted and directed to proceed further into Iranian territorial waters,” He declined and one of the IRGCN craft fired shots across the bridge of the Maersk Tigris. The master complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters in the vicinity of Larak Island.”, he said.

Pentagon officials stated that the guided missile destroyer, the USNS Farragut, (DDG-99, Arleigh Burke class) and surveillance aircraft of the US Central Naval Command (NAVCENT) have been dispatched to the area. NAVCENT has also “directed aircraft to observe the interaction between the Maersk vessel and the IRGCN [Iranian] craft.

However, the ship’s manager, Cor Radings, a spokesman for Rickmers ship management, told Bloomberg that the ship, chartered by Rickmers, was in international waters when the Iranians approached it.

www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-28/ship-seized-by-iran-wasn-t-u-s-flagged-pentagon-says

The 62,292-ton (dwt) container ship, MV Maersk Tigris (IMO-9694581 ) is owned by the Maersk Line, based in Denmark and is registered in the Marshall Islands. Its 34-member crew is multinational and includes Europeans. Pentagon officials have indicated that there are no U.S. citizens on board.

This contradicts initial reports, by the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya News Channel, which claimed that the ship was American owned and manned by American crew members.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/28/Iran-holds-U-S-ship-34-sailors-.html

A more detailed report is available at:

http://heavy.com/news/2015/04/maersk-tigris-mv-ship-marshall-islands-american-united-states-iran-seizes-cargo-commercial-vessel-strait-hormuz-crew-injuries-response-port-p

Further information on the MV Maersk Tigris is available at:

www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=741942

According to marinetraffic.com, as of 2015-04-28 18:35, the Maersk Tigris was at anchor at Latitude / Longitude: 27.03202° / 56.27347° in the Persian Gulf near the Iranian island of Qeshm across from Bandar Abbas.

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/details/ships/shipid:1635726/mmsi:538005749/imo:9694581/vessel:MAERSK_TIGRIS

The IRCGN is a separate branch of the Iranian armed forces as distinct from the regular Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN), currently involved in international waters of the Gulf of Aden. Iranian political posture is integrally linked to this matter, as the IRCGN (formed after the 1979 Iranian Revolution) is more integrated with the Islamic Republican regime than the IRIN.

It is not clear at this point what direct jurisdiction and mission, beyond monitoring that the US Navy may have in this matter; however, according to a treaty, the US is responsible for the defense of the Marshall Islands, a UN-member South Pacific state.

Finnish Navy Fires Depth Charges in Territorial Waters Near Helsinki

By: Wolf von Baumgart , Staff Writer

The Finnish Ministry of Defense has stated that its maritime surveillance system detected a possible submarine intrusion in Finnish Baltic territorial waters near Helsinki (Helsingfors) at approximately Noon (local time) on April 27. Finnish Navy surface vessels conducted an area search and subsequently fired warning depth charges at approximately 3am earlier this morning after a second detection was registered.

The incident is currently under investigation. No official statements as to the possible source of the submarine target have been issued as yet, pending outcome of the investigation.

Various neutral and NATO-affiliated Baltic Area States have reported increased Russian submarine and air force maneuvers described as unsafe, intrusive or provocative (occasionally involving territorial incursions) as well as increased surface naval activity in nearby international waters.

The original Finnish Defense Ministry statement can be read here:

http://www.defmin.fi/en/topical/press_releases/finnish_navy_detected_possible_underwater_target_in_the_territorial_waters_off_helsinki.6211.news

Russia’s Geopolitical Posture May Be Inconsistent With Its START Strategy.

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Russia’s nuclear strategy appears to be inconsistent with recent Russian geopolitical posture, including recent nuclear treats to Denmark, a Russian general’s call for preemptive nuclear strikes against NATO, etc. in the face of its actual strategic nuclear weapons reduction according to the latest Nuclear Notebook, written by Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Federation of American Scientists.

