Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BEIRUT – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Cairo – Amman – Baghdad – Damascus – Ramallah – Gaza – El Arish – Beirut/Paris – Rome – Mubarak – Jerusalem – London – Washington; Heavy Fighting in South Beirut Suburbs Between Lebanon Army – Demonstrators – Iran States Isfahan Nuclear Facility Produces 300 Tons of Uf6 – Iran Commander of Revolutionary Guards Says Capable of Attacking US Bases in Persian Gulf – Large Battle Forming Around Mosul
Night Watch: BEIRUT – The day after the leader of Lebanon’s Druze community, Walid Jumblatt, stated in an interview with Al Arabiya, his suspicions Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah of preparing for a new war, there are reports from Xinhua/OTV of heavy exchanges of fire between Lebanon’s army and demonstrators in Beirut’s south suburbs. If you recall those were the suburbs most heavily bombed by Israel two years ago during its war with Hezbollah since that is the section where Hezbollah had its main base of support in the city and apartments there were used by Iranian military personnel advising the unit. Jumblatt warned Hezbollah might begin the war again through something “pre-emptive” in other words by attacking first, though there are other armed militia groups aligned with Hezbollah. Though a lot of Lebanon’s army supports Hezbollah and its head General Michel Suleiman is close to Damascus-Tehran, there may still be some army units opposed to Iran’s influence. [XINHUA]
I am not surprised this happened as the world is still closely following events further south on the Gaza-Egypt border. Tehran may want war to begin on a number of fronts in this region simultaneously.
Isfahan – Xinhua reports the Deputy Head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Javad Vaeedi, has announced the country’s nuclear facility at Isfahan has produced 300 tons of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas for uranium enrichment. Vaeedi then added despite the West’s effort to prevent Iran from having 20 centrifuges, the country actually has 3,000 in uranium production. This is why it is ridiculous to assume Iran does not have a stockpile of nuclear warheads for some of its ballistic missiles. Tehran revived its nuclear program back in 1986 with massive support from Beijing, either directly or through North Korea, because Beijing knew Iran’s foreign policy had the potential of weakening three of China’s rivals, the West-India-Russia. [XINHUA]
Beirut – The Lebanese capital is showing more signs of becoming its own front in the war. Reports are now coming in from Al Jazeera on the armed confrontation in Beirut’s south suburbs. The protest was over repeated power outages in the south and when troops arrived, they were met by gunfire. Akhbar Al-Mostaqbal television says only one man has been killed so far, Ali Hassan Hamza, a local official of Amal the Shia opposition militia working with Hezbollah against the government. But it seems Hamza, who was working with the police trying to end the demonstration, was shot by accident. An Amal senior official, Ali Hassan Khalili, is calling for its followers to end the protest, “We have no link to this action. We call on people not to react. We call on them to pull out of the streets.” [ALJAZEERA]
There is no word yet on if his followers are obeying his order and if not this could be the first indication local leaders are losing some of their ability to control the situation leading to more chaos. It is also being mentioned demonstrations have begun in the southeast section of the city in the neighborhoods of Chiyah and Mar Mikhael. As of this writing, there is now news of more protestors gathering further south. News from this front will be given top priority. Lebanese soldiers have taken positions on rooftops.
Tehran – In an interview with Al Jazeera the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran), General Mohammad Ali Jafari, has stated Iran is quite prepared to respond in kind to any attack from the U. S. “We realize that there is worry among neighboring countries-Muslim countries whose lands host US military stations. However, if the US launches a war with us, and if it uses these stations to attack Iran with missiles, then through the strength and precision of our own missiles, we are capable of targeting only the US military forces that attack us.” The U. S. has bases in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Yemen, but virtually all of these governments have said publicly they will not allow their country to be used in an attack on Iran. [ALJAZEERA]
Mosul – Asharq al-Awsat/Reuters report there is a large battle forming around the northern Iraq city of Mosul, it seems to be crucial for the new Iraq military, and its ability to defeat groups supported by Tehran in this case al-Qaeda. Even Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called this the final confrontation between al-Qaeda and the army but the pattern has been, for the past five years, whenever armed Islamic groups are forced out of an area they appear somewhere else. Major-General Riyadh Jalal Tawfiq, commander of military operations in Nineveh province said troops, tanks and helicopters have been called up, including 3,000 more police and more units are expected to arrive in the days ahead. There is no word on how many units will be involved and no mention of any involvement of U. S. forces who are concentrating their latest actions in Diyala province. On Wednesday Mosul was the scene of a massive explosion in an abandoned building that killed forty people and wounded 220. The building had been used by al-Qaeda to store weapons and explosives and it was destroyed as police had begun to investigate it. The next day a senior police official was assassinated in a suicide attack. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
Tripoli – Asharq al-Awsat/AP report Colonel Jubair Rashid Naief, a security chief of Sunni tribes in northern Iraq, had informed Washington of the arrival in Mosul of the Seifaddin Regiment composed of 15o foreign and Iraqi fighters about three months ago. “They crossed the Syrian border nearest to Mosul within the last two to three months. Since then they have taken up positions in the city and begun blowing up cars and launching other terror operations.” With a population of two million Mosul is Iraq’s third largest city and is a strategic regional crossroads between Syria-Turkey-Baghdad-Iran. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
But what is especially interesting about this group is they are sponsored by Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader. Gadhafi recently stated in an interview with Austrian Press Agency, “The only way to contain radicalism is the departure of Western troops from Iraq, as well as from Afghanistan and a solution to the Palestinian question.” They are probably fighting alongside al-Qaeda.