Israel crossed an Iranian “red line:” What does that mean?

What does this whole “red line” thing mean, anyway?

Let’s take a look at Iran’s red line to ISIS.

‘“Baghdad, the holy shrines and the shrines of Shiite imams are surely all among the Islamic Republic’s red lines,” said Brig. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri’

From Iran’s point of view, crossing this red line would mean ‘direct action’ by Iran. A significant escalation for Iran.

Iran threatens ‘direct action’ against ISIS

Iran has signaled that it may take “direct action” if Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, fighters attack either Baghdad or Shiite holy shrines in Iraq.

“Baghdad, the holy shrines and the shrines of Shiite imams are surely all among the Islamic Republic’s red lines,” said Brig. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri, who heads joint affairs of the Iranian Armed Forces. “The Islamic Republic will take direct action [if they are attacked].”

Baqeri didn’t spell out exactly what he meant by “direct action,” which might imply the introduction of combat forces, a possibility he didn’t rule out.

Iran threatens ‘direct action’ against ISIS

Based on an Israeli attack that killed an Iranian general, Iranian leaders now claim that Israel crossed a red line. Iran is now threatening a ‘crushing reponse.’

Iran Promises ‘Crushing Response’ to Israeli Strike | Washington Free Beacon

“Senior Iranian and Hezbollah commanders were likely planning a sophisticated invasion of Israel’s northern border in the weeks before they were killed by an Israeli airstrike over the weekend, according to Major General Eyal Ben Reuven …”

“The high-level nature of the Iranian and Hezbollah operatives targeted by Israel suggests that an attack on Israel was imminent, according to Reuven …”

Iran on Monday promised that Hezbollah would deliver “crushing response” to the Israeli attack over the weekend, which killed six Iranian agents, including a top-level commander, and five Hezbollah members.

“The experience of the past shows that the resistance current will give a crushing response to the Zionist regime’s terrorist moves with revolutionary determination and in due time and place,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), was quoted as saying.

The Israeli strike came just days after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared that the terror group was preparing for a war in Israel’s northern Galilee region.

It also occurred just a week after Iranian military leaders announced that they are operating missile sites in Syria, which potentially include a nuclear facility.

Senior Iranian and Hezbollah commanders were likely planning a sophisticated invasion of Israel’s northern border in the weeks before they were killed by an Israeli airstrike over the weekend, according to Major General Eyal Ben Reuven, the former deputy head of the Israeli Defense Forces Northern Command.

The accuracy of Israel’s strike and the high-level nature of those Iranian and Hezbollah commanders killed indicates planning for a militant incursion into Israel’s northern region, according to Reuven, who said the airstrike shows a “very high level of intelligence” on Israel’s part.

Iran Promises ‘Crushing Response’ to Israeli Strike | Washington Free Beacon

We know that Iran is coordinating a ‘defense pact’ between the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese so that if one is attacked then they all respond.

Iran News Agency Fars: ‘Iran Urges Palestinian, Syrian, Lebanese Resistance Groups to Ink Defense Pact’ | Jewish & Israel News Algemeiner.com

Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars on Tuesday cited Commander of Iran’s Basij Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, as calling on the “resistance groups in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon to sign a defense treaty to help and support each other” against Israel.

“We ask the resistance forces in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon to endorse a defense pact so that an attack on any of them will be an attack on all of them and if the Zionist regime makes an aggression against any of them, all of them will grow united to confront it,” Naqdi said in Tehran on Monday night.

Iran News Agency Fars: ‘Iran Urges Palestinian, Syrian, Lebanese Resistance Groups to Ink Defense Pact’ | Jewish & Israel News Algemeiner.com

Apparently, Hamas wants to get in on the action:

Hamas’ Deif reportedly tells Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: Let’s unite against Zionist enemy – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/3zVd2F

If Iran and Hezbollah were already planning some kind of attack on Israel’s northern border but were thwarted by Israel, and Israel now crossed a red line, then that suggests the coming revenge could be significant. The response could come as a coordinated attack from Hezbollah, Syria, West Bank and Gaza.

One other factor that one must consider given the nature of Iran’s leadership: Shiite prophecy. A major prophetic event that the Iranian leaders take seriously (even if you don’t) has just occurred: The death of Saudi king Abdullah on January 23, 2015. The death of the Saudi king could give Iranian leaders a green light to go ahead with a major attack on Israel.

A Major Prophetic Sign in Islamic Prophecy: Saudi King …

May 31, 2013 – A film allegedly produced by Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s office in 2011 argued that Abdullah’s death will be a major prophetic sign …

Syrian Official: Assad Still Has Lots of Chemical Weapons – Latest News Briefs – Arutz Sheva

A senior member of the Presidential Guard in Syria claims that President Assad’s regime still holds a large amount of chemical weapons, Al Jazeera reports.

