by Yochanan Visser
“Will there be a war between the United States and Iran?” a friend asked me last week.
Iran is already using its many proxies to target the US and its allies, while planning a multi-front war with Israel.
“It has already started” I answered him, adding that Iran is a world champion in fighting proxy wars.
As we reported on May 9th the Israeli spy agency Mossad delivered intelligence to the US indicating that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was preparing to attack American marine vessels and US bases in the Persian Gulf.
The IRGC has equipped speedboats with anti-tank missiles such as the Kornet which it also supplied to its proxies, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in Gaza.
The Kornet-EM missiles could be used against the US aircraft carrier battle groups which were recently deployed in the Persian Gulf or against commercial vessels sailing through the waterway.
“Our short-range missiles can easily reach (US) warships in the Persian Gulf,” Mohammad Saleh Jokar, the deputy for parliamentary affairs of the IRGC said last week.
Until now, the IRGC has refrained from directly attacking US military targets in The Middle East, but has openly announced it would use its many proxies to target the US and its allies.
On May 17, Radio Farda reported that Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC the division tasked with exporting the Islamic Revolution, had met with commanders of Iranian controlled militias across the Middle East and told them to prepare for a proxy war with the US-led anti-Iranian coalition.
Soleimani’s Quds Force has established Hezbollah-style militias in Iraq where the umbrella organization of Shiite militias Hashd al-Shaabi is in control of large parts in the north and west of the country.
In Yemen the Quds Force is working with Ansar Allah or Houthis militia to control the country and to destabilize Saudi Arabia, while in Syria Shiite militias together with the Quds Force and Hezbollah are turning the country into a second Lebanon with the ultimate goal of destroying Israel.
If we take a look at what happened after the US decided to increase sanctions on Iran and annulled waivers on Iranian oil exports at the beginning of May, we will see that the proxy war already has started:
In Iraq, Hashd al-Shaabi is reportedly deploying ballistic missiles in the western desert with the intention tof using them against Israel in a future war.
Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, secretary-general of Hezbollah Nujaba, one of the Hashd al-Shaabi militias, recently threatened Israel which he falsely accused of waging a proxy war against the militias by using “Takfiri proxies” in Iraq.
Al-Kaabi meant ISIS and warned that Hashd al-Shaabi would turn its guns against “the Zionist entity” after the complete defeat of the Islamic State group.
Hashd al-Shaabi has also deployed missiles in the vicinity of US bases in Iraq and was reportedly responsible for a missile attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone last weekend.
This is the Baghdad neighborhood where the US embassy is located. The attack took place after the US suddenly decided to pull out most of the embassy staff last week and issued a travel warning for US citizens in Iraq.
On Sunday evening, unknown assailants again targeted the Green Zone, this time with mortars.
Then there is Syria, where the Israeli Air Force (IAF) again attacked Iran-related targets over the weekend and where the Quds Force is continuing its entrenchment in the country by setting up a naval base in the Latakia Province.
On Friday last week, the IAF reportedly attacked the al-Kiswah region southwest of Damascus where the Quds Force and Hezbollah have their headquarters and weapon storages.
On Saturday evening, the IAF reportedly carried out new missile strikes in Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that “Israeli planes fired at least three missiles from the occupied Golan Heights.”
Syrian media claimed some of the incoming missiles were intercepted by its air defenses, a claim that could not be verified independently.
The Syrian news site Jorf News, furthermore, reported that the Quds Force has started to use a port it leased from the Assad regime in Latakia earlier this year for military purposes.
The Quds Force is providing a combat naval training course for the Shiite Afghan Fatemiyoun militia transferred from Iran to Syria where it fought along the Syrian army in the war against Islamist militias.
Iran wants to establish a naval force in the Mediterranean Sea in order to use it in a future multi-front missile war against Israel which would see three land fronts: southern Lebanon, the Golan Heights and Gaza.
In the Persian Gulf, meanwhile, Iran is using the Ansar Allah militia in Yemen to attack Saudi Arabia while the IRGC is using drones to observe the movements of the US Navy in the waterway.
On May 13, unknown assailants attacked four oil tankers in the Persian Gulf close to the United Arab Emirates.
US Intelligence and “Norwegian Shipowners’ Mutual War Risks Insurance Association (DNK) concluded that the attack was likely to have been carried out by a surface vessel operating close by that despatched underwater drones carrying 30-50 kg (65-110 lb) of high-grade explosives to detonate on impact,” Reuters reported.
The attacks were later followed by Ansar Allah drone attacks on oil installations deep in Saudi Arabia and ballistic missile attacks on the Muslim holy city of Mecca and the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
The missiles failed to reach their targets and were downed by Saudi Arabia’s air defenses.
On Tuesday Ansar Allah again carried out a drone attack on a weapon depot near a Saudi airport. There were no reports on casualties or damages.
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