Sunday, November 11, 2018

Nader Uskowi writes new book on Iran's IRGC-QF and Mideast conflict

Amazon's Best Seller for New Releases 
in Military Science History
 in Middle East & Africa

Nader Uskowi's anticipated new book title, "Temperature Rising: Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Wars in the Middle East" is now published and available for purchase.

The book details how the Quds Force and its allied Shia militias have fought in three theaters to advance Islamic Republic of Iran's regional ambitions and create a contiguous land corridor linking Iran through Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, and the Israeli northern fronts. The Iran-led operations are generating enormous political and security challenges for competing regional powers, contributing further instabilities in an already turbulent Middle East, with specters of direct military conflicts looming, pitting Iran against Gulf Arab states and Israel.

Mr. Uskowi has served as Senior Policy Advisor to United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), the branch of the U.S. military whose area of responsibility includes Iran and the Middle East, focusing on geopolitical and military developments across the region. He has recently testified before U.S. Congress, and published articles, appeared on Radio and TV news programs, and presented papers to seminars and symposiums on Iran.

Reviews for Temperature Rising:

“Temperature Rising is a riveting account of Iran’s way of war in the Middle East by a seasoned observer of the country’s regional strategy and military policy. Uskowi’s book is a powerful must-read for anyone interested in the region.” (General James Jones, former national security advisor to President Obama and former Marine Corps Commandant)

“If you want to understand Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and its action arm, the Qods Forces, Temperature Rising is the book you must read. Nader Uskowi takes you inside the organization, its funding, its relationship to the Supreme Leader, and its broad mission. It is not just about protecting the Iranian regime from possible internal threats; it is about spreading the reach of the Islamic Republic throughout the Middle East. Temperature Rising explains in a compelling fashion the threat, but also points out the new vulnerabilities the Revolutionary Guard is creating for the Iranian regime. This book reminds us that the Islamic Republic poses a threat but also is not ten feet tall.” (Ambassador Dennis Ross, Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

"Nader Uskowi has written an important and timely book that outlines the true scope of the challenge we face from the Islamic Republic. Today, as the United States grapples anew with Iran's malign influence in the Middle East, Temperature Rising should be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the persistence of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s radical ideology, the extent of the Iranian regime’s regional reach, and the significance of the new web of influence that Tehran is building across the region." (Ilan Berman, senior vice president, American Foreign Policy Council)

[Please note: this is a supplemental post to the Uskowi on Iran site archive.]

Monday, November 30, 2015

Uskowi on Iran, signing off

It is with heavy hearts that Nader Uskowi and I, Mark Pyruz, announce we are signing off at Uskowi on Iran. This is the last post.

Mr. Uskowi’s professional commitments no longer afford the time required to put into this publishing effort. I, in turn, have decided to focus on personal health issues.

Looking back, this publishing effort was initiated by Mr. Uskowi on 3 March 2007. I, Mark Pyruz, was recruited in April 2008. Subsequently, writers added to this effort included Paul Iddon, Amir Taheri and Dr. Jabbar Fazeli. We sincerely thank these three writers for their contributions.

During this nearly nine-year run, the total number of posts reached 6,663.

The total number of page views exceeded 8 million, for which we express our deepest appreciation to you, the readership.

Speaking for myself, I am eternally grateful to Nader Uskowi for including me in this effort. I learned a great deal in the process. In retrospect I realize I've been bestowed the opportunity to honor my paternal Iranian ancestral heritage. I know that in all of Mr. Uskowi’s many important endeavors, he is likewise motivated.

This site will remain up for a period of time primarily as a resource for Iran military-related studies.

Farewell from Nader Uskowi and Mark Pyruz.

Center: Nader Uskowi's father, Nasser Oskoui, a full Colonel in the IIA, later rising to the rank of Major General. In civilian suits: three uncles. Center right: Lt. Colonel and brother-in-law to the Uskowis. Circa 1960.

Mark Pyruz's paternal Iranian heritage: 
Freydoun Merat, father, 1973
Ismail Merat, grandfather, Minister of Education and Health/Welfare, University of Tehran chancellor University of Tehran, 1936
Ismail Mumtaz, great-grandfather, writer of 1906 Constitution, Speaker of Parliament, circa 1902

Sunday, November 29, 2015

IRIN commando training at Marines Training Base in Manjil, Iran

Iran media imagery dated 28NOV15 depicting IRIN Marine commando training undertaken at the training center located at Manjil, in the Central District of Rudbar County, Gilan Province, Iran:

Gymnasium at IRIN Marines Training Base in Manjil. Cadets undertaking commando instruction seen equipped with G3-A4 battle rifles.

