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Geopolitical conflicts

Eurasia

EURASIA:

  • The fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh resumed Monday morning, with both sides accusing each other of launching attacks. Meanwhile, though Turkey denies playing a military role, it has intensified its anti-Armenian rhetoric.  Turkey has so far disregarded calls for a ceasefire from the U.S., EU, China and, remarkably, Russia. Iran announced it has a plan to bring the conflict to an end.

SOURCE: AP NEWS IRNA NEWS  MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE

 

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Geopolitical conflicts

Middle East

MIDDLE EAST

  • IRAQ: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned recently that the US would close the embassy in Iraq if Baghdad does not prevent Iran-backed Shi’ite militias from firing rockets at the heavily fortified compound in the Green Zone. It would reverse 17 years of US policy, leaving Iraq more vulnerable to Iranian influence, analysts say. Iraq’s $8 bil with US energy companies also seen at risk if Baghdad embassy closed.

SOURCE: JERUSALEM POST  – S&P GLOBAL

 

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terrorism

Middle East

MIDDLE EAST

  • SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia arrested 10 members of a “terrorist cell”, some of whom underwent military and explosives training at Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) camps in Iran. Relations between Riyadh and Tehran have been tense for several years as Iranian multiplied its hostile activities in the Gulf region, both directly and via proxies. Saudi Arabia has blamed Iran of being behind attacks on Saudi oil targets.

SOURCE: THE ARAB WEEKLY

 

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terrorism

Europe

EUROPE

  • US official has accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah of stockpiling ammonium nitrate at sites in multiple European countries amid a push to get the European Union to designate the organization’s political wing as a terrorist group. The Trump administration is engaged in what it calls a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and the militias and organizations it supports abroad.

SOURCE: AL MONITOR

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Expert Analysis

The US’ Latest Anti-Iranian Sanctions Will Worsen The Trade War With China

The US’ Latest Anti-Iranian Sanctions Will Worsen The Trade War With China

 
21 SEPTEMBER 2020

The US

Unilateral Sanctions

The looming expiration of the UNSC arms embargo on Iran next month prompted the US to unilaterally declare that it regards these and other related sanctions as having been reimposed by the UN despite the global body failing to do so. This factually false pretext serves as the formal justification for the US to threaten so-called “secondary sanctions” against all those who violate its stance towards this issue, thereby turning Iran into an issue of worldwide significance once more. The global strategic context has changed in the nearly two and a half years since the US left the nuclear deal in May 2018, however, which is why the contemporary state of affairs in which this move is being made deserves to be analyzed in order to assess the real aims that the US intends to advance this time around.

Fading Hegemony

After all, the only reason why the US is still pressuring Iran is because its earlier policy of “maximum pressure” failed to influence the targeted government, the same as it failed to convince the international community to support the US’ stance. In this sense, the latest moves must be seen as having been made from a position of weakness, one in which the US is no longer able to impose its fading unipolar hegemony like before. Nevertheless, the US can boast of a few successes such as scaring away India and many other close US partners from retaining their hitherto privileged energy and commercial relations with Iran, which could have crashed the country’s economy and provoked serious socio-political unrest had its people not proven their legendary resilience to such an externally encouraged Hybrid War destabilization.

China’s Opportunity

Iran’s increased “isolation” created a priceless opportunity for China to negotiate a rumored $400 billion comprehensive strategic partnership with the Islamic Republic, one whose details have yet to be verified but which is still widely thought to be significant. As former friends like India continue to stay away from Iran in response to the US’ intensified “maximum pressure” campaign, this will by default increase the importance of Iran’s relations with China, which in turn are poised to make the People’s Republic a serious player in the Mideast if it replicates its Pakistani model of investment to become the host country’s top partner. The US wants to avoid that happening at all costs, which is why the latest sanctions must also be seen in the context of the so-called trade war since the threatened “secondary” ones can inflame that economic conflict.

Trade War”

The rumored scale and scope of China’s reported investment interests in Iran presumes that its most important companies will participate in this gargantuan effort, thereby enabling the US to indirectly worsen the “trade war” in violation of “phase one” of their related agreement by imposing restrictions against them and perhaps even their other foreign partners in the worst-case scenario. In other words, the “maximum pressure” model that it’s been implementing against Huawei over the past year can be expanded to cover countless other companies as well. With this in mind, the latest unilateral sanctions aren’t just about “isolating” Iran, but “isolating” China too, though like practically everything that the Trump Administration has attempted over nearly the past four years, this strategy’s survival is dependent on the outcome of November’s elections.

Concluding Thoughts

Far from being just an intensification of the already failed “maximum pressure” policy against Iran, the US’ latest sanctions against the Islamic Republic are really intended to worsen its “trade war” with China. On the pretext of imposing “secondary sanctions” against any entity that violates its unilateral economic restrictions against the country, America can target in one fell swoop all the Chinese companies that plan to participate in the rumored $400 billion strategic partnership agreement between those two. This will enable it to replicate its “maximum pressure” policy against Huawei on an unprecedented level against countless other targets. Of course, for as ambitious as this unstated strategy is, it might remain nothing more than theoretical if Trump loses the upcoming elections and Biden decides to reverse his predecessor’s policy in this respect.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b 

American political analyst

 

Tags: US, Iran, China, Sanctions, Trade War, Huawei, Hybrid War.

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Geopolitical conflicts

Middle East

MIDDLE EAST

  • The United States announced fresh sanctions and measures against entities and individuals related to Iranian nuclear and conventional weapons programs. This latest move came shortly after the Trump administration’s claim that all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran had been restored according to the “snapback” mechanism under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The United States unilaterally invoked the “snapback” after its failed and isolated attempt in the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo against Tehran.

SOURCE: GLOBAL TIMES

 

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Geopolitical conflicts

South Asia

SOUTH ASIA

  • India woos Iran to keep China away from Chabahar (which connects India to Afghanistan, where India’s presence is linked to its rivalry with neighboring Pakistan). India has been worried about China gaining foothold in Chabahar, after Iran dropped New Delhi from the rail project and started negotiating a long-term deal with Beijing. The worry comes at a time of heightened tensions between India and China following a series of clashes between the two armies in the border region of Kashmir.

SOURCE: YENISAFAK

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Geopolitical conflicts

GGN-Middle East

MIDDLE EAST

UAE and Bahrain sign normalization deal with Israel at White House. The agreement merely formalized ties between the nations that had been thawing anyway, and that all three share an interest in opposing Iran’s influence in the region. Iran, Turkey and Palestinian authorities have condemned the agreements. Saudi Arabia issued a statement supporting the Palestinian position.

SOURCE: DW

 

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terrorism

Middle East (Turkey)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Turkey and Iran agreed to take joint operations against PKK and PJAK — Iran-based offshoot of the PKK terror group — as well as other terrorist organizations.

SOURCE: YENISAFAK NEWS

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Geopolitical conflicts

Middle East (Israel-Iran-Turkey)

MIDDLE EAST

  • Iran and Turkey should take a unified stance on a recent normalization deal between the UAE and Israel, president Rouhani told his Turkish counterpart Erdogan. They already agreed that the deal is definitely against the interests of Muslim nations and the Palestinian cause (see also GGN August 2020).

SOURCE: TEHRAN TIMES

 

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