According to their analysis, Russia is continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal while reducing strategic nuclear launchers well below the limit set by the New START Treaty. The overall Russian force appears to be leveling off at nearly below 500 strategic launchers over the next decade, as older Soviet-era ICBMs are scheduled to be retired.

Russia currently has 4,500 nuclear warheads. 1,780 are deployed on missiles and bomber bases with 700 additional strategic warheads and 2,000 nonstrategic warheads in storage. An estimated 3,200 retired but largely intact warheads now await dismantlement.

Read and download the entire report at: http://fas.org/blogs/security/2015/04/russianotebook/

Iran Denies Shipping Weapons to Houthi Insurgents

Fighting Intensifies in Yemen

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Speaking in response to recent reports of suspected arms shipments, Iranian Navy Commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, has officially denied that the Irianian convoy was carrying arms destined for Houthi insurgents in Yemen. Furthermore, he said that Iran Navy warships were originally deployed along area shipping routes as an anti-piracy operation in accordance with UN approved resolutions.

81584120-6410272_IRIN Comander Admiral Habibolla Sayyari

IRIN Commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari (IRNA photo)

He also stated that Iran would maintain warships in international waters of the Gulf of Aden for at least the next several months, Admiral Sayyari also rejected reports that Iran’s fleet has been warned to leave the Gulf of Aden, according to the Islamic Republic’s state news agency, IRNA.

http://irna.ir/en/News/81584120/

Meanwhile, in an apparently new phase of the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention in Yemen, observers on the ground have stated that [unspecified] foreign warships have shelled various Houthi emplacements around Aden’s commercial port facilities, according to Reuters. Major Saudi air strikes on the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, were also reported.

http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-led-air-strikes-hit-yemeni-capital-ending-072124975.html

There is no word as yet as what, if any effect these developments will have on US Navy activity in the area.

Yemen Area Naval Situation De-escalates

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The US/Iranian naval tensions, related to suspected strategic arms shipments to Houthi rebels in Yemen appears to be de-escalating as the US Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and guided missile cruiser USS Normandy are being withdrawn and are now heading back to the Persian Gulf, according to Pentagon officials.

Yesterday, the nine-ship Iranian convoy, thought to be carrying arms to Yemen, contrary to UN sanctions, reversed course in the Arabian Sea.

The International Dimensions of Yemen Sector Naval and Evacuation Operations

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Beyond the current U.S. “Big Stick” naval diplomacy versus Iranian (pre-nuclear) asymmetric maritime power play situation in open waters off the coast of war-torn Yemen, international dimensions have evolved.

According to the International Business Times, three German and two Japanese Navy vessels are known to be along the southern periphery of the oceanic area between the port cities of Aden in the west and Al Mukalla further east. The IBT article cited its source as: http://www.ibtimes.com/us-allied-naval-forces-converge-yemen-iran-suspected-supplying-weapons-houthis-1890833 , a free global ship tracking site.

Their specific configurations and missions are virtually unknown at this point, but are surmised to be more directed toward general external maritime traffic monitoring rather than surveillance and arms interdiction in Yemeni waters.

http://www.ibtimes.com/us-allied-naval-forces-converge-yemen-iran-suspected-supplying-weapons-houthis-1890833

Egyptian and Saudi Naval vessels are monitoring Yemeni waters, with Saudi warships effectively closing Yemen’s commercial ports, preventing ship movements earlier this month.

Five French Navy ships as well as various Indian, Russian, and Chinese naval assets are also present in the region. Pakistan has also agreed to send navy ships.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/04/17/263508/pakistan-agrees-to-send-ships.html

An illustrative map and chart of most naval and air assets committed to the Yemen area is viewable at:

http://cigeography.blogspot.com/2015/04/operation-resolute-storm-saudi-led.html

Under the April 14 UN Security Council arms embargo, allied naval forces may monitor ships outside the recognized 12-mile territorial limit of Yemeni waters. However, they have no legal mandate to stop board and search vessels of any nationality, unless clearly justified in anti-piracy operations. Legal authority to interdict ships suspected of arms trafficking takes effect only upon their entry into Yemeni waters.

