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Monday, February 18, 2013

If Its Ally Syria Falls, Will Iran Just Take Over Lebanon?

That is the implication of the Asharq Alawsat article about Hezbollah’s Asylum Offer

According to the article, Iran is supporting the Assad regime's army while at the same time preparing to back an Alawite entity composed of Syrian provinces that are adjacent to the Lebanese border -- including the port in Latakia that is instrumental in bringing supplies to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But that is not all:

[A]t the same time, Iran is working to place all of Lebanon under its control because if the Syrian regime stays, its position will not be healthy or secure, and if it fails and Iran is unable to help the Alawites establish their state, Iran will still have a vital foothold in the Mediterranean. That is why, according to reliable sources, Hezbollah began last month to propose to Alawite officers in the Syrian army to seek refuge in Lebanon. On one hand, the aim of this offer was to calm down the growing concern of many Alawite officers that they may be tried as war criminals or be the targets of bloody liquidation after they have become convinced that the regime will fall sooner or later. On the other hand, the offer aims at reinforcing the ranks of Hezbollah’s fighters with veteran Alawite officers with high combat experience.
A benefit of this ambitious plan is that should Assad fall, Iran would be able to see to the continued political power of Hezbollah’s military in Lebanon, just in case the opposition in Lebanon tries to undermine Hezbollah’s power -- a major concern in view of the growing isolation of Hezbollah.

It appears that just as Iran has been working on ways of sidestepping the effects of sanctions, it has also been planning for options dependent on the fate of the Assad regime in Syria.

The question now is to what degree reports about Iran's intentions for Lebanon are accurate, and to what degree the Obama administration is willing and able to take action to counter Iran's goals, which will only further destabilize the region.

Hat tip: Daily Alert

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