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Israel: Minion Madness


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August 18, 2021:

According to Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon their Iranian sponsors believe now is the time for an all-out joint attack on Israel. The religious dictatorship in Iran is now dominated by the extremists, or “radicals”. Most of the extremist attitudes come from the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) who suffered greatly from the return of economic sanctions in 2017. Because of these sanctions Quds force, which handles foreign wars and terrorism, saw its budget cut by half since 2017, forcing major reductions in Quds activities in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The IRGC was created in the 1980s to protect the new religious dictatorship and suppress, with violence if necessary, local opposition to the new religious overlords. The IRGC has become increasingly assertive in backing radical solutions to problems and that has created a growing number of nationalist clerics, including some eligible to be one of the twelve senior Shia clerics who run the Guardian Council. The senior clerics have become divided into mutually antagonistic factions. The “moderates” are those who want to put Iran’s interests first and concentrate on the economy and reducing the poverty that is visibly turning more Iranians against their government, Islam and all the foreign wars the radicals have dragged Iran into. These “realists” are also nationalists and often called “moderates” by foreigners. The IRGC believes force is the key to Iranian power and all Iranians must support that. Most Iranians do not support the IRGC and for over a decade have become increasingly open about that opposition. The IRGC has killed over a thousand of these protestors over the last few years. As a result of this the Guardian Council has blocked nearly all “nationalist” candidates from running in the latest national elections. This meant the new parliament and senior leaders were dominated by IRGC and Quds Force veterans, including several recognized as terrorists or guilty of war crimes.


Closer to home Israel has an even more complicated situation in Syria, where Russia and Turkey are supposed to be Iranian allies but are less frequently acting the part. Russia sent forces to Syria in 2015 to help preserve its old Cold War era ally the Assads. This was done for the benefit of Russia, not Syria or Iran. Russia was the second foreign power to come to the aid of the Assads. Iran had been helping keep their old Shia ally, the Assads, in power since 2013. Iran had more ambitious goals in Syria; to increase its ability to attack Israel. A year after the Russians showed up, the Turks sent in troops, but largely depended on Syrian mercenaries.


The Russians hoped to rebuild the Syria military. That proved impossible and the only alternative was hiring local or foreign mercenaries, which the Iranians, Turks, Americans and Syrians all relied on. By 2015 the pre-2011 Syrian military was gone for good and improving the equipment and air support for the Syrian forces merely made it easier for the Assad troops to play defense, which is all they really wanted to do after several years of civil war. Eventually Russia began hiring some Syrian mercenaries as well, if only to help eliminate the last remnant of ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) in eastern Syria. Russia was content to let the Israelis keep the Iranian forces busy and taking heavy damage trying to destroy Israel. While the continuing war in Syria has eliminated the decades-long military threat from Syria, it has brought more armed and dangerous Iranians to Israeli border. This Iranian threat has existed on the Lebanese border since the 1980s. The Assads wouldn’t allow their Iranian allies to operate on the Syrian border but would accept new ballistic missiles from Iran, and developed chemical weapons with Iranian help so that these short-range ballistic missiles could carry chemical warheads. All the Assad missiles and chemical weapons disappeared after 2011 and now Iran is trying to replace them with Iranian-controlled missiles trucked in from Iran via Iraq, That has not worked out because of hundreds of Israeli air strikes against these missile shipments. This is something everyone, including the Assads, unofficially approves of. Iran realizes this but continues to pretend this general hostility to their presence in Syria does not exist.


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