International cooperation in recent evacuation operations was well coordinated and executed. India evacuated nationals of 23 other countries besides its own nationals in Operation Rabat, concluded on April 8.

http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/23-countries-want-indias-help-in-yemen-evacuation-operations/

Russian and Chinese evacuations also afforded safe passage to foreign nationals.

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20150405/1020494564.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/03/us-yemen-security-china-idUSKBN0MU09M20150403

[ Ironically, the nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt is nicknamed “the Big Stick” and its call sign is “Rough Rider”. ]

Iranian Convoy Bound for Yemen Reverses Course

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of annonymity in an apparently unauthorized statement, said that the nine-ship convoy of Iranian cargo ship suspected of carrying advanced weapons to Houthi insurgents in Yemen has apparently reversed its course, at least temporarily.

The official said it remains unclear where the convoy is currenly headed, but it reportedly was no longer moving toward of the key Yemani port of Aden as of Thursday, April 23.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, yesterday, would not indicate whether or not the US Navy would forcibly stop and board Iranian ships entering Yemeni waters.

It should be noted that this report is, as yet, unconfirmed, given the circumstances of its release.

See: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/us-official-iranian-cargo-ships-reverse-30534625

U.S. Probably Will Not Join KSA Blockade of Yemen

Further Pentagon Denials Issued

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The United States will not join in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s naval blockade of Yemen according to a Pentagon Spokesman, quoted in an April 17 Washington Post article by Dan Lamothe.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/04/17/navy-has-seven-combat-ships-around-yemen-as-saudi-led-blockade-continues

The Midlantic Dispatch has compiled a list of eleven ships from various sources, comprising the currently deployed US Navy force as follows:

Nimitz class aircraft carrier USNS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-70); Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USNS Normandy (CG-60); Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers USNS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98), USNS Winston Churchill (DDG-81) and USNS Sterett (DD 104); Avenger class minesweepers USNS Sentry (MCM-3) and USNS Dextrous (MCM-13); amphibious assault ship USNS Iwo Jima (LHD-7, Wasp class), amphibious transport dock USNS New York (LPD-21, San Antonio class); dock landing ship USNS Fort McHenry (LSD-43, Whidbey Island class), and dry cargo ship USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10, Lewes and Clark class). Attached is a force of about 2400 US Marines.

Iranian ships are said to be patrolling in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, a narrow body of water and critical oil transport chokepoint between Yemen and Djibouti connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, according to an April 19 Big News Network post:

http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php/sid/232097333.

A US official, quoted in an April 21 ABC News report stated the Iranian convoy remains in international waters 150 miles east of the Yemen-Oman border headed in a westward direction.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-navy-ships-board-iranian-ships-headed-yemen/story?id=30479887

According to the Washington Post in light of the US increase of naval force near Yemen, Air Force Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for US Central Command (CENTCOM), downplayed the development, saying the United States is not a part of the Saudi-led blockade and is simply patrolling waters in the region as usual.

The Washington Post and CNN have reported that according to a navy spokesman, Lt. Timothy Hawkins, at the Pentagon, no other ship has been boarded in the area since April 1, when a boarding party from the destroyer USS Sterett, searched the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship Saisaban in the Red Sea near western Yemen. It was suspected to be carrying weapons from Iran to Yemen, but nothing was found. The search was actually consentual, as the US does not have authority to forcibly board Panamanian ships.

The United States Navy has previously confirmed that it has routinely searches ships in the region for arms while conducting anti-piracy operations near the Horn of Africa.In 2013, Force Reconnaissance Marines with a maritime raid force (as part of anti-piracy operations around the Horn of Africa) boarded a ship in search of an insurgent leader off the coast of Yemen who was not found. The USN ship’s commanding officer indicated that the Navy often looked for area weapons smuggling activity on small vessels known as dhows.

On or about March 30, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia originally imposed a naval blockade of Yemeni ports aimed at preventing arms shipments to Houthi rebels. Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri stated on March 30 that coalition naval forces are blocking the movement of ships to prevent weapons and fighters from entering or leaving Yemen. He also said they had not yet intercepted anything at that time.

