Iranian Commanders Are in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine
Our commanders are in the field to give military advice to the Iraqi army, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance movement.
OE Watch Commentary: In 2008 Former President Mohammad Khatami suggested that the constitutional call to export Iran’s Islamic Revolution was meant to imply both use of soft-power and the transformation of the Islamic Republic into a model all neighboring states would want to emulate. Ayatollah Shahroudi, who often echoes the line of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, replied with derision, telling a gathering of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that they were the vanguard of the export of revolution. Alas, Shahroudi’s incitement was not mere rhetoric. In an uncharacteristically bold statement excerpted here, senior Iranian military chief Major Genera Gholam Ali Rashid has declared outright that the Iranian Army now has trainers operating on the ground not only in Iraq and Syria, but also “in Palestine,” presumably among Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), both of which groups the US government classifies to be terrorist organizations.
That the Iranian military is training the Iraqi Army suggests that Iran will not hesitate to fill any vacuum or seize any opportunity offered by the withdrawal of US forces from the region. Iranian leaders clearly see themselves in a proxy war with the United States. At the same time, while there has been some discussion in the United States about what the Iraqi Army’s poor showing against the Islamic State means for US training programs, the fact that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had assumed greater personal control of the Iraqi Army and privileged pro-Iranian political loyalists suggests that much blame for the poor state of the Iraqi Army could just as easily reside with the Iranian commissars and trainers who sought to fill the role left by the departure of US forces in 2011.
The admission that Iran operates directly in the Gaza Strip is also important. It raises the stakes considerably, as it will link any act of Palestinian terror more directly to the Iranian regime. While Israelis have always suspected Tehran’s instigation of terror, the fact that “Palestinian resistance groups” like Hamas and PIJ have also targeted Americans suggests that terrorism in the region could quickly undercut any US-Iran rapprochement. End OE Watch Commentary (Rubin)
Source: “Farmandahan-e Irani dar Iraq, Lubnan, va Filistin Komak Mostshari Midahid” (Iranian Commanders are in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine to Help Advise), Fars News Agency, 29 September 2014.
Rashid: “We Will Help Advise Regional Resistance and Hezbollah”
According to a report from the Fars News defense correspondent, Major General Gholam Ali Rashid, deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces, this morning speaking to battalion commanders at a commemoration the Holy Defense [Iran-Iraq War] in the Milad Tower conference center, said that this war against us was not a local war, but this war was more important than the Vietnam War and Arab-Israeli wars, and he said, “The eight-years Holy Defense was a world war, and our veterans broke Saddam’s attempts to impose a regional and global agenda.
He said, “The situation in Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon... shows that there must be more intellectual and structural cohesion than before. Otherwise [the enemy] imposes a strategy of divide and conquer.”
Rashid said, “Some of our commanders are today in Iraq, with Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance movement to advise.”