Persian Gulf & Middle East Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

LOL now noticed a good question Is Political Leverage, Not Capability, Behind Qatar Fighter Orders?
Sep 21, 2017
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Qatar’s plans to purchase up to 24 Typhoon fighters will be a welcome boost for the four-nation
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But there are questions about how Doha’s tiny air force will be able to absorb the massive capabilities in which it is investing.

Qatar, the richest country in the world as measured by GDP per capita, thanks to its vast natural gas and oil reserves, has already ordered 24
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from France. Several already are flying, and the country also has signed up to purchase 36 advanced versions of the
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Eagle from the U.S. in a similar configuration to those being introduced by neighboring Saudi Arabia.

The plan to purchase
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, which emerged as Qatar and the UK signed a new defense pact on Sept. 17, will boost Qatar’s planned fighter fleet to 84 aircraft, seven times larger than the Dassault Mirage 2000 fleet it will ultimately replace.

Such growth in airpower capability and capacity is virtually unprecedented in recent times, and historians would likely have to look back to the outbreak of World Wars I and II to see such rapid fleet growth.

But these big-ticket orders are more about political leverage and not necessarily capability.

Doha needs its Western allies more than ever. The country has become isolated from its neighbors in a spat over Qatar’s alleged support, funding and hosting of terror groups.

The airspace of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE has been closed to Qatari aircraft since early June, and the quarrel shows no sign of abating.

Some pundits point out that choosing three aircraft types is a savvy move, giving Qatar relationships with three suppliers rather than just one—a possible useful asset when geopolitical winds change.

And after all, when you are the richest nation in the world, the need for economies of scale goes out the window.

Despite all that, the wider view is that absorbing all three aircraft types into the tiny Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) likely will be a challenge, regardless of how much money the Gulf nation throws at its problems.

The three aircraft types share little in common; they bring complex infrastructure and supply chain issues, not to mention three different weapon sets—although there will be some commonality between the Rafale and Typhoon.

“There are no benefits from operating these three advanced fighter types together that could outweigh the huge increases in support costs and complexity, compared to a unified fleet of one of them,” says Justin Bronk, a research fellow for aerospace and technology at the London-based Royal United Services Institute think tank.

Bronk says the Qataris probably will struggle to staff or properly support a front-line fighter fleet of that size without an enormous expansion of the entire air force.

“These are prestige purchases and will spend most of their operational lives idle on the tarmac,” he notes.

There is certainly no shortage of space—the huge Al Udeid Air Base, home to a significant U.S. Air Force presence, already has many shelters and dispersals ready to house the new fighters.

What the QEAF does lack, however, is manpower. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance publication, the Air Force has just 1,500 personnel. With growth from Qatar’s indigenous population unlikely, the country will need to recruit from overseas.

There is already evidence that Qatar has started hunting far and wide to boost its manpower. In 2015, Qatar plundered the training instructors from Croatia’s Wings of Storm display team so it could establish its own.

Qatar has been working to expand its organic training capability. In 2012, Doha ordered a fleet of 24
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turboprop trainers from Switzerland, and this July it began taking delivery of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Super Mushshak basic training aircraft.

Other air forces in the region already make extensive use of expatriate personnel, and Qatar will likely do the same as well as lean heavily on the nations supplying the new fighters for training and support.

The deal with Qatar is clearly a significant boost to the Typhoon program and comes after Kuwait’s order for 28 aircraft signed in April 2016, which helped push Typhoon production out until 2023. A contract from Qatar could push this out to the mid-2020s.

While there had been rumblings of a potential deal with Qatar for several years, the timing took many in industry by surprise, with no hints of a signing at the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) conference in London on Sept. 12.

But industry is still waiting on Qatari confirmation of several other big-ticket projects.

In 2014, Doha laid out a wish list of new capabilities, including
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tankers and
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utility helicopters from Europe, as well as
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-based airborne early warning platforms and a plethora of air defense systems. However, only a handful of the proposed purchases have proceeded.
interestingly Iran's Supposed Missile Launch Was Fake, US Officials Say
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Iranian state television released video footage Friday claiming to show the
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, a few hours after it was displayed during a military parade in Tehran.

But it turns out Iran never fired a ballistic missile, sources say.

The video released by the Iranians was more than seven months old -- dating back to a failed launch in late January, which resulted in the missile exploding shortly after liftoff, according to two U.S. officials.

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to the reported launch in a late-Saturday tweet, saying, "Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!"

This was after Trump, speaking before world leaders at the United Nations, called the Iran nuclear deal an "embarrassment" to the United States.

"We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program," he said.

Trump later told reporters he had made up his mind about the deal, but wouldn't say whether he would pull the United States out of the nuclear accord with Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking at the U.N. one day after Trump, maintained his country's missile program was "solely defensive" in nature.