Currently, the Iranian ships are supposedly located in international waters outside of the Saudi-imposed blockade zone.

On April 14th, the UN Security Council approved a general arms embargo on aid to Houthi combatants. Iran is additionally precluded from exporting arms under UN sanctions related to its nuclear weapons development program under Resolution 17137 (of December 23, 2006 ) et.al., according to CNN.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/14/middleeast/yemen-crisis/

[See also: http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1737/ ]

UPDATE 4/24/2015: Additional US Navy ships involved in operations in the Yemen maritime sector are listed as Arleigh Burke class guide missle destoyer USNS Farargut (DDG-99), fast combat support ship USNS Artic (T-AOE-8, Supply class), Fleet replenishment oiler USNS Laramie (T-AO-203, Henry J. Kaiser class). The IRINS light replenishment ship Bushehr (AORLH-422, Bandar Abbas class) was deployed with the Iranian Navy Frigate Alborz (F-72, Alvand class)

Exiled Russian Duma Member Tells All

An Interview With Ilya Ponomarev

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

On March 20, 2014, contrary to the will of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ilya Ponomarev cast the sole vote of opposition when the Russian State Duma voted 445 to 1 to annex the Ukrainian region of Crimea. He stated that it was his duty to do this as a matter of principle.

Within a few months, he was summarily stripped of his legislative immunity from prosecution and exiled from Russia. Although still officially a Duma member, he is now is working to organize a more formal opposition to Putin from within the Russian Diaspora, outside of the country.

Currently residing in the US, Ponomarev in a VOX interview, reveals the forces behind renewed Russian expansion, the roots and limits of Putin’s power, possible future changes in store for Russia and answers the question of why President Putin is not afraid of President Obama.

Read the entire interview here:

href=”http://www.vox.com/2015/4/21/8458697/russia-putin-ilya-ponomarev” target=”_blank”

US- Iranian Naval Situation Not Widely Disclosed.

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

Apparently, US Naval forces have already boarded a vessel suspected of carrying arms to Yemen in the Red Sea. On April 1, according to the Wall Street Journal, a search of the Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Saisaban by a boarding party of the guided missile destroyer USNS Sterett (DDG 104) on April 1 did not find evidence of an arms shipment. This is the first boarding operation conducted in the area to intercept strategic arms bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen according to US military officials.

Read the original WSJ story here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-wants-to-block-iran-from-arming-yemens-houthi-rebels-1428868461

The USNS Sterett is a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. Details are available at: www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg104

Details of the Panamanian freighter Saisaban are available at : http://www.uskowioniran.com/2015/04/uss-sterett-boards-cargo-ship-searching.html

The Navy is currently expanding operations around Yemeni waters in the Arabian Sea. There is no word as yet if Iranian vessels under Iranian naval escort will be boarded by elements of the US Navy.

Meanwhile, in another incident not widely disclosed, an unarmed Iranian observation Y-12 aircraft made two separate passes at and approached within 50 yards of an armed US Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter that was flying from the deck of the USNS Carl Vinson (CVN -70, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier) on a routine patrol in international airspace in the Persian Gulf.

This incident aroused aeronautical safety as well as command and control concerns. US Navy officials indicated that this aggressive, deviant, unsafe and rather unprofessional maneuver may have been ordered by a local Iranian commander, according to an April 1, 2015 CNN report. http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/31/politics/iran-aircraft-buzzes-navy-helicopter-persian-gulf/index.html

Details of the USS Carl Vinson are available at: www.navy.mil/local/cvn70

Another Reason to Oppose Fast Track

TPA Fast Track Authority could be Trojan Horse for Open Borders

Dick Morris exposes how Congress would be foolish to give up its authority to make amendments and give up its proper role of supervision of trade. Now buried in the Trans Pacific Partnership is climate change and open borders. It may be a stealth EU. Some Republicans have been quick and even shrill to denounce as amnesty anything that addresses the problem of the 11 million immigrants here without proper papers. Here is something worse than amnesty. It is open borders. They had better wake up on this one.

