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Snake Eyes: Rolling the Dice with Iran

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In light of the recent nuclear accord with Iran it is worthwhile to consider how some have always argued there is no real inherent problem with Iran ultimately possessing a nuclear weapon. The purpose of this paper is to critically analyze this position, proposing the notion that the world should take great concern over Iran’s ultimate possible entry into the “Nuclear Weapons Club.”

This will be accomplished through a diverse review of topics, specifically the notion of Iranian proxies and their affect in the world, that an Iranian bomb would not spark an arms race in the Middle East, and finally the belief that the world could live with a nuclear-armed Iran as well as it has lived with a nuclear-armed Pakistan. (Conca 2014)

Iran totes that its program is for peaceful energy and that no nuclear weapons program ever came out of a legitimate nuclear energy program. It is theoretically possible, but not practical. Nations have tried, but even Argentina and Pakistan realized that if you want weapons, then you develop a weapons program and pick one of the two traditional paths to the bomb. And no one is fooled by an energy front anyway. However, the choice to develop a bomb will clearly require dedication and money, something to which Iran will soon have access because of the new accord. (Sagan 2010) So, to highlight this point, regardless of the deals struck between Iran and other countries regarding nuclear non-proliferation, Iran will be financially and scientifically able to create a weapon and use it to gain a clear upper-hand in any future negotiations. Then the world will have to also worry about other uses Iran might have for a nuclear weapon, specifically proxies.

Mr. Pillalamarri notes that “while some Iranian proxies have committed terrorist attacks, those are few and far between, especially as the zealous phase of the Iranian revolution fades to more realistic concerns. Compared to its neighbor, Pakistan, which actually has nuclear weapons, Iran’s proxies have engaged in many more stabilizing activities rather than random terrorist attacks that accomplish nothing geopolitically.” (Pillalamarri 2015) I would argue that Iran’s proxies have been responsible for as much, if not more, negative impacts geopolitically than most nations that have sponsored terrorism. This global reach should cause deep concern over the possible development, down the road, of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. State Department’s current concerns could not be made more obvious despite the current agreement:

•Iran has increased its presence in Africa and attempted to smuggle arms to Houthi separatists in Yemen and Shia oppositionists in Bahrain. Additionally, Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its regional proxy groups to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

•Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), although Hamas’ ties to Tehran have been strained due to the Syrian civil war. Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran.

•Furthermore, the IRGC-QF, in concert with Hezbollah, provided training outside of Iraq as well as advisors inside Iraq for Shia militants in the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device technology and other advanced weaponry

•On January 23, 2013, Yemeni authorities seized an Iranian dhow, the Jihan, off the coast of Yemen. The dhow was carrying sophisticated Chinese antiaircraft missiles, C-4 explosives, rocket-propelled grenades, and a number of other weapons and explosives. The shipment of lethal aid was likely headed to Houthi separatists in Northern Yemen. Iran actively supports members of the Houthi movement, including activities intended to build military capabilities, which could pose a greater threat to security and stability in Yemen and the surrounding region. (U.S. State Department 2013)

With such a sullied past and proven ties to terrorist activities on a global scale, the world should worry greatly over the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon and even worse, Iran’s geopolitical motivation in supplying proxies with such weapons.

Additionally, Mr. Pillalamarri notes that it is highly unlikely that the Middle East would go nuclear in response to an Iranian bomb. No Arab state has the industrial or technical capacity to build its own weapons. (Pillalamarri 2015) This idea can be easily argued against by looking at recent reporting out of Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials have issued explicit warnings about Riyadh’s intention to acquire nuclear weapons in the event Iran does. However, many analysts argue that such pronouncements are simply bluster aimed at drawing U.S. attention towards Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program in the hopes of securing additional security assurances from the United States. (Nuclear Threat Initiative 2015) So basically, if for no other reason, the U.S. should care about Iran getting a nuclear weapon because of the potential nuclear arms race it will spark, something the world should always fear.

Lastly I would like to comment on Mr. Pillalamarri’s thoughts on how it “would not be a big deal if Iran acquired nuclear weapons. Like Pakistan, it would quickly come to terms with the limitations of such weapons. In fact, by bringing countries closer to the abyss, nuclear weapons make them more aware of the consequences of foolish actions. Pakistan, a more unstable and dangerous state than Iran, has nuclear weapons and the world does not do much about this. That suggests that we can also live with a nuclear Iran if that comes to pass in the future.” (Pillalamarri. 2015) Mr. Pillalamarri hung part of his argument on the fact that, “…Pakistan, a more unstable and dangerous state than Iran, has nuclear weapons and the world does not do much about this.” This feels similar to someone saying, well, “we let the other guy do it and it hasn’t turned out so bad so we really cannot protest someone else doing the same thing.” This is a rather reckless position on which to balance the lives of the millions of people residing across the Middle East that would likely be directly affected in very real ways by a nuclear Iran.

