Crossfire War – Islamic Offensives Planned for Month of Safar Beginning Feb. 21

Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BAGHDAD – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Nablus – Gaza – Damascus – Beirut – Baghdad/London – Washington – Jerusalem – Cairo – Paris – Rome; Islamic Governments – Militias Preparing Offensives for the Islamic Month of Safar – Beginning Feb. 21

Night Watch: BANDAR ABBAS – Debka observed the religious timing of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s especially belligerent-hateful speech directed at Israel today at Bandar Abbas the base of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Since Iran’s 1979 revolution the Guards have been Tehran’s military vanguard in establishing operational connections with Islamic governments and radical militia groups in the region that have been involved in heavy combat either against the West, Israel and Islamic governments close to the West (Lebanon-Iraq). The reason why President Ahmadinejad’s speech is so important and not just another one of his isolated routine anti-Israel tirades, is because the timing matches some significant developments recently, namely Tehran’s mock assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, to create the excuse to attack those accused of it, Israel and Lebanese militias opposed to Hezbollah-Syria both of them with security agreements with Tehran. The speech for instance was made on the last day of the Islamic month of Muharem when Muslims are forbidden to engage in attacks on enemies. Tomorrow, February 21, begins their month of Safar when restrictions are off and they can now become offensive again so I suspect this weekend will experience events that will be explosive throughout the region, in Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq. [DEBKA]

This is why Tehran staged the assassination in the middle of February (Muharem) to allow Damascus to go through the motions of an investigation which will not only accuse Israel but Syria and Iran’s enemies in Lebanon as well mainly the Druze community led by Walid Jumblatt. It has already been reported Damascus is to make known the results of their investigations on Friday while on the same day Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is to make an important speech which will no doubt match Syria. Tehran will then issue its support for Damascus-Hezbollah which I assume means attacks on Israel and against Lebanese militias still close to the West. That is when I expect Iran to announce committing units into action, in other words declaring war. It is quite possible the strategy devised is for Hezbollah to attack Israel as Damascus attacks the Lebanese militias as Syria begins its campaign of retaking the country it was forced to withdraw from almost three years ago to the day.

Sadr City – In a parallel development the occupation forces in Iraq, led by Washington, are desperately hoping Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army, does not end the six month ceasefire in effect since last August. Asharq al-Awsat/AP are reporting the cleric is being pressured to end the ceasefire since the U. S. has been having combat with what it classifies as rogue – criminal elements that broke away from al – Sadr, but in reality they were probably units Iran had al-Sadr keep active to prevent the situation in Iraq from becoming too peaceful. Nor is al-Sadr’s decision entirely his own since he is sponsored by Tehran and therefore is part of Iran’s regional strategy, which is to have the West heavily engaged on a number of regional fronts simultaneously. The reasons why he will announce the ceasefire over are: military-industrial preparations by Iran-Syria are complete, Hezbollah has re-armed, and the mock assassination of Mughniyeh and the passive month of Muharem is over. Therefore it is now time to for the Mahdi Army, which has tens of thousands of members in Iraq’s southern provinces, to return to active duty. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

A spokesman for the Madhi Army, Sheik Salah al-Obeidi in Najaf, has stated al-Sadr will make his announcement Saturday and if he is silent, that is makes no announcement extending the ceasefire, “then that means the freeze is over.” al-Obeidi then added the message “has been conveyed to all Mahdi Army members nationwide.” Tehran has made certain the Mahid Army is not only larger than it was four years ago but also more heavily armed and trained for conventional warfare than in 2004 during its two uprisings against the occupation.

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.