According to the source, the weapons are being held in secret warehouses under the ground in the Damascus region.

Syrian Official: Assad Still Has Lots of Chemical Weapons – Latest News Briefs – Arutz Sheva

This is what happens when you work with Russians to solve problems. Somehow the problems never really get solved. Perhaps the reason in this case is that Russia is no better than Syria and Iran. All are rogue countries.

Israeli aircraft strike positions in Syria – Israeli army | Reuters

Israeli aircraft struck Syrian army artillery positions early on Wednesday, the military said, in retaliation for rockets launched at the Israel-occupied Golan Heights a day earlier.

The strike came amid rising frontier tension 10 days after an Israeli air strike in Syria killed an Iranian general and several Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

The air strike on targets in areas under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent a clear message, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement.

Israeli aircraft strike positions in Syria – Israeli army | Reuters

Photos Show China Military Buildup on Island Near Senkakus | Washington Free Beacon

The imagery, obtained from the Airbus Defense and Space-owned Pleaides satellite, reveals China is constructing an airfield with 10 landing pads for helicopters on Nanji Island.

Military analysts said the new military base appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus.

“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”

Photos Show China Military Buildup on Island Near Senkakus | Washington Free Beacon

America Vulnerable to Defeat Due to Reckless Cuts in US Military Spending

Air supremacy in doubt; General unsure US can win a war; ‘In a year we will only be able to deploy two carrier groups worldwide, down from three currently, and five just a year ago’

General Ray Odierno, the Army’s Chief of Staff recently testified that not only have we moved away from the long-held strategic objective of being able to fight and win two wars simultaneously, he is not even sure—given our current manpower levels—that we could win one. And, he noted, he didn’t see peace breaking out around the world.

Reckless Cuts to US Military Spending Leaving America Vulnerable | New York Observer

Let me point out that America’s current vulnerability represents a window of opportunity that could start to end once Obama leaves office. Both Russia and China know about this window, and that a new president could close it. That means the current period is exceptionally dangerous. For sure Putin exploits events to his advantage. He is a reactionary, not big strategic thinker. If there is a credible event that Putin can use as an excuse to start a nuclear war with the US, then in my opinion he will.

What will happen to Putin on his current path if he does not start a war with the US?

Putin’s current path will probably lead to his downfall as Russia falls apart. Therefore, Putin must keep pushing outward into neighboring countries. At some point there must be a confrontation with the West which Putin can use as a pretext for nuclear war. In my opinion Putin and his inner circle have already decided about the possibility of nuclear war with the US. If the US interferes too much with Putin’s plans then there will be war.

Is it really credible to believe that Putin is serious about the possibility of nuclear war?

If you look back at Putin’s actions you will find that he is always escalatory. He doesn’t back down. He keeps going.

Russia Defiant After More Threats From West Over Ukraine – US News

Russian officials struck a defiant note Monday after Western leaders threatened to further punish Moscow for escalated fighting in eastern Ukraine over the weekend.

In televised comments after a meeting with students in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine’s army was at fault for the uptick in violence and accused it of using civilians as “cannon fodder” in the conflict.

“(Ukraine’s army) is not even an army, it’s a foreign legion, in this case a foreign NATO legion,” Putin said. “They have totally different goals, connected to the geopolitical containment of Russia, which absolutely do not coincide with the national interests of the Ukrainian people.”

That confrontational rhetoric came in the wake of Western threats that Russia would face further sanctions for its actions in east Ukraine, where 30 people were killed by rocket fire in the coastal city of Mariupol on Saturday. There was no fighting in Mariupol on Monday but Donetsk, the main rebel stronghold, was wracked by artillery explosions throughout the day.

Russia Defiant After More Threats From West Over Ukraine – US News

Our own state department has pointed out that Russia is effectively a mafia state. Russia is allies with rogue states Iran, Syria and North Korea. And it’s not a stretch to call Russia a modern-day Nazi state.

Analysts drew comparisons between Putin and Hitler following Putin’s speech announcing the annexation of Crimea | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/bzJAUh
Russian Professor Compares Russia’s Actions to Nazi Annexation of Austria – http://goo.gl/ppiQxJ
Russia Is Following in Nazi Germany’s Footsteps | Opinion | The Moscow Times – http://goo.gl/TU38G5
To Understand Putin, Read Orwell – POLITICO Magazine | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/cnp7Yi
Is Vladimir Putin a Psychopath? | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/AQbO9l
Russian Authoritarianism Degrading into Despotism, Pastukhov Says | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/V1aUaN

OK, but that doesn’t mean he is ready for nuclear war. Let’s take a look at some of the threats coming out of Russia over the last several years.

