Crossfire War – US State Department Drafts Ultimatum to Iran

Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Ankara – Damascus Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre

Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Ramallah – Gaza – Beirut – Damascus – Ankara – Baghdad/London – Washington – Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome; US State Department Drafting Ultimatum to Iran – Iraq Pm Al-Maliki to Confront Tehran Later This Week – Second US Carrier Arrives in Persian Gulf – Heavy Fighting Could Erupt in Iraq North Over Control of Oil in Kurdish Region – Syria Claims Mosul – Turkey Claims Kirkuk

Night Watch: PERSIAN GULF – “What the Iranians are doing is killing American service men and women inside Iraq.” That was the statement made by U. S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as CBS News reports a second aircraft carrier arrived in the Persian Gulf. Recently it had been reported two more carriers had left the South China Sea enroute to the Gulf, though publicly Secretary Gates still says no attack is imminent. The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to prepare new options for an attack on Iran, specifically the headquarters of Iran’s Quds Force, the branch of the military which controls the support of Shia militias and Sunni groups attacking the occupation and nuclear facilities of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It is even being reported the State Department is drafting an ultimatum to Iran but the first step will be Washington having Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki confront Iran later this week with evidence of Tehran’s support of Islamic militias attacking U. S. forces. If that does not change Tehran’s policy then the State Department will demand Iran cease its support or else, the war becomes direct. [CBS]

Tehran -Iran has no intention of changing its policy of supporting any Islamic group attacking the UK/US and in fact Iran’s response will be to have the fighting increase to even more than its current level. Iran believes it is ready for war with the U. S. otherwise the fighting in Baghdad and Iraq’s south would not have been so intense as it has been for the last month, including the almost daily bombardment of the International Green Zone where embassies and government offices are located. With the Pentagon’s attack on Iran then Tehran will probably launch missiles from Iran at the UK/US bases in Iraq and Persian Gulf. IRNA reports on Wednesday the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Air Force, Brigadier General Hossein Salami stated, “The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps has become a reliable, invincible and impenetrable body to defend the country against any threats.” He then said though the U. S. believes it has the most powerful military empire in the world it has yet to achieve any of its goals. Washington’s most glaring failure is its inability to secure Iraq and again the main reason for that failure is Tehran’s continued support of armed groups attacking it. The recent harassment of U. S. ships in the Gulf is another indication Iran believes it is ready. Tehran knew Washington would have no other choice but to attack. [IRNA]

Kirkuk – As the U. S. concentrates on Baghdad and Iraq’s south there are indications serious fighting is about to erupt in Iraq’s north near the Syrian-Turkish border in the Kurdish regions around Mosul and Kirkuk over control of the area’s vast amount of oil reserves. Huda al-Husseini, Lebanese columnist with Asharq al-Awsat writes, “So far, the battle of Basra remains unresolved, same as the battle in Baghdad’s Sadr City and while all attention is focused on the south another civil war is threatening to erupt in the north. She writes the Kurds are actively working to annex al Tamim, the capital of which is Kirkuk and is home to oil reserves that could reach up to 15 billion barrels.” The Kurds are conducting a “Kurdization” program by controlling most of the municipal councils, most jobs, including police posts at the expense of Arabs and Turkmen. And that is why every Shia-Sunni political party in Baghdad, including Muqtada al-Sadr, is opposed to Kurdish control over this region. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

The U. S. military is still trying to work with the Kurds by erecting mud and earth walls around the city in a desperate attempt to end the arms smuggling, principally by armed Sunni Sahwa forces that have been established no doubt with the assistance of Damascus-Anakara-Tehran, governments that do not wish to see a powerful, independent Kurdistan and at the same time want to increase the crossfire U. S.-British forces are already engulfed by. Syria claims it should control Mosul and Turkey claims Kirkuk and I suspect both governments will enter the war this year to enforce those claims as London-Washington are not only increasingly trapped in Iraq but at war with Iran. Turkey’s current operations against Kurdish forces in Iraq and southeast Turkey are probably nothing more than preparation for its entry.

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.