“This summer will see Muslim victories in the region and the defeat of our enemies!” – Ahmadinejad in Damascus

The Iranian president trumpeted Iran’s intentions for the Middle East when he arrived in Damascus Thursday, July 19. debkafile‘s Middle East sources reveal that behind the braggadocio, his conversation with Iran’s closest ally, Syrian president Bashar Assad, was acrimonious. In fact, he warned Assad he had better stop signaling his willingness for peace talks with Israel because this behavior was hampering Iran’s plans for a war this summer.
Ahmadinejad reminded Assad that Tehran had spent almost a year on detailed preparations for a summer war and would not tolerate the Syrian ruler sabotaging this effort. Assad was reminded of his huge debt to the Islamic Republic. In the last few months alone, Iran put up hundreds of millions of dollars for Syria’s arms purchases from Russia; Syria gets its oil gratis and raw materials and finished goods at subsidized prices.
Assad replied that with all due respect and appreciation for his Iranian brother’s assistance, he is obliged to look after his country’s interests, while of course cherishing his friendship with Tehran. Ahmadinejad pointed out that the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s condition for talks was the severance of Damascus’ ties with Tehran.
Far from pleasant too was the Iranian president’s conversation with Hizballah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, who drove to the Syrian capital from Lebanon in a heavily secured convoy. Nasrallah, who lives in fear of any Israel attack, rarely leaves his bunker hideout. Ahmadinejad asked Tehran’s protege to try and understand that his government was financially squeezed by its preparations for war and was therefore unable at the moment to remit the one million dollars promised to repair the war damage suffered by South Lebanon last year.
The Hizballah leader said that, while he fully understood Tehran’s difficulty, he too was weighed down by the heavy cost of his pledges to the inhabitants of southern Lebanon.
Ahmadinejad had an easier time with the heads of eight of the nine Palestinian terrorist leaders hosted in the Syrian capital. With them he was upbeat.
Israel is a lot weaker than it pretends, he said, and a concerted struggle with Syria could easily bring down the Zionist state. He recalled Hizballah’s “victory” last year as demonstrating that the Palestinians would be able to crush Israel without recourse to a large army. The coming months, he boasted, would see him marching into Israel shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian brothers.
After meeting the group, the Iranian president held face to face interviews with each of the hard-line Palestinian leaders and heard their requests for armaments and funding. Before flying home, he left a group of Revolutionary Guards al Qods Brigade officers with instructions for the missions to be assigned to each of the Palestinian terror chiefs in the forthcoming summer war.

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