"We never threaten anyone, but we do not tolerate threats from anyone," he said. Rouhani returned to Tehran two days later to preside over the missile parade featuring the new medium-range design and said his country would build as many missiles as necessary to defend itself.

Afterward, the footage was aired, with Iranian media claiming a successful test launch -- though it apparently showed the failed January launch.

At the time, Iran was attempting to launch its new Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile for the first time. It flew 600 miles before exploding, in a failed test of a reentry vehicle, officials said at the time.

The failed late January launch was first reported by Fox News and prompted the White House to put Iran "on notice" days later.

Iran's new medium-range missile is based on a North Korean design--Pyongyang's BM-25 Musudan ballistic missile, which has a maximum range of nearly 2,500 miles, putting U.S. forces in the Middle East and Israel within reach if its problems are fixed.

"The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles," said Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. "Over the years, we've seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other's countries, and we've seen all kinds of common hardware."

Last weekend, a senior Iranian general said the missile had a range of less than 2,000 miles.

"The Khoramshahr missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers [1,250 miles] and can carry multiple warheads," Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Revolutionary Guards aerospace chief General Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying.

The missile "is capable of carrying multiple warheads," Hajizadeh added.

"I am not sure why the Iranians are lying about the range," one U.S. official said. "I think they don't want to piss the Europeans off."

The official and others declined to be identified because they were not authorized to disclose sensitive information to the press.

Experts say Iran possesses the largest arsenal of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, with more than 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Tehran has conducted over 20 missile tests since 2015.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Iran is "supplying proxies such as Hezbollah and Syria's al-Assad regime with a steady supply of missiles and rockets" and "likely supplying Houthi rebel groups with short-range missiles in the ongoing conflict in Yemen."

U.N. resolution 2231 -- put in place days after the Iran nuclear deal was signed -- calls on the Islamic Republic not to conduct ballistic missile tests, but does not forbid them from doing so, after Russia and China insisted on the watered-down language in order to pass the resolution.

Iran is "called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology," according to the text of the resolution.

Iran claims the tests are legitimate because they are defensive in nature.


Tyrant King
Iran sends tanks to border with Iraq's Kurdish region, Kurdish official says

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ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iran deployed a dozen tanks supported by artillery at its border with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region on Monday, a Kurdish official said, adding that the move was a dangerous escalation in the crisis triggered by Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence vote.

“The tanks can be seen from the Kurdish side,” an official from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) security council told Reuters, adding that the move was a “dangerous escalation.”

Iraq’s Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence in a referendum held one week ago, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran, which fear Kurdish separatism within their own borders.

The deployment at the Parviz Khan border point on Monday was part of joint military drills conducted by the Iranian and the Iraqi armed forces in response to the referendum, state media in Tehran said. The exercises began last Sunday, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency.

The KRG says it plans to use the referendum’s result as a mandate to negotiate the peaceful secession of the Kurdish region through talks with Baghdad.

KRG President Masoud Barzani said on Monday it was legitimate to hold the vote in the Kurdish areas, including in the multi-ethnic oil city of Kirkuk, also claimed by Baghdad.

“Kirkuk is a Kurdistani city which should become an example for the coexistence of nations and religions,” he said during a visit to Kirkuk.

But Baghdad has rejected any talks with the KRG over independence. It demanded that the KRG relinquish control over its external border crossings with Turkey, Iran and Syria. It also demanded the KRG hand over its airports to federal control.

When the KRG turned down those demands, Iraq’s central government imposed a ban on international flights to and from the region’s two international airports on Friday.

The interior ministry said on Monday foreigners stranded in the Kurdish region by the ban would be allowed to exit through Baghdad’s airport without having to wait for an Iraqi visa. Many nationalities, especially westerners, were allowed into the KRG without a visa.

Baghdad gained the support of Cairo’s al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni Muslim learning, on Monday. It issued a statement “rejecting invitations to divide Iraq.”

Al-Azhar’s position could help Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a Shi‘ite, rally some support among Iraq’s large Sunni minority against the Kurds, who are also largely Sunni.

In another effort to present the government as inclusive for all Iraqis, including Kurds, state TV announced on Monday that it will be broadcasting a daily news bulletin in Kurdish.

Iraq’s defense ministry said on Friday the Iraqi authorities planned to take control of the borders of its autonomous Kurdistan region “in coordination” with Iran and Turkey.

The statement did not give details. Nor did it indicate whether Iraqi forces would move toward the border posts controlled by the KRG from the Iranian and Turkish side, or set up checkpoints in the vicinity of these posts in order to control the crossings.

Iranian state television on Saturday quoted a military spokesman as saying Iran and Iraq “agreed on measures to establish border security and receive Iraqi forces that are to be stationed at border posts”.

