Crossfire War – ROME WATCH – Eastern Mediterranean Theatre: Rome – Paris – Brussels – Berlin – Washington – Jerusalem/Beirut – Damascus – Tehran; European – US – Israel Naval Buildup off Lebanon – No Unified Command – Military Presence in Preparation for Next Round of Fighting – Tehran Could Launch Shahab Missiles at Europe
Night Watch: BEIRUT – Europe has entered the Eastern Mediterranean Theatre in World War III with the largest European – U. S. buildup off Lebanon since World War II. Debka reports that the naval presence established by Europe goes far beyond the needs of supporting the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon). The naval forces come from NATO, the European Union, U. S. and Israel. Impressive as the forces are there is no unified command, Debka actually calls it a naval Babel and that when the shooting begins its command confusion will help Tehran and Damascus. [DEBKA]
The EU-NATO-U.S. presence is led by three command ships. The French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, the Italian helicopter – aircraft carrier Garibaldi and the USS Mount Whitney. Israel has a lot of missile craft in the area and the British have military bases on Cyprus. The confusion is caused by the different reasons and sense of mission within the units. The French General Alain Pellegrini is in command of the UNIFIL forces but that includes no one in the U. S. or Israel. The NATO forces there remain under the control of Brussels and I’m not sure if its clear how much they support UNIFIL. The American units are under the control of Vice-Admiral Stufflebeem on the USS Mount Whitney and Israel’s naval units answer to their naval command at Haifa.
Every contingent, whatever their sense of mission, seems to acknowledge that a next round of fighting is coming between now and November and over a much wider range than the first, which bascially involved only Israel-Hezbollah directly. But it’s an open secret Tehran-Damascus are preparing Hezbollah and Hamas for another round that Damascus-Tehran will enter. Europe seems to have sent its huge force in case Tehran decides to launch its longer range Shahab 3 and 4 ballistic missiles at Europe. With the aircraft on the carriers the EU-NATO-US should be able to respond effectively but the problem is their posture is largely defensive. Tehran will be able to strike first and that could send the Allied command into a state of extreme confusion.
Tehran’s ability to hit first is due to the West still seeming to be under the illusion that somehow they can negotiate their way out of war with Iran and end the dispute with Iran over its nuclear weapons program diplomatically. But Tehran has always intended to use it against the West-India-Russia and is not about to negotiate it away. Tehran has indicated Israel will only be attacked by missiles if Israel attacks Iran. I suspect Tehran will attack shortly after its five week military wargames end during the third week of September.
The West-Russia should have declared Iran a security threat, and not a long term one and attack first. It would have finally disrupted Tehran’s timetable and taken the initiative from them. That would have been a less confused operation.