Tags: Iran | Middle East | iran | muslim | revolution | middle east

Iran: Islamic Revolution Expanding 'Throughout the Region'

By    |   Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 08:39 PM

Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani sounded upbeat last week as he addressed a rally marking the 36th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran, a longtime ally of the United States.

"We are witnessing the export of the Islamic revolution throughout the region," Soleimani – playing an increasingly public role as head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Qods Force – said last week, Bloomberg reports. "From Bahrain and Iraq to Syria, Yemen and North Africa."

As one of the most powerful figures in the Iranian regime, Soleimani has plenty of reason to feel upbeat these days.

The Islamic Republic has seen its influence become increasingly visible from the Gulf of Aden to the Mediterranean Sea, Bloomberg reports.

In Yemen, Houthi rebels have ousted a government backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Syria, longtime Iranian ally Bashar al-Assad has managed to recapture territory lost during the country's civil war, now almost four years old, thanks to the intervention of Tehran's proxy Hezbollah, which has become a major if not dominant player in Lebanon's politics.

And now, Iran – whose nuclear program is regarded by Israel as an existential threat – is expanding its military role into southern Syria in an effort to oust ISIS and other groups fighting to overthrow Assad.

Arab media outlets say that Iranian troops, in collaboration with Hezbollah and the Syrian military, have been involved in the fighting – which is occurring in a region adjacent to Israel's northern border. Reports say Soleimani has been spotted near the battlefield, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Al-Hadath, a Syrian website close to the Damascus regime, recently reported on Tehran's more active intervention in the war.

"Iran, which has been taking part in the fighting in Syria by means of military advisors, recently decided to join the military conflict officially and openly," it said.

In a bulletin published this week, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that Iran's military presence in southern Syria near the border with Israel had previously been limited to the deployment of special forces and command posts.

But according to a military plan outlined by a senior Revolutionary Guard official and published last year by MEMRI, those command posts are now intended for operations involving 130,000 trained Iranian militiamen preparing to enter Syria – a substantial expansion of Iran's role in the area.

Iran's deployment on the border with Israel "has implications for the chances of a war breaking out in the region and for the character of such a war. This, because it increases the possibility that any local eruption could quickly develop into a regional conflict, since Iran now commands the theater that stretches from Iran and Iraq through Syria and Lebanon and the Mediterranean," MEMRI's analysis says.

By deploying forces in the Golan Heights, Iran seeks "to deter Israel from acting against its nuclear program, defend Syria as part of the resistance axis, and establish an active front for anti-Israel terror attacks in the Golan," it concludes.

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Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani sounded upbeat last week as he addressed a rally marking the 36th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran, a longtime ally of the United States.
iran, muslim, revolution, middle east
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2015-39-19
Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 08:39 PM
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