Crossfire War – TEHRAN – BEIJING – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Beijing – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Amman – Kuwait – Baghdad – Damascus – Ramallah – Gaza/Jerusalem – Cairo – Paris – Rome – Washington – Moscow; RFN (rapid fire news) – Iran Special Envoy Receives Official Reassurances from Beijing – Israel Tanks Move into Northeast Gaza – France FM Kouchner Arrives in Beirut – Kuwait Newspaper Accuses Turkey of Assisting Israel Air Strike Sept. 6
Night Watch: rfn= Beijing – From the smiles on the faces of the Iranian Special Envoy Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi and China’s State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, (Xinhua news link photo) the envoy must have been told everything Tehran wanted to hear, that Beijing is still solidly behind Iran’s continued production of nuclear warheads as Beijing has been doing since 1986 when Iran re-started its nuclear industry for the production of weapons grade material. China has been the main supporter, not in order to earn some extra revenue, but for international strategic reasons, Beijing is fully aware if Iran and the Jihad are successful then three of China’s international rivals will become weaker, the West-India-Russia. It would also be more difficult for another of Beijing’s rivals, Japan to have access to raw materials. However, behind the smile of Jiaxuan are perhaps serious concerns Allied governments will increase their effort to intercept any future deliveries by sea. It is also quite possible any attempt by military- industries in China to transport weapons grade material by road-rail transport through Central Asia to Iran and from there to Syria could be subject to Allied attack from bases in Russia. [XINHUA]
That is the reason former U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger arrived in Moscow late April as co-Chairman of the Strategic Working Group with former Russia Premier Yevgeny Primakov. Even if the transports cannot be attacked directly, the road-rail network can still be heavily damaged and disrupted by Allied action. Both officials issued public statements designed to mislead the international community. Pour-Mohammadi said Iran’s nuclear program is for energy only and Jiaxuan stated China is against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
rfn=Beit Hanoun – The Palestinian militant unit Islamic Jihad is currently leading the military response against an armoured force of Israeli tanks that have entered northeast Gaza near Beit Hanoun. The unit’s military wing, the al-Quds Bridgades have taken responsibility for rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fire and detonating two 30-kilogram mines. They have also been exchanging fire with an Israeli patrol. News agencies are reporting that so far the Israeli tanks have penetrated nearly 400 meters into the camp supported by artillery. There have also been some reports of action in central Gaza. This latest movement is in response to the continued Qassam rocket fire, which began seven years ago but was increased to a barrage in August when approximately 300 rockets were launched. The Qassam has a range of at the most 10 miles, has a small warhead and is not accurate but it can disrupt a city as in the case of Sderot, population 20,000. [PRESSTVIRAN]
This past week however nearly 70 Israeli soldiers were wounded by two Qassams which hit their camp near Gaza as they were sleeping and that has prompted Jerusalem’s latest action. A spokesman for Islamic Jihad has stated their attacks are due to the Israeli government policy of repeated armored and troop movements into Gaza and Israel’s constant attempt to assassinate leaders of Palestinian militant groups. This current round of fighting, the beginning of this year’s regional war, began in late winter-March 13.
rfn=Beirut – Press TV Iran is reporting France Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has recently arrived in Beirut to encourage Lebanon to find a new head of state that will replace current President Emile Lahoud in an election scheduled for the 25th of this month. This is an extremely desperate attempt to prevent another wave of serious fighting, which would further weaken Paris’ and the West position in Lebanon. Paris’ main political representative is still Prime Minister Fouad Siniora but he has been reduced to nothing more than a figurehead because of the three months of intense fighting at the Palestinian refugee-camp city Nahr al-Bared just outside Tripoli near Lebanon’s border that began May 20. Since the European units in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) did nothing to help Siniora, it has increased Tehran’s influence in the country’s government. Paris and Kouchner are aware the fighting has persuaded most of Lebanon’s army to support this year’s war against Israel and reduce their cooperation with UNIFIL. [PRESSTVIRAN]
In the meantime, the political impasse is continuing since it began, first with Hezbollah and other political-militia parties withdrawing their Ministers from Siniora’s cabinet in October and then street demonstrations began in December and are continuing. Now the fighting in the north has removed the loyalty of the military. Early in the month, Lebanon Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri made a proposal on finding a unity candidate. Kouchner’s arrival is in support of Berri’s proposal, calling it “positive,” but that is just one in a sea of proposals, including the announced candidacy of former Minister of Parliament Nassib Lahoud and his offer to replace his cousin Emile. What will most likely happen is what is mentioned in the linked article, a power vacuum will emerge, which has in fact been in place since October, events in Lebanon since then has made the vacuum more obvious and it is definitely being filled by Tehran principally through Hezbollah and Christian nationalists led by former general Michel Aoun. Paris has lost the support of nationalists because France keeps insisting Lebanon owes them an enormous debt from the 1975-90 civil war started by a militia group connected to France-Maronite Catholics.
The other result of the entrenched political dispute is two parallel governments will emerge, one will of course be supported by Paris and the West the other by Tehran-Damascus. Iran-Syria have made certain the political – military units supported by them are heavily armed and neither Tehran-Damascus would hesitate to intervene against UNIFIL and whatever Lebanon militia units are in alliance with the West. I suspect the next round of fighting will begin on the day of the election September 25 just one week from next Tuesday.