Republican leaders are blindly and inexplicably pushing Fast Track in spite of the fact the last 8 years have demonstrated that many responsible trade pacts can be passed without it. In fact, you have a broader and more responsible consensus when the President knows that Congress has there as an equal partner.

Reagan had fast track authority, Nixon had fast track (the first President to have it), Clinton had fast track so it should be a Presidential power goes the argument. First those Presidents at least focused on trade agreements for the sake of trade. Second, the fact is that the President should not even be negotiating trade agreements. Unlike treaties which are under the President with advise and consent of the Senate (advise means that they should have input before the treaty is submitted which the President seems determined to avoid as much as possible in the Iran deal.), the authority to regulate trade is a Congressional authority under Article 1. Why? Nothing affects the economy in the original Constitution (before the advent of the income tax and reinterpretation of the Commerce clause) like trade agreements. The Founders wanted the House to be involved because it represented the interest of the people directly. They did not want the economic interests of Americans to be another bargaining chip for the Executive and the Senate to use for their foreign policy interests. The trade representative is supposed to be a Congressional appointee. Congress gave away its primacy to the executive on this issue with the disastrous result of a wrecked manufacturing base.

Congress is now considering giving fast track to an imperial regime bent on locking in its legacy of fundamentally transforming America by any means possible. This President could use the slavish devotion of many Republicans to anything labeled free trade to achieve anything that he can negotiate. Open borders, labor law, and climate change seem to be his starting point. The best way to save free trade is to make sure Congress can keep it free. Otherwise, we will get a socialist pact supporting open borders and executive amnesty. Republicans will commit at least short term electoral suicide and maybe find long term irrelevance with the economic and demographic changes ushered in if the TPA becomes law without possible amendments.

Other problems with the TPA is that it leaves out countries like Singapore and the Republic of Korea while including low wage havens like communist Vietnam and Malaysia which is overwhelmingly Muslim (by itself that is not bad, but giving open borders authority to a place that may become infiltrated is not wise.) It will put even more pressure on American wage earners and be another challenge for national security.

Morris said, “This is huge. I hope everybody listening takes action call your senator about it. If he is a Republican he is voting wrong. “I dont think that people understand that in this deal which is a trade agreement among Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Peru, and Chile, there’s a provision for free flow of workers, just like in the European Union. What It means is unrestricted immigration. It means literally that congress would not have the authority to restrict immigration because a treaty supersedes a statute under our constitution.”

Are U.S. Warships Heading To Yemeni Waters to Intercept Iranian Weapons Shipments?

Conflicting News Reports Emerge

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

We are getting conflicting reports of possible US Navy intercepts of Iranian weapons shipments in or near Yemeni waters. A Huffington Post article stated that US Navy officials have confirmed that the aircraft carrier USNS Theodore Roosevelt is headed toward the area to join other US Navy vessels (including the cruiser USNS Normandy) that are prepared to intercept Iranian arms shipments to Houthi insurgents in Yemen, while a Washington Times article stated that a US Navy spokesman at the Pentagon has officially denied this claim, classifying the event instead as conducting “maritime security operations”.

The US Navy has, in response to the recent coup in Yemen, increased its presence in the Arabian Sea. No details on Iranian naval movements in the area are currently available, however, an unspecified convoy of Iranian supply ships is reported to be heading towards Yemani ports.

The reports may be compared as follows:

href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/20/us-warship-iran-weapons_n_7102168.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592″>

href=”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/20/navy-officials-us-warship-heads-to-yemeni-waters-t/”>

*** UPDATE: ***

The semi-official Fars News Agency has reported that Iranian warship Alborz [F-72] has left Iranian waters for deployment in response to stepped-up US weapons shipments to the Saudi-backed coalition. On Wednesday April 8, 2015 Iran dispatched a destroyer and another logistic vessel to waters near Yemen

The Alborz is an Alvand class frigate (built in Britian) commissioned in 1971.