Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Beirut – Damascus/Jerusalem – Washington – Rome; Iran – Syria Prepare Pre-Emptive Strike against Israel – US Forces in Region – UNIFIL in Crossfire
Night Watch: DAMASCUS – Debka reports that Tehran and Damascus are preparing a pre-emptive strike against Israel and U. S. forces in the region to prevent a U. S. attack against Iran’s nuclear weapons program. This is basically what Tehran has been saying for the past two years when, after Saddam Hussein’s removal, U.S. President George W. Bush started mentioning a year later, when asked about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program, that attacking Iran was an “option on the table.” Iran’s Defense Ministry stated shortly afterward they would not let the U.S. attack first. [DEBKA]
The Iran-Syria attack plan is bascially the result of the military measures Tehran-Damascus have been making for the past two years, when then Iran President Mohammad Khatami made his four nation tour, circumventing Egypt, and when visiting Damascus he praised Syria and stated that what Iran-Syria should do is form a military axis to oppose Israel-U.S. and remove what he called “pressures”. The Iran-Syria Axis was made official in June when the security agreement was signed in Tehran and Iran’s Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar declared that Syria’s security was Iran’s security. The first wave of fighting started the following month.
Debka states that in order to prepare Islamic governments and people for the next wave of war Syria President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview for the Kuwait paper al-Anbar and stated, as justification, that Israel was planning an attack on Syria. But in reality, since the first Israel – Hezbollah war, President Assad has been like a man possessed, what he feels is the grip of the hand of destiny, his sense of mission, that the time is right for Syria to retake the Golan. He said so publicly right after the ceasefire in August. Assad actually believes Hezbollah had achieved a great victory and therefore Syrian commandos will have an easy time re-capturing the Golan,which they lost in 1967.
Tehran is not so possessed, especially since they know the Jihad’s priorities are economic and there is no market for salt in the Dead Sea. But they realize war with Israel is popular, which increases Islamic radicalism, and the next wave of war will also be used to attack U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf, increase the pressure on U.S. occupying units in Iraq and perhaps Washington will be obliged to do something to help Israel militarily. Tehran will then have the U.S. heavily engaged in war on three fronts plus Afghanistan. A fifth front if Tehran and Belgrade activate their security agreement and start the war in the Balkans again over the Kosovo issue.
Both Tehran-Damascus seem to believe that Israel has been seriously weakened by its first war with Hezbollah and next time even more so, perhaps even defeated, when Jerusalem is faced with not only a re-armed Hezbollah but also heavy fighting with Syria. But Israel will not be so restrained next time. That seems to have been the main criticism within Israel over the results of the first phase. Israel has a lot more in its arsenal than it used in southern Lebanon and if need be Jerusalem will use its nuclear weaponry. Tehran of course has prepared millions of people, in and out of Iran, to embrace martyrdom.
As well connnected as Tehran is, they know what is said in any conversation between Iraq and the U. S., and they know Washington is tiring of Iraq. Friday Senator John Warner, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, gave the administration of Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki 60 to 90 days to control the violence in the country, at least in the capital. That actually amounts to an ultimatum, or the U.S. will reconsider its options, in other words wash their hands of the situation and set a specific timetable for withdrawal. The Pentagon may have realized all along it is impossible to solve the crisis over Iran’s nuclear weapons program diplomatically and the worst has to be faced, but Iran does not want to wait to engage the Pentagon after it has redeployed its forces in position to attack Iran. An attack now would hit U.S. forces long before the Pentagon “attack Iran option” is ready.
In the meantime the European units in UNIFIL will be caught in the crossfire. Tehran recently had al-Qaeda declare them to be an enemy of Islam.