Published: 12:05 AM 08/01/2012
By Reza Kahlili
Iran is preparing for a direct attack on Saudi Arabia should Syria’s Bashar Assad be in danger of falling to rebel forces that the Islamic regime believes are being supported by the Arab kingdom, according to a source within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Iran also blames the Saudis for unrest in two of its provinces.
“Dozens of Iranian ballistic missiles have been preprogrammed to hit Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia,” the source said. “Qatar will also be hit at the same time as it is directly involved with the events in Syria.”
Iranian officials have increased their verbal attacks recently on Saudi Arabia, seeing the monarchy as behind the unraveling in Syria and the suppression of the Shiite uprising in Bahrain.
“A change of regime in Syria is but a delusion,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in a meeting on Sunday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Moallem. Salehi said Iran will fully support the Syrian regime, according to the Keyhan newspaper, which is directly under the supervision of the Iranian supreme leader.
Salehi claimed the Syrian civil war and the push for regime change are being spearheaded by Israel. “It’s surprising that the regional regimes [referring to Saudi Arabia and Qatar] have taken the same position as the Zionist regime,” Salehi said.
According to the source, the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is heating up and the Guards’ intelligence unit has arrested several people in the Iranian provinces of Khuzestan and Azerbaijan. Under interrogation, the suspects admitted to plans for armed rebellion from those two regions to create conditions similar to those in Syria, the source said.
Khuzestan Province, home to a large Arab-Iranian population and a major oil-producing region, has been a hotbed of Arab separatism, which the central government has suppressed.
Days ago, Iranian Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of the Revolutionary Guards, warned Arab countries against arming and funding Syrian revolutionaries. “Syria’s allies will not allow Bashar al-Assad’s regime to be toppled and will deal fatal blows to the enemies of Damascus,” Jazayeri warned.
Days after the bombing in Damascus that killed Assad’s top military officials, including the defense minister, Fars News Agency reported that a bomb exploded in Saudi intelligence headquarters in Riyadh, killing the deputy intelligence chief. Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, who was recently appointed to head Saudi intelligence, was rumored to also have been killed in the attack. Saudi officials have so far refused to comment.
Iran, through the Revolutionary Guards’ Unit 110 and Unit Madinah, has infiltrated agents into the Persian Gulf countries to support uprisings and at times to use terrorism to overthrow the monarch in Bahrain, control events in Yemen and increase uncertainty in Saudi Arabia.
The Guards on Saturday also revealed the existence of another special ground forces unit — Saberin — that they say is capable of dealing a heavy blow to the enemy.
According to Jahan News, an Iranian media outlet, the commander of the Saberin unit and the deputy commander of the Guards ground forces bragged that his forces not only can match any world power’s special forces but be victorious, because his unit is the most faithful and is composed of expert snipers and scuba divers who have other skills as well.
In addition to the Persian Gulf states, Iran is also preparing for possible attacks against the U.S., Iranian commanders, in expanding their range of attack on U.S. targets, have armed all naval vessels with ballistic missiles and have prepared those vessels to navigate into the Atlantic Ocean.
“The navy has carried out successful activities [to expand] its presence in open seas, and we will witness the presence of the navy in the Atlantic Ocean in the near future,” Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said then. “As the global arrogance [forces of imperialism] have a [military] presence near our sea borders, we also plan to have a strong presence near the U.S. sea borders.”
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).