Archive for the ‘Persian Gulf’ Category

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

March 9, 2009

Like it or not, the era of President Barack Obama and American weakness, real or perceived, has already emboldened many nations with long-term anti-American strategic goals: namely, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Many in the world have already concluded that Brack Obama is soft, for his overtures so far toward the Taliban, Russia, Iran and others.

Related:
Various Views On Obama Foreign Policy: “Just Like Bush” Or Radical Change?

President Obama’s move to close the terrorist prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo) was cause for applause in human rights circles and also with terrorists.

On Afghanistan, Peter Begen of the New America Foundation said “It is a longstanding cliché that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, only a political one.”  On President Obama’s idea to hold talks with the Taliban he said, “Doing deals with the Taliban today could further destabilize Afghanistan. ”

And economically, there is no dobt that the U.S. is weakened.

Just today, North Korea threatened war with the United States — a war that would certainly involve Japan and South Korea.  North Korea could not be making such threats and could not even think about testing a long range strategic missile just now unless China consented to this brazen move or at least looked the other way.  China supplies North Korea with almost all of its food, oil, luxury goods and currency.  Without China, North Korea would be impotent and meaningless.

Yet China is acceding to North Korea’s bluster and browbeating of the United States just as China itself is harassing a U.S. Naval vessel in international waters — a violation of international law.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

China doesn’t care much for international law and international waters: just ask Japan and Vietnam.  Both those nations have long struggles with China encroaching upon the coasts of Japan and Vietnam as the Chinese super power searches for more oil beneath the sea floor.

China has become the most voracious user of oil and other mineral resources on the planet as it strives to keep its factories busy producing goods for sale overseas.  China is in Afghanistan, protected from the Taliban by U.S. troops, while Chinese companies exploit Afghan copper.  And China just signed a $50 billion (U.S. dollars, cast) agreement to get oil from Russia for ten years.

Last year China was no help when the U.S. wanted access to Myanmar to deliver humanitarian relief supplies to those stricken by the cyclone.  After the crisis passed, China signed a big oil deal with Myanmar.

China wants the U.S. out of its sphere of influence from North Asia to Somalia, and is planning an ocean-going navy to eventualy make that goal a military reality.

China recently opened the largest sea port in the world, in Gwadar, Pakistan — directly astride the sea lanes used to bring out out of the Persian Gulf to Japan, the U.S. and others.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to go into debt — to China.

China allows North Korea to antagonize the United States because that is in China’s long term strategic interest — and a weakening U.S. plays into China’s strategy perfectly.

Russia also wants the U.S. out of its area of influencce.  Russia recently paid off Kyrgyzstan, which was helping the American effort in Afghanistan with an air base. Just after Russia gave  Kyrgyzstan its big aid deal, that nation announced the closure of the Manas air base supporting the U.S.

File:ManasAirbase KC135.jpg
A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the flightline at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Ground crews will have to de-ice the tanker before it can take off on a refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford)

Generous Russian loans to Kyrgyzstan totaling US$2 billion and a non-repayable US$150 million grant, were announced the day before Kyrgyzstan said Manas would be closed and the U.S. Air Force evicted.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation had been insisting on the closure of Manas to the U.S. Air Force since 2005.

What the heck is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China , Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

But the key players of the SCO are Russia and China who don’t want the U.S. or anyone else in the West anywhere near that region of the world, rich in oil and other minerals, that includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

China and Russia conducted their largest joint military exercise ever last year.

And finally Iran wants the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf, away from Arab oil, and at arms length from Isreal.

Joshua Gross wrote for the Christian Sciences Monitor today,  “Iran recently launched its first satellite into orbit in what The New York Times called, ‘a shot across the bow of American diplomacy,’ and US President Barack Obama passed along a secret letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in an attempt to enlist the Russians in an international effort to contain Iran’s nuclear program.”

The global economic crisis, which has eliminated something like $50 trillion in world wealth, has hit the United States and NATO very hard, which fuels the beliefe that Mr. Obama and the U.S. are weaker than ever just now.

