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  • May 5, 2013

    Iran’s Plans to Take Over Syria

    By Shimon Shapira, JCPA

    • In mid-April, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah paid a secret visit to Tehran where he met with the top Iranian officials headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Gen. Qasem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Suleimani prepared an operational plan named after him based upon the establishment of a 150,000-man force for Syria, the majority of whom will come from Iran, Iraq, and a smaller number from Hizbullah and the Gulf states.
    • Suleimani’s involvement was significant. He has been the spearhead of Iranian military activism in the Middle East. In January 2012, he declared that the Islamic Republic controlled “one way or another” Iraq and South Lebanon. Even before recent events in Syria, observers in the Arab world have been warning for years about growing evidence of “Iranian expansionism.”
    • An important expression of Syria’s centrality in Iranian strategy was voiced by Mehdi Taaib, who heads Khamenei’s think tank. He recently stated that “Syria is the 35th district of Iran and it has greater strategic importance for Iran than Khuzestan [an Arab-populated district inside Iran].” Significantly, Taaib was drawing a comparison between Syria and a district that is under full Iranian sovereignty.
    • Tehran has had political ambitions with respect to Syria for years and has indeed invested huge resources in making Syria a Shiite state. The Syrian regime let Iranian missionaries work freely to strengthen the Shiite faith in Damascus and the cities of the Alawite coast, as well as the smaller towns and villages. In both urban and rural parts of Syria, Sunnis and others who adopted the Shiite faith received privileges and preferential treatment in the disbursement of Iranian aid money.
    • Iran is also recruiting Shiite forces in Iraq for the warfare in Syria. These are organized in a sister framework of Lebanese Hizbullah. Known as the League of the Righteous People and Kateeb Hizbullah, its mission is to defend the Shiite centers in Damascus. It is likely that Tehran will make every effort to recruit additional Shiite elements from Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and even from Pakistan.

    Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. 


  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 11:40 am | 2 Comments »

    2 Comments to Iran’s Plans to Take Over Syria

    1. NormanF says:

      Fears of an Iranian takeover of Syria will only inflame Sunni Arab discontent and both sides will continue slaughtering each other.

      Israel has no dog in the internal Syrian conflict but the present state of affairs, in which there is no clear victor in sight, is to be preferred.

      A weak and divided Syria cannot harm Israel.

    2. Dean says:

      “Israel has no dog in the internal Syrian conflict but the present state of affairs…”

      Now that Israel has made its entry into the civil/religious war by targeting chemical depots and material destined for Hezbollah, it seems likely Syria-Iran (Syran) is about to advance its war against Israel to a much higher level. I think that Israel has to prevent the warring factions from using the WMD and passing on the poison and delivery technology that will obviously target Israel. When terrorists from all the cesspools of the Islamic world are gathering on Israel’s borders, competing factions being backed by competing Islamist states (and Russia and the West), then what choice does Israel have but to defend itself? Will the entry of Israel unite the factions against Israel or will they continue to batter each other with no strength left to wage military or terrorist strikes on Israel? I think that the Islamic hordes always have plenty of strength and determination whenever it comes to targeting Israel.

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