Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Outlook for the future of the Arkenstone

So, if you that regularly follow this blog, you'll notice that updates have been coming less and less frequent over the past two months. This is due mostly to school, I have alot of work and just more going on when compared to the summer when I would just write all day.

However, current and future updates will be compounded by the massive project i am currently working on, "Iranian exports and relations across the world", basically its gonna be big and its gonna be comprehensive. I contemplated releasing it in segments like the "Image Analysis" section but ultimately decided against it. This is going to be slow work and will not be ready for a very long time, I honestly can't give a time-line because i'm horrible with estimations, but so far (October 28th 2009) I've only got Sudan and Eritrea done. I've also debated including support for Hamas and Hezbollah in it, but ultimately decided to leave it out because i feel the differences in dynamics of state versus non-state actors is enough to warrant a separation. Assuming i do finish something on non-state actors though i may ultimately decide to include it in the original document. But at this point I'm really just guessing what it may look like.

However i will try to update the articles already posted as i have done with the Boragh and Panha 2091 sections. (check them out, they're golden compared to the past editions)

As always, contact me if you have any questions.

As I was working on the above-mentioned project I was realizing that contextualizing Iranian military goals and stratagems are extremely difficult by focusing merely on the military aspect of inter-state relations and by ignoring other means of soft power in the Iranian toolbox. As such i've decided to change up the project again and expand it to the full range of assistance-rendered by Iran. Of course the emphasis will still be focused on the military aspect. This expands the scope of the project significantly, as such i will try to release each segment of the project by continent or sub-region. Roughly the order might look something like a) Africa, b) Middle East, c) Other Asia, d) South America, e) Other.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Kermanshah Military Facilities

Kermanshah Military Facilities

***Heavily Revised and Updated - December 3rd 2010***

Located to the north-west of the city of Kermanshah. The missile facility here played a key role in the Iran-Iraq war being home to the development and deployment to many of the Shahab-1/SCUD batteries, housing Syrian advisers in 1985 during the 'war of the cities'. (1) However, it is unclear exactly where these weapons are stored, if still at all, near Kermanshah.

Despite this, there are still large amounts of other military activity going around Kermanshah thanks to it's role as a major hub on the Western Border with Iraq, and with continued focus on separatist conflicts in the immediate region.

1st Battalion
Approximately 15 km north-west of Kermanshah as the crow flies, based smack-dab in the middle of farm land is the base for 1st battalion of some unknown unit. (2)

Noticeable features include a man-made lake that could be used for aquatic warfare training.

Also present is a 200 m long firing range and close to 10 bunkers built into the mountain wall.

Northern Facility and North-Western Bunkers
Approximately 6.5 km up the main road leading north out of Isfahan into the greater-military compound north of the city. The two compounds aren't necessarily linked, but their proximity suggests they might be.

The western-most facility is built into a small, but steeply walled hill. Several bunkers are built into south-western side of the hill and several small rows of revetments face southward.

The compound across the road contains the vehicles for a battalion of mechanized infantry and a battalion of self-propelled artillery. Specifically, a company of eight BMPs or possibly Boraghs (one short of the normal IRIA nine per company), a platoon of four M113's (one more then the normal IRIA three per platoon), and what could be a company of some unknown armor type. To the north of the IFV's is a covered motor-pool which most likely holds a battalion (12 guns) of M-109 SPA. This largely indicates this is an IRIA asset rather then IRGCGF though cannot be told for sure.

There are possibly halfway-excavated bunkers being dug when the photos were taken which might indicate that there are far more bunkers now that were visible in 2004. However, many newer photographs of different areas show the same types of excavations that existed in 2004, but haven't made any progress.

Central Bunkers
This compound is primarily a storage facility composed of hardened-shelter style underground bunkers lining the walls of a natural canyon north of Kermanshah. The canyon holds 60+ bunkers of conventional Iranian design which are probably just general storage like those bunkers seen elsewhere across Iran.

At the end of the valley is an extensive underground bunker complex in the same style as the one in the southern bunker compound. Further details about both facilities can be found in it's respective section.

Central Garrison
Although not really a garrison, thiss location near the northeast corner of the city is more of a supply depot for nearby units. Beyond the usual range of trucks and soft-skin vehicles, the most notable visible asset are a battalion of an unknown type of towed guns, with each battery at 65% strength with four, rather then six guns. Also present is a conventionally sized battery of a larger, but still unidentified towed gun.

Southern Bunkers
Immediately east of the 'Central Garrison' detailed above, this is the largest known bunker complex in the greater-Kermanshah area with ~80 bunkers is several different banks.

Bunkers are of standard Iranian make and are probably general storage like the 'Central Bunkers'. Another possibility is that they're missile and missile related components as the configuration of the bunker complex in the north of the facility.

On the northern end of the facility is another underground facility/bunker-complex. Construction was taking place in 2004 with primary external construction ending in at least 2006. Several features point to the possibility relating to the launch of ballistic missiles. First is contextual evidence - Kermanshah is known to have underground missile bases, but its exact location is as of yet, unknown. Second is the concrete pads outside the the entrances which are similar to ones also found at the ones at Imam Ali missile base near Khorramabad. Certain square features above the entrances suggest possible camouflaged vents, or even possibly, missile silo launch tubes.

Also present at the facility are several sentry posts alongside the south-eastern ridge.

City Garrison
Very little is known about these facilities within the city-proper. There are two main compounds in the north-eastern corner of the city, both flanking the Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences.

Poor Quality
A number of facilities exist outside the range of medium-high quality imagery available near Kermanshah. These can be identified as military bases, but very little can be discerned from it.

The northernmost facility houses revetments and a small number of (~5) bunkers.

South-east of this facility is another bank of bunkers in the same style as those in the 'central' and 'Southern Bunkers' facilities detailed above.

Roughly 20 km east of Isfahan, following the road going past the 'Southern Bunkers' and 'Central Garrison' are two large facilities adjacent to each other. The westernmost compound has quite a few firing ranges indicating at least some training capacity. Below these are two motor pools which could hold various vehicles. The eastern compound is, as of yet, inscrutable.

Unknown / Misc
Several smallish compounds exist that offer no real unique or visibly worthwhile features, but are still military facilities.

(1)Country Profiles: Iran Missile Facilities N.T.I
(2) Wikimapia