When an enemy gives insight into his strategic thinking, it pays to listen. A Hezbollah member of Lebanon’s parliament, retired Brigadier-General Walid Sakariya, predicts that Israel will be destroyed by a “Shiite crescent” in a war with hundreds of thousands of deaths. This war, he says, can only commence once two things happen: Iraq is absorbed into Iran’s bloc after a U.S. withdrawal and the Syrian regime is saved.
Sakariya says that Iraq is blocking plans to destroy Israel by acting as a “buffer zone.” Once U.S. forces completely leave, Iraq will fall to the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis, permitting Iranian forces to march through its territory. A “Shiite crescent” is created, bringing together over 100 million people in a war against Israel, he explains. He recognizes the high cost of such a conflict, and predicts “hundreds of thousands” of “martyrs” and the use of nuclear weapons by Israel. To Sakariya, the prize of destroying Israel is worth that price. The war hasn’t started only because Iran’s bloc anticipates more permissible conditions.
However, Sakariya concedes that the plan to destroy Israel requires preserving Syria as a member of the “confrontation” bloc and adding Iraq. Iran has undoubtedly made achieving these objectives its top priority.
“If Syria, as a confrontation country, fails, America and the Zionist enterprise will be victorious,” he said.
The Iranian regime quickly dispatched the Revolutionary Guards to Syria to help the Assad regime cope with the uprising against it. Joint commander centers were built in Homs and in Damascus International Airport. Iran is spending $23 million to build a Revolutionary Guards base at an airport in Latakia by the end of 2012. It will be able to host planes that can deliver up to 40 tons of weapons each. Defected Syrian soldiers claim that Iran and Hezbollah are behind the executions of disloyal troops, and Iranian snipers are active on the ground.
Iran’s proxies are working hard to force a complete withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from Iraq in order to open up the opportunities mentioned by Sakariya. In June, the number of U.S. casualties spiked to the highest monthly level since 2008. The U.S. blamed the attacks on Iran, and top officials publicly warned of reprisals. Three Iranian proxies were responsible: Kaitab Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and the Promised Day Brigade, a group that split from the Mehdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr, who is also pledging to renew his jihad if U.S. forces stay.
Moqtada al-Sadr fled to Iran when the surge began. There, he earned the title of Grand Ayatollah. The Iranians clearly want to use him to lead the Iraqi Shiites. In April, he threatened to “escalate military resistance” if U.S. forces stay past the end of the year, and one of his aides said, “We are all time bombs and detonators at the hands of Moqtada al-Sadr.” He recently declared that any non-combat U.S. soldier in Iraq will be considered a legitimate target. “Whoever stays in Iraq will be treated as an unjust invader and should be opposed with military resistance,” his online statement reads.
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