Rocket attacks and navy drills during the „decisive phase“ of the nuclear talks in Vienna

Rocket attacks and navy drills during the „decisive phase“ of the nuclear talks in Vienna

The Tehran Times today has a spy story as the main headline, how the CIA is allegedly fomenting chaos and unrest in Central Asia and China including Xinjiang Kazhastan and Hongkong, in part to sabotage BRI. China has just signed the 25-year deal with Iran, wants Iran to be part of the BRI, holds joint maneuvers with Russia and Iran in the Persian Gulf, and is with Ruzssia and Iran part in the nuclear talks in Vienna, which Iran says are now entering the „decisive phase.“ But when it comes to specific acts of sabotage, the article remains very unconcrete. It only proofs that the CIA agent had many contacts with Muslims everywhere..

“CIA malign activities in China revealed

January 22, 2022 – 10:3

TEHRAN – China has been in the crosshairs of the United States ever since it achieved a rarely seen economic growth in modern times, something that Washington is working its butt off to stop, or at least slow down.

Just recently, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote a lengthy article accusing Chinese President Xi Jinping of pursuing an “unbridled ambition” to “mold the existing world order into a system of global governance controlled by Communist China through its prophesied future supremacy in all forms of international power.”

In the article for National Interest, Pompeo warned that “China, therefore, represents the greatest threat that America has faced in the modern era, for no other nation that has contested the United States has possessed China’s relative economic power or population.”

The U.S. has sought to use everything in its power to counter China. But little is known about the many ways Washington is using to “create chaos and havoc” across China. 

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has resorted to a multilayered, multi-pronged scheme to destabilize China and derail its One Road One Belt initiative, the Tehran Times can reveal.

In a January 11 article, the Tehran Times briefly pointed to Imad Zuberi, an American spy who used his business cover to approach world leaders and the international business elite in a bid to spy for the U.S.

After more than a decade of spying for U.S. intelligence agencies, Zuberi was sentenced in February last year to 12 years in prison for alleged offenses ranging from tax evasion to foreign-influence peddling and campaign-finance violations.

The Tehran Times has learned that Zuberi was deeply implicated in spying for the CIA in China. He was operating under the supervision of a high-ranking CIA officer called Rob Kee, who is the former Station Chief of Afghanistan, Head of Near East Desk, and the Western Region Station Chief in Long Beach. 

The CIA instructed Zuberi to undertake a variety of activities ranging from approaching some powerful people on Capitol Hill to establishing contacts with Muslim leaders of the Chinese Muslim minority as well as the members of the China Communist Party (CCP). 

Under directions from Kee, Zuberi got close to a number of Congressmen, including Senator Lindsey Graham. The main reason for this was to use these people for “media propaganda purposes.” He succeeded in using Graham for such purposes. 

Another reason was to push for a Congressional mandate to go against China as a country and its One Road One Belt initiative.

Zuberi’s mission against China also included incitement against Chinese living in Muslim Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, North Africa, and Afghanistan. 

The CIA figured that one way to derail the One Road One Belt initiative is to use propaganda to exploit the Chinese internment of Muslims using media outlets in America and beyond. The underlying reason for that was that the Chinese BRI project is running through several of the 59 Muslim countries. 

Zuberi played a pivotal role in executing this strategy. On instructions from Kee, he traveled to China to visit mosques in several cities in China in order to find Muslim leaders. 

Using his connections in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and Turkish halal food companies supplying Chinese Muslims with that kind of food, Zuberi socialized well with Chinese Muslims. 

He collected locations, photos, and names of leaders of Uyghur Muslims, Hui Muslims, Xidaotang Muslims, and Yihewani Muslims as well as major mosques in the regions of Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Ningxia, Gansu, and Qinghai. Zuberi sent all the information he collected to Kee. 

He also paid money to his assets in China from his own bank accounts and was instructed to not disclose to his assets that he was paying them on behalf of the CIA. In other words, the CIA wasn’t willing to have its Chinese assets knowing they were being exploited by it. 

