Crossfire War – Tehran – Damascus – Riyadh Watch – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Damascus – Tripoli/Beirut – Paris – Rome; Suicidal Militant Unit Supported By Tehran – Damascus – Riyadh Begins Heavy Fighting With Lebanon Army in Tripoli N. Lebanon Near Syrian Border – Damascus Closes Two Border Crossings – Prepares to Invade Lebanon
Night Watch: TRIPOLI – This was not expected. In order to increase pressure on the remaining authority of besieged Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, an ally of Paris and the West, Tehran had an extreme Sunni militant unit, part of Iran’s al-Qaeda network, conduct a bank robbery in Amioune, southeast of Tripoli, one of Lebanon’s major cities on its north coast not far from Syria.
The group that staged the successful $125,000.00 robbery is Fatah Islam, which is so extreme even Hamas and the major Fatah Palestinian unit no longer associate with it. However, fanatical groups like Fatah Islam are used by Tehran to start something and they are quite willing to engage in violent suicidal military operations against any enemy designated by Tehran-Damascus-Riyadh, in this case Siniora and whatever Lebanese military units he can command.
With Siniora, who has been confronted with major demonstrations for more than six months, becoming weaker; it prepares the way for political forces supported by Tehran-Damascus-Riyadh, to destroy the country. Gun battles began and were spreading. AP reports this is the heaviest fighting within Lebanon since the fifteen-year civil war from 1975-90. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
After the robbery, the Lebanese army attempted to arrest the heavily armed members of Fatah Islam who were in an apartment on a major street in Tripoli. The group resisted and fighting then spread to not only surrounding streets but to a Palestinian refugee camp that has also had periodical armed encounters with Lebanon’s army.
A very uneasy truce between Palestinian refugees that have their own extremist organizations and Beirut have maintained some degree of stability, but now Tehran-Damascus and the House of Saud want to remove Siniora and they know political demonstrations are not enough.
The three governments obviously believe combat outside Beirut will have to take place and the news is reporting Lebanon’s army was having a difficult time retaking positions lost to Fatah Islam. Beirut had to call reinforcements in from Lebanon’s south and this action is just 25 miles from Syria’s border. Damascus can easily claim they are entering the conflict in the name of stability. During the lengthy negotiations during the street demonstrations in Beirut, that began last year, the news mentioned the House of Saud made a financial gift to Lebanon’s army so I doubt if Lebanon’s military leadership is eager for heavy combat.
Recently there were a number of news announcements from Iran’s own official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), a site linked to Crossfire War, on Tehran-Damascus conducting high level foreign policy meetings on regional affairs but I assumed they were still discussing starting this year’s war against Jerusalem, using militant units they support, in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories of Gaza-West Bank.
That war has obviously begun, again in Gaza, but in the meantime, the West-Paris is still a major influence and economic presence in Lebanon, through Siniora. In addition, Tehran knows there is definitely more regional and economic impact in controlling Beirut’s banking circles than the financial circles in Gaza City – Ramallah-Tel Aviv, not to mention the barren financial contacts in the Golan Heights. That is probably why when Hezbollah demonstrations in the streets of Beirut began Sheik Hassan Nasrallah told his supporters not to damage any of Beirut’s property. Tehran-Damascus and financial centers in the Islamic world intend to direct Beirut’s banking after the war.
When Iran’s then President Mohammad Khatami made his strategic regional four nation tour, in late summer 2004, I mentioned he circumvented Egypt President Hosni Mubarak due to Mubarak’s refusal to support the Jihad against the West-Israel in any way since Mubarak always hated Islamic radicalism after Islamic fundamentalists assassinated his predecessor Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 and Tehran named a street after the assassin.
However, I neglected to notice other regional obstacles Tehran wanted destroyed beside Mubarak.
The main purpose of the Persian led Jihad is to defeat its main international rival the West and its remaining regional vehicles in controlling events in this theatre one of which is Lebanon. Defeating the West’s representative Siniora would completely destroy any political and events influence the West has left in the region through Beirut, which used to be the banking center of West Asia (Middle East) until Lebanon’s fifteen-year civil war begun by a Maronite Catholic group controlled by Paris.
