Last year, FBI Director James Comey confirmed to the US Senate committee that Islamic State terrorists had obtained at least one printing machine used to provide militants with authentic-looking Syrian passports. The machine is believed to have been seized by terrorists during an IS offensive on the city of Deir ez-Zour. The revelation sparked concerns that large amounts of forged IDs can be manufactured in IS-controlled territories.
According to a report on global terrorism from the Institute of Economics and Peace, since the start of the military conflict in Syria in 2011 between 25,000 and 30,000 ‘foreign fighters’ have arrived in Iraq and Syria, with Europe accounting for 21 percent of the total number.
Iran’s Defense Minister Gen. Hossein Dehghan arrived in Moscow this week at the head of a large military delegation and laid before President Vladimir Putin and his Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu a $14 billion check. Now, make our Revolutionary Guards Corps and regular forces into an up-to-the-minute war machine, he said.
The plan to make over and upgrade Iran’s military was first approved by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It is to be paid for with funds released by newly lifted sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The ayatollah aspires to rebuild the two branches – the IRGC with 150,000 troops and the regular army of 420,000 – as the most powerful armed force in the Middle East.
The fee on offer to Moscow covers the best-quality arms purchases and the foundation of a wide-ranging military industry for turning out Iran’s requirements of warplanes, tanks and other high-grade systems.
The entire project as presented to Russian leaders is estimated to unfold over 10 years, during which relations between Tehran and Moscow should grow progressively stronger.
Iran’s shopping list is vast and formidable, as revealed here by DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources. It is topped by highly advanced ballistic missile technology, together with the special metals the Russians have developed for upgrading their own missiles and their engines.
Other items are:
- Advanced SU-30 and SU-35 fighter-bombers
- Spy planes, especially the latest model of the Tu-214R intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft that was posted last week in Syria
- Submarines and different types of warships including missile ships
- A large number of the top-of-the-line T-90 tank as standard equipment for both branches of the Iranian military. The Russians are to build factories for its production in Iran
- The latest armored personnel carriers
- MRLS rocket launchers of diverse calibers
- Heavy, self-propelled artillery
Tehran appears to have taken Russian consent to this giant transaction as a given and regime officials are already enthusing over the “Russian weapons revolution” about to overtake its military. President Putin was quoted as agreeing in principle to the transaction, although he proposed first setting up a Russian-Iranian military team for examining the items on order and its financial aspects. Its conclusions would then be submitted to the decision making authorities of both governments before implementation goes ahead.
Commenting on these negotiations, a US official stressed Friday, Feb. 19, that the UN embargo on arms sales to Iran, embodied in the nuclear deal Iran signed with the six world powers last year, remains in force for five years.
One view of what caused the Great Depression in the 1930s is that the Federal Reserve failed to prevent a collapse in the money supply.
This is the famous thesis of Milton Friedman’s and Anna Schwartz’s A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, and it was, more or less, the view of Ben Bernanke when he was chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The global economy today resembles that of the 1930s in several ominous ways.
Financial author Edward Chancellor recently called attention to a paper written by Claudio Borio, head economist at the Bank of International Settlements (full paper below), that provides a fuller picture of the causes of the Great Depression. The paper also draws parallels between global economic conditions that led to the rise of protectionism in the 1930s and our situation now.