Crossfire War – MOSCOW – BERLIN – WASHINGTON WATCH – South Caucasus Theatre: Moscow – Washington – Berlin – Tskhinvili – Sukhumi/Tbilisi – Ankara – Tehran; Moscow Delivers Ultimatum to Tehran Over Nuclear Enrichment – Refuses Fuel Deliveries
Night Watch: MOSCOW – Incidents, armed engagements, are about to increase in the South Caucasus as Moscow/Tehran determine who is able to control the economic future of the Black Sea-Caspian region and its energy resources of which the Caucasus are the geographical link and a crossroads of energy pipelines. Relations are becoming less diplomatic as CNBC and the New York Times have just reported an ultimatum Russia has just made on Iran to end its nuclear enrichment programs. If not, then Moscow will continue to withhold further deliveries of the nuclear fuel Tehran’s nuclear weapons program requires for the continued manufacture of more warheads for Iran’s Shahab ballistic missiles. [BAZTAB]
Tehran, of course, has no intention of ending its 21 year nuclear program and its most important terror weapon, ballistic missiles, despite their inaccuracy. Guidance systems are by no means perfect and warheads, conventional or unconventional can be a dud. Moscow was always aware Tehran-Ankara has been supporting Islamic groups in the North Caucasus that have been fighting Russia since 1994 but Moscow then was in no position, militarily, to respond this forcefully to Tehran’s nuclear weapons program that is targeting Iran’s main international rival the West due to the West’s long history of trying to manipulate the region. That is why Tehran had one of its leading missile experts stage a defection to Turkey in order to launch the Shahab closer to Europe, especially at Vienna, where the UN International Atomic Energy Agency is based that has been investigating Tehran’s nuclear program.
However, it is the West, especially Berlin that supplies Moscow with most of its hard currency, through the purchasing of most of Russia’s raw materials, a constant daily source of revenue Moscow can’t do without. That is the strategic reason Berlin prepared Vladimir Putin to become head of state in 1999, replacing the enormously corrupt administration under Boris Yeltsin. It was that corruption which caused Moscow’s defeat in the first Caucasus war from 1994-96. But under Putin, Moscow has been able to respond more effectively when fighting resumed in 1999 when Dagestan was invaded and action in Chechnya started again. Obviously, with these territorial disputes with Tbilisi, the war is about to expand south, toward Iran, which could force Tehran to launch the missiles they have ready before they intended.
I doubt, however, if Tehran is surprised by the ultimatum. Iran signing a security agreement with Serbia, in January last year, was hardly a secret, nor is Iran’s military support of Pakistan any mystery. If Iran-Pakistan are successful then Russia’s long cooperation with India would be significantly reduced. Moscow is also aware another of their rivals, China, stands to benefit if India is defeated and Beijing is giving serious signals it is ready and eager to join the next war on the sub-continent with the statement in November, by their Ambassador to Delhi, that India’s northeast is Chinese territory, and the following month China-Pakistan had joint maneuvers just east of Kashmir.
Moscow-Washington-Berlin knew it wasn’t possible to end Tehran’s nuclear weapons program peacefully. The only question was when the Allies would be ready to attack it. With Russia’s rocket and artillery attack against the three Georgian villages recently and now with this ultimatum, means 2007 is definitely the decisive year on the deciding front. The Caucasus is the only front where the Allies can confront Iran directly.