Ilan Berman, in re: Explosions and fires unexplained across the predatory regime of Iran. An actor not taking credit. Odds are in favor of the sabotage campaign being from the Israeli government. Bushehr ships? A fascinating wrinkle; plausible. Indigenously developed hacks: of Iranians’s hacking their own government. Big news that Iran has been steadily drawing closer to China over the last four years; framework accord for a quarter-century of close contact, incl military. Iran now has a steady oil purchaser.
1. The Iranian regime is seriously rickety; looking for a great-power sponsor. 2 Both China and Iran are counting on a change of US president in 2020. 3. Chinese have been making a major play to expand their influence in the Middle East—planting a flag in Iran is very significant.
Global disaffection for China; glaring: Britain leaving Huawei, so China is having trouble insinuating itself; can [control] Iranian oil industry while China desperately needs power for its weakening economy.
Ilan Berman is Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency as well as the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and has also provided assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to a range of governmental agencies and congressional offices.