Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BAGHDAD – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Beirut – Ramallah – Gaza – Damascus – Baghdad/London – Washington – Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome; Next Week US Military Leaders in Iraq to Present Evidence Shipment of Arms from Iran into Iraq Increasing – More US Aircraft Carriers Enroute to Persian Gulf – War of Words Increases Between Moscow/Tbilisi – Both Prepared to Use Force
Night Watch: PENTAGON – Tension between Washington/Tehran will move up another level next week as U. S. military leaders in Iraq present evidence Iran has increased the shipments of weapons into Iraq despite Tehran constantly denying it. The Jerusalem Post/AP report that was the message Friday from Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff, a message that was coupled with a warning the U. S. still retains the capability to strike Tehran if necessary. A senior military official said the evidence presented will show Iran is shipping: mortars, small arms, rockets, roadside bombs and armor piercing explosives at an increasing rate. This will be more detailed than the recent statements by General David Petraeus on the training Iraqi fighters are receiving in Iran by the Revolutionary Guards. And warning this comes during the same week the head of the Madhi Army, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr clarified his “open war” statement saying it is not meant to target the Iraq Army but only foreign military units, principally the U. S. [JPOST]
Persian Gulf – As U. S. military leaders are presenting their evidence, which will be used to justify attacking Iran, the Pentagon is sending more aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf-Indian Ocean. Debka reports the aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman has just taken up station in the Persian Gulf as head of a strike group. In support of Admiral Mullen’s warning the U. S. was planning “potential military courses of action” three other carriers are leaving the South China Sea heading toward the Gulf: USS Kitty Hawk, USS Nimitz and the USS Abraham Lincoln. I suspect Tehran will not wait for the Pentagon to be completely ready. When President George W. Bush first spoke of attacking Iran as an “option on the table” a few years ago Iran’s Defense Ministry indicated they will not let the U. S. attack first. It is quite possible Iran is planning to stage the most serious confrontation yet in the Persian Gulf for next week which will lead to direct war with the U. S. [DEBKA]
Kodori Gorge – As relations between Moscow and the Georgian government in Tbilisi continue to deteriorate both governments are openly preparing for war which will determine who will control this resource rich region between the Black and Caspian Sea, a battle line that was first established at the end of the Cold War in 1990 when Abkhazia and South Ossetia seceded from Georgia. Ankara-Tehran have taken advantage of the dispute to increase their military support of Georgia in the same way Turkey-Iran supported Islamic units fighting Russia in the North Caucasus since 1994. With that fighting largely over Russia is now ready to expand the war and its control further south and to justify its action, the Gulf-Times/DPA report for the past few years most residents of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea, and South Ossetia, on Georgia’s northern border, have been issued Russian passports. Though Washington and NATO have staged a diplomatic show of incorporating Georgia into NATO behind the scenes the West supports Moscow and wants Russia to retain its control of the oil-gas resources which Russia has been shipping to the West. That is why former U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger was sent to Moscow in April last year to co-chair the Strategic Working Group with former Russia Premier Yevgeny Primakov and that is why NATO aircraft keep rendezvousing with Russian bombers. [GULFTIMES]
The Russia Foreign Ministry Special Envoy for the South Caucasus, Valery Kenyaikin stated, “But if war breaks out we will have to defend our compatriots even through military means…There should be no doubt over this. We have information that Georgian forces are being regrouped in that area. We do not rule out that Georgia may start a military campaign against Abkhazia in the near future.” For nearly two years there has been a heavily armed military standoff between Abkhazia and Georgia in the Kodori Gorge and between South Ossetia/Georgia there is a Conflict Zone which has experienced exchanges of fire and violations of air space.
Tbilisi- For its part Georgia seems to be ready for war. RIA reports Georgia Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kuteliya responded to Moscow’s moves, “Russia’s actions are provocative, and are pushing the situation toward a renewal of military action. When it comes to aggressive acts against Georgia, we reiterate that no act of aggression will go unanswered from the Georgia side.” Georgia’s military has approximately 250,000 troops while Russia has conducted thorough military reforms under President Vladimir Putin. The South Caucasus is the deciding theatre in World War III. Only when Iran realizes they cannot defeat Russia here, just to Iran’s north, will Tehran enter into serious negotiations to end the war. [RIA]