The development of a nuclear weapon by Iran would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, specifically with Saudi Arabia, as well as put Israel on an extremely heightened and agitated state of military readiness. For those who still believe the nuclear accord does not go far enough to ensure Iran’s commitment to exclusively peaceful nuclear energy uses, this geopolitical concern does not seem like paranoia but more like logical realism given Iran’s track record on the diplomatic global stage. The accord is a risky roll of the dice by the West. Let us hope it doesn’t come up snake eyes.

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Ethnic War a Newfangled Pakistani Forward-policy for Afghanistan

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According to the intelligence information, Pakistan’s ISI is trying to start ethnic and maneuvering war again in Afghanistan, of which distinct objective is to refurbish the age-old enmity between the Achakzai and Noorzai tribes in the southwest zone. Besides, they want to start an ethnic war among Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns across Afghanistan, and between the northern and southern directions, thus, the prominent leaders of the Taliban, who are led by the ISI, have been entrusted with the task. As in the east and north of Afghanistan, Pashtun Taliban militants are oppressing other Non-Pashtuns, raiding their homes; however, no high-ranking Pashtun Taliban officials are preventing them because the ISI network leads this strategy. In order to revamp a civil war in Afghanistan, score of influential figures have been summoned by the Pakistani military establishment. 

The latest examples are as follows: Two days ago, the Pashtun Taliban killed the former police chief and an influential tribal leader in Mandol district of Nuristan province, which caused many emotions against Pashtuns especially about southwest zone of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in order to afresh the years of hostility between the Noorzai and Achakzi tribes in the southwestern region of Afghanistan, the ISI network raised the issue of a mass grave by several leading Taliban militants, especially by the current governor of Kandahar province and Noorzai tribe leading leader, Haji Mohammad Yousef Wafa.

Qari Aslam Noorzai call for by Pak security forces

At a time when the former leader of the Noorzai tribe, the leading smuggler of drugs and heavy weapons in Central and South Asia, and the financial supporter of the first Taliban regime, Haji Bashar Noorzai was released from the US prison in Guantánamo. The Noorzai tribe once again became twice as strong and dominant in Afghanistan, especially in the southwest zone.  Resulting threats towards the Achakzai people, on the other hand, ISI has started rapid efforts to recommence the years of enmity between these two tribes.

Hajee Feyzullah Khan Noorzai meets Pak military Intelligence

Recently, Pakistan’s intelligence network ISI, with the help of some leading social media and high-ranking Taliban officials, has kept the issue of finding a mass grave in Kandahar province in the southwestern zone of Afghanistan broiling, namely by inducing  the blame-game. Meanwhile, local tribal leaders and residents of Spin Boldak district claim that such a grave is the grave of those who were taken out of their homes by the Taliban after August 15.  Since, they were connected to Achakzai tribe and on the other hand, they served in the security departments of the overthrown Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that is why the Taliban night raided their houses, and massively killed them.

Moreover, mass murdering Hazaras at their educational institutions via suicide bombing and meantime blowing up the worship places of Sufi-Muslims, who preach the non-violent form of Islam, while calling for De-weaponization and De-politicization of Islam.

Consequently, by applying such a forward-policy, Pakistan will achieve its fancied strategic-depth in Afghanistan, while subjugating the Afghan Nation.

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Pakistani Intelligence Agencies ignite Tribal Conflicts in Pak-Afghan Region

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According to the intelligence information, Pakistani intelligence community supported by some international rings want to once again spread dispute and disharmony among the tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan; subsequently the centuries-old evils and wars between the tribes will once more take a new color and become fresh. Recently, rumors of the discovery of a mass grave in Kandahar province in the southwestern zone of Afghanistan are spreading; the blame for this mass murder falls on the former police chief of Kandahar province and the former leader of the Achagzai tribe, General Abdul Razaq Achagzai.  In order to afresh raising the reaction of the Norzi tribe against the Ackzai and anew the evil and war between these two tribes. Even though the current governing body of Afghanistan is completely under the control of the Noorzi tribe, because most of the high-ranking leaders of the Taliban, including the leader of the Taliban, Sheikh Haibatullah, are related to the Noorzi tribe, so there is a greater threat posed to the Achakzi tribe.

Even now, in spite of such menaces, more than 6000 Achakzi families live in Kandahar province, whose members served in the security departments under the command of General Abdul Razaq Achakzi, a staunch opponent of the Taliban.  Currently, in such a tense situation that the Taliban administration has control over Afghanistan and the head of this administration is connected to the Nurzi tribe, the harsh criticism of General Abdul Razaq Achakzai’s mass killings is logical, which can cause international and internal outcries.  As a result, the major victims will be the youths and leading tribal leaders of the Achakzai tribe.

By the advent of Taliban on August 15, 2021, in the first four months, more than 600 youths and tribal leaders from the Achakzi tribe were killed in the southwest zone of Afghanistan, while applying night operations or raids by the Taliban. The most famous case happened to the family of Haji Fida Mohammad Achakzai in Spin Boldak district. Haji Fida Muhammad Achakzai, known as Haji Fida Aka, is a leading leader of the Achakza tribe of Spin Boldak district and had close relations with the family of General Abdul Razaq Achakzai.

