10 years ago
There are insurgencies and counterinsurgencies taking place throughout the region of the Middle East, focusing first on Iraq. In “The Surge” and Coming Operations in Iraq, we discussed no less than eight significant wars occurring in and near Iraq, involving the Shi’a Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Kurds, foreign fighters flowing in from Syria, AQI and AAS, suicide bombers or jihadists, Iran, Syria, and finally internecine warfare among the Anbar tribes.
Not only are Syria and Iran meddling in Iraq, but it has become clear that Jordan and especially Saudi Arabia are as well, and this has directly involved U.S. deaths.
What the American authorities are reluctant to admit, however, is that there are signs that the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia and their allies – including Jordan – have been equipping and training Sunni extremists in Iraq for some time now. Critically, not all the weaponry and munitions have been used against the militants’ Shia and Kurdish Iraqi enemies. Some of them – including lethal roadside bombs – have been aimed at US forces. “The growth of the official and unofficial Saudi and Jordanian support for the militants is one of the most worrying developments,” a senior British officer said privately after a visit to Iraq.
Conventional combat operations also have the potential to increase dramatically in the coming months. In Intelligence Bulletin #1, we observed:
Israel has asked the U.S. for permission to use Iraqi air space in an over-flight to target Iranian nuclear facilities. Note well that Israel requested permission from the U.S., not Iraq. The U.S. is under what the U.N. security council calls a ‘security partnership‘ with Iraq. Sovereignty over the air space is questionable at this point if we have regard for the U.N. resolution (a position which I am not advocating). But Israel, assuming that the U.S. will grant the permission, is on the clock. They know that the troops will be coming home, and then there is no appeal. The Iraqi government will not grant access to attack Iran. In fact, they will warn Iran of the impending strike. The current administration is in power for two more years, and Israel will not wait until after they leave office. Olmert has likened Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon to a second holocaust, and he is relatively dovish compared to his possible successor Netanyahu.
We continue to believe that this position has merit, and we will stand by our prediction. While time may be ebbing away for the erstwhile Prime Minister Netanyahu ever to be such again, it doesn’t matter. Even the dovish Olmert understands the stakes, and Israel will not, in our opinion, let the matter of a nuclear Iran slip into the next U.S. administration. Israel may not have an ally in the next U.S. administration, and that may spell doom for Israel should she tarry. The world has a window of opportunity of less than two years to avert catastrophy, with the powderkeg of the Middle East exploding with ramifications into the rest of the world. An air war may be avoidable, and Netanyahu made an apperance on FNC to plead for economic boycotts of Iran by the world markets. We agree with Netanyahu, though, when he said “if your enemy is implacable and in possession of mad ideologies, whether you talk to him is a secondary issue. The first issue is how much pressure you bring to bear.”
True to this counsel, the intelligence wars are heating up in the Middle East, with Iraq directly in the middle of the Middle East. In Important Undercurrents in Iraq, we cited the explosive DEBKAfile report which exposed the disappearance of high ranking Iranian Defense Minister until 2005, with the report strongly hinting that the DEBKAfile believes that he was kidnapped:
Iran’s dep. defense minister for eight years up until 2005 – and before that a prominent Revolutionary Guards General, Alireza Asquari, 63, has not been seen since his disappearance in mysterious circumstances in Istanbul on Feb. 7.
The missing general has been identified as the officer in charge of Iranian undercover operations in central Iraq, according to DEBKAfile’s intelligence and Iranian sources. He is believed to have been linked to – or participated in – the armed group which stormed the US-Iraqi command center in Karbala south of Baghdad Jan. 20 and snatched five American officers. They were shot outside the Shiite city.
An Middle East intelligence source told DEBKAfile that the Americans could not let this premeditated outrage go unanswered and had been hunting the Iranian general ever since.
The BAZTAB Web site reported that Feb. 6, two non-Turkish citizens made a reservation for Gen Asquari for three nights at the Istanbul Ceylan Hotel paying cash. He arrived the next day from Damascus and immediately disappeared.
Other reports were soon issued that hinted to the contrary, saying that a defection was possible, and pointing to cracks in an Iranian intelligence network in such a condition that would allow something like this to happen without their knowledge. In fact, it has been suggested that Israel is responsible for the defection of the Iranian general, and this has caused Israel to go on worldwide alert for all of their foreign installations in preparation for possible retribution by Iran. The Washington Post has directly reported that the Iranian general defected, pointing to an intelligence coup resulting from the information he has divulged.
So the Sunni fight the Sunni in Anbar depending upon which tribe they are in, the Shi’a fight the Sunni and vice versa, the Kurds fight the Iranians and Turks, the Iranians, Syrians and Saudis foment violence in Iraq, AQI and AAS snipe from behind women and children, and jihadist suicide bombers blow up people in the marketplace, while al Quds, CIA, Israeli and other international intelligence forces from around the world battle it out on Iraqi soil and nearby, and all the while Israel studies how to bomb Iranian nuclear sites fearing for her very survival.