The U.S. Department of State released a video on Tuesday of what it said is an Iranian military training base in Lebanon, located near the border with Syria, amid concerns that Tehran is preparing for a two-front war with Israel.
Washington believes that the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) – which the United States designated as a foreign terrorist organization earlier this year – is attempting to establish a permanent military presence in Lebanon, where the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hezbollah remains the foremost power.
“We see a small valley that goes down. This has a series of berms that are alternating, on the left and right. This is a training course for armored personnel carriers,” said Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Senior Fellow for Imagery Analysis at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).
David Daoud, a research analyst on Hezbollah and Lebanon at United Against Nuclear Iran, explained that the immediate proximity to the Syrian border confirms that the facility serves at least two major objectives.
For one, Daoud said, the location shows “how compromised the eastern Lebanese-Syrian border is to entry of ‘resistance axis’ elements and the Lebanese state’s inability to properly police its territory against Iranian penetration.
“Second,” Daoud added, “it further demonstrates unification of the ‘Resistance Axis’ that Nasrallah and other Iranian proxy-militia leaders have often mentioned, where in a future war (say, against Israel), Hezbollah would not fight alone, but would be joined by other forces.”
Hezbollah and its patrons in Tehran intervened in the Syrian civil war on behalf of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Shiite forces then built a power base in the country independent from state institutions, effectively creating a new front in the Islamic Republic’s conflict with Israel.
Israel insists that the Lebanese army has lost its independence and has become an “integral part” of Hezbollah’s network, meaning that the next war on Israel’s northern border will not be confined to one front but will see conflict with Iranian proxies in both Lebanon and Syria.
The IRGC’s new chief, Hossein Salami, recently warned that Iran was preparing for a “full confrontation” with its “enemies,” referring to Israel and the United States.
[Photo: Tasnim News / Wikimedia Commons]