This Is How Israel Would Fight a War with Iran – We’ve got the details

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS COMMENTARY : The National Interest  by Michael Peck

While Iranian missiles have received all the attention, it is worth remembering that Israel also has ballistic missiles of its own.​

The Middle East is aflame from Baghdad to Gaza. But the most frightening conflict is one that is yet to happen. Though Iran’s atomic weapons program has receded from world attention, displaced by the Syrian Civil War and Islamic extremists overrunning Iraq, the specter of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities hovers over the region.Or, there might be some other trigger. Perhaps a Hezbollah attack that draws Israeli retaliation and then Iranian intervention, or Israel and Iran clashing over Syria. Or, just misperception and miscalculation. Either way, it would not take much for Tel Aviv and Tehran to engage in combat.Should hostilities erupt, Iran will have to confront one of the most capable militaries in the world. Here are five Israeli weapons that should worry Iran:

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June 30, 2019 – July 14, 2019 Editor: Dr. Raz Zimmtlinkedin
  • In the economic sphere: In recent weeks, Iran has stepped up efforts to expand its economic influence in Syria and Iraq, signaling its desire to increase its economic clout in the region. A senior Iranian official stated in an interview that by the end of the year, the management of the Lattakia Port will be handed over to Iran. Meanwhile, an economic delegation from Iran is set to visit Syria soon to examine the needs of the Syrian market. In addition, a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the sphere of labor and an agreement concerning joint manufacturing of Iranian vehicles in Syria were signed between the Iranian labor and welfare ministers of Iran and Syria. Finally, the Iranian minister of transportation announced that the implementation of the project to lay down a railway from western Iran to southern Iraq will commence in three months.
  • Following the completion of formation of the new Iraqi cabinet, the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad met with the incoming Iraqi Minister of Interior, Yassin al-Yasiri, while the Iranian military attaché to Baghdad met with the incoming Minister of Defense, Najah al-Shammari. Amir Hatami, the Iranian Minister of Defense, invited his counterpart for a visit in Tehran.
  • The commentator Hamza Abu Shanab, who is affiliated with the Hamas movement, published an article in al-Risala, the official publication of the Palestinian militant group, in which he detailed Iranian assistance to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. According to the commentator, the assistance includes providing materiel, rockets, development of rockets and tunnels, and ongoing regular financial support for the activities of the militant Palestinian organizations.
Iranian Involvement in Syria
  • Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a Member of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, asserted that despite the close-knit relationship between Israel and Russia, Iran has been able to maximize the utility of the “Russian card” in its activities in Syria, based on Russia’s national and regional interests. In a lecture delivered at the Center for International Studies in Tehran, Boroujerdi defined President Putin’s support for Bashar al-Assad as a defeat for the United States and the West in Syria. He added that Iran will continue to maintain its presence in Syria and Iraq in the post-ISIS era, and that despite its economic vulnerability, Iran has been able to shift the balance of power in its favor (ISNA, June 30).
  • The Spokesman of the Presidential Palace of Turkey, Ibrahim Kalin, announced that the summit of the Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents concerning Syria will be held in Ankara in August 2019. He stated that the summit will focus on developments in Idlib and other regions in Syria, the security situation in the country, and the negotiations concerning the settlement of the war and the summit set to deliberate on drafting a new Syrian constitution (Hurriyet, July 4).
  • In early July, Ali-Asghar Khaji, the Senior Adviser on Political Affairs of the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Muallem. In the meeting, the two officials discussed ongoing coordination between Tehran and Damascus regarding the negotiations to end the war in Syria, relations between the two countries, and developments in the regional and international arena. The meeting was held against the backdrop of escalating tensions between the United States and Iran in the Persian Gulf and tightening American sanctions against Iran (Tasnim, July 2). Meanwhile, the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Faysal al-Miqdad, defined relations between Iran and Syria as “strategic.” In a press conference held in Damascus, Miqdad stated that the two countries are examining how to implement the hundreds of economic and political agreements signed between the two countries’ leaders, to bolster cooperation between the in light of the economic sanctions against Iran (Tasnim, July 3).
  • In an interview to the newspaper Vatan-e Emrooz (July 3), Hassan Danaeifar, the Secretary of the Office for Developing Economic Ties between Iran, Iraq and Syria, stated that the management of the Lattakia Port will be handed over by the end of the year (probably the Iranian year, which ends on March 20). He did not elaborate whether he is referring to the management of the entire port or merely specific activities or sections in the port. He remarked that many companies and ports in Syria were previously managed by foreign firms, and that serious negotiations were held on the matter, adding that the agreement will be implemented as soon as possible. According to the Iranian official, the Lattakia Port in western Syria is one of the most important trade zones in the region, which could expand the scope of relations between the countries of the region.