 When Kandahar province fell to the Taliban before August 15, the two young sons of him were killed by the Taliban on the first night, unfortunately none of the Taliban officials took any action to prevent the tragedy. Nevertheless, this time, there is a plan going on at the international level to renew the age-old differences between the Achakzai and Norzai tribes, which the international media warmly supports.  If this time the internal differences and conflicts between the Achakzai and Norzai tribes in Afghanistan get sturdier, then it will have damaging effects not only in Afghanistan, but also, serious negative measures will be taken against the Norzai under the leadership of Mahmoud Khan Achakzai, the head of the Achakzai tribe, in the Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan.

In the meantime, the decision of the Pakistani government to hand over the Pashtun areas in Pakhtunkhwa provinces to the Taliban was approved and supported by the Nurzi tribe, conversely, this action of the Pakistani government was strongly condemned by Mahmoud Khan Achakzai and PTM leader Manzoor Pashtun.

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Afghan Zarqawi is shot dead in Panjsher valley of Afghanistan

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According to intelligence information, the leading Taliban commander Maulvi Habibullah Sheeran, who was known as Zarqawi, a resident of Zhrhai District, Kandahar Province, in the southwestern zone of the Taliban was killed in Panjsher battle.

Meantime, the intelligence report indicates, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, the general military officer of Panjshir and Andrab and the deputy of the Ministry of National Defense, was injured in Panjshir on Friday, September 16 at 3:25 p.m.

Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, who is considered one of the leading and influential war commanders in the southwest zone of the Taliban, has the support of about 4,000 low-ranking and high-ranking Taliban fighters. He is one of the Taliban military commanders who, during the first mobilization of the Taliban, formed the Taliban group with the support of Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid, the founder of the Taliban, and attracted hundreds of young men from Helmand province to the Taliban group.

When the Taliban came to power for the second time in Afghanistan, due to internal differences among the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir left the Taliban for a short time and went to his native Kajki district of Helmand province. However, due to the many efforts of the Taliban, especially Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir’s assistant and the current head of security of presidential palace  Mullah Mutaullah Mubarak, He joined the Taliban again and was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Defense.

Taliban leaders made more efforts to reunite Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir with the Taliban, because he was an influential military leader, and on the other hand, Taliban leaders were receiving reports that Mullah Qayyum Zakir wants to join ISIS against Taliban. Nevertheless, when he joined with the Taliban leaders for the second time, he was assigned the position of Deputy Minister of Defense, So, for a period, he cooperated with the Minister of Defense Maulvi Yaqoub as a military advisor in the Ministry of Defense.

 When the rumors of the fall of the northern part of Afghanistan were spread and the fighting between the NRF or the National Resistance Front and the Taliban in Panjshir and Andrab intensified, Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, based on the special permission of Sheikh Haibatullah, Appointed General Military Officer of Northern Afghanistan. In addition, from September 9, under his leadership, a special military operation named Al-Fath began in Panjshir and Andarabs to clear and liberate northern Afghanistan from the fighters of the National Resistance Front.

As a result of the operation, from September 9th to September 16th, dozens of NRF fighters were also killed but the casualties of Taliban fighters are methodically shown below, although scores of Taliban fighters were destroyed.

  • The bodies of 60 to 70 Taliban fighters who were killed in the battle of Panjshir have been transferred to Uruzgan province.
  •  The dead bodies of 50 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Kandahar Province.
  • The dead bodies of 33 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Helmand Province.
  •  The dead bodies of 22 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Ghor Province.
  • The dead bodies of 11 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Takhar province.
  • The dead bodies of 6 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Kunduz Chahar Dara.
  •  The dead bodies of 12 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Zabul province.
  • The dead bodies of nine Taliban fighters have been transferred to Wardag Province.
  • The dead bodies of 10 Taliban fighters have been transferred to Dandi Ghori in Baghlan province.  

Last Friday, September 16, in the bloody battle, Mullah Qayyum Zakir, the military officer in charge of Panjshir and Andrab, was seriously injured and eight of his bodyguards, who were residents of Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, were killed. Mullah Qayyum Zakir was transferred to the 400-bed hospital in Kabul at 10 o’clock in the evening on September 16, and former Taliban doctor Atiqullah was invited to Kabul from Al-Khair Hospital of Balochistan province of Pakistan for treatment.

There is a bloody war going on in the north of Afghanistan and around 300 al-Fatih forces are going to Panjshir from Kabul tonight and may reach tomorrow. Meanwhile, in Vienna, the plan for the formation of a new military and political movement was announced in a three-day meeting of the anti-Taliban political officials of the former government of Afghanistan. Moreover, based on that military plan, after dividing Afghanistan into five major parts, the political and military leaders of each zone will start preparing their organizations against the Taliban, and they will use such political and military tactics as the Taliban used against the government of the Republic of Afghanistan during the last 20 years of resistance.

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