Crossfire War – BEIRUT – TEHRAN – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Beirut – Damascus – Tehran – Baghdad – Tripoli – Khartoum – Ankara – Amman – Gaza – Ramallah/Jerusalem – Cairo – Washington; Israel Senior Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer “…We have to be Ready for the Worst. A War on Two Fronts, in Lebanon and Syria, Cannot be Excluded.” Iran Revolutionary Guard Commander Safavi States Shahab Missile Remotely Controlled and Some Based Outside Iran (Turkey – North Africa)
Night Watch: GOLAN HEIGHTS – The above quote is from senior Israeli Minister of Infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Eliezer concerning the very real possibility of a larger war this year than last summer’s war in south Lebanon with Hezbollah. He initially began his observations by responding to the recent bombastic speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah who stated, “If you, the Zionists, are considering attacking Lebanon, I am reserving a surprise for you. That will change the fate of war and the region.” Ben-Eliezer responded, “We have to take Nasrallah seriously, he has never lied. He is arrogant, but he does what he says. If he says he has 2,000 rockets, I believe him, but I do not know what surprise he is alluding to.” I suspect Nasrallah’s statement means Tehran has supplied Hezbollah with some nuclear warheads. Long-range missiles fired by Hezbollah at Tel Aviv would not be a big surprise. Hezbollah had them last year but Tehran did not want (f)allout regional war then but they do now. Last year’s war was designed to test some of the tactics and the regional-international response to the fighting. [GULF-TIMES]
2006 was also an example Israel confronted with a two front war since the action began in late June by Palestinian militants in Gaza using tunnels to stage the attack that captured the Israeli soldier then Tehran had Hezbollah attack Israel with an ambush from across Lebanon. There were even Iran Revolutionary Guard officers-advisors found among the Hezbollah dead. Crossfirewar.com mentioned the recent Debka article on Damascus moving troops, artillery into position near the Golan Heights, the strategic area Israel captured in 1967, and where four nations meet, Lebanon/Israel/Syria/Jordan. Debka even had a new photo of Syria President Bashar al-Assad in a military uniform, something I have never seen him wear before. That is perhaps why Ben-Eliezer ended his remarks by discussing Syria. “Our problem is that we do not know what Syrian officials have in their heads. The Syrian leaders proclaim they do not want a war, but their country does not stop arming itself. That is why we have to be ready for the worst. A war on two fronts, in Lebanon and Syria cannot be excluded.”
Action of course speaks louder than words, as Damascus, Tehran and the Arab League discuss peace publicly they privately have been preparing for this year’s war which began with the suicide unit Fatah al-Islam attacking Lebanon’s army from the Palestinian refugee camp-city Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli and almost on the Syria border on May 20. After nearly three months, that action is continuing and it has taken Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora out of the sphere of influence of France and the West, which is why Siniora has an article in the pan-Arab daily based in London, Asharq al-Awsat praising Saudi King Abdullah. But what Syria President al-Assad and his government have in mind is activating the security agreement Damascus signed with Tehran in mid-June last year (6-12-06) just before the war began later that month in the Gaza Strip. This is the Islamic Military Axis initially announced three years ago by Iran then President Mohammad Khatami as he ended his four nation tour in late summer 2004 (Oman-Sudan-Algeria) in Syria and stated what Iran-Syria should do is to form a military axis to counter the pressures from Israel-U. S. Those preparations have been completed and now is the time to see how well they perform in the field. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
But to answer Ben-Eliezer’s question, concerning what Syrian officials are thinking, they are thinking what Iran is thinking, and yesterday there was a recent, specific hint from the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards General Yahya Rahim Safavi who just stated, in response to Washington classifying his unit as terrorist, that Iran’s Shahab – 3 missile can be remotely controlled. Safavi even added some are based outside Iran and can still be controlled from Tehran. Of course that means some are based in Turkey – North Africa and with the missile’s 2,000 km (1,250 mile) range it can reach Vienna-Rome-Paris. That is the reason an Iranian missile expert disappeared into Turkey earlier this year. (Feb. 28, 2007) Damascus does not need the Shahab-3 to attack Israel but I suspect the shorter range Shahab-1 and -2 have long been based in Syria and perhaps also manufactured there. [DEBKA]
With the deliberately belligerent speeches, Tehran is writing for Nasrallah then it should be obvious Iran will have Hezbollah launch attacks-raids against northern Israel while Syrian units do the same into the Golan. Israel’s response will be Tehran and the Islamic world’s chance to accuse Jerusalem of aggression and the war, which began May 20, will become (f)allout. Palestinian units in Gaza-West Bank will launch their stockpile of Qassam and Katyusha rockets to force Israel into more fighting on those fronts.