IRIN Marine commando training in the utilization of Jacob's ladder

Hand-to-hand combat instruction provided to IRIN cadets by Marine senior chief petty officer

Tactical Rope Suspension Techniques (TRST) training at Marines Training Base in Manjil

Military diver training exercise supervised by IRIN Marine lieutenant commander

IRIN Marine commando NCOs equipped with variety of small arms

IRIN Marine commando NCOs board inshore patrol boat, under supervision of IRIN lieutenant commander

IRIN Marine commando training exercise aboard inshore patrol boat at Sefid Rud ("White River") Lake

IRIN Marine commando training exercise aboard kayak at Sefid Rud ("White River")

IRIN Marine commando hand-to-hand drill in wetland conditions

Ideological instruction at IRIN Marines Training Base at Manjil

Map location for IRIN Marines Training Base at Manjil  [image: Google Maps]

Photos: Ali Khara at Fars News Agency

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Remains of deceased senior Iranian diplomat transported to Iran from Saudi Arabia

Remains of Iranian senior diplomat Ghazanfar Roknabadi were returned to Iran from Saudi Arabia on 26NOV15, with a ceremonious funeral held 27NOV15 in Tehran.

Iranian media reported the body of Roknabadi, who was declared missing, was identified through fingerprints and DNA testing.  [source: RFE/RL]

Secondary testing will be used to determine if Roknabadi died in the hajj crush, his brother was quoted saying by ISNA news agency.

"If the result of examinations in Tehran contradicts the Saudis' claim that my brother died in the Mina incident we will complain via international forums," Morteza Roknabadi said.

He acknowledged the rumours about his brother's death, which followed recent remarks by Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. [source: AFP]

Following is Iran media imagery of the transfer of Roknabadi's remains at THR:

Aircraft observed in transporting of Roknabad's remains to THR is Iran Air Airbus A320-232, reg. EP-IEB (cn 575)

Artesh presidential guard serve as pallbearers 26NOV15 at Mehrabad International Airport

Lebanese Hezbollah flag displayed at funeral procession for Ghazanfar Roknabadi

Until last year, Roknabadi was Tehran's envoy to Beirut, a highly sensitive post. Lebanon is home to the Iranian-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah, allied with President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, who Riyadh has repeatedly urged to stand down. [source: AFP]

Imagery of the deceased on IRI flag-draped coffin, during funeral procession in Tehran

Bereaved family members during the funeral of Ghazanfar Roknabadi, in Tehran

Bereaved family members with image of the deceased at the funeral of Ghazanfar Roknabadi, in Tehran

Photos: Islamic Republic News Agency

Friday, November 27, 2015

Expanded capabilities of Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah observed in Syrian conflict

RuAF Su-24 and Mi-8 aircrew rescued with assistance by Iran-backed military special forces

According to ABNA:
While the Russians were planning for another operations to free the pilot immediately, General Soleimani contacted [Russian forces] and proposed a special task force unit be formed of Hezbollah's special forces and Syrian commandos who have been trained by Iran and are fully familiar with the geographical situation of the region to be tasked with the ground operations and Russia provide them with air cover and satellite intelligence.
Soleimani promised them to return the Russian pilot safe and sound; a promise that was kept in the end, according to the Syrian officer.
After tracing the place of the Russian pilot using his GPS, it was revealed that the pilot was being kept in a place 6km behind the frontline of the clashes between the Syrian army and the opposition.
Six fighters of Hezbollah's special operation unit and 18 Syrian commandos approached the frontline to carry out the operations and the Russian air force and helicopters concurrently created hellfire in the region and destroyed the terrorists' headquarters in a way that most of the enemy forces deployed in the region fled the scene and the ground was paved for the special unit's advance.
The Syrian officer added that every move of the special units was monitored and covered precisely by the Russian satellites in a way that the slightest moves made 100 meters away from the area of operation was reported to them and every moment of the operation was reported to a very high-raking official in the Kremlin (that he thinks was president Putin) and it was clear that he was monitoring the entire operations through satellites from Moscow.
According to the officer who called for anonymity, the operation later turned into a hunt of the terrorists in the operation zone by the Russian air force from the sky and by Brigadier General Soleimani's operations units on the ground.
COMMENTARY: Some of the details of the ABNA report haven't been verified, however it has apparently been corroborated that an 18-member Syrian commando team linked up with a 6-member Hezbollah special operations team already sitting near a border crossing point to effect the rescue.

