Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Baghdad – Beirut Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Ankara – El Arish – Damascus – Ramallah – Gaza – Beirut – Baghdad/London – Washington – Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome; Iraq Governments Begins to Distance Itself From Washington – States No “Conclusive” Evidence of Iran Supplying – Training Shia Militias – US Military States Lebanese Hezbollah Training Shia Militias in Camps Near Tehran – Russia Planning Show of Force in South Caucasus
Night Watch: BAGHDAD – A major division has erupted between Baghdad/Washington over Tehran’s direct involvement in arming and training the “Special Groups,” Shia militias that have engaged UK/US forces in heavy combat for the past six weeks in addition to the heavy rocket bombardment of the International Green Zone in Baghdad where foreign embassies and government buildings are based. The Jerusalem Post/AP are reporting a spokesman of Iraq’s government, Ali al-Dabbagh, has stated, after the Iraqi delegation returned from Tehran Saturday, that there is no “conclusive” evidence of Iranian support of Shia militias in Iraq. He went on to remark, “We can’t ignore or deny we are neighbors. We don’t want to be pushed in a struggle with any country, especially Iran. We are fed up with past tensions that we have paid a costly price for because some parties have pushed Iraq (in the past) to take an aggressive attitude to Iran.” ‘Some parties’ is of course a reference to Washington not only in terms of the current war but perhaps also to Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980 which was encouraged by Washington due to the hostage crisis at the U. S. Embassy in Tehran. That resulted in the eight year Iran/Iraq War 1980-88 and took the lives of more than a million people. [JPOST]
This of course is not what London-Washington wants to hear as the lost alliance finds themselves increasingly isolated in the country and with no serious military support from Baghdad. One of the Iranian officials the Iraq delegation is known to have met with was General Ghassem Soleimani the head of the Quds Force, an elite branch of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps and directly in charge of training and supplying the Shia “Special Groups” attacking the U. S. It is reported he gave the delegation a “frosty” reception and questioned the origin of the documents. The Iranian officials were aware the delegation was really sent by Washington and with this statement from the Iraq government’s spokesman the division now between Washington/Baghdad is complete and irreversible. It is quite possible, especially if Washington becomes critical of Baghdad, that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki may state publicly the Iraq Army should cease all cooperation with London-Washington. The Iraq Army is about to become another extension of the Iranian army.
Karbala – Despite this polarization between Baghdad/Washington the U. S. military is continuing to present evidence of Tehran’s direct involvement in training the Shia militias in camps near Tehran using Hezbollah instructors. Most likely these camps will be some of the Pentagon’s first targets. The Jerusalem Post/AP are reporting U. S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Air Force Colonel Donald Bacon has stated, “We have multiple detainees who state Lebanese Hezbollah are providing training to Iraqis in Iranian IRGC-QF (Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force) training camps near Tehran.” This first became known in March 2007 with the capture in the Shia holy city of Karbala of a leading member of the Special Groups, Qais Khazali and Ali Mussa Daqduq a member of Hezbollah. One of the main reasons the Lebanese Hezbollah are used is they speak Arabic and would have an easier time communicating with Iraqis. Iran’s Quds Force has long been used internationally. They established Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1982 and armed Bosnian Muslims in the early 1990s breaking NATO’s arms embargo. [JPOST]
Tbilisi – As Moscow prepares a show of force in the South Caucasus, to restore its control over Georgia and the energy resources in the region, Ilya Kramnik, military analyst of RIA Novosti provides a detailed analysis of both the Georgia and Abkhazia militaries. Georgia has 33,000 officers and men with 22,000 of them in a standing army of five brigades and 8 detached battalions. More than 200 tanks, 40-T-55 and 165 T-72 with most of the latter being overhauled. 180 fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers and 20 other armored vehicles. 120 artillery pieces of 122-152 mm caliber and 40 multiple-launch rocket systems. 180 mortars, 60-120 mm and 120 82 mm. Its Air Force consists of 4-5 operational Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack jets, 5 Czech made L-29 and L-39 combat trainers and 30 helicopters that include 8 Mi-24 Hind gunships. 10 motorboats. American instructors who worked with Georgia’s military said its officers corps is riddled with corruption and there are no trained sergeants and low troop morale. Fifty per cent of the military equipment is unreliable. [RIA]
Abkhazia has a Self-Defense Force of 10,000 soldiers whose officers have been trained in Russian military schools and with no reports of corruption. 60 tanks, 40-T-72 and 85 artillery pieces. Two Su-24 tactical bombers, one MiG-23 fighter and five Su-25 ground attack jets. 20 motorboats.
But this territorial-independence dispute is not confined to Abkhazia/Georgia since Russia is poised to intervene to such a massive extent Moscow will re-incorporate Georgia into Russia after I suspect only a month of fighting. In so doing Russia will also be incorporating the oil-gas resources of the region which would increase the reliability of their flow to industrial centers in Europe, principally Germany, which is why the West secretly supports Russia. The American instructors provided Moscow with a lot of valuable intelligence on Georgia’s military.