  • Keyvan Kashefi, a Member of the Board of Governors of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and the Head of the Joint Iranian-Syrian Economic Committee, stated that in the coming weeks, a conference is set to be held in the Kermanshah Province in western Iran, focusing on the needs of the Syrian market, noting the big differences between them and the needs of the Iraqi market. He remarked that following the civil war, Syria now requires mostly the rehabilitation of infrastructure such as dams, water networks and the electricity grid. He added that in the coming weeks, an economic delegation will be dispatched from Iran to Syria to study the needs of the market in Syria and the state of infrastructure of the country. According to Kashefi, opening a trade line between Iran and Syria through Iraq will offer a great deal of economic opportunities for the countries involved (Tasnim, July 7).
  • Last week, the Iranian Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Welfare, Mohammad Shariatmadari, and the Syrian Minister of Labor and Welfare, Rima Qaditi, signed a memorandum of understanding concerning cooperation between the two countries in the next five years in the sphere of labor. The memorandum details, among other plans, the training of technical and professional coaches, and sending workers from Iran to Syria. Shariatmadari stated that Iran is willing to play a role in Syria’s post-war reconstruction and transfer technological knowledge to it. The Syrian minister of labor and welfare proclaimed that Syria expects the Iranian government to assist Syria in the country’s reconstruction. During the visit of the Syrian minister of labor and welfare to Tehran, the two ministers also inked an agreement concerning the joint manufacture of Iranian vehicles in Syria (IRNA, July 10; Fars, July 12).
  • On July 4, the British Navy and authorities in Gibraltar captured a tanker suspected of transferring crude oil from Iran to Syria. The tanker sailed under the flag of Panama and belongs to a Singapore-based company. The Prime Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, stated that the law-enforcement agencies in the British territory acted with the assistance of British Navy Special Forces in the Gibraltar Port to apprehend the ship and the cargo is carried, after receiving information from intelligence agancies. According to this information, the tanker operated in violation of European Union sanctions placed on Syria. Ship-tracking shows that the tanker was loaded in mid-April in the Iranian oil terminal on the island of Kharg in the Persian Gulf. After the ship docked for several weeks off of the coast of the United Arab Emirates, it sailed around the southern cape of Africa, passing through Cape Town in early June (Reuters, Bloomberg, July 4). The Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abbas Araghchi, labeled the stoppage of the tanker as a “pirate move” and claimed that the tanker was not sailing to Syria, and that such a large tanker can not even dock in the port in Syria. He mentioned that due to the volume of the tanker, it passed through the Straits of Gibraltar instead of the Suez Canal and called for its immediate release. Araghchi did not mention what was the planned destination of the tanker (Fars, July 7).
Iranian Involvement in Iraq
  • The Iranian Minister of Transportation, Kheirollah Khademi, announced that the implementation of the project of laying down the railway from Shalamche in western Iran to Basra in southern Iraq will commence in three months. In a meeting of the directors of railways in Iran, Iraq and Syria, held in Tehran on July 1, Khademi noted that Iran is ready to begin executing the project and expects the Iraqi government to allocate the necessary land for implementing it. During the meeting, the officials also discussed linking the railway to the Bandar Imam Khomeini Port in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran to the Lattakia Port in Syria. The Director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways company, Saeed Rasouli, remarked during the meeting that the first phase of the project, the connection of the railways between the two ports, will begin in the Khoramshahr Free Trade Zone in western Iran. He argued that the railway axis, which in the future will link Iran to Syria, is of great importance because the Khuzestan is a center of steel manufacture and agriculture (ISNA, July 1).
  • In May, the Iranian government approved the launch of the project to lay the railways. The Foundation of the Oppressed, which is considered the largest charitable fund in Iran, will serve as the contractor executing the project and will fund 60% of its costs. The Ministry of Transportation of Iran will bear the rest of the costs. The railway, whose construction has been delayed by eight years, will initially serve mainly Iranian pilgrims who annually visit Karbala in Iraq. In the next stage, the railway is supposed to connect Iran through Iraq to the Lattakia Port in Syria, mainly for the purpose of transferring goods. The completion of the first phase of the project is set to take about two years (Fars, May 25).
  • In early July, the Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi, met for the first time with the incoming Iraqi Minister of Interior, Yasin al-Yasiri. In the meeting, the Iranian ambassador underlined Iran’s support for the development, security and stability of Iraq. Masjedi congratulated the minister for his appointment by the Iraqi Parliament and wished him success in his work. Al-Yasiri thanked Iran for its support in the war against ISIS and mentioned that he will soon arrive for a visit in Tehran to discuss the role of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior in facilitating the ‘Arbaeen events, the pilgrimage to Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq, set to be held in October 2019, forty days after the fast of ‘Ashura (ISNA, July 1).
  • Meanwhile, the Iranian Military Attaché to Baghdad, Mostafa Moradian, met with the incoming Iraqi Minister of Defense, Najjah al-Shammari, and congratulated him for his appointment. According to the statement issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, the two discussed bilateral relations and Iranian-Iraqi cooperation in the war on terror (ISNA, June 30). The Iranian Minister of Defense, Amir Hatami, also congratulated the incoming Iraqi minister of defense. In a phone call, Hatami invited al-Shammari to visit Tehran and expressed hope for bolstering military and security cooperation between the two countries (Mehr, July 4).

