As the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program worsens, those most likely to be directly effected by an Iranian bomb are showing greater alarm. While the media fixates on Israel and its possible reaction, other regional players have no less at stake.
Despite Riyadh’s long-held advocacy of making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, there has been much speculation in the last two decades about the possibility of its acquiring or developing nuclear weapons should Tehran obtain the bomb. In the words of King Abdullah: “If Iran developed nuclear weapons … everyone in the region would do the same,” a sentiment echoed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate. Has Riyadh decided to go down the nuclear road, or is this bluster a desperate bid to stop Tehran’s nuclear program dead in its tracks?
Tag Archives: Iran
The question is – what will happen next time? Assad has apparently not given up on his plan to supply Hezbollah with “deterrence diminishing” weapons as a reward for the Shiite group’s assistance in his regime’s battle for survival. Assad also wants Hezbollah to safeguard his strategic weapons systems so they will not fall into rebel hands.
This is why the West estimates Israel will apparently be forced to attack – perhaps in the near future – additional arms shipments making their way from Iran to Hezbollah via Syria. It is also estimated that Assad would have to respond, despite the fact that he has almost no effective retaliation options. The Syrian army, in its current state, cannot attack us on the ground, and if it fires missiles toward Israel’s home front, Israel will destroy most of the Assad regime’s military assets, and other assets, which are crucial for its continued survival.
Those are the facts. Now for the questions. Immediately after Netanyahu’s visit, the Russians announced publicly that they finally intend to supply Assad with those S-300 missiles. Will Israel attack and destroy the missiles while they are being transferred, or will it wait until they have arrived but before they become operational? If so, what will be Assad’s response? How will Hezbollah respond? What will Iran do? And then there is the most interesting question of all. Such an attack would not only be considered a declaration of war against Syria and its allies, but also an assault on Russia.
In other words, is the Middle East teetering on the verge of a massive conflagration, which will draw Iran into the fighting, and will this situation be exploited by Israel, the US or both of them together to deal the long-awaited military blow against Iran’s nuclear program? One thing is certain. Anyone who wants to stay alive in this region and its immediate environs should hope that it does not.
The situation is more dangerous than ever, mainly because everyone involved — and there are plenty of people involved — is caught up in a kind of “Catch-22” situation. …
And so, everyone is applying pressure on everyone else in their most sensitive areas. Everything is about to blow up, diagonal red lines slash across the contested land from one end to the other, and the stench of gunpowder makes it difficult to breathe. This is a portrait of the Middle East today, in mid-2013. …
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah is established training camps near the Syrian capital of Damascus to prepare for possible guerrilla warfare targeting Israel’s northern Golan Heights, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
The officials said the camps are training Palestinian groups as well as special units connected to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath party for operations against Israel if such actions are green-lighted by Assad in the near future.
Former Hizbullah Leader Subhi Al-Tufayli: Iran Forces Hizbullah to Participate in the Syrian War | MEMRI Video
Subhi Al-Tufayli: I know for a fact that the vast majority within Hizbullah strongly oppose [joining] the Syrian war. However, a resolute decision to participate [in the war] has been imposed upon them.
Interviewer: By Iran?
Subhi Al-Tufayli: Yes.
Interviewer: Even Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah opposes this?
Subhi Al-Tufayli: I don’t want to name names, but I’m talking about the situation at hand. Everyone realizes how dangerous this is. First, of all, this is internal strife among Muslims, which will be devastating to all. This is the beginning of things to come. I say to the Shiites, to Hizbullah, and to the non-Shiites as well: We are heading towards a horrific war, which will destroy everything. The fatalities will be numbered by the millions.
Interviewer: Fatalities on which side?
Subhi Al-Tufayli: Muslim fatalities. Hizbullah’s joining the Aflaqi Ba’thists in the killing of the Syrian people invites Muslims from all over the world to come to Syria.
Sources here say the two airstrikes in three days on Syria have gotten the expected response from Tehran, and the Islamic Republic and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, have pledged full support of Syria, suggesting they would launch their own attacks in response.
While sources say that the immediate airstrikes were aimed at weapons transfers from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, the intent actually is aimed at provoking a response from Tehran that will provide a basis for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities.
The paper quotes Iranian sources as saying the response to Israel’s alleged strikes will be made on two levels. The first being “blows under the belt in several locations,” which could be done inside Syria under the policy of “contain, squeeze and crush,” or outside of it, while maintaining the “terror balance.”
The second possible way of response will be calling a meeting of “the friends of the Syrian people” in Tehran in two weeks, in which Iran will “announce a new initiative for a Syrian solution.” More than 40 countries will be invited, and President Assad will be represented by ministers Ali Haidar and Qadri Jamil.
Two weeks from today is May 23rd. This meeting could be significant. We could see a major retaliation against Israel after May 23rd.
Iran is teetering on the brink of political chaos in the wake of last week’s news that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was arrested, questioned and warned to shut up by the heads of the Islamic regime’s security forces before being released seven hours later.
With a candidacy-filing deadline at hand for those who would succeed Mr. Ahmadinejad in next month’s presidential election, according to the regime’s media outlet Baztab, the president warned that if his handpicked candidate — close confidant and adviser Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei — were not allowed on the ballot, he would release a tape that proved his 2009 re-election was a fraud, engineered by the regime’s supreme leader. After publishing that news, the Baztab website was immediately taken down by security forces and its editor arrested.
BBC Persian reporter: Residents heard blasts in Iranian capital in an area where Iran carries out missile research, storage.
Don’t know if this means much. Still too early to know.
While the United States has been preoccupied with North Korea’s confrontational rhetoric, Iran has stepped up threats in its region. It has long been the stated wish of Iran’s leadership to be rid of what it calls the “Little Satan”: Israel. Iran’s rivalry with Sunni allies of the United States in the Gulf is long-standing. But earlier this month, Iranian lawmakers opened up a new front, threatening another American ally: Azerbaijan, insinuating that it, like Israel, might be “wiped off the map” as an independent country.