Iran's big Great Prophet Mohammad War Games 6 was launched Monday, June 27, ahead of a Turkish operation against Syria's Assad regime which is anticipated by its military and Revolutionary Guards chiefs. DEBKAfile reports Tehran expected the Turkish army to have US air and naval support in case of Iranian reprisals against them both. On Day One of the exercise, Iran unveiled its first underground missile silo immune to air strikes. It held what looked like a Shahab-3 ballistic missile.
Israel has responded to Iran's military exercise and the spiraling regional tension by positioning one of its new Iron Dome rocket interceptor batteries in the northern city of Haifa.
Last week, Iranian warships and submarines deployed in the Red Sea tracked the movements of two big US aircraft carriers, the USS Enterprise and USS George H. W Bush, which crossed each other in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait on June 21 heading in opposite directions through this strategic chokepoint between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.
The USS Enterprise, the world's largest aircraft carrier, was on its way from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean via the Red Sea and Suez Canal, while the USS George H.W. Bush, the US Navy's newest carrier with the greatest fire power of any of its warships, left the Mediterranean and headed in the opposite direction for the Persian Gulf with a crew of 9,000 and 70 fighter bombers.
On the same day, Iranian naval surveillance picked up the arrival of the Los Angeles-class USS Bremerton nuclear-powered attack submarineoff Bahrain opposite Iran.
Strategists in Tehran see danger in these crisscross movements by US war fleets. According to our military sources, the Enterprise, which is older, slower and has less fire power than theBush, was moved to the Mediterranean because there it is supported by American air bases scattered across western and central Europe, whereas the Bush was consigned to waters opposite Iranian shores because it is virtually a single-vessel fighting machine capable of operating without support.
The Iranian exercise has two primary objectives:
1. To spread Iran's ballistic missiles to their maximum operational extent in support of Iran's signals to Washington and Ankara in the past two weeks warning that an attack on Syria by a US-backed Turkish or NATO force would spark Iranian missile reprisals against Turkish and US military targets on Turkish soil and other parts of the Middle East.
2. Iran has fanned its fighting forces out across the country, with the densest concentrations on its Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea coasts, ready to repel any American attack that might follow an Iranian missile assault on US, Turkish or allied targets.
The ground-air-naval exercise is scheduled to last 10 days – unusually long for a military drill – so that Iran stands ready for a decision in Washington and/or Ankara to attack Syria.
The announcement of the exercise by Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force commander Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh Sunday, June 26, made Tehran's intentions clear: He said the exercise was being staged in response to the "growing US military presence in the region" and noted that the missiles practiced would include the Saijil and the Fateh 110.
He did not need to spell out the facts that the Saijil-2 has a range of 2,000 kilometers and can reach any point in the Middle East and further - up to the Black Sea region, for instance, where US air and naval units are posted; or that the improved Fateh 110 has been supplied to Syria and Hizballah for use against Israel.
Iran would expect to be joined by both in any military flare-up.