“We have always respected our borders with our neighbors and any (military) move will be in coordination with Baghdad and our allies,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Iran has vowed to stand alongside Baghdad in the fallout following the referendum. Allowing Iraq to seize border posts from Kurdish control would further cement Iran’s stance to renounce dealings with the Kurdistan region in favor of the central government in Baghdad.

Backed by Ankara and Tehran, the Iraqi government has demanded that the Kurdish leadership cancel the result of the referendum or face the prospect of sanctions, international isolation and possibly a military intervention.

A small Iraqi force is also deployed on the Turkish side of the border as part of joint drills with the Turkish army.

Iran’s military chief, General Mohammad Baqeri, met Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar in Tehran on Monday.

“Iran and Turkey share the same stance on the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan and both insist on the sovereignty of Iraq,” Baqeri was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA after his meeting with Akar.

“The armed forces of both countries will increase cooperation in training and war games,” he was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli, Bozorgmehr Sharafeddin and Parisa Hafezi. Writing by Raya Jalabi.; Editing by Larry King
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Sep 25, 2017
LOL now noticed a good question Is Political Leverage, Not Capability, Behind Qatar Fighter Orders?
Sep 21, 2017
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while (dated October 3, 2017)
BAE under pressure amid doubts over Qatar jets order
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Weak pound helps wider UK stock market to its fifth straight gain

Growing doubts about whether Qatar will commit to a landmark order for fighter jets were putting BAE Systems under pressure on Tuesday. Qatar said it last month signed a letter of intent to buy 24 Eurofighter Typhoons, which sent BAE shares sharply higher. However, a meeting with BAE management led Berenberg analysts to see the order as motivated not by need but by international diplomacy and fostering “political buffers”. That gives BAE just 12 months to secure the firm commitment from Qatar in time to deliver the jets for the 2022 World Cup, it said. And, with the long hoped for order from Saudi Arabia for Typhoon 48 jets looking increasingly unlikely, BAE’s jet exports are likely to halve in 2018, and again in 2019, Berenberg forecast. The broker also estimated that BAE’s pension fund ...
... skipping the rest as it's unrelated to
Persian Gulf & Middle East Military News, Reports, Data, etc.
LOL fake or not, it was worth to Watch An Iranian F-4E Phantom Do A Roll Near A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet During A Close Encounter
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I realized I really shouldn't follow the details of aircraft, flying in particular


Lieutenant General
US agrees to sell THAAD missile defence to Saudi Arabia
The possible sale of the advanced system can go ahead if congress does not object within 30 days.


A THAAD interceptor launched during a successful test [File: US Department of Defense/Handout via Reuter]
The US government has approved the possible sale to
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of an advanced missile defence system worth $15bn, the Pentagon said.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), which has already been supplied to Saudi Arabia's neighbours
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and the United Arab Emirates, is one of the most capable anti-missile batteries in the
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arsenal and comes equipped with an advanced radar system.

Saudi Arabia had asked to buy 44 THAAD launchers and 360 missiles, as well as fire control stations and radars.

"This sale furthers US national security and foreign policy interests, and supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation agency said in a statement on Friday.

The sale can go ahead if the US Congress does not object within 30 days.

THAAD's recent
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by the US military in South Korea to protect against a possible North Korean attack drew protests from Beijing, who feared its sensors would be able to penetrate into Chinese airspace and upset the balance of power.

But the state department said it would advise Congress that, in Saudi hands, the system would act to stabilise the situation in the Gulf and help defend US forces in the region and their allies.

"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," it said.

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Co is the prime contractor for the THAAD system, with defence contractor Raytheon Co playing an important role in its deployment.

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The Questions Raised By Trump’s Iran Deal Decision according to DefenseOne 2:02 PM ET
The U.S. will stick to the nuclear agreement—for now.

After months of speculation, here’s the Trump administration’s policy toward the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: “We will stay in the JCPOA, but the president will decertify under INARA,” said Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, referring to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. What this essentially means is that the JCPOA is safe for now, but Congress could amend existing U.S. legislation to make it easier to impose sanctions on Iran.

The administration will ask Congress to amend the existing U.S. legislation that covers the multilateral agreement so that lawmakers could automatically impose U.S. sanctions if Iran crosses certain “trigger points” on the nuclear program and its ballistic-missile program. The legislation would also, Tillerson said, deal with the sunset clauses in the JCPOA that critics say merely delay the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

“These amendments under INARA would outlive the JCPOA,” he said.

The Trump administration will also impose targeted sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite branch of the Iranian military—a move that falls far short of what critics of Iran wanted: for the IRGC to be declared a terrorist group. Tillerson also said the U.S. would seek a complementary deal with Iran on its regional activity and ballistic-missile program, suggesting he had broached the issue with his Iranian counterpart and other signatories to the JCPOA.

