Claims Iran and Hezbollah coordinating attacks
September 6, 2013
The United States is prepared to do battle with Iran and Hezbollah when it takes out Syria in response to its alleged weapons of mass destruction, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Late Thursday, the newspaper reported the U.S. government “intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria,” one of “an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region.”
The intercepted message purportedly came from Qasem Soleimani, the head of Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, and was delivered to Shiite militia groups in Iraq, according to U.S. Officials. “In it, Mr. Soleimani said Shiite groups must be prepared to respond with force after a U.S. strike on Syria. Iranian officials didn’t respond to requests for comment,” the Journal reports.
The U.S. predicts Iran will mobilize its fleet of fast boats in the Persian Gulf where U.S. warships are stationed.
In early 2012, the U.S. military claimed it was harassed by Iranian boats. At the time, Israeli intelligence officer Avi Perry predicted a “surprise” Pearl Harbor-style Iranian attack on an American warship in the Persian Gulf as a pretext for the U.S. to launch an all-out attack on Iran. No such attack occurred.
Amid escalating tension, in July, 2012, a security team aboard the oil supply ship U.S.N.S. Rappahannock fired on a boat in the Persian Gulf, killing one and injuring three others.
In addition to predicting attacks in the Persian Gulf, the newspaper reported the government’s belief Hezbollah will attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in response to a Syrian attack.
The Pentagon has deployed a number of warships in the region, a move that has heightened fears that an attack on Syria will rapidly escalate into a larger war.
Deployments include a strike group attached to the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and three destroyers positioned in the Red Sea. An amphibious ship, the USS San Antonio, is currently stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The U.S. military has also activated Marines and “other assets” to be used during the strike, ostensibly to evacuate embassies and diplomatic compounds in the region. The State Department made preparations last week for the possibility of retaliation against U.S. embassies and other interests in the Middle East and North Africa, the Journal reports.
In addition, the State Department issued an alert on Thursday warning against nonessential travel to Iraq and cited terrorist activity “at levels unseen since 2008.”