More Smoke on the Horizon in the Middle East War Theater

America is not the only one present in the region [meaning the Middle East and Central Asia]. We are present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan. We are present in the Persian Gulf and we can be present in Iraq.”  

Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani (August 18, 2004)

The march to war in the Middle East is well underway. Outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that diplomacy is the best way forward with Iran, but appends his statements by saying that he can not “absolutely predict every set of circumstances,” which means that war can not be ruled out. In this regard, Gordon Brown is no different. [1] The man scheduled to be the next British Prime Minister once Tony Blair steps down (June 27, 2007), has refused to rule out war against Iran and its allies.

The war dossiers against Iran and Syria, the last two bastions of independence in the Middle East, are being built…………………If war were to be waged against Iran and Syria, there would be casualties in the tens of thousands in Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Iraq would become a graveyard for American and British forces. American and British troops would be overwhelmed by waves of well armed and well trained Iranian troops from the East and Syrian troops from the West and an Iraqi Resistance that would undoubtedly grow in numbers and strengthen ten fold with the arrival of Iranian and Syrian military forces.

Iraqi cleric and leader, Moqtada Al-Sadr, a major opponent of the U.S. and Britain in Iraq, has also pledged to stand by Syria and Iran in a united front against Israel, the U.S., and Britain. While in Tehran, the young Shiite Muslim cleric said in the presence of Dr. Ali Larijani, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Security Council of Iran, that his forces would battle on the side of Iran if Iran were to be attacked. The Washington Post carried the story about Moqtada Al-Sadr’s visit to Tehran and concluded that Anglo-American occupied Iraq was destined to eventually become a battleground between U.S. and Iranian forces:

An Iraqi Muslim cleric who leads a major Shiite militia pledged to come to the defense of neighboring Iran if it were attacked, aides to the cleric, Moqtada Sadr, said Monday [January 23, 2006].

The commitment, made Sunday [January 22, 2006] in Tehran during a visit by Sadr, came in response to a senior Iranian official’s query about what the [Iraqi] cleric would do in the event of an attack on Iran. It marked the first open indication that [Iran] is preparing for a military response if attacked in a showdown with the [U.S. and its allies] (…) The pledge was also one of the strongest signs yet that Iraq could become a battleground in any Western conflict with Iran, raising the specter of Iraqi Shiite militias — or perhaps even the U.S.-trained Shiite-dominated military — taking on American troops here in sympathy with Iran.

(…)

Ali Yasiri, the head of Sadr’s political office in Baghdad, said the request to Sadr came from the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani.

“They [the Iranian officials] asked [Moqtada Al-Sadr] a question: ‘What would be the Mahdi Army’s role if any neighboring country were attacked?’” Yasiri said. “And Moqtada Sadr said, ‘If any Arab country, or neighboring country, were attacked [by the U.S. and its allies], Iraq will help [them against the attackers].’ [44]

While in Damascus, Moqtada Al-Sadr made similar pledges after discussions regarding the American-led war agenda with the Syrian President. The Daily Star, a Lebanese newspaper, reported in February 2006 that Moqtada Al-Sadr’s forces in Iraq would fight alongside the Syrians and the Iranians:

Firebrand Iraqi Shiite [Muslim] cleric Moqtada al-Sadr vowed to help defend Syria and Iran after a meeting in Damascus with President Bashar Assad. “I am at the service of Syria and Iran. I will defend all Muslim countries with all means,” he told reporters.

(…)

Sadr accused “Israel, the United States and Britain, which are enemies of Iraq and Syria, of sowing dissent between the Syrian and Iraqi peoples.”

(…)

[The Syrian President] called on Iraqis to “close ranks in order to save Iraq and liberate their country from [foreign] occupation.”

Sadr, who arrived on Sunday and also met with the [Syrian] foreign minister, paid tribute to Syria’s “support for the Iraqi people” and vowed to “maintain coordination” with Damascus . [45] read more

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