It has been pointed out by another observer that the Iran-backed Hezbollah special operations team was performing a SICTA (strategic intelligence collection / target acquisition) mission. Such teams are probably all along that border right up to Jarabulus. [see HERE]

While others have been pointing to the Syrian conflict as a drain on Iranian and Iran-backed forces such as Hezbollah, this writer has stressed the expansion of capabilities--particularly on offense--that the Syrian conflict has spawned during the course of the war.

According to Associated Press:
A Hezbollah TV station says a joint operation by the Lebanese militant group and Syrian security agents killed an Islamic State figure suspected of involvement in Beirut's deadly bombing earlier this month.
AL-Manar TV says Abdul-Salam Hendawi, also known as Abu Abdo, died in an ambush in an IS-held area in Syria's central province of Homs.
It says Hendawi was responsible for bringing into Lebanon two suicide bombers who carried out the Nov. 12 attack in southern Beirut. The attack killed 43 people and wounded more than 200.
COMMENTARY: If accurate, such a strike by Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) represents a successful counter-terrorism operation beyond the formal boundaries of said military force.

While the United States, Israel, EU and GCC consider Iran-backed LH a terrorist organization, Russia does not, as expressed at the Vienna II Syrian conflict resolution talks. This may be considered another point of contention beyond the fate of Syrian President Assad, between the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL on the one hand, and the R+5 (Russia, Syria, Iran, Lebanese Hezbullah, Iraqi PMF and Syrian NDF) on the other.

Opposition counteroffensive stalls against Iran-backed forces, SW Aleppo

Iran-backed Iraqi Kataib Hezbollah T-72 type main battle tank, SW Aleppo front. Social media imagery emerging 24NOV15

According to Leith Fadel at Al-Masdar News, dated 26NOV15:
The Islamist rebels from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, Jaysh Al-Islam, and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham launched a large-scale offensive in southern Aleppo earlier this week, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s frontline defenses at the multiple hilltops that surround the
Over the past 6 days in southern Aleppo, the Islamist rebels from Jabhat Al-Nusra, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, and Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki have repeatedly tried to bypass the Syrian Armed Forces’ frontline defenses at the imperative village of Banes and Kafr Haddad; this powerful assault from the Islamist rebel factions has resulted in the capture of Kafr Haddad’s southern Sector, despite the Islamist rebels declaring this village as “liberated”.
With the ongoing firefights near Banes and Kafr Haddad, the Islamist rebels attempted to take advantage of the Syrian Arab Army’s brief hiatus from the battlefield in order to allow their soldiers to take leave for a few days before going back to battle.
According to a battlefield journalist that is embedded with the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division in southern Aleppo, the Islamist rebels have been unable to make any significant progress in the last 72 hours after failing to take Banes from the soldiers entrenched in this village.
The Islamist rebel offensive has proved to be rather unsuccessful thus far as several of their combatants have been reportedly killed by the Syrian Armed Forces.
COMMENTARY: Opposition forces committed not inconsiderable forces in launching this counteroffensive. While sections of theIRGC-QF line appeared to buckle, no opposition breakthrough appears to have been achieved.

What's more, with R+5 (Russia, Syria, Iran, Lebanese Hezbullah, Iraqi PMF and Syrian NDF) forces attacking at multiple axes and with the opposition committing much needed military resources to this now stalled counteroffensive, attritional losses at the Aleppo front as well as multiple stress points being applied may now be stretching opposition force resources as never before.

Iran-backed Iraqi Kataib Hezbollah T-72 type main battle tank movement through countryside village, SW Aleppo front. Social media imagery emerging 24NOV15.

Iran-backed Hezbollah force member equipped with Iran-manufactured AM50 anti-materiel sniper rifle, SW Aleppo front. Social media imagery emerging 24NOV15.

Iran-backed Hezbollah force member equipped with SPG-9 Kopye (“Spear”) recoilless gun, SW Aleppo front. Social media imagery emerging 24NOV15.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Claims and counter-claims of IRGC-QF Commander WIA on the Aleppo front

Above: imagery appearing 21NOV15 depicting IRGC-QF Commander Maj. Gen. Soleimani on the Aleppo front inside Syria

According to Agence France-Presse, dated 25NOV15:
General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations wing, was lightly injured in fighting against Syria rebels near Aleppo, a monitoring group and a security source said Wednesday.
Soleimani "was injured a few days ago" in an offensive in the southwest of Aleppo province, a security source on the ground told AFP.
The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, also said the general had been hurt.
He was "lightly injured three days ago in the Al-Eis area in the south of Aleppo province," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
COMMENTARY: Reports of the death or severe wounding of IRGC-QF Maj. Gen. Soleimani have been circulating since at least 15NOV15, initially claimed by the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, JAN.

