Russia's Peter the Great Military Academy is an ancient War College founded way back in the 1820's. Named after the cat who dragged Russia kicking and screaming into the age of sail and empire - the Academy today is cutting edge and egalitarian.
Russia's GRU site has a cool pic featurette featuring babettes learning and prepping for careers in Strategic Missile Forces.
"The academy offers career training in over 29 fields for the Strategic Missile
Forces, Space Forces, Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Russian Defense
Ministry’s main and central directorates."
With missiles, missile defenses and sheilding sprouting up all over Eurasia recent talk of buddying up with Tehran is a concern. The mullah's handpicked little rocketeer
"Iran and Russia are two major powerful countries, and cooperation between our states in settling various problems will serve the interests of Russian and Iranian
nations as well as regional and international security. We each serve an
efficient role in establishing a new model of international relations."
This is significant. Amer Taheri shares some history and gossip about a 'new model' hook up with Iran and Russia that may be more old school than anyone would reckon.
Why is the leadership in Tehran anxious to give Russia the right to land troops
"The question is not fanciful. The Islamic Republic is conducting a devious campaign to prepare public opinion for that eventuality.
The message is relayed through deliberately vague terms that diplomats understand immediately while the general public does not.
The device is to revive two treaties that most students of Iranian history thought were dead and buried long ago.
The first is the 1921 Treaty that the government of Sayyed Ziauddin Tabatabai, soon after coming to power in a putsch, signed with Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik regime.
Under the treaty, Lenin agreed to cancel the debts Iran had accumulated towards the Tsarist Empire. He also undertook to withdraw his troops from Gilan. The treaty revised relations in the Caspian Sea, granting Iran greater rights of fishing and navigation. That amounted to a generous gesture towards Tabatabai’s new government that, still fragile, needed all the good news it could get in relations with the major powers.
Nevertheless, as always when a weak nation makes a pact with a much larger neighbour, the treaty had a sting in its tail. It gave the Russians the right to land troops in Iran when and if troops of any other foreign power arrived in Iran. At the time it was Britain that Lenin had in mind. For his part, Tabatabai wanted to use the threat of Russian military intervention as a means of forcing the British to end their military presence in Iran.
However, in one of those twists of history, the treaty was never used for its original purpose. The British soon abandoned their anti-Bolshevik allies whom they found too weak to defeat Lenin’s new empire. Lenin, for his part, believing he could add Iran to his empire through ideological agitation rather than conquest, abandoned the Mullah of the Jungle and withdrew the Soviet troops.
So, one can imagine the surprise caused by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to suddenly start speaking of the two treaties as if they were still valid.
He and his aides, including Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motakki, have mentioned the treaties with regard to the status of the Caspian Sea and the application by the Islamic Republic to join Russia and China in the Shanghai Group, an informal framework for security cooperation.
Motakki has gone further by suggesting that Iran abandon the Persian name for the Caspian Sea, that is to say the Sea of Mazandaran, and adopt the Russian name mentioned in the treaties. To sweeten Russia further, Motakki has also hinted at abandoning Iran’s demand for a 20 per cent share in the Caspian’s resources, settling, instead, for just over 11 per cent.
Why is an administration that pretends it has a mission from the “Hidden Imam” to liberate the whole world keen to give Russia a licence to land troops in Iran?
Has the Khomeinist president has decided that a war with the United States is inevitable?
In such a war, the Americans may well seize Iran’s oilfields, an easy target for
a surprise attack and a difficult asset for defenders to protect.
Once that happens Russia could land troops in northern Iran and then go to
the United Nations to ask for a generalised ceasefire and the fixing of a
timetable for the withdrawal of “all foreign troops from all Iranian territory.”
The US would come under global pressure to cooperate with Russia in ending
the conflict and paving the way for the departure of foreign troops and the
restoration of Iranian sovereignty.
If that is how Ahmadinejad thinks, he has just returned to 1921 and Sayyed Ziauddin Tabatabai in an Iran as weak and as vulnerable. And that, for a man whose ambition is to lead mankind on a new path away from that fixed by “American Arrogance,” is not something to be proud of. "