France created Lebanon in 1920 and it was never accepted by Syria or by any other Islamic government since they viewed it as another means of the West controlling the region as the West has been doing for centuries.
Iran entered Lebanon’s civil war through Hezbollah, which Iran created in 1982, and just one year later Tehran staged the suicide truck bombing of barracks used by U. S. Marines outside Beirut airport killing more than 200 of them. When Khatami visited Damascus in 2004 he praised Syria for its long opposition to Israel and stated openly what Syria – Iran should do, is form a military axis opposed to the U.S.-Israel to remove what he called “pressures” which have always been there.
The Syria-Iran military axis has done more than support groups in Iraq attacking the occupation and supporting Hezbollah in last year’s war against Israel. Crossfirewar.com reported, late January 2005, Lebanon’s Defense Minister was visiting Tehran. Of course, there was no detailed public explanation for the visit, just the usual vague statement on bilateral relations, but of course, something was up, and something is always up with Tehran.
Damascus-Tehran had noticed Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri had begun to work with the West instead of cooperating with Islamic governments so two weeks later Hariri was assassinated. The day of the assassination, the news showed Syria’s Prime Minister meeting with Khatami who announced Iran will stand with Syria. Hariri’s death summoned France President Jacques Chirac to Beirut. Iran’s standing with Syria will definitely include this new fighting in north Lebanon around Tripoli.
Then there was last year’s war against Israel that made Hezbollah, openly supported by Damascus-Tehran, more prominent in Lebanon and more highly respected in the region by Islamic people and governments.
After that war Syria President Bashar al-Assad was beside himself, almost comical. Debka reported a nearly fanatical speech he made in front of Syria’s Parliament where he not only praised Hezbollah, because of what he called their tremendous victory, but Assad then stated it will be easy to get the Golan Heights back, the extremely strategic area between Israel/Syria/Lebanon and controlled by Israel since 1967.
Israel will definitely make a much more serious effort to keep the Golan and Iran knows the Golan is more of an emotional issue with Syria than anything else and Tehran is not given to hysteria though they do find hysterical fanaticism an excellent weapon, but it should not be wasted on trying to control the barren wastes of the Golan Heights or the salt in the Dead Sea. What you achieve in controlling the Golan is an excellent view and perhaps therefore some tourist revenue.
Therefore Tehran has probably convinced Damascus of a more realistic and profitable approach to regional issues. Forget the Golan, forget Israel, you can get Lebanon back and not from Israel but from Paris, the West, a much more hated, problematical enemy, by attacking and defeating the European forces in south Lebanon that came out of the Rome Conference last August at the end of the war between Hezbollah/Israel.
The stated reason for the conference was supposedly to maintain the ceasefire, so Rome and the West had the United Nations approve European units would lead the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and that is probably when Tehran began to switch targets from Israel to Rome, the West now back in Lebanon.
As soon as European units began to arrive crossfirewar.com, reported Tehran had al-Qaeda to declare UNIFIL an enemy of Islam. Not only does Damascus agree but also they readily agreed to follow Tehran’s excellent idea of preparing this year’s war for that purpose, to destroy a creation, which Syria has never officially recognized.
Damascus-Tehran observed UNIFIL and immediately noticed the units were deliberately ignoring the rearming of Hezbollah by Syria and Iran. It was also obvious UNIFIL enjoyed instead, complaining about Israel’s reconnaissance flights over Lebanon to monitor Hezbollah. A French general even threatened to fire on Israel warplanes and there was even a confrontation between French armored units and Israeli units, to the extent Israel threatened to bombard UNIFIL with artillery.
It was during this time Tehran-Damascus formed the Fatah al-Islam unit through militant Palestinians prepared for martyrdom. Debka reports their leader Shaker al-Abssi stated the reason for the group’s existence was reform. That is obviously just some statement Tehran had them release to disguise the group’s real purpose, war. Damascus has just closed two border crossings with Lebanon. I suspect that is part of Syria’s preparations to invade which Iran will reinforce to drive UNIFIL out of Lebanon, remove Siniora and recognize the new map of the region without Lebanon. [DEBKA]
The government in Tehran is not about peace, but about war and control.