"Iran Guards chief secretly oversees war plans - in Damascus"
Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Mohamed Ali Jafari, who rarely leaves his country, paid a secret visit to Damascus a few hours before Tehran launched its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr Saturday, Aug. 21. With him were top Al Qods Brigades commanders in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. The group stayed only long enough to confer with Syrian president Bashar Assad and his military and intelligence chiefs on three topics:
1. The roles Syria and Hizballah will play in a potential Iranian military reprisal to a possible American or Israeli strike on its nuclear sites.
2. The probable repercussions of an Iranian decision to use Hizballah or pro-Iranian terrorists as proxies for a pre-emptive strike - or strikes - against Israel.
3. How Syria can help discourage the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia from their willingness to support a US or Israel attack on Iran with bases, intelligence assets and other means.
The importance and urgency of this discussion is attested to by the IRGC's supreme commander having made his trip outside Iran for many years. It was one of the red lights abounding of late that instilled in Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak a sense of urgency for a strategic response to the Bushehr startup. He accordingly cut short the furious contest raging in the IDF's General Staff over the contest for the next chief of staff by an abrupt announcement of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant's appointment to the post when the incumbent ends his tour of duty in February.
The incoming IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Galant, who commanded the 2009 Cast lead operation against Hamas in Gaza, subscribes to an offensive, proactive military approach in contrast to the dovish Ashkenazi.
Although he formally takes the reins next February, Ashkenazi may well will step down before his term is up and make way for his hawkish successor. With Galant at his side, the defense minister has begun reshaping the General Staff to match the new approach and the requirements of the incoming C-of-S.
DEBKAfile's military sources add that Israel is taking very seriously the presence in Gen. Jafari's secret delegation to Damascus of two high-ranking IRGC Al Qods officer
This promotion effectively changes the status of Hizballah, which is represented as a political force in Lebanon's parliament and government, from Tehran's surrogate to external arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps under the direct command of an al Qods officer - an ominous pointer to the goals Iran has set itself in a country bordering on northern Israel.
"Israel will react to Iran accordingly"
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon this week told the Iranian people by radio that a regional war initiated by Teheran was a distinct possibility, adding that "Israel is committed to defending its citizens and if attacked will act accordingly."
"A fear exists that Iran – as it becomes more pressured by sanctions – will goad those under its patronage in Hizbullah and Hamas to initiate military action against Israel. There’s also a possibility that Iran will make a military move against the Arab Gulf states and harm the flow of oil to the world, in which case the entire situation will degrade into widespread confrontations. Remember that the sanctions are aimed against Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons, and if they don’t elicit results, the United States and other nations might consider other options."
"The Iranian reactor constitutes a tremendous danger to the stability of the entire region and to world peace in general because, besides nuclear armaments, Iran is also developing a missile system that threatens countries beyond the Middle East, such as Europe.
Nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands will enable it to threaten all the Arab governments with its present means (subversive elements in various countries, agents, and so forth). Even now it controls bodies that function as a state within a state, in Lebanon, Yemen, the Palestinian Authority, and other places."
And in the face of these recent tensions, Iran takes the rhetoric up a notch:
"Iranian general: Teheran should hit enemy outside ME"
Supreme Leader's military adviser says Islamic regime's response to possible attack on reactor should be all-out...
The Islamic regime should prepare to retaliate in the Middle East and across the globe against any enemy attack, Iranian military advisor Maj. Gen. Seyed Yahya Rahim Safavi said on Tuesday according to a Fars News Agency report.
"Wisdom tells us that Iran's Armed Forced should prepare and strengthen themselves for all-out defense and retaliatory attacks on the enemies even outside the region by maintaining their full preparedness and boosting their combat capabilities," Safavi stated.
Now, as predicted, other countries will want to join the race:
"Nasrallah: Lebanon must build nuclear reactor"
While a senior member of his organization was being killed, Hassan Nasrallah has his sights set on a nuclear reactor – in Lebanon. The Hezbollah secretary-general commented on the country's electricity crisis for the first time on Tuesday and presented an original solution in a televised speech on the organization's al-Manar channel.
Nasrallah urged the Lebanese government to draw conclusions from the current electricity crisis and follow in Iran's footsteps and build a nuclear reactor to generate electricity like the reactor in Bushehr.
So, we can see that the story is far from over. Israel may still attack these facilities, only in their own timeframe. Iran may still use their proxies to attack Israel.
This thing is just beginning.