Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Israel, Arab countries plan for war with Iran

By Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV – Intelligence officials from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the U.S. held a meeting last week to discuss specific responses to Iranian retaliatory attacks during a potential war with Tehran, WND has learned.

A senior Egyptian intelligence official told WND the main talks, which took place in Amman, revolved around the possibility of Iranian-directed Palestinian and Islamic attacks against Israel, Egypt and Jordan during a possible future war with Iran.

The official said scenarios discussed revolved only around Iranian retaliatory attacks and did not take into account how any future war with Iran would be initiated or the timing of such a war.

The official said the concern was that Iran would use proxies such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip to attack both Egypt and Israel, while Hezbollah in Lebanon would launch missiles at Israeli population centers, including Tel Aviv.

Also, there is fear militants inside Jordan allied with the Muslim Brotherhood could attack Jordanian interests.

Hamas in Gaza is said to have rockets capable of reaching just outside Tel Aviv, while Hezbollah possesses Iranian-supplied missiles and rockets that can reach most Israeli population centers.

Egypt granted Israel permission several months ago to conduct naval exercises off Egyptian coastal waters. The military drills clearly were aimed at Iran.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, are influenced by Sunni Islam. The Arab countries are threatened by the growing influence of Iran, dominated by Shiite Islam.

In September, Saudi Arabia denied it offered the Israel Air Force permission to fly over its territory to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

The Arab country was responding to a report in London's Sunday Express claiming the Saudis had agreed to turn a blind eye and not interfere should Israel and the U.S. attack Iranian nuclear facilities through Saudi air space. The Saudi government called the Express report baseless.

Just before the Express report, WND quoted an Egyptian intelligence official stating Saudi Arabia is cooperating with Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue.

The official said Saudi Arabia is passing intelligence information to Israel related to Iran. He affirmed a report from the Arab media, strongly denied by the Israeli government, that Saudi Arabia has granted Israel overflight permission during any attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The official previously told WND that Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, has been involved in an intense, behind-the-scenes lobbying effort urging the U.S. and other Western countries to do everything necessary to ensure Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. Such weapons would threaten Saudi Arabia's position of influence in the Middle East.

The Egyptian official said his country believes it is not likely Obama will grant Israel permission to attack Iran.

He previously spoke about the efforts of other Arab countries to oppose an Iranian nuclear umbrella but did not comment on Egypt's own position on the matter.


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