Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Baghdad – Damascus Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Ramallah – Gaza – Beirut – Baghdad – Damascus/Jerusalem – Washington – Paris – Rome – Cairo – Amman – London; Syria States Israel Will Attack in Late May – Mid-June – With US Support – Fighting Resumes in Sadr City – Tehran Has Conducted Five Years of Deceptive Nuclear Negotiations with Washington in Geneva
Night Watch: DAMASCUS – Syria is taking what appears to be pre-emptive measures to prepare for what it states is a planned offensive by Israel with active support from Washington. At least that is what Syrian officials are saying publicly and that they claim Israel will start the war in either late May or mid-June. This of course could be just an official line to deceive the enemy as Syria may actually be preparing its own offensive as it held nationwide drills last week in response to Israel’s own emergency maneuvers that were also conducted last week. PressTV is reporting Syrian officials have been making their defensive position known through Qatar’s al-Watan newspaper and that during Israel’s recent maneuvers they were closely monitored by a high ranking American general. His name was not mentioned but it could have been Air Force Lieutenant-General William Fraser the high level military liaison between the Pentagon and Jerusalem. It is quite possible Washington has placed warships off the Syria-Lebanon coast for joint operations with Israel against Syria. [PRESSTV]
Massaneh – However Debka is reporting Damascus has just deployed its 10th armored corps at the Massaneh crossing at Mount Hermon adjacent to and northwest of the 14th division which has been in position since last month on the Lebanon/Israel border. Syria now has troops stretching from its border with the central Lebanese mountains in a crescent running south to the Golan Heights. According to Israel’s Northern Command the Syrian troops are prepared to quickly move into attack mode. This is why I doubt these statements from Syrian officials as to how defensive they are. I suspect they have planned, along with Tehran, to enter the next war right after Hezbollah starts it. Damascus may have decided, at least since 2006, to never let Israel attack first again as in June 1967, which caught Syria completely off guard and enabled Israel to capture the strategic Golan Heights in just six days. [DEBKA]
Sadr City – Asharq al-Awsat/Reuters are reporting fighting erupted overnight in Sadr City after a one day pause. There are no details but a grocer Ali Sittar stated, “We heard the sound of bombing and clashes after midnight. It lasted for around an hour and then it stopped. American planes were hovering in the sky until morning.” It is quite possible Tehran has instructed and prepared the Mahdi Army and other Shia militias to keep the U. S. and elements of the Iraq Army busy in Baghdad and in the south until the war begins against Israel and then Iran enters it, in Iraq and against Israel. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
al-Jadida – It seems the fighting is spreading beyond Sadr City with the reports, by Xinhua, of two roadside bombs targeting U. S. patrols in eastern Baghdad. One explosion took place in the al-Jadida district and another in Fadhiliyah both of them Shi’ite areas where the Mahdi Army and other Shia militias have a strong presence. [XINHUA]
Geneva – According to the Jerusalem Post and the British paper The Independent Washington/Tehran have been conducting “back channel” meetings in Geneva for five years on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The U. S. officials were led by former Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering and they were met by Iranian academics and policy advisers. I am not surprised Pickering said it was not the U. S. who encouraged the meetings because Iranian author and editor in exile Amir Taheri wrote in his definitive work on the Ayatollah Khomeini, The Spirit of Allah, Iranians are experts in using the art of negotiations to create confusion in the mind of the enemy. It is the circuitous use of the half-truth, yes we have a nuclear program but it is for peace and perhaps there is a way of coming to a peaceful resolution as ballistic missile and nuclear warhead production continues which Iran’s negotiators constantly deny. They may also give the false impression Washington/Tehran can work together and that enables them to introduce any number of issues concerning West Asia (Middle East). [JPOST]
This back alley maze diplomacy was conducted in Geneva and I am not surprised Tehran was eager to entertain its enemy nor am I surprised Pickering and Washington were duplicitous enough to wade in completely out of depth. What has undermined Pickering is Iran’s nuclear – ballistic missile program are operating in subterranean facilities constructed by the engineering firm headquarted in San Francisco which was invited to Iran the day after the Gulf War ended in 1991 through its London branch office because Britain had no embargo against Iran. It was shown on CNN and that was the real reason the coalition forces were ordered to halt outside Baghdad, let Saddam Hussein remain until the bases for Iran were completed and Saddam removed twelve years later in 2003. Pickering is negotiating with his real employer and from his devious portrait in the photo he is definitely in his element, completely confused and deservedly so.