Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BEIRUT – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia Theatre: “We Need to Prepare for All Options” Israel Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Askhenazi – Series of Meetings Underway in Washington – Pakistan Troops Again Violate Ceasefire in Kashmir Across Line of Control
Night Watch: WASHINGTON – Speaking after meeting senior U.S. officials in Washington Wednesday, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi stated Tehran was at the center of the Islamic radical effort to remove secular Islamic governments and replace them with ones close to Iran’s policy. His remarks, carried by Haaretz/Reuters, “We are all united in the view that Iran needs to be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon. There is no doubt that diplomatic activity and sanctions are preferable but we all understand-we and the Americans- that we need to prepare all options.” General Askhenazi continued these observations at a speech at the Israel Embassy regarding the threat of Islamic radicalism not in the long or near term but now, “At the center of this radical axis is Iran, who seeks to achieve its regional aspirations of hegemony by upsetting the existing balance of power.” [HAARETZ]
The balance of power Tehran has in mind is not who arranges the ritual of diplomatic protocol but the economic resources of the region, the economic balance of power, and by controlling the region’s raw materials-oil would make Iran quite possibly the most powerful voice in the world energy market with the only exception of Russia. Tehran would definitely replace the West as the controller of the regions oil exports and revenue. The reason why London-Washington are taking the Iran threat so seriously now is they know the Baghdad government is close to Iran and therefore its oil. This is not about who controls the salt in the Dead Sea but Israel is in a position to do major damage to Tehran’s most important axis partner in the region-Syria as was shown last September when the Israel Air Force (IAF) destroyed Syria’s nuclear installation that was just one week away of producing weapons grade uranium.
The Iranian government’s effort and intentions are nothing new and have been in place since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeini. One of the first victims of the re-emerging radicalism was Egypt President Anwar al-Sadat who was assassinated in 1981 by Egyptians who inspired by the Iran revolution. Tehran even named a street after the assassin an Egyptian army Lieutenant. Tehran’s hold over the region increased even more this year with the security agreement signed with Baghdad.
Ashkenazi continued, “We are witnessing, I believe a paradigmatic change in the Middle East in which radical countries and elements are trying to install a new order to replace the traditional national, secular one that exists today.” He added Tehran supports “terror organizations and radical groups, pursues nuclear arms to project power within the region and beyond.” Obviously it is the “beyond” that worries the West. Current examples Ashkenazi mentioned are: Iraq-Afghanistan-Lebanon-Palestinian territories. He then said it was incumbent to block this Iranian aggression which would weaken the radical trend.
And this is why I have often mentioned Tehran’s main reason for entering the war against Israel, and in the name of supporting Palestinian people, is because it would create spectacular publicity and inspire more radicalism directed at the last Islamic head of state with close relations with the West, Egypt President Hosni Mubarak hand picked by Sadat. With Mubarak out of the way Iran would have close relations with every port in the economically strategic Eastern Mediterranean, from Istanbul to Alexandria, the only exception being Haifa, Israel.
Wednesday was the first day of meetings for General Askenazi with U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and senior congressmen. Thursday he is to meet with Pentagon Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen.
North Arabian Sea – Today the RIA video of the day is of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group in the North Arabian Sea near Iran’s coast on standby. [RIA]
Kohgelouyueh-Boyerahmad – France24/AFP have provided a news video of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s latest defiant statements which were made at an outdoor rally in southwest Iran. “The Iranian people are steadfast and will not step back an inch against the oppressive powers. The Iranian nation does not believe your threats. You are mistaken if you think you can force this nation to back down with sanctions, threats and pressure.” Tuesday, the New York Times published a two page informal document handed out by Iranian negotiators at the Geneva meeting. It called for seven more rounds of negotiations.
Poonch – The daily newsletter, South Asia Security Trends News Scan, by retired Indian Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle, has reported another ceasefire violation on Monday by Pakistani soldiers when they fired on an Indian position in the Poonch sector killing one soldier. There were no reports of return fire. Brigadier Bhonsle can be reached through his website, www.security-risks.com.