Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – BAGHDAD WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: US/Iran Hold Simultaneous/Confliction Maneuvers in Persian Gulf – Hamas Delegation Arrives in Cairo After Stating Truce Over – South Ossetia States Georgia Preparing for Invasion
Night Watch: PERSIAN GULF – “The first shot by the US on Iran would put US vital interests in the world at risk.” That was the warning from Iranian cleric Ali Shirazi who is a liaison between the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and his warning was made as the Guards began live firing naval and air maneuvers in the Persian Gulf at the same time the U. S. Fifth Fleet has been conducting maneuvers with ships from Britain and Bahrain. The Jerusalem Post/AP report Shirazi continued his warning by saying, “The Zionist regime is pushing the White House to prepare for a military strike on Iran. If they show such stupidity, Tel Aviv and the U. S. naval fleet in the Persian Gulf will be the first targets which will be set on fire in Iran’s crushing response.” What is “pushing” the White House is not Israel but the reality of Tehran’s offensive foreign policy which is a threat to more than Israel and shipping in the gulf, but to the West, the threat is only limited by the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles. [JPOST]
Iranian speedboats, “missile squads” are taking part in the Guards maneuvers and will lead Iran’s response to any attack. Spokesman for the U. S. Fifth Fleet, Lieutenant Nathan Christensen explained the purpose of the Allied maneuvers, “The aim of the exercise is to protect the maritime infrastructure such as gas and oil terminals which are vital to the world’s economy and gets through the Strait of Hormuz.” Lieutenant Christensen then added the U. S. and coalition ships interact with Iranians in the gulf on a routine basis. I am not surprised Iran is willing to do that since it enables the Revolutionary Guards to maintain precise track of enemy warships positions and that is one of the reasons I believe Iran has the advantage in this war, the level of their military-intelligence information is excellent, an extremely conversant enemy. It is also a huge help to Tehran since the enemy is right off the Iranian coast and in a confined area like the gulf and Strait of Hormuz, a maritime trap like the desert trap in Iraq.
Persian Gulf – PressTV reports the Guard maneuvers have been designated Payambar-e Azam 3 and not only involve missile boat squads but also air units. The maneuvers are intended to improve combat readiness and capability. It is quite possible the Iranian air units will be attacking from a variety of altitudes even from extremely low altitude below radar. [PRESSTV]
Cairo – Xinhua reports an eight member Hamas delegation from the Gaza Strip has arrived in Cairo for negotiations concerning the Rafah Terminal and relations with Israel. Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar stated before he arrived, “The delegation will discuss the calm (truce) issue according to the deal which stipulated a lull and a full lifting of the siege and opening the crossing points into Gaza.” But since the heavily armed ceasefire was signed June 19 Israel has been forced to close most Gaza terminals five times due to missile and mortar attacks which though they are not heavy it has confirmed suspicions the ceasefire is being used by Palestinian militants to increase weapons supplies from Syria-Iran and training for the next wave of massive fighting. Yesterday, over INN news ticker, a Hamas spokesman actually stated the truce is over and it is time to resume attacks. [XINHUA]
A Hamas delegation from Syria is expected to arrive and it will be led by some of the organizations most senior members since they are forced to reside in Damascus partly due to threat of assassination by Israel, but also because it is in Damascus where most of their military planning takes place with Syrian-Iranian officers. Ever since the 2006 war between Hamas-Hezbollah/Israel, Damascus has become the main planning center for the wars revolving around Jerusalem and the Hamas delegation will probably issue statements justifying the end of the truce using as their excuse the closings of the Gaza terminals. This is why I still suspect the best chance for heavy fighting to resume will not be because of any attack on Iran, but with Tehran having Hamas begin heavy rocket-mortar attacks on those terminals which will force Israel to begin a major offensive against the Palestinian militants and their leadership. That will set the stage for Hezbollah then Syria-Iran to enter the war in the name of supporting Palestinian people one of their most effective propaganda messages and designed to inspire more Islamic extremism that will be directed at Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, the last Islamic head of state with close relations with the West-Israel.
The Israel Air Force (IAF) first targets after Gaza will not be Iran but over Lebanon-Syria. With the enormous amount of rockets and ballistic missiles that can be fired by Hezbollah-Syria the IAF may not have the time for even one raid against Iran. This is how I have always believed Tehran wants to direct the expansion of war in the region as their most effective way of maintaining the initiative which Iran might lose if attacked.
Tskhinvili – RIA reports the Presidential envoy of South Ossetia, Dmitry Medoyev, states there are more signs the Geogian government in Tbilisi is preparing to invade South Ossetia which seceded from Georgia at the end of the Cold War in 1990. “Georgian troops are covertly occupying empty buildings and equipping them with gun posts there. We are keeping an eye on the situation, but we are not opening fire, as we have been warned not to fall for provocation.” There was a serious exchange of fire last week on the Georgia/South Ossetia border which was most likely caused by Russia since they have completed preparations to extend their control once again over the gas-oil resources of the Caucasus. For the past several years Tbilisi has received military support from Ankara-Tehran in the hope they can prevent Moscow from restoring its former influence. Industrial services in the West, led by Berlin, privately support Russia and have always used Moscow to control exports of raw materials from here though publicly the West puts on a diplomatic show of supporting Georgia. Former U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger was sent to Moscow in April 2007 to co-chair the Strategic Working Group with former Russia Premier Yevgeny Primakov to coordinate the West’s military support. [RIA]