Zuberi returned to Long Beach with all the information he collected from China and met with CIA China experts to review information. At Langley, he thoroughly discussed his espionage activities in China. He also provided the CIA with information not only related to Chinese Muslims but also to members of the CCP whom he helped bring to America, namely Las Vegas. 

So, what was all that for? Zuberi himself answered this question. He said the idea was to create chaos and havoc across China. Zuberi explicitly said that the CIA was seeking to replicate its fomenting of Hong Kong in other places in China. According to Zuberi, the CIA destabilized Hong Kong to undermine Beijing’s authority in the city. 

Zuberi noted that U.S. senators and House representatives went to Hong Kong or accused China of creating a civil war in the city and killing innocent people when in fact the U.S. and CIA were doing this.

This isn’t new to the CIA. It has long been involved in malign activities across the world. 

In the recent unrest in Kazakhstan, many observers pointed the finger of the blame on the U.S. which has been keeping an eye on Kazakhstan due to its long borders with Russia. This has been raised in a recent private meeting of General Frank McKenzie, the outgoing commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). McKenzie said in the meeting that “when you are doing business in Kazakhstan you’ve got to recognize that Kazakhstan has a land border with Russia that is as long as our border with Canada. So, geography is destiny for playing with central Asia states.”

While Russia announced navy drills in the Atlantic, the Artic, the Mediterrean and NATO in response started its Neptun  navy drills in the Mediteran which allegedly had no connection with the Ukraine crisis and Russia, Russia China and Iran also announced joint navy drills I the Persian Gulf. The Teheran Times makes clear that this is a show of unity between the three “powerhouses” and is also connected with the nuclear talks in Vienna where Russia, China and Iran were on the same side. China already claimed that the agenda should only be limited to nuclear proliferation and not extended to regional security issues. The EU is blamed by Iran for being “too slow” in the talks.

“Iran, Russia, China demonstrate proximity through naval drill

January 21, 2022 – 21:8

TEHRAN — On Friday morning, the bell rang for one of the biggest maritime drills in the history of the powerful triangle of Iran, Russia, and China.

The joint drill, which is called “naval security belt combined war game 2022,” covers an area of 17,000 square kilometers.

The drill involves marine and airborne units of the Iranian Navy, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, and flotillas from the Russian Pacific Fleet and the Chinese Navy.

“Together for peace and security,” is the motto of the drill, Admiral Mostafa Tajeddini, the drill spokesman, announced on Thursday. 

Tajeddini added the drill is aimed at improving security of international maritime trade, countering piracy and maritime terrorism, exchange of information in naval rescue and relief operations, and exchange of operational and tactical experiences.

This is the third joint naval drill between Iran, Russia, and China.

After Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, media outlets reported that a joint naval drill will soon be held between Iran, Russia, and China.

Interestingly, the three countries involved in the drill are enjoying close political relationship. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian visited China on January 13. He held extensive talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

The outcome of the visit was the implementation of the strategic 25-year cooperation document between Iran and China. 

In the meeting, Amir Abdollahian reaffirmed Iran’s support for the One China Policy and announced Iran’s readiness to expand all-out ties with China.

For his part, Wang said that the 25-year partnership is “highly important” and said Tehran and Beijing’s agreement to start implementing the deal is a significant development that will pave the way to fundamentally transform bilateral ties.

Similarly, Iran’s president went to Russia and had a lengthy meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. He also addressed the Russian State Duma, and met with prominent Russian economic actors. 

In the meeting with the Russian leader, Raisi pointed to Iran’s resistance against the Western pressure since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, saying, “We have been standing against the West for more than forty years and we will not tie the country’s progress to sanctions.” Putin also hailed cooperation between Russia and Iran in the fight against terrorists in Syria.

“Iranian and Russian support has helped overcome terrorist threats on the Syrian soil,” the Russian president noted. 

