Some of the extraordinary measures ordered by Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this week occurred out in the open, like fuel rationing for private cars, which sparked riots across Iran.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources also confirm the incursion of Revolutionary Guards special units into southern Iraq, dropped by helicopter on June 24 and 25 for suicide attacks on US and British bases and command posts in the region at the moment Iran comes under American attack.
In addition, the elite corps was ordered to deploy suicide units in southern Iran to fend off a possible US Marine strike against RG bases and the oil fields of Khuzestan.
The war fever gripping the Islamic Republic touches many spheres. Our military sources report that all military and Revolutionary Guards units in the Persian Gulf and southern and central Iran are on war readiness for an American attack. Tehran has also alerted Syrian and Lebanese Hizballah leaders to prepare for an Israeli offensive. Iran’s war planners expect them to be coordinated.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Iran sources examine the latest military developments from the perspective of the Islamic regime.
The USS Enterprise carrier is heading for the Gulf after the USS Stennis and USS Nimitz carrier strike forces sailed through the Strait of Hormuz in May.
Admiral Michael Mullen, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, has been nominated Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has publicly pledged to take on “asymmetric wars” against terror, while also deterring “regional and transnational threats.”
Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, head of the U.S. Strategic Command, was appointed his vice chairman.
American air bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia are on strategic alert.
President George W. Bush reaffirmed that the military option against Iran remained “on the table” when he hosted Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert at the White House earlier this month.
Before he left for Washington, the prime minister nominated Labor leader and former prime minister Ehud Barak new defense minister.
The Iranians have long memories.
Iran‘s Queen of Terror is roped into action
DEBKA-Net-Weekly discloses here for the first time that, as Israel’s chief of staff in the second half of the 1990s, Barak worked on a joint plan with the Americans for Israeli special operations units, armed with smart tactical weapons, to steal into Baghdad and assassinate Saddam Hussein and his ruling clique.
The plot never took off because one of the smart missiles misfired during a training exercise and fatally injured their Israeli operators. The Iranians would not put it past Barak to try the same stratagem twelve years later against the rulers of Tehran.
Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is seen in the West as a victory for Iran as sponsor of the Palestinian fundamentalists. But Tehran sees things differently. There it is feared that its feat will turn into an incentive for the US and Israel to launch military action to terminate Hamas rule in Gaza. Tehran is making appropriate arrangements for this contingency.
In the Iranian capital, hectic war preparations include orders from Ayatollah Khamenei to activate an arcane organization calling itself the Organization for Honoring the Memory of Muslim Martyrs across the World.
This organization’s real mission behind the sanctimonious title is the mobilization of volunteers from all parts of Iran for suicide terror missions.
One of the group’s founders, Forouz Rajai-Far, a 55-year old woman with a long history of orchestrating radical and terrorist activity, called a news conference on June 26 to announce that 60,000 volunteers had registered their willingness to die for three sacred causes:
- The execution of the fatwa issued by the founder of Revolutionary Islamic Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to put the writer Salman Rushdie to death for his Satanic Verses. The edict which lay dormant for some years was revived this year and made public when the Queen of England honored the writer with a knighthood.
- The dispatch of volunteers to Iraq to perpetrate suicide attacks against American soldiers.
- Guerrilla-trained volunteers would also be sent to the Palestinian territories to bolster Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip and assist its takeover of the West Bank.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military sources report that some of these missions are already underway.
Assassinating Salman Rushdie to deter a US offensive
Training courses at the RGs’ Al Qods Brigade facilities are well advanced. Shiite and Sunni groups are taking instruction in the arts of planting roadside bombs, rigging explosive vehicles, guerrilla tactics, and terrorist operations in general.
At the same time, Iran is boosting the armaments of all the Shiite and Sunni insurgent groups fighting US and British forces in Iraq with new armor-piercing rockets against tanks, quantities of roadside bombs, shoulder-borne rockets and mortars.
War materiel and cash are flowing massively to the Gaza Strip, following on Iran’s contribution to building up Hamas’ military capabilities for defeating Fatah.
Teheran attaches great importance to the plot for Rajai-Far’s volunteers to assassinate Salman Rushdie.
Frightened of the coming conflict, Tehran is building the Rushdie plot up as a scare tactic for deterring Westerners, especially in America and Britain, from starting a war with Iran. His murder would give substance to the recent declaration by Iran’s deputy interior minister Mohammad Baqer Zolgadr that Iran can reach Americans and Britons and administer painful punishment anywhere on earth, land, sea or air.
But performance tends to fall short of Iranian leaders’ high rhetoric.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s counter-terror sources disclose that in January, Rajai-Far sent two volunteers to Britain to gather information on Rushdie’s movements and life style. Disguised as students, they were handicapped by their Middle East appearance and broken English. So they mingled with Iranian dissident groups in London, pretending to sympathize with their cause. However, British intelligence soon identified and arrested them for interrogation on their contacts
Undeterred by this setback, their leader is working on two options for reaching Rushdie: she will use either radical Muslim members of the British Pakistani community, or find a willing extremist who looks Western enough to throw Rushdie off guard and by pretending an interest in literature and the target’s writings get close enough to kill him.
The lady who heads the organization of suicidal volunteers was a leading light of the student mob which drunk on the 1979 Shiite revolution seized the US embassy in Tehran. After a break from revolutionary activity, Rajai-Far held office during the presidencies of Hashem Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatemi. Today she has found a comfortable niche as one of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s closest advisers.
The supreme ruler rates her highly enough to grant her organization the princely sum in Iranian terms of $3 million this month. She maintains operations centers in northwest Tehran’s Lavizan district, the southern district of Shar-e Rey, the town of Karaj 40 km from the capital and several other main cities, including Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad.