Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Baghdad – Damascus Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Iraq PM al-Maliki States Iraq Will Not Be Used as Base to Attack Iran – Russia Warns of “New War” in South Caucasus – Conducts Military Exercises in Preparation – Muslim Leader Injured in Kashmir March
Night Watch: BAGHDAD – “Iraq is no longer a launch pad or pathway for regional military operations.” That was a statement Friday by Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and is a very real indication and result of the new security agreement signed last month between Baghdad-Tehran. PressTV reports the Prime Minister’s remarks were made during a closed circuit video conference with U. S. President George W. Bush on Friday in which al-Maliki stressed the country’s soil, airspace or waters would not be used to attack Iran. This is not a declaration of war but nearly as Baghdad continues to make known it is no longer within London-Washington’s sphere of influence but Damascus-Tehran. The timing of the video conference was no coincidence as the region and international community are rife with speculation of a possible joint air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and bases by Israel-U. S. And what makes the situation so immediate was the Israel Air Force (IAF) conducting in late May early June long range maneuvers for such an operation in the Eastern Mediterranean and now reports of the U. S. Sixth Fleet in the same area have been practicing interception of Iran’s Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. [PRESSTV]
At the same time Iran’s military-political leaders, and today even its oil minister, have been responding with deliberately inflammatory statements daring the enemy to attack, even welcoming it since the foundation of their military-foreign policy has been preparation for (f)allout war with the West and perhaps using Israel as the spark. Jerusalem has stated publicly its security doctrine allows the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to carry out pre-emptive attacks to disrupt an enemy’s war preparations as the IAF did last September when it destroyed part of Syria’s nuclear weapons program. In effect Prime Minister al-Maliki’s statement is his announcement that when the attack on Iran takes place Baghdad will be added to the list of enemies of both Jerusalem and Washington. The IAF did not ask Damascus for permission to violate Syria’s airspace to attack the nuclear site and the IAF is definitely not about to ask Baghdad permission to pass through Iraq’s airspace enroute to Iran. When the air strike happens Baghdad will reveal more of its military understanding with Tehran and will not interfere when attacks increase on U. S. forces and bases in Iraq. This may be what the Mahdi Army and Shia militias have been told to wait for as part of Iran’s Judgment Day military response.
Bahrain – As another signal war in West Asia (Middle East) is about to expand PressTV is reporting the Pentagon has just replaced Vice-Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff as Fifth Fleet commander with Vice-Admiral William Gortney due to Gortney’s experience in the Persian Gulf. Vice-Admiral Gortney was commander of naval forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. [PRESSTV]
Sukhumi – Swissinfo/Reuters report the Russia Foreign Ministry is saying the policies of the Georgia government in Tbilisi could lead to a “new war” in the South Caucasus. The first war was from 1990-93 when Abkhazia-South Ossetia seceded from Georgia as Russia withdrew its political control over the region. But the region is on the eve of a second as Tbilisi not only wants to restore its control over both territories but Russia supports both territories and not only intends to re-occupy them once again but I suspect Moscow wants to re-claim control over Georgia as well. [SWISSINFO]
Vladikavkaz – Though Russia President Dmitry Medvedev is calling for negotiations with Tbilisi RIA reports Russia has just begun large scale military maneuvers in several regions of southern Russia including parts of the North Caucasus. The exercises are to run through the second week of July and are intended to practice inter-operability between: Federal Troops, Interior Ministry Troops, Border Guards and the Air Force in special operations designed to attack militants (Islamic in the North Caucasus) and protect Russia’s borders (Georgia). [RIA]
Srinagar – Passions throughout Kashmir are till running high as KONS reports many Muslim leaders of the pro-independence Hurriyat Conference and activists were injured as they were met by a heavy police presence which attempted to block their march to the Muslim shrine at Hazratbal after Friday prayers. One of the more important leaders, Shabir Ahmad Shah was seriously injured in the head as the marchers were confronted with a police cane charge and tear gas but reports are that Shah is now out of danger. The shrine was for a while on fire but that was extinguished before major damage was done and now the demonstration leaders have issued a call for a shutdown strike on Saturday. The two most important leaders of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had been placed under house arrest to prevent them from leading the march. [KONS]
The organization also stated while Indian police, who are mainly Hindu, have been easy on Hindu demonstrators in Jammu but they have sprayed bullets on Muslim demonstrators in Kashmir.