Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS – PARIS – AMSTERDAM – BERLIN WATCH – Eurasia Theatre: Paris – London – Amsterdam – Washington – Berlin – Cairo – Jerusalem/Beirut – Gaza – Ramallah – Damascus – Riyadh – Baghdad – Ankara – Beijing – Tehran; Diplomatic Storm Follows France Fm Kocuhner’s Statement – Iran Parliament (majis) Responds – Economic Warfare Between Western Europe/iran About to Begin; Israel Fighter Planes Stage Mock Attack Over Hezbollah Base in South Lebanon – Israel Raid Nablus West Bank; Tehran/Cairo Make Diplomatic Overtures of Mutual Suspicion
Night Watch: PARIS – AFP reports an enormous, worldwide diplomatic storm has followed in the wake of France Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner’s statement that France and the world should prepare for the worst, war with Iran. Though his statement has been dismissed as “hype” by Mohamad ElBaradei, head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), based in Vienna and by Austria Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik as “martial rhetoric” some West European capitals indicate they support Kouchner’s position that Europe should impose sanctions on Iran. This is not a proposal Kouchner thought of on the spur of the moment, sanctions had been considered for years as the last resort before war. He added more detail today, “These will be European sanctions that each country, individually, must put in place with its own banking, commercial and industrial system. The English and the Germans are interested in talking about this. We will try to find a common European position.” [GULFTIMES]
It is significant there is already serious consideration from London-Berlin because both governments, along with Paris, took the lead in the European Union negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear weapons grade enrichment program. The negotiations in effect ended last year after nearly three years as it became more obvious Tehran used them just to deceive the West into believing perhaps a deal could be made and (f)allout war could be avoided. One article actually admitted, as the negotiations began, both sides were actually talking past each other. As crossfirewar.com stated constantly Tehran never intended to end its preparations for full-scale war with the West and India (in support of Pakistan and the Muslims in Kashmir). Tehran has made enough preparations for one year of offensive warfare and Iran knows if successful U. S.-Europe will have little influence left within Islamic governments.
There is also serious support for Kouchner’s sanction proposal by Netherlands Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, who said if the Security Council did not agree the Dutch government would be willing “to apply European Union Sanctions in common with US sanctions.”
Tehran – The response from Tehran’s government was predictable. Xinhua quoted Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying contemptuously, “We do not take these statements seriously. Comments to the media are different from real statements.” Ahmadinejad may have been hinting, comments are one thing but real action is another and despite any economic sanctions Europe imposes that is no real threat due to the enormous amount of business Iran does with other regions. And in terms of military action, Tehran knows the West’s role in this war is almost entirely defensive. [XINHUA]
rfn=Tehran – The reaction, however, from Iran’s Parlimanent-Majlis was one of extreme anger, especially since Kouchner’s statement came not long after France President Nicolas Sarkozy had made some critical observations on Iran’s government and its regional-international policy, which the Majlis described as “hasty and unbalanced.” Concerning Kouchner’s sanctions statement Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said Kouchner’s accusations were “unfounded”. He added, “If Kouchner’s stance is that of the new French government, naturally it will affect economic cooperation between the two countries.” Yesterday there were even indications Iran’s Foreign Ministry had begun to initiate steps to sever diplomatic relations and based on Paris’ support from other European capitals; it will not just be with Paris. [IRNA]
Bandar Abbas – Tehran released some specific detail as to their military response if attacked first by either the West or Israel. Israel National News (INN) reported and Iranian website, Assar Iran, which is close to Iran’s government, stated Iran has 600 Shihab-3 missiles already “locked-on” targets in Israel and especially on Washington’s bases in Iraq and I would guess the latter is the main target since the West is Iran’s and the Islamic world’s main international rival. Not all of the missiles will hit the designated targets since guidance systems are noted for malfunctioning but some of the missiles will be accurate, but then there is still the risk of a dud warhead. I suspect the missiles could be fired before Iran is attacked. A few years ago, as President George W. Bush discussed attacking Iran as “an option on the table”, an official from Iran’s Defense Ministry indicated Tehran would not let Washington attack first. Iran has occasionally indicated one of their responses to sanctions imposed by the West would be military. Tehran could also launch the missiles when there are more attacks against Syria in support of the Syria-Iran Defense Agreement signed in June 2006, or when Iran believes it is time to destroy the Pentagon’s bases in Iraq using the regional war and instability as their reason, stating the bases are the cause of the instability and Iran knows every Islamic government will agree. [INN]
Beirut – The missile launchings could happen at almost any moment since Xinhua is reporting six fighters of the Israel Air Force (IAF) again penetrated Lebanon air space in several areas of south Lebanon and even engaged in mock attacks. Israel has maintained consistent surveillance flights over Lebanon since the end of the war with Hezbollah last year, as Jerusalem closely monitored the military-political unit’s rearming by Tehran-Damascus. But this is the first time I have heard of mock attacks on specific targets and this is just two days after the IAF penetrated Lebanon’s air space Sunday. [XINHUA]
This time low altitude passes were conducted over the cities of Sidon and Tyre where the aircraft generated sonic booms, as if making a warning to the population. Yaliban news website reported the planes also flew over the town of Bint Jbeil where Hezbollah has a major base and support. The town is less than five miles from the Lebanon/Israel border. There are 12,000 European units in south Lebanon serving with the United Nations Interim Force for Lebanon (UNIFIL). When war becomes more obvious, they will be caught in the crossfire and targeted by at least al-Qaeda units Tehran has stationed there. As soon as UNIFIL began to arrive, after last year’s war between Israel/Hezbollah, Tehran had al-Qaeda declare them an enemy of Islam.
Nablus – In other action Israeli forces engaged in heavy fighting in the West Bank city of Nablus where an Israeli soldier and one Palestinian fighter were killed. The fighter was a member of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), one of the oldest Palestinian militant groups. Israel was raiding a building, targeting militant gunmen, based in the Palestinian camp Ein Bet Ilmeh, pop. 5,000. Gunfire was exchanged with members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah and the Al-Quds Brigades. [ALJAZEERA]
Cairo – “There has been an agreement to continue dialogue between both sides in particular over bilateral relations at the level of Senior Officials and then Foreign Minister.” That terse statement is from Egypt Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hassan Zaki on the prospects of restoration of diplomatic relations between Cairo/Tehran. Iran severed relations in 1980 as the Shah of Iran arrived in Cairo not long before he died in Egypt on July 27, 1980. The Shah arrived in exile having been overthrown by Iran’s Islamic Revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini the previous year. And in 1981 Egypt’s head of state, Anwar al-Sadat, who had received the Shah was assassinated by Islamic radicals citing Khomeini as their inspiration. Tehran named a street after the assassin, an Egyptian army artillery Lieutenant. Sadat’s successor, the current President Hosni Mubarak, has maintained a policy of suspicion and hatred of the Tehran government but occasionally expresses some interest in discussing regional-international affairs. [IRNA]
This deceptive diplomatic dialogue will soon be cut off as the war in the region reaches greater intensity this year, which will inflame more Islamic radicalism within Egypt. Any radical element will not only be supported by Tehran but also by every other Islamic government in the region, including Tripoli-Khartoum, but some of Egypt’s military will remain loyal to Mubarak. With those units support Mubarak will declare war on Iran.