NCRI - Iran has relied very heavy on Hezbollah as a foreign fighting force. It works side by side with the Iranian military force. Since the eighties it has been involved in some horrific terrorist attacks that have killed many civilians and it has fought several bloody wars.
The attacks it has carried out have been done so on behalf of Iran. Instead of carrying out the attacks itself, Iran can plead innocence if they are done via a proxy.
The Iranian regime’s main goal right now is regional hegemony. The Iraqi government asked it to help in the fight against the Islamic State, but Iran is taking this as an opportunity to take control of Iraq – one of the countries at the top of its list. Iran has sent its terrorist Quds’ Force Commander Qasem Soleimani to take lead role.
Qasem Soleimani integrated a large number of Iranian militias into the Iraqi forces, giving Iran more control.
Since the US coalition-led invasion of Iraq, Iran has been slowly taking more and more control in the Iraqi government and is influencing many of its members of parliament. This is just one step in its attempts to turn the country into an Iranian satellite state.
In Syria, Iran has been influencing President Bashar al Assad and has proxy forces and Iranian forces there to prop him up. It is now making plans to set up a military headquarters.
In Lebanon, it is Hezbollah itself that is infiltrating the government to take control of the country. A big boost to Iran’s goals in Lebanon was when Michel Aoun was elected as President in 2016. As an ally of Hezbollah, this made Iran’s plans all the more possible.
With regards to the military angle, Hezbollah is more powerful that Lebanon’s armed forces, and this is crucial as it seems the Lebanese army wants to improve relations with the US.
When the Iran nuclear deal was signed, it received billions of dollars making it possible for Iran to increase its spending on Hezbollah. Iran previously spent around $600 million on it per year and this has now increased to around $800 million. Hezbollah receives even more income via illicit activities such as drug trafficking.
This huge income has allowed the terrorist group to expand across the world.
As well as financing the terror group, Iran provides Hezbollah with a large number of weapons – enough to outgun the Lebanese forces. If the Lebanese government was ever to confront Hezbollah, it will be confronting a powerful adversary.
Another piece of Iran’s puzzle in the quest of regional hegemony is the land bridge that goes straight to the Mediterranean Sea via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This is crucial for it to be able to move troops and weapons through the region without obstructions.
Being on the wrong side of Hezbollah can have serious consequences. Hezbollah critic Rafik Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, was assassinated in 2005. His son, the current Prime Minister Saad Hariri has just fled to Saudi Arabia after a plot to assassinate him was uncovered.
Any attempts to curb Iran must take into consideration the full scope of the threat.