Iran is threatening to launch a massive missile strike against Israel if the United States attacks Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people, which could touch off a full-blown war in the region.
“The day of reckoning is near,” according to Hossein Shariatmadari, the chief editor of Keyhan newspaper, an outlet controlled by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
An Op-Ed penned by Shariatmadari Tuesday warned that the impending confrontation between the West and Syria would “provide the long-awaited opportunity for revenge against Israel and America.”
The editor recalled the U.S.-led attack on Baghdad on March 20, 2003, and President George W. Bush’s boast to reporters seven days later that the “Iraq war is over.” But when the last U.S. soldiers were leaving Iraq in December 2011, nearly 4,500 Americans had been killed and the war had cost America trillions of dollars.
Shariatmadari said that Washington, instead of open war against Syria, has been waging a proxy war against the Assad regime with the help of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt. He said now it is ready to directly confront Syria militarily, one of the members of the Resistance Front along with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. However, despite Syrian rebels receiving financial and military support from those Middle East countries, not only has the Assad regime not been overthrown but it has opened a “new chapter for the Resistance where it formed the forces of ‘defense of Homeland,’ a force similar to the Basij militias (in Iran).”
Iran has long drawn a red line around the Assad regime. And Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, Israel’s neighbor, are armed with thousands of missiles. The three members of the Resistance Front have a joint war room.
“Because of the failure of the intended proxy war, America and some Arab and European countries are preparing to attack Syria on the false claims that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons,” the editor said. “However, America can certainly start the war but it won’t be the one to end it.”
Shariatmadari said that Israel is the “Achilles’ heel of America and its European allies and without a doubt with the start of an attack on Syria, thousands of missiles will rain down all over the occupied lands (Israel), which will destroy its critical facilities as it was obvious that its missile defense system (the Iron Dome) could not prevent missiles reaching Tel Aviv.”
He also warned Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and others who support attacking Syria that they themselves will come under attack from Syria.
“Muslims should welcome the news of an attack on Syria as it will provide the long-awaited opportunity for revenge, which should destroy the enemies of Islam,” Shariatmadari concluded.
Seyed Reza Taghavai, the head of Iran’s Policy Council of Friday Prayers, hinted that Khamenei is guiding the events in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza despite Iran publicly saying that it has nothing to do with them, Fars News Agency reported Monday. “People stand tall because of (Khamenei’s) guidance and in Syria where it has resisted against the unbelievers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Islamic regime’s reporting agency Abna.ir published images of commanders of the Zolfaghar Battalion fighting in Syria. It said that the Zolfaghar and Abolfazle Abass battalions are mostly made up of Iraqi and Lebanese Shiites in fighting the Syrian rebels.
The agency published the images of Zolfaghar’s commander, Abu Hajer, visiting the holy site in the city of Mashhad in Iran.
Iran’s Quds Forces have long trained Shiites to fight alongside Assad’s forces in Syria. Many of these fighters enter Syria through Iraq.
Last week an alleged chemical weapons attack targeted the outskirts of Damascus, which so far has taken the lives of more than a thousand civilians. The attack was later confirmed by the United States and European countries, who called for a response. The Obama administration has hinted in recent days that there will be a military response to using chemical weapons, which Secretary of State John Kerry called “a moral obscenity.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Policy magazine reported today that U.S. eavesdropping confirmed the existence of the chemical attack.
“Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with the leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people,” the magazine reported.
“Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services,” Foreign Policy said in a statement. “That is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime – and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.”