Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Beirut – Baghdad Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Ramallah – Gaza – Damascus – Beirut – Baghdad/London – Washington – Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome; MANUFACTURED MARTYRDOM – Senior Aide to Muqtada al-Sadr Reportedly Killed in Najaf – US Military Blamed – Iran Tests Long Range Ballistic Missile 6,000 km (3,600 miles) – Russia Foreign Ministry Warns EU – NATO Forces in Kosovo
Night Watch: NAJAF – Tehran has manufactured another martyr with the reported assassination of Riyadh al-Nouri in the Shia holy city of Najaf Friday evening. He was a senior aide to Muqtada al-Sadr head of the Sadr movement and Mahdi Army and his so-called killing will serve the same purpose Iran has been using with their staged assassination in February of Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus.
Tehran used that incident to increase the war against Israel since Israel was accused of it. Al Jazeera reports the Sadr movement is already accusing the U. S. military. Salah al-Obeidi, a spokesman released this statement, “The occupation forces and others who are working with them are responsible for this assassination. Those who have done this want the situation in Iraq to be unstable and want the fighting between the Sadrists and Iraqi forces to continue. This action serves the interest of the occupiers.”
It is significant Washington is being blamed and not the administration of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad as Tehran is using this to inspire more hatred (attacks) against the foreign led occupation. It is also significant this took place in the religious center of Najaf which will inspire even more hatred. This comes right after Thursday’s statement by the Sadr movement saying they were “under siege” and warned they will end the ceasefire they imposed last August. Tehran is setting the stage for more attacks against the remaining British-U. S. troops in the country, an offensive Iran will be entering at least by launching missiles from Iran at UK/US bases. [ALJAZEERA]
Tehran – It has now become known Iran has been using its space program launchings as a cover to test long range ballistic missiles. The most recent example was Feb. 4 when Iran launched what it called a “research rocket” but in reality it was used to test a longer range Shahab missile.
The Jerusalem Post reports today the Times of London mentioned detailed satellite photos, provided by Digital Globe QuickBird, revealed the launching was actually a field test of a long range Shahab ballistic missile with a range of 6,000 km (3,600 miles). This has been confirmed by analysts with Jane’s Intelligence Review and by Geoffrey Forden research associate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The site examined, 230 km (138 miles) southeast of Tehran is identical in size and design to the site used by North Korea in its tests of its Taepodong ballistic missile which is capable of long ranges in the area of 3,000 miles. North Korea has also used its space program as a cover for ballistic tests. With a missile of this range launched from Iran, all of Europe, including Britain could be hit, all of Russia and most of India. [JPOST]
Moscow – The Russia Foreign Ministry is warning European Union-NATO units in Kosovo not to provoke the Serbian communities in the northern part of the disputed territory. B92 reports the ministry issued this statement, “According to information coming from certain Western media, the international forces in Kosovo are preparing operations against the Kosovo Serbs with the aim of provoking them. It becomes clear that the international forces in Kosovo have not learned their lesson from the tragic events in Kosovska Mitrovica in March this year. Such measures threaten to accelerate a partition of the province, and a large conflict in the region.”
About a week ago the news did mention the German Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steinmeier was due in Washington this week for a three day visit and I assumed Iran was the reason but instead Berlin-Washington could be arranging another NATO show of force against Serbia. That would not be surprising since it was Germany which led the recognition of Croatia and Slovenia’s independence from Yugoslavia in December 1991, even before Brussels’ recognition which is the headquarters of the European Union (EU). [B92]
That recognition was crucial in justifying international (military) intervention and Germany has major influence in the three organizations which did so, the United Nations, EU and NATO. Washington was also eager to see its military kept busy so they and NATO assumed Serbia would be an easy war and so far it has been, the last time in 1999 during NATO’s 78 day air campaign.
But Belgrade has re-armed since then and has signed two defense agreements in 2006 with Tehran and Athens. So I suspect Moscow-Belgrade have planned military counter-measures when NATO attempts to show off again as a way of justifying the alliance’s existence. The next round of fighting will not remain limited between NATO and Serbia.