The Saudis and Iranians blame one another for the disastrous twin suicide attacks which peeled off the façade of the Iranian embassy in Beirut, caused 23 deaths including that of the cultural attach and left nearly 150 people injured.
Tehran and its surrogates are so set on blaming Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s machinations for the Beirut bombings that they are threatening to overthrow the royal rulers of the desert kingdom.
In Syria, Bashar Assad launched his crucial campaign for the capture of the strategic Qalamoun mountains in the West.
And in Geneva, the nuclear issue engaging Iran and the six powers in Geneva was handled as though it was taking place in a separate bubble, divorced from all he other regional events.
But they were all interlinked in one place: the brain of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This is revealed by the way the timeline of those events slots in.
On Nov. 20, Khamenei reverted to the original Islamic revolutionary thesis that Israel must be eradicated for the Middle East to be cured of its ills. He elaborated on the former president Ahmadinejad’s call to wipe Israel off the map by branding the Jewish state a “the roguish, filthy, rabid dog of the region,” whose regime is “doomed to extinction”
Iranian-Hizballah threat to Saudi royal house
The threat to the Saudi monarchy followed two days later through one of the Iranian regime’s surrogates:
Hizballah’s general secretary Hassan Nasrallah enlisted his crony, editor of the Lebanese Al Akhbar Ibrahim al-Amin to lay out the case against Riyadh for the suicide attacks in Beirut..
“Most people expected Saudi Arabia to go far in its mission to destroy Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, but few expected it would be so quick to move the confrontation to a new level, deploying its soldiers of death on the doorsteps of the Iranian embassy in Beirut,” Al Amin wrote Thursday, Nov. 22, three days after the attack.
“It is clear from the questionable behavior of the Saudis of late that their bitter defeat in Syria will lead to more…bloodletting,” he went on to say, suggesting that “the Saudi royals have chosen to commit political suicide.”
Al Amin’s tone then turned more threatening: “The Saudi escalation, which seeks to ignite an arc of mayhem and chaos stretching from Iraq to Lebanon, in addition to Yemen and Bahrain, will inevitably prompt a response from the other side that many believe the kingdom cannot possibly withstand.”
Bandar’s advance warning of Iranian-Hizballah’s timetable
The Obama administration let the threats to both US Middle East allies go without response.
With regard to the Beirut suicide bombings, all adversaries, the Saudis, Iranians and Hizballah concur on one point: The attack was not the work of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades which claimed responsibility.
While Tehran and Hizballah firmly accuse Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar attributes the deed to the fertile brain of Iran’s master of terror, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Al Qods Brigades, whom he believes planned the attack up to and including its execution.
Indeed, according to DEBKA Weekly’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources, as early as Nov. 14, five days before the Beirut bombing attacks, Saudi intelligence passed on to certain Western agencies, including the CIA, France’s DGSE external intelligence agency and a number of Middle East services, the secret timetable of the covert and military operations which Iran, Syria and Hizballah had arranged for the month of November.
This timetable proved accurate. It showed how the Beirut bombings were synchronized with the onset of the Syrian army offensive to capture the Qalamoun mountains, vital for cutting off the Syrian rebels’ last remaining supply route from Lebanon.
Suicide bombers escalate the Saudi-Iranian clash
Bandar also revealed that Hizballah was told by Tehran to send 3,000 troops to support the Syrian offensive in the Qalamoun mountain range alongside foreign Shiite recruits fighting under Iranian command. The terrorist attack in Beirut was designed to motivate the deeply reluctant Hizballah militiamen to join the war in Syria and convince them that they were essentially defending their own homes.
After the event, Saudi intelligence was surprised to discover that the Beirut strike was carried out not by one but by two suicide bombers. It had been set up so efficiently and professionally that the operation caused Iranian casualties and seriously damaged their Beirut embassy, while leaving no signatures to identify the hand behind it.
The incident also revealed that the responsible party, whether the Iranian or the Saudi undercover agency, was ready to start using suicide bombers against its antagonist, signaling a sharp escalation in the level of warfare between Tehran and Riyadh.
Two days later, in the wake of local media allegations leveled against the kingdom, Saudi ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri advised citizens to leave the country for their own safety.
Six mortar shells are first hand-off warning to Saudis
In the last DEBKA Weekly #611, we detailed some of the Saudi covert operations conducted recently against Iranian targets under the heading “Saudis Fund Clandestine Groups Fighting Regime in Tehran.”
Then on Thursday, Nov. 22, six mortar shells exploded in an uninhabited part of eastern Saudi Arabia near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti borders. They exploded near a Saudi border guard post at Al-Auja not far from the important Saudi military base of Hafr al-Batin.
A pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite group called Jaish al-Mukhtar (the Chosen) took responsibility for the attack. The group’s spokesman explained that it was a “warning strike” to Saudi Arabia because of the way it treated its Shiites.
This time there were no casualties or damage, but it was just a warning.
The Saudi-Iranian conflict is spreading from a duel spinning off from the Syrian war, where they champion opposite sides; it is seeping across borders into Lebanon and Iraq and ricocheting back into the oil kingdom itself.