Kamis, 29 Maret 2012

Military and Financial squeezes on Iran revealed....


USS Enterprise Prepares To Cross Suez Canal, Days Away From Anchor In Arabian Sea

Tyler Durden's picture

Much noise has been emanating out of Israel vis-a-vis its Iranian intentions, with some opinions suggesting an attack is imminent, while others claiming that Israel will ultimately defer to D.C., and postpone an attack, and the eventual gasoline price shock, until after the election. The truth is nobody but a few select generals, knows: in warfare surprise is the key factor, so outright flashing invasion intentions is usually an indicator of just the opposite. That said, the most recent update that Azerbaijan has granted Israel access to its airbases along the Iran border is hardly encouraging for Nobel peace prize winners and other pacifists. Yet as we have been claiming for the past two weeks, ever since the launch of CVN-65 on its last tour of duty, the true catalyst, if any, will be the arrival of the USS Enterprise at what may well be its last place of anchor - somewhere in the Arabian Sea, just off the side of CVN 70 and CVN 72 both of which are patrolling the Straits of Hormuz. And as the map from Stratfor below shows, the Enterprise is about to cross the Suez Canal, from which point it will be at most days from entering its catalyst location, namely supporting the Israel air force. Just because the US has never had 3 concurrent aircraft carriers in proximity to Iran before.
And as a reminder, once CVN-65 is parked and on location, here are the windows of opportunity for Iran.
1001 Moonless Kinetic Nights: Presenting The Windows Of Opportunity For An Iranian Attack
Following last Friday's majority vote by the Israel Security Council authorizing Iranian "action" when required, answering the "if", the only open question remains "when." As it turns out, based on the following analysis by Rapidan Group, there are only 10 or so distinct 10 day New Moon windows for the remainder of 2012. If one removes the sandstorm prone months of April, July and September, there are 7 periods in which a military strike is realistic. Also CVN 65 is moving at a snail's pace and is just now approaching the Straits of Gibraltar.  Since any action will likely not take place unless 3 aircraft carriers are in the vicinity, and because the ICE yesterday instituted ultra-short term trading spike curbs in crude, starting April 1, one can likely eliminate the immediately proximal March 17-27 window. Which leaves six. Our advice would be to buy up OTM calls in Brent in the days just ahead of the start of any such window, as any "surprise" attack will have a uplifting impact on all combustible assets, doubly so for levered ones
Timing Considerations

Based on press reports, officials see high odds of an attack sometime between 2Q12 and the end of the year, with most pointing to 2Q or 3Q.

If Israel elects to conduct a conventional military strike, the optimal conditions would be moonless and cloudless nights. “Operation Orchard,” Israel’s attack on Syria’s reactor at Al-Kibar on Sep 6, 2007, took place 5 days before the new moon. This suggests windows starting about 5 days before a new moon and ending five days after - see the table below. Low humidity is also ideal, but not required.

Attackers would want to avoid sandstorms, which have afflicted Iran in April, July, and September in recent years. Last year, a large sandstorm in mid-April hit 20 provinces, forcing the shutdown of schools and businesses. Sandstorms are visible and predictable, however, and would be taken into account by planners.

For non-kinetic options, climate is not a consideration to our knowledge. Presumably, they would be tried before kinetic ones and only after leaders were convinced Iran had not yet felt enough pain to compel it to freeze enrichment. 



Kuala Lumpur seizes suitcases of counterfeit US dollars traced to Iran 
DEBKAfile Special Report March 28, 2012, 6:19 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tags:  Iran   counterfeit currency   Malaysia   US intelligence   China 
Fake dollar bills
Two suitcases crammed with counterfeit $100 bills were seized in Kuala Lumpur this week from two Iranian traders who flew in to the Malaysian capital on direct flights from Tehran. One contained 153,000 forged dollars and the second 203,000. The traders claimed they were issued the bills by tellers at the Iranian central bank CBI to finance their business transactions and had no notion they had not been dealt genuine greenbacks.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that alert local businessmen spotted the fake currency despite its quality workmanship when they used it to pay for their purchases.
According to a Malaysian source, the bills were finely printed on special paper. The initial investigation identified the paper as made in China especially for use in printing currency and a supply recently reached Iran.
Malaysian authorities have not identified the Iranian traders who were taken in custody except by their initials – H.M. and A. G.
Kuala Lumpur finds itself in the middle of an international scandal developing around the affair and involving the US, China and Iran. The Iranian embassy is leaning hard on the government to keep it hushed up, threatening to cut off commercial ties if the story is made public, or if the two traders are forced to stay in the country until the legal proceedings take their course.
Tehran fears the embarrassment attending disclosure of its suspected traffic in counterfeit US currency as the April 13 date approaches for important nuclear negotiations with the six world powers. Iran would find itself badly compromised on world financial markets on top of the difficulties it already faces as a result of the tough international financial sanctions clamped down by America and Europe.
DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources disclose that American undercover agents are in Malaysia trying to get hold of some of the fake bills on order to have them tested in their US laboratories for clues to their provenance. They could then be compared with other forged $100 bills seized last year in several Middle Eastern countries.
Comparison with fake bills impounded recently in Iraq, for example, or in the Persian Gulf countries, might shed light on dark corners of Iran’s industry for the counterfeiting and circulation of American dollars and establish whether it is run by criminal mafias or clandestine elements tied to the Revolutionary Guards Corps.Chinese secret agents have also arrived to track the paper’s trail to Iran The special paper used for the dollar bills seized in Kuala Lumpur is exported from China only under special license..
Evidence that the Islamic regime of Iran was responsible for the wholesale forgery of the emblematic American dollar would have harsh consequences. Washington would not pull its punches and would convince a widening circle of world governments to step up sanctions against Tehran for the crime of undermining international currency.
Since the international money transfer firm SWIFT severed its ties with most of Iran’s banks, the traders have had to travel abroad in person carrying suitcases full of cash for contracting their business operations.
Five months ago, Western intelligence circles issued a warning that Iran would try and overcome the shortage of available foreign currency reserves caused by sanctions by printing counterfeit $100 bills.
In 2010, when US forces were still present in Iraq, they captured several million American dollars suspected to have been forged in Iran and smuggled into Iraq.
In 2010, the US Federal Reserve Board had a new $100 bill designed to defeat counterfeiters. Its release was delayed by printing defects.

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