Here is the summary of the article:
- Amid the intensifying crisis in Syria, which in recent weeks has seen massacres of the civilian population in various parts of the country, Iranian military, propaganda, and economic assistance keeps flowing in, and its aim is to help President Bashar al-Assad survive. Iran views the confrontation in Syria as a critical battleground with the West regarding the reshaping of the Middle East and its own role in the region as a key, vital, and influential player.
- At present Hizbullah weapons are serving - under Iran's command - as part of Assad's apparatus of violent repression. Esmail Ghani, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corp - Qods Force (IRGC-QF), is the most senior Iranian military official so far to have revealed its activity in Syria. In an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), he acknowledged that elements of the IRGC-QF have been involved in Syrian events.
- This marked the first time a senior IRGC-QF commander had confirmed reports by Syrian opposition elements and Western sources about active involvement of elite units of the IRGC-QF, together with the Syrian army, in violent repression of the protests. The opposition, especially the Free Syrian Army, sometimes presents testimonies of direct Iranian involvement in the fighting and publishes interrogations of Iranian prisoners and Hizbullah operatives, as part of its online information campaign, along with documentation such as confiscated passports and identity papers. Iranians and Hizbullah operatives have been captured in the main centers of fighting including Homs. In their confessions they admit that they belong to the IRGC-QF and were sent to put down the disturbances in Syria.
- Iranian assistance to the repression of the Syrian uprising, which has included consultation as well as guidance in the "field," began shortly after the protests first erupted. This aid was already reported by Iranian opposition elements, who claimed that the repression in Syria was being carried out by a Syrian contingent of the IRGC-QF that had been operating in the country, and had been responsible over time for military, intelligence, and logistical assistance to Hizbullah in Lebanon.
- In a May 29, 2012, press briefing, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland pointed to Iran's involvement in the Houla massacre, linking the Qods Force to the incident and implicitly to other incidents in Syria as well. She noted the great similarity in structure and operational methods between the Shabiha forces that stood behind the massacre, according to various testimonies, and the Basij, the volunteer arm of the IRGC-QF.
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Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall, a former IDF military intelligence officer and an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Terrogence Company.
Technorati Tag: Iran and Syria.