Above report offers further claim of "lightly wounded" by unnamed "security source" and Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). SOHR is a pro-revolution organization.

Iranian sources continue to deny the WIA of Soleimani, the most recent observed 24NOV15 from IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif, in an article published at Sepah News, the official IRGC media site. In the article, Sharif, who is IRGC Director of Public Relations states that Soleimani is “completely healthy” and is “energetically” and “cheerfully” assisting the "resistance fighters in Iraq and Syria."

Map depiction of Al-Eis area, where it is claimed Soleimani was "lightly wounded." This 15NOV15 military situation graphic depicts Al-Eis in relation to drive to IRGC-QF directed drive towards relieving besieged Shia enclaves of Al-Fu'ah and Kafarya, an objective still not realized.

Busy week of diplomacy in Tehran

Iran media imagery of diplomacy being conducted during the past week in Tehran:

President of Iraq Faud Masum (L) with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R), dated 24NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

Left to right: First Vice President of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri, Prime Minister of Algeria Abdelmalek Sellal and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R), dated 24NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

President of Bolivia Evo Morales (L) with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R), dated 24NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (L) with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R), dated 23NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari (L) with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R), dated 23NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro (L) with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R), dated 23NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (L) with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (R), dated 23NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (L) with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (R), dated 23NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov (L) with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R), dated 24NOV15 on sidelines of GECF in Tehran.

President of Bolivia Evo Morales (L) with with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) on 24NOV15 in Tehran

Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn (L) with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) on 24NOV15 in Tehran

Group photo of leaders and ministers attending third Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Tehran

Maja Gojkovic, President of the National Assembly of Serbia with Ali Larijani, Speaker of Parliament of Iran, dated 23NOV15 in Tehran

Maja Gojkovic, President of the National Assembly of Serbia, with Eshaq Jahangiri, First Vice President of Iran, dated 23NOV15 in Tehran.

Maja Gojkovic, President of the National Assembly of Serbia, with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran, dated 23NOV15 in Tehran.

Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov (L) with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran, dated 23NOV15 in Tehran.

Crispin Blunt, head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the British Parliament, with Ali Larijani, Speaker of Parliament of Iran, dated 21NOV15 in Tehran

Photos: Islamic Republic News Agency, and Ali Abbaspour at Fars News Agency

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Russian Air Force Su-24 combat aircraft downed by Turkish forces

Doomed RuAF Sukhoi Su-24 "Fencer" attack aircraft, claimed shot down by THK F-16 "Viper" multirole fighter aircraft.

According to Reuters:
Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian-made warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday after repeatedly warning it over air space violations, Turkish officials said, but Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space.
Turkish presidential sources said the warplane was a Russian-made SU-24. The Turkish military, which did not confirm the plane's origin, said it had been warned 10 times in the space of five minutes about violating Turkish airspace.
Russia's defence ministry said one of its fighter jets had been downed in Syria, apparently after coming under fire from the ground, but said it could prove the plane was over Syria for the duration of its flight, Interfax news agency reported.
According to Russia Today News:
A Russian Su-24 fighter has been shot down in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding the plane hadn’t violated Turkish airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters.
“During the flight, the aircraft was flying within the borders of Syria, which was registered by objective monitoring data,” the ministry said, adding that the aircraft was "supposedly shot down from the ground.”
COMMENTARY: This is the first time a NATO member armed forces has downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s.

This action by the Turkish military could be interpreted by the Russo-Iranian led coalition as rendering support for armed opposition forces, against Russian military forces engaged in supporting current Syrian pro-government offensive at northern Latakia Governorate. [see military situation map at bottom of post]

Russian and Turkish assets fell on fears of an escalation between these two countries that have seen periods of hostility and open warfare during the previous five centuries.

RuAF Sukhoi Su-24 "Fencer" attack aircraft falling to earth upon Turkmen Mountain, in the north of Latakia region of Syria

Flight radar track imagery of downed RuAF Su-24 attack aircraft, as provided by Turkish military following shootdown. Russian Defense Ministry disputes this, claiming it has evidence to show the downed attack aircraft remained within Syrian airspace.

Military situation map of area where RuAF attack aircraft are supporting Syrian government military forces in their current offensive at Latakia Governorate.  [source: Peto Lucem]