EXAMINING IRAN'S BALLISTIC MISSILE SYSTEM: BEGIN SADAT CENTER ISRAEL; VENEZUELA WILL GET WORSE BEFORE BETTER
Iran's Ballistic Missile Program: New Developments By Farhad Rezaei, March 12, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Iran’s rapid development of missile expertise has raised concerns in Washington and among its allies about Tehran’s intentions. Despite international censure, the Revolutionary Guards have been able to develop the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the region. Tehran is determined to develop and acquire ever more advanced and accurate ballistic missiles – but its efforts to achieve that goal are hampered by American and Israeli determination to subvert it.
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Unmasking war's changing character
(Modern War Institute) There seems to be widespread agreement that the character of war is changing but little consensus as to exactly how.
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, to protest against President Omar al-Bashir. Security forces rounded up some of the protesters.
Micheal Rubin writes: Arguably, Somalia—rather than Afghanistan—is America’s longest war. […], the failure even to coordinate with those controlling key territory most successful again Al-Shaabab, pirates, and weapons smugglers suggests that, while the Pentagon is willing to spend money, AFRICOM is not prepared to win. – American Enterprise Insitute
HOW TURKEY, GERMANY AND EGYPT PLAY SPOILER FOR NEAR EAST WITH RUSSIA INFLUENCE & IDEAS SUPPORTING ISLAMIC STATE ARE STILL IN PLAY
Aaron Stein writes: The S-400 saga is a microcosm of broader, structural changes driving the United States and Turkey apart. Beyond personality politics, it is now simply a fact that Washington and Ankara have different interests in the Middle East and view one another as hindrances to realizing national goals. Given this reality, it would be imprudent for the United States (and European F-35 operators) not to study its options, and start looking at ways to mitigate the risk to the F-35. – War On The Rocks
Turkey is changing the Middle East, but the US doesn't get it
(Bloomberg) For at least 10 years, the region has been caricatured as divided into two camps: a pro-Iranian coalition and a looser but larger group that opposes Iran's ambitions. For short, it’s sometimes foolishly reduced to a Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide.
Erin Dunne writes: Turkey is an important ally occupying a key geographic position at the crossroads of Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. That has made the country a strategic ally hosting airbases and missiles and serving as a launch point for U.S. and NATO operations in the Middle East. Those same strategic considerations have also made Turkey a prime target for other foreign powers, Russia chief among them. Increased relations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin is a clear blow to Washington’s interests, threatening to block U.S. access to the Middle East and cut its regional influence. – Washington Examiner
Micheal Rubin writes: The German government’s celebration of Iran’s Islamic Revolution may have been gratuitous, but it was consistent with decades, if not more than a century, of German foreign policy. For successive German governments, lucrative contracts have always trumped human rights and, absent any moral clarity in German political culture, will continue to do so. – Washington Examiner
Michael Eisenstadt and Soner Cagaptay write: Although President Trump was following through on an oft-repeated campaign pledge when he announced a full withdrawal in December, the decision was still viewed by many as a hasty move that could upset the fragile equilibrium created by the U.S. military presence in Syria. […] In the end, President Trump will have to reconcile two incompatible campaign promises—disengaging from the Middle East or defeating IS. Doing so means making hard choices that may not align with his preferences, but could go far toward safeguarding U.S. interests in the region. – Washington Institute
The Erasure of the Islamic State's Caliphate Won't Ensure Its Defeat
By Scott Stewart, Stratfor Worldview: “A number of external factors greatly aided the revival of the Islamic State in Iraq and its expansion into the larger and more expansive Islamic State."
Mired in recriminations, Turkish-Egyptian ties remain stagnant
Prospects for improved relations between Ankara and Cairo appear dimmer than ever following recent executions in Egypt.
Asli Aydintasbas writes: If you think Turkey’s relationship with the United States is currently very tumultuous, you haven’t seen anything yet. The two allies have had bouts of hysteria on and off since 2015, mostly to do with Ankara resenting U.S. support for Syrian Kurds and Washington increasingly finding its longtime ally an unreliable partner in the Middle East.[…] As much as a strongman as Erdogan appears, the S-400 controversy actually demonstrates the weak position he has put Turkey in. His effort to demonstrate that Turkey has choices and is not an American vassal has so alienated Turkey’s Western partners and weakened its economy that the country now risks becoming a Russian vassal. – Washington Post
Road From Hanoi to Pyongyang Goes Via Beijing
By James Stavridis, Nikkei Asian Review: “Trump's best hope of a lasting nuclear deal with North Korea depends on China."