Partisans Of the Mahdi
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Three recent events that span the globe begin to describe the scale of the threat to Israel and America represented by the Iranian war-making-by-proxy in Gaza and Lebanon.
First, on Tuesday, July 4, North Korea stunned its East Asian neighbors and rocked the U.N. Security Council by firing not only the Taepodong-2 missile that had been displayed on its launch pad for two weeks but also by launching up to nine more smaller missiles from its rocket brigades’ arsenals. Japan was the angriest of the six-party talking states and demanded sanctions from the United Nations. China expressed its frustration as well as restating its fear that any confrontation would trigger a flood of desperate North Korean refugees into Manchuria. Even Russia was unusually alarmed. The salve to the crisis was that the Taepodong missile had failed within a minute of its launch and fell haphazardly into the Sea of Japan along with the smaller missiles. The press smirked that Kim Jong Il needed more smarts before he was ready to be the big bad wolf of Asia.
Unfortunately, the missile firings were not a failure. The confirmed fact from American observers is that the exercise was a complete success.
Up till now, North Korea has had a first-strike policy where it, as the intended aggressor, gets to prepare for a sneak attack by prepositioning, fueling and firing its missiles against multiple targets. The July 4th exercise was instead a rapid response test to a simulated American air attack. Prior to the launch, the North Korean rocket brigades dispersed into the countryside as if under air attack. The military maintained radio silence to simulate the confusion after America’s first and second waves took down the communications grids, as well as to practice the necessary communication security under American surveillance. Then the Taepodong-2 was fired, simulating a strategic weapon missile launch, followed by tactical weapons chosen randomly from the mobile brigades. The missiles landed in the Sea of Japan, but not ineptly. North Korean trawlers were prepositioned at the landing sites to observe the exercise. The Taepodong-2 missile performed correctly, simulating a nuclear weapon strike on American allies or assets.
Crucially, observing this exercise were 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, including among them members of the elite command and control group, the Partisans of the Mahdi (the Ayatollah Khomeini). The Iranians had in part paid for the North Korean exercise, because Iran is a North Korean arms client. The Iranians were on hand because their own strategic and tactical missile system is based upon the designs of, and built by, North Korean technicians (from Chinese plans proliferated in the early 1990s). The Iranians were preparing for the expected American air attacks against Iran’s strategic assets now being provoked in the proxy war on Israel.
Second: On Tuesday, July 11, the Iranian National Security Adviser Ali Larijani departed from Europe, the day after a pleasant evening of obfuscating supper chat with the European Union foreign secretary Javier Solana over nuclear fuel cycle violations, and flew to Damascus. Mr. Larijani was on a mission that was linked directly to the threat of pending sanctions from the United Nations Security Council. It was time to turn on Iran’s proxies to intimidate and divide the permanent five members of the Security Council. Mr. Larijani, who was joined by the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, met with the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, as well as with Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas, and Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, and with several more significant gang leaders, all of them in the hire and under control of Iran.
Mr. Larijani told them that the strategic diversion in Gaza, started by the abduction of the Israeli soldier and the rocketing of Ashkelon with long-range Qassams, was now considered a complete success and it was time to begin a new phase, the bombardment of Israel and dismantling of Lebanon into a free-fire zone. Messrs. Larijani and Mottaki were blunt that Iran was in complete command and control of the Lebanon campaign: as directed by the privy council of the mullahs, the Partisans of the Mahdi. Iranian agents, special forces, communications staff and supply teams were in place in Damascus to command, stoke and sustain the operations. The next morning Hezbollah attacked an IDF patrol, killing several and abducting two IDF soldiers. Iran knew that Israel would respond quickly. The Hezbollah rocketing that followed along the border and then grew to the strikes against an Israeli warship and the port city of Haifa is part of the rolling campaign to pull America into the conflict.
Worse, the third event that describes the threat of Iran was on June 13, when President Bush made a surprise visit for a few hours to Baghdad to congratulate the new cabinet of Prime Minister Maliki. At that time, the Shia commentators in Baghdad starting using the Arabic word “ihtilal,” meaning occupation, to refer to the American and coalition presences. The word “ihtilal” has a sinister connotation that communicates what Iran intends as it provokes the rage of the Shia of Iraq. “Ihtilal” means a completely unacceptable occupation, an occupation that must be resisted at all costs until it is extirpated and destroyed.
The Iranians are at the beginning of their war to defeat America, to subjugate their neighbors, and to isolate and destroy Israel. The rogues North Korea and Syria and Iran are working together seamlessly along with their terror proxies that are headquartered in Damascus, and they believe they are winning and that America is losing.
Mr. Batchelor is host of “The John Batchelor Show” on the ABC radio network.The show airs in New York on 770 AM from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.