If attacked, Iran wants Syria to hit back at Israel. Damascus hedges

debkafile‘s military sources report that this message Iran’s defense minister Ahmad Vahidi brought to Damascus where he is attending a session of the high Iranian-Syrian defense committee which went into its second day Thursday, Dec. 10. Syrian defense minister Ali Habib is in the chair.
The Iranian visitor indicated that Tehran expects an Israeli attack within a month. According to Iranian intelligence, Jerusalem will take its green light from President Barack Obama’s forced admission after Christmas that his policy of dialogue and stiffer sanctions have failed in the face of Tehran’s rejection of the international proposal to send its enriched uranium for overseas processing.
“The countdown for war is coming close to its end,” said Vahidi to the joint defense committee. “And we must get our strategic partnership in shape ahead of time.”
The leitmotif of the Iranian defense secretary’s talks in Damascus was the fate Iran and Syria share and their strategic partnership as the only safeguards against what he called “‘American-backed Zionist aggression.” Syria must commit itself to joint military action against Israel, because “stronger defense ties between Iran and Syria are elements of deterrence in confronting the Zionist regime’s threats to the countries of the region.”
For the first, time, Gen. Vahidi openly threatened to respond to a possible Israel attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities by striking Israel’s “chemical, microbiological and banned nuclear weapons” production sites.
His message brought forth a tepid Syrian response: The Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Syrian Secretary of Defense Ali Habib as commenting early Thursday, December 10, that an attack on Iran by any party would be deemed an attack on Syria and draw commensurate retaliation.
But debkafile‘s military sources point out that comment did not satisfy Tehran because it is short of clear language pledging specific military action. Iranian officials mean to stay in Damascus and keep up the pressure until they elicit a firm, binding Syrian commitment to strike Israel on its ally’s behalf if Iran comes under attack.
Gen. Vahidi arrived in Damascus Tuesday aboard a special Iranian military aircraft. It carried the largest Iranian military delegation ever seen in the Syrian capital, representing every branch of Iran’s armed forces, Revolutionary Guards Corps and intelligence.
Preparations for coordinated retaliation for a potential Israeli attack also brought a top Hizballah delegation incoming from Lebanon to Damascus Tuesday night, Dec. 8, headed by its secretary general Hassan Nasrallah.
When they met, Syrian and Iranian military officials proposed that Hizballah and the Palestinian terrorist organizations start heating up Israel’s borders in the coming days to draw the attention from the world’s focus on the Iranian and Syrian nuclear programs.
Sunday, December 6, debkafile‘s Washington sources reported that the Obama administration was about to launch a campaign against Syria’s covert military nuclear program based on the “smoking gun” of traces of highly processed plutonium found by UN inspectors at the bombed Syrian-North Korean facility at Dir a-Zur. The campaign will focus on this finding as evidence of Iran’s covert nuclear activities and proliferation activities.
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