Russian navy promises “support” to Nicaragua; *Multi-media UPDATE*

Forget the Monroe Doctrine?

… and other news from the brave new world

In case you were wondering: no, the former-Soviet navy didn’t use to send warships to visit Nicaragua, back in the day.  Although the Nicaragua of the 1980s under Daniel Ortega was a client of the Soviet Union, Moscow didn’t send naval task forces to visit back then.  Soviet navy ships were in Cuba on a regular basis, but running the Russian navy around a Central American circuit is a new thing.

And what a thing it is.  Russia and Nicaragua can’t do this quietly.  They have to make headlines Continue reading “Russian navy promises “support” to Nicaragua; *Multi-media UPDATE*”

Rohani: A “moderate” game-changer?

This changes everything.

A reader at The Optimistic Conservative pointed out that the media outlets hailing the election of Hassan Rohani, a so-called “moderate,” as the next president of Iran are the same outlets that consider the Tea Parties in America to be “radical.”

Given that most of these media outlets would agree that the clerical mullahs of Iran’s Guardian Council are radicals, the task for the Tea Parties seems clear: simply proclaim some among their membership to be “moderate.”  Send the moderate members to talk to the media and negotiate political issues.  The moderate Tea Partiers need never make a concession or give any ground; their only requirement is to serve as the self-proclaimed moderates of the Tea Party movement.  A few tweets would help too.  The media outlets should greet the Tea Party moderates with acclaim and be excited to see them elected to public office.

Election of a ringer?

If it works for the Iranian government, it should certainly work for the Tea Parties.  The fertile TOC comments section provided a preview for another significant point, which is Continue reading “Rohani: A “moderate” game-changer?”

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”