That’s why Iran and North Korea are talking missiles and nukes, China has chosen just now to harass a U.S. ship, and Russia is gloating like a cat bird that Obama is already pleading for help with Iran from Putin and Medvedev….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
March 9, 2009

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

Related:
Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

 China Extends Navy’s Anti-Piracy Mission Near Somalia

 China Says Its Navy Expansion “No threat to others”

 Pentagon: Chinese Ships Harassed Unarmed U.S. Navy Craft in International Waters

 North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

China’s thirst for copper could hold key to Afghanistan’s future

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

Despite Global Economy Downturn, China Still Lending

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/analys
ts-to-obama-there-are-no-taliban-moderates-yo
u-nitwit/

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/03/09/ira
nian-justice-eight-women-face-stoning-dea
ths-for-adultery/

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/03
/09/slickness-with-a-straight-face

CNN on Peter Bergen and Afghanistan:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/PO
LITICS/03/09/bergen.taliban/index.html

Joshua Gross on Iran:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20
090309/cm_csm/ygross

China Warships Depart on Anti-Piracy Mission Near Somalia

December 17, 2008

Three Chinese warships departed their homeland today a seemingly minor and some say symbolic anti-piracy mission near Somalia.

But the “out of area” deployment of Naval Warships from China is really the first such adventure in hundreds of years.

READ THIS ENTIRE STORY:
China’s Naval Task Force Departs For Historic Near Africa Mission; International Hopes

The story below was prepared before the ships departed China:

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In what would be the first active deployment of its warships beyond the Pacific, China appears set to send naval vessels to help in the fight against hijackers in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.

A vice foreign minister and a leading naval strategist were quoted in Chinese state media on Wednesday as saying that Beijing is close to mounting a naval mission in the gulf.

By Mark McDonald
The New York Times

Related:
China Launching First Long-Range Naval Mission Since 15th Century 

China Says Navy Force to Fight Somali Pirates

Type 052B Guangzhou in Leningrad.jpg
China has many warships well suited to anti-piracy patrol

“China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future,” said the Foreign Ministry official, He Yafei, quoted by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. His remarks came at a ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Li Jie, a military strategist and naval expert, told the state-run China Daily that cooperating with a multinational force operating against East African pirates would be a “very good opportunity” for the Chinese Navy.

“Apart from fighting pirates,” he said, “another key goal is to register the presence of the Chinese Navy.”

The newspaper earlier this month said Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan, a military planner at the National Defense University, had conceived the Gulf of Aden plan. The paper quoted General Jin as saying that “the Chinese Navy should send naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties.”

“If one day the Chinese Navy sends ships to deal with pirates,” he said, “nobody should be shocked.”

Traditionally concerned with coastal defense, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has been undergoing a wide and rapid modernization program, especially in the bolstering of its submarine fleet. A long-range goal of the Chinese expansion has been the development of a blue-water navy capable of extended tours.

Related:

China Conducts Massive Anti-Piracy Drill; May Send Ships Near Somalia

Anti-Piracy: Where’s China’s Navy?

UN Approves Pursuit of Pirates Over Land, Into Somalia

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/wo
rld/asia/18patrols.html

World leaders clash on Iran sanctions

December 17, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday briefed a half-dozen key Arab states on U.S.-led efforts to stem Iran‘s nuclear program but achieved no new consensus on how to prevent Iran from developing the technology for a nuclear weapon.

“All there expressed their concern about Iran’s nuclear policies and its regional ambitions,” Miss Rice said after the morning meeting with diplomats from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.

Representatives from Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – which have been trying without success to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program for several years – also took part in the session conducted on the sidelines of a Security Council debate on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

By Betsy Pisik
The Washington Times 

British Foreign Minister David Miliband, far left, listen as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, second from right, address the United Nations Security Council at the United Nations in New York, Tuesday Dec. 16, 2008. Council members debated before voting on a draft resolution calling for an intensification of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Associated Press.

Above: British Foreign Minister David Miliband, far left, listen as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, second from right, addresses the issue of Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Miss Rice said there was no discussion of new sanctions against Iran, which has defied several U.N. resolutions demanding that it curb its nuclear program.

Those attending are “concerned that there will need to be a way to finally incent Iran to make a different choice concerning its nuclear ambitions,” Miss Rice said. “But this was not an effort to develop a common strategy.”

