Crossfire War – US General Petraeus-Amb Crocker to Justify Attack on Iran

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

Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Ramallah – Gaza – Damascus – Beirut – Baghdad/London – Washington – Muscat – Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome; US General Petraeus – Amb Crocker to Accuse Iran of Waging War on US in Iraq in Tuesday Report to Congress – Justification for Attack on Iran – US Defense Secretary Gates Returns from Oman – USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Force Heads Toward Persian Gulf – Bush – Putin Discuss Iran – Fighting in Sadr City – British Forces Return to Basra – Britain Exit Strategy in “Tatters”

Night Watch: PERSIAN GULF – Events could come to quite a head this week as the U. S. commanding general in Iraq General David Petreaus and Washington’s Ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker present their report to Congress Tuesday in which I assume they will openly accuse Tehran of waging war on the U. S. in Iraq. General Petreaus is already on record as stating Iran has been directly supporting not only the mortar – rocket fire on Baghdad’s International Green Zone, where the U. S. Embassy is located, but also directly supporting the Shia militia groups that attacked Iraq’s army in Sadr City, Basra and several other cities across Iraq’s east and south. For the past five years close readers of the news were aware Tehran was actively involved in maintaining and directing all the Islamic groups opposed to the occupation whether Sunni or Shia groups but this year that support has never been more obvious. It is in fact the beginning of Iran’s offensive against the West in this region. Recently the news mentioned Russian intelligence reported the U. S. was preparing to attack Iran in April and March 30 reported the Saudi paper Okaz mentioned Saudi Arabia was preparing to confront the consequences of a nuclear war, as they may have been warned during the recent visit by U. S. Vice-President Dick Cheney an attack on Iran was near. [DEBKA]

Muscat – Now Debka is reporting British media is saying the same thing and that the Pentagon’s attack may first target Iran’s military installations directly connected to supplying the Iraq militia groups attacking the occupation, the installations controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards al-Qods Brigades. The Guards headquarters is in Bandar Abbas which is right on the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s nuclear facilities will then be attacked next. A naval strike force lead by the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln is heading for the Persian Gulf and this just one week after Russian intelligence stated an American nuclear submarine was already near the Gulf. Iran’s PressTV has reported U. S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates flew into Oman on Friday to meet Sultan Qaboos I suspect to brief him on the coming offensive and to visit U. S. bases in the country. Publicly of course Gates mouthed the official line, “Although we keep all options open with regards to Iran we remain committed to a diplomatic solution.” Concerning the Sultan and Oman Gates said, “They provide a lot of support for the United States. The Sultan is a good friend.” But like a lot of London-Washington’s friends in the Persian Gulf states and emirates they realize the era of Western military bases in the region is over. The Iraq occupation has brought no stability. [PRESSTV]

Sochi – PressTV reports U. S. President George W. Bush discussed “the Iranian issue” with Russia President Vladimir Putin at the Russia resort city of Sochi on the Black Sea. As has mentioned repeatedly Tehran’s foreign policy is a direct and immediate threat to both the West and Russia’s access to raw materials from either West Asia (Middle East) or the Caucasus between the Black and Caspian Sea. That is the reason former U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger arrived in Moscow, almost a year ago to the day, to co-chair the Strategic Working Group with former Russia Premier Yevgeny Primakov. This is why I have always suspected the highly publicized debate over the missile shield proposed by Washington and apparently opposed by Moscow was just a publicity smokescreen to cover the real strategic arrangements Washington and the Kremlin have been making against Iran. As the U. S. attacks Iran from the Persian Gulf Russia could threaten Iran from the north by attacking the support Iran and Turkey have been sending to Georgia in support of the Georgian government and its standoff with Russia in the South Caucasus, which is a crossroads of energy pipelines. [PRESSTV]

Sadr City – At least twenty people have been killed and fifty-five wounded in heavy fighting that began in Sadr City Saturday night/Sunday morning between the U. S fighting alongside elements of Iraq’s army against the Mahdi Army of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The BBC reports the U. S. is attempting to target groups that have been conducting the mortar-rocket attacks on Baghdad’s International Green Zone especially the U. S. Embassy compound. It is known most of the rockets and mortars are fired from Sadr City east of Baghdad the main base of the Mahdi Army. Lately Tehran has sent a more precise missile the Hawn 170 and more powerful versions of the Katyusha. Like Hezbollah, the Mahdi Army is an extension of Iran’s military. [BBC]

Basra – One of the Shia militias fighting alongside the Mahdi Army in Basra is a branch of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, sent there of course by Tehran, and Xinhua reports the recent increase in fighting there has caused London to send 150 British soldiers back to Basra to be “embedded” with elements of the Iraq Army. London-Washington fear Basra could come under complete control of Shia militias and what has so alarmed the lost alliance was the report more than a thousand Iraqi soldiers deserted during the heavy fighting of more than a week ago and it was already known the Mahdi Army had already heavily infiltrated both the Iraq Army and police. The British daily the Sunday Telegraph is even stating senior defense officials in Britain have informed them Britain’s entire exit strategy is in “tatters.” [XINHUA]

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.