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Thursday, August 10, 2006

More on the Military Sanctions over Iran

Commenting on the U.S. retaliatory miltary trade sanctions against Russia, blocking arms shipments by key Russian manufacturers, Counterterrorism Blog says this:

Reacting to the Iranian-related sanctions disclosed last week, Russian analysts and officials are hinting that Russia might retaliate by curbing activities of American business firms. The newspaper Izvestia called the sanctions “practically a declaration of economic war against Russia.” ”

In reality the Iran Act’s sanctions may be more symbolic than biting; especially if the Russian companies are not doing business with the U.S. government as they claim. Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rosonboronexport which was one of the sanctioned Russian firms, was quoted by Reuters as saying that his company does no business with the U.S. Government. The second Russian company is Sukhoi, a state owned manufacturer of military jets. According to Reuters and other press reports, the head of Rosoboronexport is a close friend of President Putin.

For the record, the two North Korean firms cited for violating the Iran Act were the Korean Mining and Industrial Development Corporation and the Korea Pugan Trading Company. Also listed were two Indian firms, Balaji Amines and Prachi Poly Products and one Cuban firm, the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

If the Russian companies were not doing business with the U.S. and were not supplying Iran since the Iranian Sanctions Act came into force, one can wonder why the Russian reaction was so sharp—almost like the lady protesting too much.

The sanctions dispute comes within a wider Middle East context. In effect, Russia has been aiding Iran, which in turn has been conducting a proxy war against the U.S. for decades. Iran is the prime backer of Hezbollah which bombed the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. Iran was involved in the bombing of the U.S. military’s Kobar Tower barracks facilities in Saudi Arabia in 1996. American and British military officials also have said that Iran has been supplying anti-coalition insurgents in Iraq with special shaped explosives charges to attack armored vehicles.

In short, Russian has been giving material and diplomatic support to a country that is conducting a form of undeclared low intensity war against the United States. And Moscow complains when we take relatively minor actions against two of its state-owned companies!
It's really quite amazing that the Russia can be so out of touch with reality, so drunk on oil revenues, that it thinks it can provide U.S. military secrets to Iraq, military hardware to Iran and direct support to Hamas without suffering a massive U.S. retaliation, and that when that retaliation begin to come Russia can think of nothing except increasing the ante. This is classically self-destructive Neo-Soviet behavior.

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