Divisions among Iran’s Arab neighbors across the Persian Gulf have made it more difficult to contain Iran.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/dec/16/world-leaders-clash-on-iran-sanctions/

Iran tests new missile from warship

December 7, 2008

Iran’s military test-fired a new surface-to-surface missile from a warship as part of exercises along a strategic shipping route, state media reported on Sunday.

Iran launched six days of naval war games on Tuesday in the Sea of Oman and the Gulf region amid tension with the United States and Israel, which have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end a row over Tehran’s nuclear work.

Iran has said that, if pushed, it could close the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf and through which about 40 percent of the world’s traded oil passes.

“The surface-to-surface Nasr-2 missile was tested in the (Sea of) Oman operational region,” state radio reported, adding that the test took place on Saturday.

“The Nasr-2 was fired from a warship and hit its target at a distance of 30 km (19 miles) and destroyed it,” the official news agency IRNA said, adding it was the first test of the new, medium-range missile.

The West accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear warheads, a charge Tehran denies. It insists that it wants to master nuclear technology to generate electricity so that it can export more of its huge oil and gas reserves.

Washington, which has its navy Fifth Fleet based in the Gulf Arab state of Bahrain, has pledged to keep shipping lanes open. Experts say Iran’s navy would be no match for U.S. technology but could still create havoc in the waterway.

(Reporting by Reuters from Hashem Kalantari, writing by Edmund Blair)

Iran: Nuclear? Rich With Oil? A Threat? Some Dubious Ideas Linger….

December 5, 2008

The incoming Barack Obama administration has already been inundated with reports, policy recommendations and position papers vying for the president-elect’s attention on the Iran nuclear issue. Although nicely wrapped in the semantics of a “fresh” or “game-changing” approach, the majority are familiar and lack novelty, and this should come as no surprise as many were penned by old US foreign policy hands like Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk.

As a result, even when they seem to be suggesting a reasonable “new thinking” in the US’s Iran policy, wedded to the idea of “engagement” and or “dialogue without preconditions”, these noble efforts are, however, undermined by their reliance on dubious assumptions. Not to mention their restrictive methodologies, which ultimately veer them back towards the same old plans for “coercive diplomacy”.

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi 
Asia Times 

There are also the limits to the “dialogue without preconditions” logic put forth by, among others, the president of Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, in a new collaborative report with Indyk published by the Brookings Institution. Although positive in many respects and apparently earning the disapproval of Israel, the Haass-Indyk call for engaging Iran in dialogue without preconditions falls short of what is really necessary and lacking in Washington today, that is, dialogue without false assumptions.

One such false assumption that has been adopted like an article of faith by nearly all the pundits and nuclear experts in the US today, is that Iran is fast approaching a “nuclear breakout capability” – in light of Iran’s double process of mastering the nuclear fuel cycle and advancing its missile technology. This has warranted the word “crisis”, to quote US Senator Jon Kyl. [1] Not to be outdone by politicians, a number of nuclear experts, such as David Albright, have echoed the sentiment.

Read the rest:
http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JL06Ak01
.html

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Ahmadinejad, Iran Worry Oil’s Price Shrinks Thier Importance

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has for the first time admitted that the fall in world oil prices will affect the economic projects of his government, local media reported on Thursday.

“If we fix the oil price at 30 dollars a barrel in the budget, we will have to abandon much of our economic projects … We have to set it at 30 to 35 dollars as we don’t determine the oil price on international markets,” he said.

He acknowledged that “oil prices will be low for some time” because of the global recession.

Iran, which is OPEC’s second largest producer, has an official oil output of 4.2 million barrels a day, with half of the country’s budget dependent on its crude exports.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) Foreign Minister ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Tehran on December 1, 2008. Ahmadinejad has for the first time admitted that the fall in world oil prices will affect the economic projects of his government, local media reported.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Ahmadinejad boasted only last month that his government could run the country “with a barrel of oil priced at between eight and five dollars.”

“Even if we reach the point where the enemies do not buy our oil any more, we can manage the country. Thanks God, fluctuations in oil prices will have no effect on the next budget,” he said.

From:  AFP

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081204/wl_midea
st_afp/iranpoliticseconomy_081204163303