Iranian navy takes another big step outward

Iran busting out all over.

A couple of years ago, the Iranian navy announced it had deployed a submarine to the Red Sea as part of its patrol force there.  We can’t be sure (from out here in Unclassified World) how many times submarines have deployed to the Red Sea since.  It’s probably not many; Iran does better now with her Russian-built, Kilo-class submarines than she used to, in terms of keeping them ready and deployable, but her performance still wouldn’t be called great.

It’s good enough, however, to back up last week’s announcement that the Kilo-class submarine Younus (also spelled Younes and Yunes in transliteration) was heading for a deployment around the Indian Ocean, Continue reading “Iranian navy takes another big step outward”


Iran, Syria, and sanctions-busting fakery

Oldest trick in the book.

Inevitably, Iran and Syria are gaming international maritime communications.  Both nations are under sanctions.  Both appear to be faking registry in Tanzania.  And Iran is transmitting false signals to hide the operations of Syrian cargo ships.

The fakery by the two countries’ merchant fleets has Tanzania in common – apparently as a victim – but it also has Libya.  Twenty years of peace dividends for the West, combined with the Arab Spring of 2011, have changed the security picture on Africa’s perimeter, and the direction in some segments of it is backward, to an age of little surveillance and expanding lawlessness.  Libya’s coast is one such segment.  Even if the surveillance forces of NATO are watching in the central Mediterranean, it’s not clear that the focus is there to ensure useful intelligence collection, or that there’s an organized will to do much about tankers or cargo vessels that head, on the sly, into and out of Libya.

And so, this fall, Iranian ships have been transmitting fake signals Continue reading “Iran, Syria, and sanctions-busting fakery”

Benghazi: Responsibility, Rumors, Geopolitics


The weekend brings new postings about the deadly firefight in Benghazi on 11 September 2012.  Some of them appear to be going off the rails a bit; others will require vetting.  Time to try to do a little sorting.

On Friday, Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin reported that requests for help from the CIA Annex in Benghazi, where dozens of Americans were holed up during the firefight at the US mission compound some distance away, were denied by the CIA chain of command.

In a local interview in Denver on Friday, President Obama declined to answer questions about this, stating Continue reading “Benghazi: Responsibility, Rumors, Geopolitics”