May 2019 Middle East Intel Report

On 17 May the al-arabiyya TV program Sin’at al-Mawt interviewed two experts on Iranian affairs.  The topic of the program was the attack against the oil tankers off the coast of the U.A.E. near Fujairah.

The Gulf-based expert believed that the operation against the oil tankers required the technologies and techniques of a state actor, and were not representative of a terrorist group like ISIS or the Houthis.  However, later in the program he admitted that the Houthis could have done it after receiving training and equipment from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The Arabic-speaking, but London-based, expert noted intercepts of Iranian leaders talking about “doing something.”  In this context he mentioned the head of the IRGC, the head of Iranian intelligence, the top figures from Iranian military and government discussing what they should do.  The bottom line, is that the consensus settled on the idea of setting mines near Fujairah.

The Gulf-based expert then added that “Iran, the Houthis, Hizbollah, Iraqi Shi’a militia, they are all one,” meaning that even if the Houthis did it, they were acting on behalf of Iran.  He added that none of these groups does anything without directives from Tehran.

The London-based expert said that the Iranians had no desire, or intentions, to attack military forces, because that would bring about a sure reprisal.  But by attacking oil tankers they hoped to be able to generate enough international pressure against the United States to force it to lift the embargo.

Comment:  In other words, Iran was saying that “if we can’t sell our oil to the outside world, we have the capability to prevent others from also selling their oil to the outside world.

Dr. Halah Mustapha, writing for al-ahram’s editorial page on 18 May 2019, noted that Iran has released some of their “thought prisoners” in an attempt to win back some of their deteriorating public support.  She also believes that should a war start up between Iran and the U.S. that it would spread, involving other countries, in the region and internationally.

She also pointed out that the U.S. has the upper hand in this confrontation and/or any potential war that might break out, and that in the end, Iran’s only viable option will be to sit down and renegotiate with Trump.

In closing she added that Trump will likely get re-elected.

On 20 May, the Dubai-based, Saudi-owned TV channel al-arabiyya noted that Ahwaz Arabs have reported that Iran has moved S-300 missiles in to the Ahwaz region.

Comment:  The Ahwaz region is in Iran’s far west, and is adjacent to Iraq and the Tigris River region.  Its population are mostly Arabs, and Saudi Arabia has been cultivating them for years.  The S-300 missiles are a Russian-built anti-aircraft system that pre-date the S-400 system that Russia is selling to Turkey.

This move, and this news, tell us a few things.  One, is that by moving these missiles closer to Iraq, Iran might be expecting American air raids to be coming from the West.  Two, Iran expects that war is imminent.  And, three, the fact that it was a Saudi TV station that reported this news, and that the intelligence came originally from “Ahwaz Arabs,” indicates that the Saudis likely have “humint” sources embedded within the Ahwazi Arabs inside Iran.

On 20 May al-Arabiyya also reported that Turkey has been selling “phony real estate contracts” to Saudis.  In other words, the Turks have been pitching grandiose real estate projects in Turkey to wealthy Saudi investors who have forked over huge sums for these projects only to find that the projects did not exist.  (See the article below for more on Turkey’s shenanigans.

Hisham Nijar, writing for Egypt’s al-ahram editorial page on 19 May, believes that the current Arab Spring 2.0 taking place in Sudan, and which brought down the al-Basheer regime was a huge blow to Erdogan’s Ottoman Empire scheme similar to the dethronement of Muhammad Mursi’s brief Muslim Brotherhood (MB) regime in Egypt (2012-2013).

He supports his contention that the al-Basheer regime was a MB regime and a tool of Erdogan’s by the fact that al-Basheer and several of his cronies were received warmly in Istanbul when they escaped the wrath of the Sudanese people–along with stolen money.  He added that this pilfered money will be pumped into the “black market” organization that Erdogan and “those close to him” operate all over the world–which includes money laundering, smuggling, suspicious deals, and the financing of terrorism.

In Nijar’s view, now that it looks like the Sudanese people, as exemplified by the “freedom and change” forces, and the army, are reaching agreement about the future of Sudan–a future that calls for it to return to the (moderate) Arab fold and to distance itself from the MB-Erdogan circles–Erdogan is in a real stew.  Mr. Nijar then, believes that Erdogan will try to get the Sudanese people to lose faith in their revolution and turn back to the ikhwani (MB)/”Erdogani” solution for stability.  Mr. Nijar therefore blames

al-Basheer holdovers in the army and Erdogan for the murder of the strikers as part of their plan to instill dispair in the hearts of the Sudanese people.

Only time will tell whether or not Mr. Nijar is correct in his assumption that the exile of the thug al-Basheer really means a new beginning for Sudan and a defeat for the Erdogan and Brotherhood axis.  Or, will the Islamists end up running the show anyway?

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