As talks are underway in Vienna to remove illegal sanctions imposed on Iran, the visits by Iran’s top officials are highly significant. The intimacy of Iran, Russia, and China has benefitted Tehran greatly in the negotiations table, aiding the speed of talks. However, Iran has expressed its dissatisfaction with the slow speed of negotiations by Europeans, and has called for practical initiatives.

Among the important achievements of these visits, one stands out. China, Iran, and Russia are entirely on the same page in regard to the Vienna talks. The two countries expressed their ultimate support over Iran’s legitimate demands for guarantees from the United States, and called for an end of the “counter-productive” sanctions of the United States. 

This drill shows how close the triangle of power is, and nothing can break the unity between the three powerhouses.

While the Vienna talks are getting allegedly in their “decisive phase”, while Saudiaarabia and the UAE approached Iran, some Iranian proxies don´t seem to be happy with this development. With rocket attacks on Abu Dhabi, the Houthis have once again exacerbated and deliberately escalated the conflict between Iran and the Gulf States. At almost the same time, Tehran-dependent Shia militias in Baghdad attacked the US embassy and offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). There are signs of a government being formed in Iraq in which the KDP, Sadrists and the Sunni unity list could form a coalition. This would severely limit Iran’s influence over the Iraqi government.

“A drone attack in Abu Dhabi could mark a dangerous turning point for the Middle East. Here’s what to know

Analysis by Tamara Qiblawi, CNN

Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT) January 18, 2022

(CNN)A deadly drone attack in the heart of the United Arab Emirates‘ capital has thrust the Middle East into uncharted waters at a time when the region’s leaders have sought to heal years-long rifts.

Three people were killed when the strikes hit fuel trucks near the airport in Abu Dhabi on Monday, causing multiple explosions. Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels quickly claimed the attacks.

In response, the UAE and Saudi Arabia responded by pummelling the Yemeni capital of Sana’a with airstrikes, killing at least 12 people, in the deadliest bombardment in the city since 2019.

Aside from escalating violence in a region that has sought to turn the page on a decade of proxy wars, the exchange of fire could also cloud a series of high-level talks between regional and international foes. Negotiations between Iran and Western powers on how to revive the 2015 deal to limit Tehran’s nuclear program have recently shown signs of progress. And there are also indications that historic but difficult discussions between Saudi Arabia and regional rival Iran were beginning to bear fruit.

But the unprecedented Houthi attacks in Abu Dhabi could throw a wrench into those talks.

And if the rebels make good on their promise to launch further strikes, it could dent the UAE’s image as a safe place to live, work and do business in a troubled region.

Here’s what to know about the crisis.

Why was the Houthi attack so significant?

In addition to being the first deadly attack in the UAE in many years, the drone attacks on Monday demonstrated the Houthis‘ ability to launch long-range attacks. Yemen’s rebels frequently conduct cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s neighbor, but these were relatively short distances in comparison with Abu Dhabi, and the vast majority of the missiles and drones were intercepted before they hit their targets.

Oil prices spiked after the attacks, which spurred a flurry of international condemnation from the US and other world leaders. UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed asked the US to reclassify the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization — a label that was instituted in the final days of the Trump administration before being lifted by President Joe Biden.

The Houthis previously claimed to have conducted strikes on the UAE, which it does not share a border with. But Emirati authorities never acknowledged the alleged attacks, and many observers considered the claims to have been farfetched.

Now Yemen’s Houthis have delivered on a threat that they have for years made against the UAE, a major coalition partner in a six-year Saudi-led military campaign to crush the Iran-backed rebels.


In 2019, the UAE pulled most of its troops from Yemen, after privately deeming the war unwinnable. The campaign failed to crush the rebels but exacted a huge humanitarian toll, with thousands of Yemenis dead and malnourishment and disease widespread.

More recently, however, the UAE has returned to the fray, backing Yemeni groups in flashpoints like the oil-rich provinces of Shabwa and Marib and repelling Houthi fighters from the strategic desert town.

