Monday, September 24, 2012

Iran plans 'pre-emptive strike' on Israel; senior commander warns of WWIII

Tehrān : Iran | Sep 24, 2012 at 10:04 AM PDT
Iran plans 'pre-emptive strike' on Israel; senior commander warns of WWIII
The jingoistic war rhetoric between rivals Iran and Israel is heightening, with a senior Iranian army commander now giving a dire warning that a military conflict between the two nations could well escalate into “World War III” and also declaring that a “pre-emptive strike” against Israel by Iran cannot be ruled out. Click for video and opinion.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, told Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam TV network that if Israel “is putting the final touches on attacking Iran,” Tel Aviv “cannot imagine” the force of Iran’s response to its attack. “It will sustain heavy damage and that will be a prelude to its obliteration,” he declared belligerently.

Hajizadeh said that currently Tehran did not see this happening because he did not think Israel will attack Iran without its staunchest ally, America. However, if the U.S. backs Israel’s agenda of attacking Iran, the latter will strike out against both Washington and Tel Aviv. Also, according to Hajizadeh, who is in charge of the Iranian Guard's aerospace division, any attack on Iran could well trigger a "World War III."

"We cannot imagine the Zionist regime starting a war without America's support. Therefore, in case of a war, we will get into a war with both of them and we will certainly get into a conflict with American bases," Hajizadeh blistered. "In that case, unpredictable and unmanageable things would happen and it could turn into a World War III," he predicted.

Hajizadeh went on to add that Iran will most certainly be striking at U.S bases in “Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan,” and there will be no neutral nation left in the region. “To us, these bases are equal to U.S. soil,” he added. This statement comes on the heels of a statement from the chief of the Revolutionary Guard, General Mohammad Ali Jafari.

Jafari on Saturday told ISNA and Fars news: "If they begin [aggression], it will spell their destruction and will be the end of the story." He went on to add that this war “will eventually happen” as the Islamic revolution starts moving towards its goals, and this is something U.S. and Israel cannot tolerate and so they will finally “impose a war situation.”

The latest statement from Hajizadeh on launching a “pre-emptive strike” against Israel comes as a reaction to Israel’s threats to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contention is that numerous sanctions have failed to be a deterrent to Tehran's purported nuclear weapons program.

In the beginning of September Netanyahu accused the U.S. and other world powers of not drawing a “clear red line” with regard to Iran, which he contended that unless Iran sees this line and determination will not stop moving ahead with its nuclear program. “Iran must never be allowed to acquire nuclear arms,” demanded Netanyahu.

However, despite all the Israeli pressure tactics, President Obama refused to bow to Netanyahu’s demand. Keeping in mind that this is a presidential election year and cannot possibly rock the election boat with a war, a firm Obama on Sept. 14 made it clear to Israel that there would be no “red lines or deadlines” because “there remains time and space for diplomacy.” This statement also clearly brought out the rift in the close allies, with regard to Iran.

The latest belligerent statements from the top Iranian military brass come against the backdrop of major U.S.-led anti-mine sweeping exercises taking place in the Persian Gulf. The drills are being construed by many as a show of strength, a kind of warning to Iran not to interrupt critical oil pathways in the Strait of Hormuz. Of course, U.S. officials justify the naval exercises as being fully defensive in nature and not aimed at any nation in the region.

Tension continues to mount, with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Friday calling Israel a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut,” and even boasting of supporting any group that will challenge the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Iran maintains that its nuclear development program is meant only for peaceful uses. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is presently in New York. He is attending the annual U.N. General Assembly and most likely will use the platform and meetings scheduled for later this week to underscore the possible risks of a military conflict between Israel and Iran.

UN secretary-general issues veiled threat to Iranian president
New York City : NY : USA | Sep 24, 2012 at 9:53 AM PDT
Iran's President Ahmadinejad addresses diplomats during the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law in New York
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York on Sunday. According to a Reuters report, the secretary-general admonished Ahmadinejad against using the General Assembly as a platform to incite discord concerning the worsening crisis in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad is slated to address the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The secretary-general warned the Iranian president of "potentially harmful consequences of inflammatory rhetoric, counter-rhetoric and threats from various countries in the Middle East," according to the article.
This report comes in the midst of Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, warning on Sunday that Iran will launch a pre-emptive strike against Israel if it believed Israel was preparing to attack it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said Israel could strike Iran's nuclear sites even if the U.S. refused to aid it in a pre-emptive strike against Iran. Netanyahu has publicly criticized President Obama's decision to continue with sanctions and diplomacy as an alternative to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The press statement goes on to say that Iran should "take the measures necessary to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program."
Additionally the statement addressed the "grave regional implications of the worsening situation in Syria and underlined the devastating humanitarian impact."

This statement appears to have been directed at the accusation that Iran is using civilian aircraft to fly military personnel and weapons across Iraqi airspace to Syria to aid President Bashar al-Assad in his attempt to quell the revolt against his regime.

Since the saber-rattling between Iran and Israel also coincides with the largest U.S.-led naval exercise ever in the region, currently being conducted in the Strait of Hormuz, it is not a difficult stretch of the imagination to construe the secretary-general's warning to Ahmadinejad as a way of letting Iran know that any move against Israel will not be tolerated by the assembled forces in the strait. But what will happen if Israel decides to use the distraction of the enormous naval armada to launch a pre-emptive strike, since Iran has repeatedly refused to dismantle its nuclear program and is now reportedly on the verge of fielding a nuclear weapon?

Whether Ahmadinejad will take the secretary-general's advice and use this opportunity to convince the world that Iran is not using its technology to build nuclear weapons is not yet known. However, it may be in Ahmadinejad's and Iran's best interest to at least tone down the inflammatory rhetoric the president usually engages in. At this point, any threats made by him might be just what Israel could use to turn the tides in its favor and launch its attack.

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