The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the U.S. has intercepted messages from Iranian officials instructing Shiite militias to prepare to attack U.S. facilities in Iraq if America attacks Syria. A well-known Iraqi cleric, Sheikh Wathiq al-Battat, the leader of the Iraqi militant group “Jaysh Al-Mukhtar,” told Fars News Agency on Sunday that his group has 23,000 trained and armed militants to attack U.S. interests in Iraq and the Persian Gulf. He warned that any intervention by America in Syria will result in the group attacking U.S. interests and that “Syria will break America’s back.”
And a European intelligence report that has been shared with allies suggests that Assad has handed over control of missile installations to Iranian and Hezbollah units. Syria, Iran and Hezbollah make up the “Resistance Front” and have a joint war room.
Mashregh said that in addition to the Israeli cities of Haifa and Tel Aviv, also targeted would be Oman and all U.S. installations and mobile assets in Western Asia, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, and America’s Arab allies.
“The recognition that this reaction by the Islamic Republic … will be an official one or not depends on the decisions made by the country’s national security officials,” Mashregh wrote in hinting at terrorist attacks. “The defensive measures of the Resistance Front must be parallel to the offensive scenario of the West’s front.”
Mashregh ended its threat that should Obama pull the trigger on a missile assault on Syria, there will be a step-by-step response to this “mistake.”
Another regime media outlet, Isna.Ir, reported Sunday that sources in Lebanon said 10,000 Hezbollah fighters have been deployed in Damascus to avert the fall of Assad in case of a U.S. attack. It further claimed that those Hezbollah forces will fire missiles into Israel should the situation in Syria deteriorate in the aftermath of a U.S. attack.
Mashregh reported last year that the joint Resistance Front war room has been directed to fire a barrage of missiles from the three allies not only on Israel but also at American assets in the face of any intervention by the U.S. or NATO in Syria. It also said that groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad have been armed with chemical and biological weapons and that those weapons will first be used on Tel Aviv.
Mashregh recalled the doctrine of the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: “If they stand against our religion, we will stand against their world. If all this bloodshed is to provide a better future for Israel, we will destroy their world.”
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book ”A Time to Betray“ (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).