years ago, Jordan's King Abdullah II accused Iran of planning
a sinister scheme to employ tactics of intimidation, bribery
and militia training of sectarian elements throughout the Middle
East, in order to create instability among rival Moslem factions.
The king warned that Iran's quest toward empowering a "Shiite
Crescent" stretching from Iran to Lebanon, would initiate
the strategic dominance of Shiite power throughout the Middle
East. At the time, King Abdullah's allegations infuriated the
Tehran Ayathollahs, who rejected his accusations as totally
baseless. But these days, the escalating sectarian violence
among Moslem brethren are clearly bearing out the Monarch's
predictions in a unprecedented internecine bloodbath reaching
from Iraq to Gaza, via Beirut- all fueled by Iranian fingerprints.
The hurried rise of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has certainly
served to strengthen that resolve. In recent years, the "republic"
has brazenly broadened its influence in Iraq, Lebanon, and in
Gaza. Needless to say, the recent expansion of Shia forces in
the region has caused the Saudi royal family much deserved anxiety.
The hurried attempt by the Saudi king to host talks between
the feuding Palestinian groups of Fatah and Hamas to end fighting
that has killed at least 30 people over the past three days
in the Gaza Strip clearly indicates this growing concern.
sectarian bloodshed in Iraq, between Arab Shiites and Sunnis,
all have the signs of a hegemonic Persian ambition. No one in
Iraq exemplifies this better than Moqtada Al Sadr, the leader
of its largest Shia militia -- the "Mahdi Army" to
which the Iranian government is behind shipping components used
to make improvised explosive devices for Iraqi insurgents, fighting
both US forces and Sunni militias.
Some of the most violent attacks struck Shiite targets in the
Baghdad area this week, as the Islamic sect marks Ashoura, the
holiest day in the Shiite calendar commemorating the 7th century
death of Imam Hussein. Although Shi'ites are the minority sect
of Islam, they form some 60 percent of Iraq's 26 million people
and have dominated the government following the U.S.-led invasion
of 2003. Since the invasion, millions of Shi'ites make the pilgrimage
to Hussein's shrine in Kerbala, transforming the Ashura festival
into the biggest national day and confirming the ascendancy
of Shi'ism. The Najaf province strike came only a day after
mortar shells hit the courtyard of a girls' school in a mostly
Sunni Arab neighborhood of Baghdad. An Iraqi police official
said that among the alleged 300 militants which had been killed
during the fierce weekend battles, included 30 Afghans and Saudi
volunteers, possibly recruited by Al Qaeda.
The aggressive new U.S. policy in Iraq is a direct
response to intelligence reports, that Iran is supporting
terrorists inside Iraq
Meanwhile President Bush has
stepped up his response in a last minute effort to curb
the escalating violence in Iraq. As hundreds of thousands
of Americans march in protest against George W. Bush's
war policies, the president has authorized U.S. forces
in Iraq to take whatever actions are necessary against
Iranian agents considered a threat to American troops
or the public at large.
The White House made the announcement last Friday in Washington,
claiming that the aggressive new policy is a direct response
to intelligence reports, that Iran is supporting terrorists
inside Iraq and is providing sophisticated improvised explosive
devices (IED) - and other equipment to anti-American. insurgents.
On January 10, President Bush accused Iran and Syria of allowing
terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in
and out of Iraq. He warned that US troops would take measures,
including seeking out and destroying " the networks providing
advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
According to new orders, US troops in Iraq now have full authority
to kill or capture Iranian agents deemed to be a threat. AS
result, five Iranians were detained by U.S.-led forces earlier
this month after a commando raid on an Iranian government liaison
office in northern Iraq. According to Associated Press news
agency, the administration said at the time that U.S. forces
entered an Iranian building in Kurdish-controlled Irbil because
information linked it to Revolutionary Guards and other Iranian
elements engaging in violent activities in Iraq.
Lebanon, the Iranian sponsored Hezbollah-led bloc’s effort
is poised to carry out the first Middle East revolution this
century to overthrow a pro-Western government. Although it seemed
to peter out over the weekend, intelligence sources estimate
that the grand strategic design is to to go forward in calculated
stages, rather than a continuous operation. Only last Tuesday,
three Lebanese were killed, 133 were injured and the entire
country was virtually paralyzed by Shiite cordons on strategic
locations, a clear signal of what is in store. The anti-government
bloc, headed by Hassan Nasrallah and pro-Syrian allies, Gen.
Michel Aoun and the north Lebanese Faranjieh clan, has been
encouraged by its initial effectiveness to carry on to the next
stage at some unspecified moment. Here too, there is a clear
Tehran design to dictate the modus operandi.
if the internecine Hamas Fatah fighting in the Gaza Strip seemed
to have stopped suicide attacks on Israel for a while, the bloody
attack by an Islamic Jihad bomber, identified as Mohamed Faisal
al-Sahsah, 21 from Gaza, indicated that Iran would not let this
temporary lull to continue. Military sources disclosed, that
the fingerprints of the newly appointed Jihad Islami leader
of Palestinian Jihad Islami terrorist ace Muhamed al Hindi were
clearly distinct on Monday's Eilat suicide bombing. Al Hindi
returned to the Gaza Strip on January 19 after a six-month absence
in Damascus, Beirut and Tehran, during which his Syrian and
Iranian masters appointed him chief of the operations. His former
boss, Abdallah Ramadan Shelah, who seemed to have lost some
favor to his Tehran masters, was a key member of the Palestine
delegation, which held recent talks in Damascus last week, presided
by Ali Larijani, the secretary general of Iran's Supreme National
Security Council (SNSC).
Commenting on the seriousness of the escalating inter-Arab
situation, a senior official in the court of Jordan's King Abdullah
believes that "a domino effect is beginning to emerge among
those who can exercise a veto and are not necessarily interested
in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather in
maintaining the political boost that it gives them. Islamic
Jihad has a veto over Hamas decisions; Hamas can impose a veto
on PA decisions; Damascus also holds a veto, albeit a partial
one, over Hamas' conduct; and meanwhile Iran seeks to hold a
vital position in the balance of powers created by the war in
Iraq. This is a strategic chess game, led by Tehran, in which
Abbas, Shallah and Meshal are only pawns. Israeli intelligence
officials warn that the Palestinians themselves are no longer
certain that they have the ability to make decisions independently.
Read David Eshel's past commentary here