Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BEIRUT – BAGHDAD WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Iran States Missiles are on Launching Pads and Ready for Firing At Any Time – Israel Security Cabinet Meeting Targets Hezbollah – Israel Preparing New Offensive Against Hezbollah Positions – Another Armed Incident on Georgia/Abkhazia Border
Night Watch: TEHRAN – “Our missiles are ready for shooting at any place and any time, quickly and with accuracy. The enemy must not repeat its mistakes. The enemy targets are under surveillance.” That was the ominous-offensive statement by the commander of the Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Air Force Brigadier General Hossein Salami on the nine missile tests Iran conducted yesterday as part of their The Great Prophet III maneuvers currently underway in the Strait of Hormuz. FNA reports an upgraded version of the Shahab-3 was tested with its range of 1,240 miles (2,000 km) along with the medium range Zelzal 240 miles (400 km) and the Fateh 102 miles (170 km). Tehran has in the past indicated the Shahab-3 will only be launched at Israel if Jerusalem attacks first, but the shorter range missiles are most likely targeted at the US/UK bases in Iraq and when the wider regional war begins they will be used in support of the Mahdi Army and other Islamic militias in Iraq. [FNA]
IRGC Naval commander, Morteza Saffari, explained one of the strategic concepts involved in the maneuvers is to show, “The maneuvers also sets out a reassuring message to regional countries that together we can secure the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz without the presence of foreign forces.” That message resonates very favorably with governments in the Persian Gulf not only because of the disastrous situation the US/UK occupation has caused in Iraq but they no longer believe the gulf has to be a base for Western military units. They have probably viewed the West’s insistence that bases be maintained as condescending and patronizing. Saffari added besides the missile firings the maneuvers also displayed a variety of other missiles, rockets and torpedo launchers. Military vessels and land-to-sea missiles were tested as well, everything Iran will use on this Persian Gulf-Strait of Hormuz front.
Great Prophet III – The France24 link has news video from Al-Alam television on the missile tests. Please keep in mind guidance systems on missiles of any kind and all ranges are extremely fragile and are prone to malfunction. Nothing works as well as advertised. Some will miss, others will be duds, some of course will work. Despite all the improvements and upgrading military-industries will never achieve perfection. [FRANCE24]
Tehran – This other France24 link contains more displays of military hardware and warnings from Iran. [FRANCE24]
Knesset – While Tehran prepares for a possible attack by the US-Israel the Wednesday Security Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert targeted Hezbollah in Lebanon. INN is reporting cabinet ministers will be briefed on the massive rearmament campaign Hezbollah has been conducting as a constant stream of weaponry arrives in Lebanon through Syria. It was never any secret, since the 2006 war, that Hezbollah began its re-supplying the day after the war ended and in direct violation of the United Nations ceasefire resolution which was never enforced by the 13,000 European troops with UNIFIL in south Lebanon. Recently the Italian Foreign Minister visited Israel and its Lebanon front and Israel has also contacted France’s Foreign Minister I suspect to inform both of them of Israel’s planned offensive. It is quite possible one of the main reasons for Israel not having staged its offensive into Gaza against Palestinian militants is because they always knew their most serious threat is to their north across the Lebanese border and northeast into Syria. The vast majority of missiles launched at Israel will come from those two locations and the Security Cabinet discussed specific ways of halting the weapons traffic. [INN]
Jerusalem is constantly aware UNIFIL is powerless and diplomacy is a lie therefore military operations are being planned which is completely consistent with Israel’s security doctrine that allows for pre-emptive attacks not only to disrupt an enemy’s preparation but even staging an outright invasion as in June 1967. They knew the invasion would lead to war and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were so successful the war only lasted six days. The cabinet ministers were informed Hezbollah now has three times the number of missiles-rockets they had two years ago and I believe it was also reported Defense Minister Ehud Barak is scheduled to visit Washington next week. I suspect when Pentagon Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, visited Israel recently Syria may have been discussed even more than Iran especially since the Israel Air Force (IAF) raid last September on Syria’s nuclear installation did not destroy all of Syria’s nuclear weapons fuel production. Yesterday Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made some extremely strong statements against Damascus which were just short of a declaration of war.
Jerusalem seems to be convinced they need to repeat their initiative from 1967 which kept the enemy off balance and increased Israel’s security and the only way they can do so is to not wait for Hezbollah to attack first. That was the mistake Jerusalem made in 2006 and the IDF response was not aggressive enough since they did not re-occupy south Lebanon which would have made the thousands of Katyusha rockets Hezbollah has completely ineffective. The Security Cabinet was informed a Kuwait newspaper published a report which mentioned Hezbollah intends to position anti-aircraft missiles on the peaks of Lebanon’s mountains which is a direct threat to the IAF surveillance flights and the only way Israel has been able to monitor Hezbollah-Syria-Iran’s network of weapons support. Washington has always said it was never against any IDF military offensive it just wanted to be told in advance so I assume the telling will be Barak’s visit to Washington next week. There will definitely be more Guns of August in 2008 than in 2006.
The Lebanon-Syria front have become one and the same. So Tehran will not be entering the war in support of Palestinian militants in Gaza but in support of Hezbollah-Syria. Israel has also warned Damascus when the IDF attacks Hezbollah, Syria will also be targeted. That is the only way for Israel to end weapons traffic in Lebanon. There may not be as much fighting in Gaza as I expected which would really disappoint Tehran. Iran has been years in planning its magnanimous military gesture in support of Palestinian people but instead Iran may have to desperately reinforce the Lebanon-Syria front.
Sukhumi – Al Jazeera reports there was another armed incident on the Abkhazia/Georgia border in the South Caucasus and there are even conflicting reports as to how many were killed and wounded. Some reports say three Georgian police officers were shot while on patrol and two soldiers from Abkhazia were wounded. In the meantime Moscow and the Georgian government in Tbilisi are exchanging accusations on airspace violations. [ALJAZEERA]
Chuburkhinji – Earlier RIA reported there was a report over Georgia’s Rustavi-2 TV which mentioned an attack on a Georgia border police post in the village of Chuburkhinji by approximately ten gunmen using grenade launchers and assault rifles. Local police stated the attackers returned to Abkhazia and according to eyewitnesses the attackers headed in the direction of a Russian military base. This fighting is taking place at the same time U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice is visiting Tbilisi to put on a show of support for the Georgian government but in reality the West wants Russia to restore its control over the region’s oil-gas resources in order to increase exports to the West. The meetings with Dr. Rice Thursday are reported to be closed door and during which she may hint the West’s true policies in the region. Her career in the private sector was directly connected to the oil industry. [RIA]
New Crossfire War Site Coming in August which will be subscription based. If all goes well the new site will begin early next week with still free material but on August 1 subscriptions will be sold for $35 for 3o days, $165 for six months or $300 for a year. Some of the older articles will always be available for free and the newest free article will be two weeks old.