Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami (R) delivers a sermon during Friday prayers in Tehran May 1, 2009.
On March 27, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 390 revealed exclusively Barack Obamaâ€™s plans â€œto transform the Khomeinist Islamic Republicâ€™s clenched fist against America into a helping hand by formally asking Tehran to permit the passage to Afghanistan of fresh US troops, weapons and supplies across Iranian territory.â€
In its follow-up of April 3, our military sources reported that US defense secretary Robert Gates, Chief of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and transport command chief Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, have laid before the president a detailed plan, which had been cleared in back-door meetings between US and Iranian officers.
DEBKAfileâ€™s sources ask how much leverage against Iranâ€™s drive for a nuclear bomb will be left to Washington when the US becomes dependent on Tehran for its war supplies to Afghanistan.
Tuesday, April 28, US envoy Dennis Ross set out on an extensive tour for pouring oil on troubled waters in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. He is accompanied by the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, and National Security Council official Puneet Talwar.
Like secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who promised in Beirut this week that the US was not selling Lebanon out by dealing with Syria, Ross will try and reassure Americaâ€™s Arab friends that Washingtonâ€™s new ties of friendship and strategic cooperation with Tehran will not be at their expense.
Egypt is signally its willingness to team up with Israel to counter those ties, with Saudi Arabia quietly following suit.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weeklyâ€™s April 3 report, the US Air Base at Al Udeid in Qatar would be the main hub for the air corridor taking US transport planes over the Persian Gulf, crossing the Iranian border and flying over southern and central Iran up to their destination, the US airbase near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.
The sea route would hinge on the Iranian Revolutionary Guardsâ€™ main naval base at Chah-Bahar, which is situated on the Arabian Sea near Iranâ€™s border with Pakistan.
DEBKA-Net-Weeklyâ€™s Iranian sources note that Chah-Bahar has two sections, a small, run-down civilian harbor for small craft arriving from India and Pakistan, and a spanking new, modern military facility, home to Iranâ€™s main submarine force.
The US planners rated this section of Chah-Bahar an ideal port of call for US provisions to reach Afghanistan by a predominantly sea route. From this Arabian Sea port, consignments would head north through Iranâ€™s Sistan-va-Baluchistan up to the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan border intersection and then turn east by convoy to their destination at Kandahar.