Iran sees disaster as opportunity to advance regional interests

The more than 84,000 children who have died of starvation in the bloody civil war in Yemen can teach us a basic lesson. A similar lesson can be taught by the half a million bodies in war-torn Syria. It’s very simple: national disasters like the one that occurred Tuesday in Beirut, complete chaos, “a failing country” as defined by the Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti who just recently resigned, all of this will only push Iran to increase its efforts to advance its regional interests.

Beyond the Alborz and Zagros mountains, the heads of the Revolutionary Guard are the first to identify weak links in the Middle East. Hezbollah was created after the Lebanese War in the 1980s. The leaders of the revolution identified an opportunity to tighten their grip on the Lebanese Shiites, and sent hundreds of their men to take over the sect that was led by the Amal organization up until then.

A similar process happened in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was overthrown. In 2003 the Hezbollah Brigades were created in Iraq under the watchful eye of the Quds Force Commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The militia that was founded to fight the remnants of Saddam’s regime and the American coalition forces has become a serious security threat to Iraqi sovereignty and its spokespersons have no qualms when they directly threaten Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. In almost any arena in the Middle East that is driven to chaos, be it Syria or Yemen, the heads of the Iranian Quds force will show up to help their allies and tighten their grip there.

The dozens of dead and thousands of injured in the Beirut port blast, the collapse of health services, the financial crisis, the growing hunger, the coronavirus pandemic: all these are minor issues in the eyes of the revolutionary regime in Tehran. In fact, the Ayatollahs see this is a golden opportunity.

If up until now the West, in particular France, could demand the Lebanese make the tough choice between Hezbollah and the state itself, now it will be difficult to see how the sanctions policy led by the US continues unchanged. The blast has saved the Lebanese people from this dilemma. The country has already collapsed. The refusal to help Lebanon now will be seen as the epitome of cruelty.

Thanks to the chaos in the streets and the schools filling with families who have lost everything, the Israeli threat to hit infrastructure has already happened, thanks to fate. Lebanese media reported that the investigation is still underway, but it seems that welding in one of the storage facilities containing a massive amount of ammonium nitrate led to the blasts that shook Lebanon.

In this situation, even if Hezbollah succeeded in attacking the border after two failed attempts in the Har Dov region and the Golan Heights, Israel will find it difficult to carry out its threat to make Lebanon pay. Therefore, it must be prepared for more attempted attacks on its border.

There will be those who claim that now Hezbollah will be blamed and will have to loosen its grip on the country, especially if it becomes clear that its own weapon storage led to the disaster, as was hinted by Saudi media in the Gulf, or that the ammonium was kept there for a similar reason. But even if this is the case, the PR machine of the Shia organization is ready to go.

Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper has already claimed that the speed of Israel’s denial in responsibility for the event hints that it is connected to the blast. Just like its denials after taking out senior Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, and other attacks in Syria. On Wednesday, the editor of the newspaper, Ibrahim Al Amine, said that sabotage could be an option, even though none of it matters and it’s all just a cover-up for the “great collapse” of Lebanon.

Even before the horrible disaster, the threat to respond to the killing of the Hezbollah operative in Syria, which came through that same Lebanese newspaper close to the terror group, made it clear that despite Hassan Nasrallah’s promises to help with the national financial crisis, his priorities have remained the same: first Iran – then Lebanon. This, despite all the warnings from senior Israeli officials. This insistence to play with fire when Lebanon is suffering following an unprecedented economic crisis shows that for Nasrallah, it is more important to deter Israel from acting in Syria, where Iran wants to widen its presence and transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

In other words, Iran’s strategy to lay siege to Israel from as many fronts as possible continues as usual. In the long run, the Islamic republic still believes the West can not stop its spread in the Middle East and its threats on Israel, and that it will eventually loosen the sanctions. Tehran is currently hoping for the victory of the Democratic party’s nominee in the US presidential elections, Joe Biden, who they believe will return to the more reconciliatory policy of former president Barack Obama.

As that is the case, one cannot ignore the horrible cynicism in the statement of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif Tuesday night. “Our hearts are with the Lebanese people during the great catastrophe,” he said, “we are willing to help Lebanon in any way we can.” If Tehran really wants to help Lebanon – it should cut all ties with it. The past has shown us, however, that its grip will only tighten.

Source » israelhayom

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