The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reports that the Teheran regime approved and facilitated the establishment of a Hizbullah force in Syria. In a report, the center said Hizbullah, representing Iranian interests, would operate against Israel from Syria’s Golan Heights.
“Despite recent gains by the Assad regime in its struggle against several opposition factions in Syria,” the report, “Iran Launches Hizbullah-Syria to Open a New Front Against Israel on the Golan Heights,” said, “Iran is already en route to implementing Plan B, preparing for the eventuality that even if [President Bashar] Assad does not prevail, Iran will maintain its presence in Syria and its ability to act against Israel from Syrian territory with the assistance of various committed factions modeled after Hizbullah-Lebanon.”
The report, released on June 2, cited a plan by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to form a 150,000-member Shi’ite Army in Syria. The plan, authored by IRGC Quds Force commander Brig. Hassan Suleimani, was said to have led to the training of 42 battalions and 138 brigades in Syria. IRGC said it trained 130,000 members of the Basij paramilitary forces for operations in Syria.
“Iran has established Hizbullah nuclei in many Gulf states, in Iraq, in Turkey and others,” the report said. “Mostly, senior Hizbullah Lebanon members act as local instructors, and at times activists are sent to train in Lebanon and Iran. In the past, several senior Hizbullah-Lebanon activists have been apprehended in Iraq.”
Authors Michael Segall and Shimon Shapira said Syria marked an Iranian proxy for a war against Israel. They said Teheran drafted Plan B during a visit by Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah and imported Shi’ite fighters from Iran and Iraq.
“The plan will favor importing forces first from Iran, Iraq, and only then other Shi’ite elements,” the report said. “This regional force will be integrated with the Syrian Army or incorporated into it.”
The report said Hizbullah-Syria marked the infrastructure for what was termed enhanced Iranian subversion of the Golan Heights. Segall and Shapira, both former Israeli intelligence officers, asserted that Iran regarded the Golan as a “new and extended confrontation line with Israel in light of the changing regional landscape.”
“Teheran is reluctant to abandon this important arena to Sunni Jihadi organizations, likely to uncontrollably enflame the region and damage Iranian interests,” the report said. “Iran itself wishes to determine the point in time and ferocity of the flames. In the past, Iran used organizations in the Golan as a test for Israeli responses and its own operational competence on this front.”
Hizbullah-Syria was said to be separate from Hizbullah in neighboring Lebanon. The report, quoting IRGC senior member Hussein Hamadani, said Hizbullah-Syria would contain fighters from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran and Yemen.
“The establishment of Syria’s Hizbullah as a young branch of the resistance not only could affect the ongoing process in Syria, but will also be a strong arm of the resistance that will cause nightmares for the Zionists,” the report said. “The Zionist regime that was concerned about threats from the Lebanese borders, now should prepare itself for a new situation — on the Golan Heights front.