- The Washington Times - Friday, June 18, 2010

While world media and political attention is focused on the Israel-“Freedom Flotilla” incident, Iranian mullahs in Tehran are celebrating their brilliant war strategy in advancing their nuclear program. As world-renowned masters of the game of chess, Iranian mullahs can add “strategic marketing, public relations and media planning” to their resume.

Iran, anticipating a damning report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealing Iran has more than 2 tons of enriched uranium (two warheads’ worth), had been actively working with Israel’s enemies to divert world attention away from the alarming findings. The IAEA report, released on May 31, the day of the raid, was virtually unreported by the media, as all eyes had turned to Israel and Gaza.

Iran is manipulating operations in the Middle East and building alliances with like-minded jihadists driven by the same goal. Iran’s strategic operations surrounding Israel include setting up bases of operation and creating controlled and planned conflicts as part of a bigger strategy not only to suffocate Israel but also to distract the world community from its own nuclear development plans.

Iran began building its base in Lebanon in 1982 with the creation of Hezbollah. By combining nearly 10 Islamic terror groups that shared the same ideology as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran created a proxy Iranian army on Israel’s northern border. After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Iran seized the opportunity to extend a helping hand to Hamas, a Sunni group that shares the Iranian Shi’ite leadership’s aspiration to wipe Israel off the map.

As evidenced by weapons and material recovered from the ship MV Francop in November 2009, Iran is not a stranger to using the high seas as a way to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas.

Iran has been working with North Korea, Syria, China and Russia and is actively courting Turkey to create a counterbalance to American power in the Middle East. A Russian submarine flying an Iranian flag docked in Beirut last month, where what is believed to be chemical weapons were unloaded by people wearing “hazmat” or chemical warfare suits. Syria, working with Iran, has supplied Hezbollah with Scud missiles able to reach all of Israel. Iran’s plans for Israel are as clear as the writing on the wall.

This summer could easily reprise the war of 2006, when Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon opened a two-front confrontation against Israel, sparked by Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. The conflict dragged Israel into an all-out war with Lebanon, and Iran and Syria were content to pull the puppet strings.

As a result of the flotilla incident, a Syrian television show already has called for suicide bombers to attack Israel; the head of the Palestinian Islamic council on Lebanon is calling for the kidnapping of Israelis; the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is calling for withdrawal from the Arab Peace Initiative; and the Muslim Union of Islamic scholars is calling for the cancellation of all peace agreements with Israel.

And who is talking about the IAEA report of Iran having two nuclear warheads’ worth of enriched uranium? Virtually nobody.

Score: Iran: 1, Israel/America/IAEA, 0.

You can hear the laughter all the way from Tehran.

The flotilla incident is nothing more than a spark in a larger web of explosives set and organized by Iran and is the first step toward accomplishing Iran’s ultimate goals. First, create whatever distraction is necessary, preferably one that inflames world hatred of Israel, to buy time to finish the bomb. Second, attain the bomb and become the Islamic superpower of the world, with the ability to wipe Israel off the map. This will usher in a new era of hegemony in the Middle East.

The stakes are high, and time is running out. Western governments must stand together against Iran and the new axis of tyrannical power that is developing. While it is Israel that will soon face a nuclear-armed Iran, in the long term, it will be Europe and America facing an Iran capable of projecting its totalitarian ideology across the globe.

Brigitte Gabriel is author of “Because They Hate” and “They Must Be Stopped” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and 2008). She is the president of ActforAmerica.org.