Russian Says Western Support for Arab Revolts Could Cause a ‘Big War’ – NYTimes.com
Ukraine crisis: Putin’s nuclear threats are a struggle for pride and status – Telegraph – http://goo.gl/6AvUBA
Russia Threatens Nuclear Strikes Over Crimea | The Diplomat – http://goo.gl/2mO3LP
Did Vladimir Putin Just Casually Threaten Nuclear War? | TheBlaze.com – http://goo.gl/WP5y75
Putin Warns Of Nuclear Power Consequences If Attempts To Blackmail Russia Don’t Stop | 1913 Intel – http://goo.gl/WEvlye

Why Putin’s Russia Is The Biggest Threat To America In 2015 – Forbes

Like the stock market crashes that periodically wipe out so many fortunes, military crises are hard to predict. … America’s policy elite never seems to see looming danger until it is too late.

So don’t be surprised if the economic sanctions Washington has led the West in imposing on Russia look like a bad idea a year from now. At the moment, a combination of sanctions and plummeting oil prices seems to be dealing the government of President Vladimir Putin a heavy blow — just retribution, many say, for its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea last year. But as Alan Cullison observed in the Wall Street Journal this week, sanctions sometimes provoke precisely the opposite response from what policymakers hope. In Russia’s case, that could mean a threat to America’s survival. Let’s briefly consider how Russia’s current circumstances could lead to dangers that dwarf the challenges posed by ISIS and cyber attacks.

A paranoid political culture. Russia’s moves on Ukraine look to many Westerners like a straightforward case of aggression. That is not the way they look to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of advisors in Moscow, nor to most Russians. …

A nuclear arsenal on hair trigger. … A senior Russian officer has stated that 96% of the strategic rocket force can be launched within minutes.

A collapsing economy. Much of Putin’s popularity within Russia is traceable to the impressive recovery of the post-Soviet economy on his watch. … Many Westerns believe a prolonged recession would weaken Putin’s support, but because he can blame outsiders, economic troubles might actually strengthen his hand and accelerate the trend toward authoritarian rule.

A deep sense of grievance. Blaming outsiders for domestic troubles has a long pedigree in Russian political tradition, and it feeds into a deep-seated sense that Russia has been deprived of its rightful role in the world by the U.S. and other Western powers. …

The unspoken wisdom in Washington today is that if nobody gives voice to such fears, then they don’t need to be addressed. That’s how a peaceful world stumbled into the First World War a century ago — by not acknowledging the worst-case potential of a crisis in Eastern Europe — and the blindness of leaders back then explains most of what went wrong later in the 20th Century. …

Why Putin’s Russia Is The Biggest Threat To America In 2015 – Forbes

You can ignore all of this if you want to, but that might be a big mistake. Given that America is actually vulnerable to defeat right now means that one needs to be especially prepared. Did I mention that US nuclear forces are showing signs of age and personnel stress? Not to mention that it is mostly gone. Enough remains to retaliate one time then there is nothing. Is that a good idea?

Amid Mounting Domestic Troubles, Putin Tries to Regain the Initiative in Eastern Ukraine | The Jamestown Foundation

What may have compelled Putin to break the ceasefire was the plain statement by US President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address last Tuesday (January 20) that the Russian economy was “in shambles” (Kommersant, January 22). Many Russian politicians felt obliged to openly reject such a denigrating assessment, while nobody seemingly took offense at Obama’s point about Russia behaving like a bully (Moskovsky Komsomolets, January 22). Perhaps the most peculiar twist to this tale was added at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov admitted that the Russian economy had entered into a deeper and more complex crisis than in 2009, but declared that the coming hardships would unite Russians even more around Putin (Kommersant, January 24). Though the declaration was little more than a ritualistic loyalty pledge, its conclusion that the crisis could only be overcome with deep and painful reforms indicates that Putin’s opinion on waiting until global oil prices climb back in a year or two is not quite shared by the business elites (RBC.ru, January 23).

Putin has had about a month to internalize this perspective, and Obama’s words perhaps hit a raw nerve in his painful reckoning with the reality of Russia’s weakness. The urge to divert attention to a different disaster in the making—in eastern Ukraine—may have been overwhelming, thus pushing Putin to make use of the only reliable tool left at his disposal, military force. Ukraine has suffered yet another defeat, but its democratically elected leadership looks poised to persevere and to gain a new measure of support, both domestically and in the war-averse but security-committed Europe. With all its military setbacks and economic devastation, Ukraine as a whole is not in shambles, repeatedly disproving the power calculations in the Kremlin. Russia, to the contrary, is sinking deeper into the quagmire of decline and isolation, despite all its fitful attempts at projecting crude power. It may try to defy economic gravity by whipping itself into an anti-Western frenzy through vicious propaganda, but a crash landing will yet again leave observers with the “Why now?” question.