Now, analysts say the rebels are eager to spark another Emirati withdrawal.

„The intervention of the UAE-supported forces was a game-changer. This angered the Houthis,“ said Maged al-Madhaji, executive director and co-founder of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies. „The Houthis are trying to create some sort of balance by striking the image of stability and security in the Emirates.“

What’s at stake for the UAE?

The oil-rich nation has for decades managed to stave off the political turbulence occurring elsewhere in the region. Stability is one of the UAE’s major selling points — helping to attract millions of expatriates and billions of dollars in foreign investment — but that image could be shattered if the conflict with the Houthis escalates.

The UAE relies heavily on foreign workers, who make up the vast majority of the country’s workforce. Authorities intensively manage the country’s reputation, and freedom of political expression is practically non-existent. Defenders of those restrictions on expression argue that they’re necessary to maintain stability against all odds in the conflict-ridden Middle East.

But for years, the UAE’s muscular foreign policy — which saw it intervene in Egypt, Libya, Syria and the horn of Africa, in addition to Yemen — imperiled that very stability. When tankers were being targeted by its regional arch-nemesis Iran in 2019, off the coast of the UAE, Abu Dhabi quickly changed tack.

Since then it’s been on a diplomatic spree to heal years-old rifts. It has made a number of overtures to Iran, including sending a high-level delegation reportedly in October 2019 and then again in late 2021. It’s also mended ties with Syria’s pariah president Bashar al-Assad, after backing armed groups that sought to overthrow him in that country’s war. The UAE’s leadership has repeatedly said that it seeks to become a deescalating force in the region.

Yet Monday’s attack underscored a point that many observers have made, which is that turning the page on a decade of blood-drenched proxy war will be neither smooth nor instantaneous. All countries in the region, not just the UAE, will have a vested interest in a rapid deescalation of Monday’s violence.

Was Iran involved in the Houthi attack on the UAE?

We don’t know. What we do know that the drones were likely supplied by Iran, the principal supporter of the Houthis in their war on the internationally-recognized government of Yemen. But it is unclear if the Houthis‘ backers in Tehran ordered the strike, or if the rebel group suddenly went rogue.

It wouldn’t be the first time Iran-aligned groups appeared to go their own way. In November 2021, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force Esmail Qaani paid a visit to Iraqi Prime Minister Mostafa al-Kadhimi, shortly after an attempt on the life of Iraqi Prime Minister Mostafa al-Kadhimi by Iran-backed militias. Some observers saw the visit as a bid to distance Iran from the actions of their militant allies.

Another reason to suspect that Houthis acted on their own accord is that Iran has repeatedly said that it wishes to revive relations with its regional foes. Iran’s new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi has received at least two invitations to visit the UAE, according to Iranian state media.

In their statements condemning the attack in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — uncharacteristically — steered clear of blaming the rebel group’s backers in Tehran. Iran has not yet publicly commented on the attack.

Yet, as ever, Iran’s leadership is hard to read. A Lebanese news network, Al Mayadeen, reported that Raisi met with the head of Sana’a’s negotiation team in Tehran on Monday, the day of the attack. Some observers viewed that as an admission of responsibility in the Abu Dhabi attack.

What does this mean for the Iran nuclear talks?

The violence on Monday has the potential to derail the nuclear negotiations in Vienna, as well as parallel talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran seen as critical to the success of a possible second version of the 2015 deal.

If Iran is believed to be behind the Monday attack in Abu Dhabi — in the same way that they were widely accused of being responsible for the 2019 attacks on ARAMCO oil refineries (Iran denied the allegations) — then confidence-building measures could collapse and it would be difficult to see how the negotiations could continue.

If, on the other hand, Iran brings the Houthis to heel, as an overture to its regional foes, then Monday’s violence may blow over and the negotiations could carry on, possibly unabated.

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