What all this does, in essence, is keep the Iran deal a U.S. domestic issue—for now.

Trump railed against the agreement as candidate and as president, calling it an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever.” He said he would “renegotiate” or “dismantle” it. But in perhaps his most detailed remarks about Iran, to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in September 2016, Trump listed Iran’s regional transgressions: its “aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region,” its support for “terror groups all over the world,” and its ballistic missile program. “At the very least, we must hold Iran accountable by restructuring the terms of the previous deal,” Trump said at the time.

Friday’s effort falls far short of that pledge. Renegotiating or restructuring the JCPOA isn’t on the table. Iran has rejected the idea, as have the other signatories to the agreement: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

The administration’s policy raises several questions: First, why punt the issue to Congress when Trump can, in fact, impose sanctions unilaterally? Second, if Iran is an untrustworthy partner, why seek a complementary deal on its regional activities and ballistic-missile program? Third, if the deal negotiated by the Obama administration was so bad, why not walk away?

By pushing the Iran deal to lawmakers, the Trump administration is, in effect, handing over a pivotal aspect of U.S. foreign policy to Congress. Barbara Slavin, who is director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, pointed out in an email that Trump could, in fact, “re-impose sanctions [on Iran] anytime he wants without Congressional approval. So this is, in a sense, the ultimate cop-out.”

Some of the measures that the administration is seeking—restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, targeted sanctions, and measures against the IRGC—were already passed by Congress earlier this year as part of sanctions that targeted Russia, along with Iran and North Korea. This week, U.S. lawmakers
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that Trump hadn’t implemented those sanctions yet.

Nor is it clear there is enough support in Congress to pass the kind of legislation being sought by the Trump administration. A congressional Democratic aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me this week: “It really is far from clear that they can get 60 votes at this time.” (That potential obstacle has been borne out by Trump’s other efforts to get Congress to back his agenda, including repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, which is also called Obamacare.)

Tillerson said there was some congressional support for the administration’s proposal, but acknowledged it can be difficult to move quickly in Congress. “I don’t want to suggest this is a slam dunk,” he said, adding: “We hope they deal with this” in the next 90 days, when the president must certify once again that Iran is complying with the JCPOA.

Congress could choose to do nothing, ensuring the U.S. will remain in the JCPOA, or it can reimpose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, a move that would ensure the U.S. is in violation of the agreement.

Iran’s critics have said it is already cheating on its obligations to the JCPOA, though international inspectors and even Tillerson and James Mattis, the U.S. defense secretary, have said Tehran is complying with the deal (even if they have both criticized the deal and Iran’s regional activities). By seeking legislation that would cover Iran’s activities that are not part of the JCPOA, the administration is making the deal that much weaker, a move that Slavin said “will reinforce the very hardliners [in Iran] the JCPOA was meant to undercut.” And by seeking a complementary agreement with Iran, the administration is sending a mixed signal on Iran’s trustworthiness.

The JCPOA was meant to cover only Iran’s nuclear program, which, as William Perry, the Clinton-era defense secretary,
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me this week, is the “most serious” problem “we have with Iran.” U.S. partners in the agreement have cited Iran’s support of Syria’s Assad regime, its support of Houthi rebels in Yemen, and its backing of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shia groups across the region as troubling actions.

“When we started this negotiation, it was a conscious decision to focus on the single most important issue, which was that Iran did not acquire nuclear weapons,” David O’Sullivan, the EU ambassador to Washington,
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me last week. “And to put other issues into the mix would frankly have blurred the importance of the nuclear issue, and would have perhaps undermined the quality of the deal that we could get on the nuclear issue.”

Indeed, while the JCPOA was a central part of Obama foreign policy, it was agreed to while the U.S. squeezed Iran through some of the toughest sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic. Iran’s oil exports halved following the imposition of the measures in 2010, and some U.S. allies who trade with Iran complained about the measures’ restrictiveness.

“The most optimistic interpretation” of Friday’s announcement, Slavin told me, “is that this is a clever ploy by Trump’s advisers to keep him in the deal.”

Tillerson, however, acknowledged that while the announcement would keep the JCPOA intact, the president is none too happy about it.

“You’ll hear,” he said, “he’s not particularly optimistic.”
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Senior Member
The Questions Raised By Trump’s Iran Deal Decision

A ridiculously clumsy move, yet even a 5 year old could've predicted what Trump would do to Iran. For Trump is 1000% pro-Israel, therefore has woefully incapable of holding a "balanced," "reasonable" and logical approach when it comes to Iran. Hysterically, typical of Trump. Not surprised and most certainly not impressed.