Amid Mounting Domestic Troubles, Putin Tries to Regain the Initiative in Eastern Ukraine | The Jamestown Foundation

Putin: Ukraine’s Army Is A NATO Proxy Aimed At ‘Containing Russia’ | Business Insider

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Ukraine’s army is a NATO proxy whose geopolitical aim is to constrain Russia.

“This is not the army, per se, this is a foreign proxy, in this case a foreign NATO legion, which, of course, doesn’t pursue the objective of national interests of Ukraine.

“They have entirely different goals, and they are tied with the achievement of the geopolitical goals of containing Russia, which absolutely does not fall in place with the national interests of the Ukrainian people,” Putin said on Monday.

“We often say: the Ukrainian army, the Ukrainian army. But in fact, who’s fighting there? Indeed, there are, in part, official units of armed forces, but for the most part it’s the so-called ‘volunteer nationalist battalions,’” Putin added.

Putin: Ukraine’s Army Is A NATO Proxy Aimed At ‘Containing Russia’ | Business Insider

Ya’alon: Iran and Hezbollah seek to start war

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon has said that Iran and Hezbollah sought to start war with Israel in the Golan Heights through carrying out operations such as infiltrating Israeli settlements, targeting Israeli tanks and launching rockets towards Israel, Arabs 48 has reported.

Speaking on Israeli state radio, Ya’alon said that the Syrian and Lebanese governments would pay the price for any operation carried out against Israel in response to the recent Israeli attack on Al-Quneitra in Syrian-controlled Golan Heights, which killed Hezbollah commander General Allahdadi.

He said that Iran is planning to attack Western interests in the region as well as Israeli interests through its control over the Golan Heights.

Ya’alon: Iran and Hezbollah seek to start war

If Iran and Hezbollah were seeking to start a war with Israel but Israel thwarted it, then doesn’t that suggest revenge is going to mean war? And not just any war. An incredibly bad war for Israel.

Ukraine Crisis More Dangerous Than Cold War | Opinion | The Moscow Times

Since the crisis in Ukraine began, many have claimed that a new Cold War between Russia and the West already exists. This rhetoric, used even by high-profile politicians, in my opinion, is driven mostly by emotions and is meant to justify difficult positions taken by one or the other side.

I am convinced that no Cold War of the type we experienced in the second half of the 20th century can be repeated today. The world has changed in the most radical way. Today we live in an entirely new reality that does not fit the old paradigms.

Today we live in a world where the old order has ceased to exist, and a new one that would suit all the major players has not yet been established. And this is what makes our times so different from the Cold War.

The threat of a nuclear conflict is higher today than it was during the Cold War. In the absence of a political dialogue, with mutual mistrust reaching historical highs, the probability of unintended accidents, including those involving nuclear weapons, is getting more and more real.

Ukraine Crisis More Dangerous Than Cold War | Opinion | The Moscow Times

Russia Is Turning Into a Rogue State | Opinion | The Moscow Times

“Now Russia has finally moved firmly into the rogue camp.”

“I would even hazard to say that, having annexed Crimea and unleashed war in southern and eastern Ukraine, Russia now meets all the criteria of a rogue state. “

Over time, Russia has come less to represent the civilized states to the rogue states, and more to defend the rogue states and their interests before the civilized states. The final step in that metamorphosis occurred during Shoigu’s recent visit to Tehran. Now Russia has finally moved firmly into the rogue camp.

I would even hazard to say that, having annexed Crimea and unleashed war in southern and eastern Ukraine, Russia now meets all the criteria of a rogue state. This is foremost due the presence of a national dogma, for the sake of which leaders will deliberately sacrifice their citizens’ interests.

The main thing is that the Russian leader — like the Iranian Ayatollah and the North Korean dictator — is prepared to easily sacrifice his citizens’ well-being for the sake of some vaguely defined “national interests” that are nothing but a mixture of national pride and the leader’s own inferiority complex. Today, people are getting killed in the Donbass for the sake of that combustible mixture.

At the same time, Russia differs from other rogue states because it is a former superpower and holds the world’s second-largest nuclear arsenal. Putin exploits the fact that nobody knows how to deal with a major nuclear power that violates all international agreements. The West had forgotten how it had used nuclear deterrence to coexist with the Soviet Union. Now it will have to open up that playbook once more.

Russia Is Turning Into a Rogue State | Opinion | The Moscow Times

Monitoring emerging risks.