Seeds of World War 3: Hezbollah and Iran say they will fight with Assad to defend Syria against any invasion
July 4, 2012 – MIDDLE EAST – Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah and Iran will fight alongside the Syrian regime if it is attacked by foreign forces, a pro-Damascus Palestinian fighter leader said on Tuesday. In the event of “a foreign attack, we discussed with our brothers (in the Syrian regime), with (Hezbollah chief) Hassan Nasrallah and our brothers in Iran, we will be part of this battle,” said Ahmad Jibril of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. In an interview with Beirut-based Mayadeen television, Jibril said that if a “Turkish-European alliance or NATO escalate… we will take to the streets and fight on behalf of all those with honour and our Syrian brothers.” Jibril also cited Nasrallah as saying Hezbollah would fight on behalf of the Syrian regime, and described the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance as “one axis” that the PFLP-GC is part of. He added that he met recently with Nasrallah, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, without specifying when. He also noted that the Hezbollah chief “said he would join this battle, in the event of a foreign attack” on Syria. The Iranian regime, he said, told him it would not allow a strike on Syria. “We have warned the Turks several times not to play with fire,” Jibril said. Echoing the Syrian regime’s discourse, the PFLP-GC chief said the 16-month uprising against Assad was not a genuine local movement, but rather “a change in the foundations of this region in order to create a new Middle East,” referring to a term coined in 2006 by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Jibril described the defence of the Syrian regime as “a decisive battle.” Victory would be necessary, he said, in order to “defeat the American and Zionist projects.”
Iran says missiles could destroy US missile bases: Iran has threatened to destroy U.S. military bases across the Middle East and target Israel within minutes of being attacked, Iranian media reported on Wednesday, as Revolutionary Guards extended test-firing of ballistic missiles into a third day. Iran on Tuesday test-fired in its central desert a ballistic missile capable of striking Israel as part of war games designed to show its ability to retaliate if attacked, media said. Israel has hinted it may attack Iran if diplomacy fails to secure a halt to its disputed nuclear energy program. The United States also has mooted military action as a last-resort option but has frequently nudged the Israelis to give time for intensified economic sanctions to work against Iran. “These bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands (Israel) are also good targets for us,” Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying. Haji Zadeh said 35 U.S. bases were within reach of Iran’s ballistic missiles, the most advanced of which commanders have said could hit targets 2,000 km (1,300 miles) away. ‘We have thought of measures to set up bases and deploy missiles to destroy all these bases in the early minutes after an attack,” he added. It was not clear where Haji Zadeh got his figures on U.S. bases in the region. U.S. military facilities in the Middle East are located in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey, and it has around 10 bases further afield in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.
U.S. increases military presence: The United States has quietly moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz and to increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates. The deployments are part of a long-planned effort to bolster the American military presence in the gulf region, in part to reassure Israel that in dealing with Iran, as one senior administration official put it last week, “When the president says there are other options on the table beyond negotiations, he means it.” But at a moment that the United States and its allies are beginning to enforce a much broader embargo on Iran’s oil exports, meant to force the country to take seriously the negotiations over sharply limiting its nuclear program, the buildup carries significant risks, including that Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps could decide to lash out against the increased presence.
Turkey recovers pilots’ bodies: Turkey on Wednesday found the bodies of two pilots shot down by Syria last month during a contested flight that pushed the neighbors’ relations to a new low almost a year after Ankara threw its weight behind the opposition to oust President Bashar al-Assad from power. The military General Staff in Ankara said on Wednesday that it was working to remove the bodies of Captain Gokhan Ertan and Lieutenant Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy from the Mediterranean. Turkey didn’t identify the location of the dead pilots or provide any additional details. The armed forces weren’t immediately able to provide