Crossfire War – Lebanon Orders Army to ‘Achieve High Combat Readiness’

Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – DAMASCUS – BEIRUT WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Baghdad – El Arish – Nablus – Khartoum – Damascus – Beirut – Gaza/Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; Fighting in Gaza Continues During Rice Visit – Lebanon Orders Army to “Achieve High Combat Readiness” to Confront Israel – Iranian Official Visits Damascus – Iran Defense Minister in Khartoum

Night Watch: JERUSALEM – As expected the visit to Cairo/Jerusalem/Ramallah by U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice has had no impact on the ground concerning the fighting going on between Palestinian militants and the Israel Defence Force (IDF). Asharq al-Awsat/AP report Qassam rocket fire is still targeting Sderot and the western Negev so in retaliation Israel launched several air strikes and ground attacks against Palestinian rocket squads. In the meantime Hamas stated Dr. Rice’s visit is completely unwelcome and Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said though Israel will still wage its war against the rocket fire Israel is still willing to maintain negotiations with Palestinian moderates. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

Knesset – In the meantime the Jerusalem Post/AP report Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has admitted publicly Israel may have to re-occupy Gaza in order to finally end the rocket attacks. “We cannot afford this kind of extreme Islamic state controlled by Hamas.” The situation has obviously become even more alarming with the introduction of the longer range and more powerful Katyusha (Grad) rocket shipped and manufactured by Iran. Livni continued by saying Israel evacuated Gaza “not in order to come back, but we might find ourselves in a situation where we have no choice.” They are in the situation Tehran has placed them. I wrote at the time of Israel’s withdrawal in August 2005 Israel pulled its people out of the line of fire, now the fire is really here. 2008 is the year Iran’s foreign policy, the jihad, runs its course and a regional war revolving around Jerusalem is one of Tehran’s objectives as their way of reshaping West Asian governments to be more in harmony with Iran’s view than the West. [JPOST]

Yarze – There are more signs of a wider regional war as Tears for Lebanon (TFL) and Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) are reporting Army Commander General Michel Suleiman has ordered his officers to “achieve high combat readiness of their units to confront all expected possibilities, especially defending the southern land, maintain domestic security and stability.” General Suleiman was issuing the directives to his senior commanders of Lebanon’s most important units from his headquarters at Yarze a suburb east of Beirut. This is definitely within the time-table of Tehran as most of Lebanon’s military has close relations with Damascus-Hezbollah. He said the army’s “basic duty is to prevent the Israeli enemy from occupying Lebanese territories or attempting to use them as a passage to launch an aggression against Arab brethren.” [TFL]

Though Lebanese units in the south began to assist Hezbollah during the 2006 war the rest of the military in the north began to realize they should cooperate with Tehran during the three month fighting last year against the suicide unit Fatah al-Islam at the Palestinian refugee camp city Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli. Fatah al-Islam was sent by Tehran for just that purpose. Almost the day after that conflict finally ended last August General Suleiman stated publicly Lebanon can now turn its weapons against its main enemy-Israel. Now Iran wants them to go into action and I suspect Tehran has helped re-arm Lebanon’s army just as Iran has re-supplied Hezbollah. Suleiman also stated yesterday, “The army’s determination is backed by the people and the resistance to confront any new Israeli aggression with all available means and capability. Defending the land is a sacred right consolidated by international charters; it is a national priority that deserves unifying resources and efforts.” He concluded by pledging the army will not fall back “if the enemy decided to occupy the south because abandoning this territory means abandoning the whole of Lebanon.”

Though Lebanon has the weakest army in the region they will still be an obstacle to Israel’s security in their north as Hezbollah will no longer have to face Israel by itself and Syria will also be active in the area perhaps re-entering the country not as an invader but as a military axis partner with Lebanon and Palestinian groups.

Damascus – An Iranian official arrived in Damascus Monday evening with very little publicity. No mention was made as to the length of his stay but it must be to put the finishing touches on details of Syria’s then Iran’s military entry into this year’s war against Israel in support of Hezbollah and the Palestinian state. This is in accordance with the security-defense agreement signed by the two governments in June 2006 and this latest series of meetings are being conducted under the guise of Iran Minster of Housing and Urban Development Mohammad Saeedi-Kia who is at the head of an unnamed delegation. Obviously Saeedi-Kia is not here to discuss urban planning or coordination of statements to the press when the war expands. But rather coordination of Iran’s brigade size Rapid Deployment Force with Syria-Hezbollah-Lebanese-Palestinian units is the topic under discussion. [IRNA]

Khartoum – On a similar coordination mission is Iran Defense Minister Brigadier-General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar who arrived in Khartoum Tuesday morning at the head of a high level delegation. It has been officially reported Mohammad-Najjar arrived at the invitation of Sudan Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohammad Hussein but unofficially, due to Iran’s investments and military exports, Tehran has been controlling Khartoum’s diplomatic protocol for twenty years. Of course no details as to the military-regional topics to be covered were released though it was said several issues of mutual interest will be addressed. That can only mean Egypt and the removal of the most important strategic obstacle to serious Islamic unity the obstacle in Cairo headed by the oppressive administration of Egypt President Hosni Mubarak. Sudan is an active base of support for political groups at least in southern Egypt that can be used to cause uprisings which will weaken Mubarak’s hold over the Sinai and northern Egypt as he sends forces to end the disturbances. Their call for Mubarak’s removal will revolve around his not being responsive enough to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. [IRNA]

Ramallah – This linked article, through TFL, is from the sensational Vanity Fair article by David Rose-The Gaza Bombshell on the latest insane foreign policy debacle by Washington. It is a detailed discussion on the insistence by the administration and intelligence agencies directed by President George W. Bush and his advisors on how they forced Fatah into the 2006 election even though Fatah kept telling Washington they weren’t ready. Washington wanted to showcase their dreamy democratic vision in the region even though elections they sponsored in Iraq constantly elected governments close to Tehran. Consequently Hamas won the 2006 election which Washington has since tried to ignore. Every move Washington and the West has made in this region has helped Iran. From having the Ayatollah Khomeini in exile in the Paris suburb when he overthrew the Shah in 1979, the construction of military bases for Iran through engineering services headquarted in San Francisco through their London branch office after the 1990-91 Gulf War, which in effect sold Tehran the foreign policy, to the abyssmal occupation effort in Iraq that will have to leave the country on the dead run exit strategy. [TFL]

Unparalleled corruption coupled with unparalleled stupidity. Tehran’s greatest weapon.

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.