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INTEL : Iranian Kurdish party claims it arrested Iranian agent on ‘espionage’ mission, plotting attack

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – 13 July 2019 –  The Iranian Kurdish Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) on Friday announced they had arrested an alleged Iranian operative near the Kurdistan Region’s town of Pirde, purportedly assigned by Tehran to spy on and assassinate senior leaders in the Kurdish opposition party.PAK members captured the agent on July 4 in Pirde, located to the south of Erbil province, a statement from the party said. It accused the suspect, among others, of being a spy that sought to weaken the party’s standing and of being a “possible assassin.”

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BACKGROUNDER : Netanyahu and Trump discuss Iran, joint security interests

Netanyahu’s office added that the prime minister expressed appreciation that Trump planned to increased sanctions against Iran.

By Tovah Lazaroff, OMRI NAHMIAS, JERUSALEM POST  July 11, 2019 19:26 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump spoke by telephone Wednesday about Iran as well as joint Israeli-American security interests, the same day the U.S. president threatened to “substantially” increase sanctions on Tehran to curb its nuclear activities.

Iran recently started enriching uranium beyond a limit established in a 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, a deal from which Trump withdrew. Trump has since intensified economic sanctions on Tehran, and tensions have escalated.“The two leaders discussed cooperation between the United States and Israel in advancing shared national security interests, including efforts to prevent Iran’s malign actions in the region,” Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told reporters on Thursday. Netanyahu’s office added that the prime minister expressed appreciation that Trump planned to increased sanctions against Iran.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS OPINION : Is Iran’s influence in Iraq waning?

Hamidreza Azizi July 10, 2019 –  Article Summary  – al monitor – Iran is formalizing its relationship with Baghdad as a strategic step in lessening the negative economic effects of US sanctions, but the pro-Iran PMU integrating into Iraqi armed forces leave some Iraqi leaders uneasy. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a decree July 1 obliging the overwhelmingly pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) to fully integrate into the Iraqi armed forces. The move came amid growing concerns among Iraqi leaders that their country might turn into a battleground between Iran and the United States.

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Iran sets up command center at Abu Kamal for attacks on US targets and Israel


11 July 2019 – DEBKA FILES – The small east Syrian town of Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border is under close US military and Israeli surveillance. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, according to the best intelligence estimates, Iran has set up its headquarters at Abu Kamal for attacks on US forces in eastern Syria and targets inside Israel, as part of its payback for the tight US sanctions on its oil sales. Incoming data reveals the establishment of special training facilities there for the pro-Iranian forces assigned to these attacks, the presence of their command posts and the weapons arsenal building up for their use.

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Ost-Kurdistan (IRAN)

11 Juli 2019 – Nachdem der Iran heute die Autonome Region Kurdistan bombardiert hat und eine Zivilistin dabei getötet wurde, hat die iranische Revolutionsgarde angekündigt, dass sie die Demokratische Partei Kurdistan-Iran und ihre Mitglieder überall auf der Welt verfolgen und angreifen wird und dass ihr Hauptziel der Generalsekretär der Partei Mustafa Hijri sei.

In der Vergangenheit hat der Iran bereits Mordkommandos ins Exil entsendet und die Vorgänger von Mustafa Hijri, darunter Sadiq Sherefkendi und Ebdulrahman Qasimlo, ermorden lassen.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “THE REASON WHY”:  What was Iran thinking in trying to seize British tanker

Why would the IRGC, which is already designated a terrorist organization, launch a brazen attack when a British warship was nearby.

By Seth J. Frantzman  – JERUSALEM POST – July 11, 2019 10:59

Sometimes Iran acts like it is a playing a complex game of international diplomacy that mixes war threats with diplomatic threats and sometimes involves direct attacks designed to show that it means business. Other times Iran seems to blunder along doing the most obvious thing that it has said it would do, as if it is just looking for a fight. Its attempt to seize a British oil tanker appears to fall into the latter category. On the face of it Iran is carrying out threats it made over the past week to respond to the UK taking over an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : PKK – PJAK ? – Three Iranian IRGC members killed in northwest Iran

This is a serious incident and although no group initially claimed responsibility focus will likely shift towards Kurdish dissident groups that operate in the Kurdish regions of northwest Iran.

By Seth J. Frantzman  – JERUSALEM POST – July 10, 2019 16:53

Three members of the Hamza Saiyid al-Shohada, a local force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were killed near Piranshahr, just a few kilometers from the Iraqi border in northwest Iran. This is a serious incident, and although no group initially claimed responsibility, focus will likely shift towards Kurdish dissident groups that operate in the Kurdish regions of northwest Iran.

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THERE’S A DEAL TO BE HAD BETWEEN THE U.S. AND IRAN – by Dennis Ross  – Atlantic – July 10, 2019

 If Tehran agrees to extend the JCPOA’s sunset provisions and curtail its activity in Syria and Lebanon, Washington may be willing to lift the nuclear sanctions and create a special-purpose vehicle.

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