Iran’s rulers are making sure their message gets across to Washington: If you attack us, we’ll hurt you more. They are spreading the word through a variety of channels including the round after round of nuclear talks the smiling nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani is holding with the buoyant European foreign affairs executive Javier Solana.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly reports that behind the good cheer, the Iranian official issued Washington with a warning: Any attack on Iran’s nuclear installations will spread beyond its borders and suck in the Persian Gulf nations, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and the Central Asian Caspian region.
Tehran claims to have received an intelligence warning from Azerbaijan that the Americans are massing air and Marine forces there to attack the nuclear sites of northern Iran and north Tehran via the Caspian region. If this plan goes forward, the war may spill over into Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Iran’s main object is to deter the Bush administration from military action and persuade the Europeans to lean hard on the Americans to discourage them. Iranian officials are not above throwing out ominous hints of the painful surprises they are holding in store for attacking American-Israeli forces, comparable to the shocks Hizballah inflicted on the Israeli army in the Lebanon War – only on a far larger scale.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources disclose that a senior Iranian diplomat painted a grim picture of the dangers ahead in his talks with European Union officials. He spoke of the “unpredictable” pain the United States would suffer in such a conflict considering the missile, warplane and naval capabilities Iran held within striking range of the US military at its most vulnerable points in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. Iran would not stop at counter-attacking American logistical and supply bases, supply and troop vessels and warplanes in Persian Gulf locations.
No Iranian general questions the vast superiority of the US army, air, missile and naval forces over the Revolutionary Guards corps and its assets. Yet a point is made of the way Hizballah with its inferior military capabilities withstood the superior Israeli army weeks ago. Furthermore, the use of advanced weaponry in fierce combat would inflict untold casualties on all sides. The Iranians conjecture a death toll running into several thousands in the first days of the conflict for American, Israeli and their own forces.
Military experts note how Iranian spokesmen keep on harping on the military capabilities and sophisticated weaponry and tactics showcased at the Blow of Zolfaqar War games which began on August 14 (the day of the UN-brokered Lebanon ceasefire) and are still going on.
New-fangled war machines, arcane tactics – or a pre-emptive strike
The array of new-fangled machines of death on show included submarine-to-surface missiles invisible to radar with multiple warheads, bullets that pierce bullet-proof vests, high-powered electronics, a 2,000-pound guided bomb that can smash underground targets and a guided unmanned aircraft with an explosive warhead.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military experts, the Iranians are making a big deal of these tools of war to turn curious eyes away from hidden “surprises” kept up their sleeves – not necessarily weapons, more likely arcane war tactics awaiting US airplanes or unwary US ground forces on destroy missions against their nuclear facilities.
In the Lebanon War, the IDF was confronted with three Hizballah stunts which their military intelligence had not foreseen.
Bunker warfare was a novelty for Israeli ground units who found themselves trapped by a honeycomb of hidden underground fortresses. The tactic Hizballah used was to split its bunker units into two parts – one to fight from the tunnels, the second to tackle from the rear the Israeli troops engaged in battle with the bunker squads.
Hizballah’s cunning camouflage also caught Israeli troops unawares.
More than a month after the Lebanon ceasefire of July 12, Israeli intelligence has still not taken the full measure of Hizballah’s weaponry and the fortified subterranean warren the Shiite terrorists burrowed in south Lebanon.
Active Iranian spying on US military operations and its ground and air bases in Iraq will collect hints for the war planners in Tehran to tailor tactics for stealing a march on the Americans if they mount an attack.
Several Iranian spokesmen have implied that Iran might not wait for US aggression but prefer to mount a pre-emptive strike. Grounds for such a strike were offered this week by the Iranian Armed Forces chief Maj.-Gen Ataollah Salehi in an interview to Iranian state media.
The general pointed to the coming maneuvers in regional waters of the US armed forces and other countries as a potential casus belli. According to the Iranian general, the US presence in the Middle East is a considered a threat to the security of the region’s countries. He went on to warn Washington that if the US puts its threats into practice, it will fare “a defeat as bad as that the Zionists had to sustain in Lebanon.”
(DEBKA-Net-Weekly 252 of May 5, 2006, reported: Large-scale US Military Exercise in the Balance)
Asked if the planned exercise would elicit an Iranian assault on a Gulf state participant, some Iranian officials admitted that it may well do so.
The Americans and Iranians are not alone in bracing themselves for a military clash. In the Caspian region, as we shall disclose in the next article, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources have sighted Russian and other nations gearing up for a military clash. They fear their Central-Asian Caspian region may become a primary theater should US-Iranian frictions blow up into full-scale conflict.