Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Report on Iran’s Growing Military Involvement in Syria

Iran Formed a Second Hezbollah in Syria’ - IRGC General
Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor’s staff writer, photographer for Getty Images, and the author of “Swords Encircle Me: Iran – A Journey Behind the Headlines,” on Friday filed a report from Tehran on the country’s growing military involvement in Syria. Following are some excerpts form Peterson’s report. To read the full report, please click here.

“Iran’s military this week is mourning another senior Revolutionary Guard officer killed while fighting in Syria… Abdollah Eskandari was, by one count, the 60th Iranian officer to die as a ‘martyr’ in Syria.”

“Iran has supplied troops, cash, and know-how to Syria's President Assad. That support has been vital, but comes at a cost to Iran.” 
“Some 130,000 Iranians are ‘trained’ and ready to go, and already ‘Iran has formed a second Hezbollah in Syria,’ claimed Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, an IRGC commander who oversaw Iran’s involvement (in Syria).”

“Besides deploying Iranian advisers and lining up its own recruits, Iran is also reported to have mustered volunteer Shiite fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Photo credit: The anniversary remembrance of Iranian Brig. Gen. Hassan Shateri, killed a year earlier in Syria. Tehran, 6 February 2014. (Scott Peterson/TCSM/Getty Images)


Anonymous said...

Well done Iran. It should continue its support of Bashar who hopefully would get rid of the takfiri cannibals, crucifying people.

Anonymous said...

So what? Every country's involved in Syria..Even those that don't share a border or culture..So why can't or shouldn't Iran get involved?

If anything, Iran and Syria have a defence pact. It's only natural.

Anonymous said...

Syria is very important to Iran. But Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Southern Europe should know Iran is actually protecting them from becoming like Pakistan and Afghanistan where these Wahabi extremists get a stronghold and start threatening their immediate region. It is not in any country's interest to let these murders survive and develop their terror networks.

Nader Uskowi said...

Actually you should direct your objections to the Iranian government, which is trying to keep its military involvement in Syria and Iraq secret, and doing a lousy job at that. Their information operations on this involvement is childish. They deny any military involvement except some limited advisory role, then they announce funeral and memorial services for some 60 officers, among them general and senior colonels.
And they deny that they are recruiting Afghans and Iraqis to serve as foreign militias in Syria, and then Ayatollah Kabuli tells us that they are paying Afghan refugees in Iran $500/month and permanent residency if they join the militias.

It is time for Iran to start telling the truth about Syrian conflict to its citizens, and indeed to the people everywhere. If Iran believes what it is doing there, and in Iraq, are noble and in defense of the country's Shia minority, or if it believes it is doing this as the first line of defense, a ridiculous excuse increasingly heard from regime apologists, then why should it keep its involvement secret?

I said ridiculous excuse, and if you have not read my previous comments on the subject in the past few week, let me say that I believe the military involvement by Iran in Syria will not protect it from being attacked, if we assume that the thesis of a plan by the West to attack Iran is even valid. But even if that thesis was valid, then the Iranian involvement in Syria would give the West more reasons, not less, to attack it!

It's time to discuss Syria issue for the right reasons, and not for wrong reasons. Lets put factors, or excuses, of prevention of an attack on Iran, or regime change, etc., aside, and discuss the merit or disastrous consequences of such involvement.

I've been saying this before, Iranian military is walking into a serious trap in Syria to help Assad, which is a poor caricature of his old self. The devastation and religious conflict in the country will take decades to be overcome even if the war ended today, and no matter who won it. This is not the Syria that Iran was counting on to put up a serious resistance to Israel in case of an attack on Iran.

Anonymous said...

the Assad dictatorship is teetering, and Iran's losses mounting, but without Syria's airports iran will not be able to continue to supply Lebanese Hezbollah with the arms that keep the Hezzies from being stopped from subverting Lebanese sovereignty in in Iranian orbit.

Iran has no other allies worth anything so it's stuck with trying to prop up the Assads.

B.M.A said...


@-you want the the Government to announce to the world that it has troops in Syria?-

@You want the US [B.O.D]to come forward and tell the world that its special forces escorting and manning the high tech 'offensive tools'in the hands of the Rats are in fact killed by Hizbolla snippers?

@-You want TURKEYto tell the world that it is tired of this war which it lost long ago and that its special forces too returned home in coffins thanks to Iran's missiles that hit with pinpoint accuracy?.

@Again you want the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to admit that its machinations in Syria hit a snag costing the job of its intelligence minister ,will you convince anyone that Saudi Arabia would send 'heavy' weapons without involving its special forces in that mission.

@Israel too has trainers inside Syria, and them too are dancing to the music of the war without telling anyone.-

@YOU want the US to tell the world that those insurgents they are busy training in Jordan never come back to and that the whole mission is kept alive by Saudi,and Qatar petro-dollars and that it is nightmare upon nightmare to the US trained rats and that every side if feeling the pinch .

so who said the war in Syria is not costly to Iran or the enemies of Assad?

Nader Uskowi said...

And why not, B.M.A.? Why shouldn't Iranian leadership explain their military involvement in Syria to the Iranian citizens? Isn't their blood and treasure that are at stake in Syria and now in Iraq? Besides, for whom they want to keep their involvement secret? To the West? I think not! At the end of the day only the citizens of the country, who should be informed if the government wants their long-term support, are kept in the dark.

If Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not report their involvement to their citizens, does that mean Iran needs to follow their example, and their model of governance?

Anonymous said...


The war is costly for Iran yes, but who said victory is cheap? Ask the Vietnamese. The truth is Saudi Arabia and most of the gulf sheikhdoms as always seen Iran as a threat before and after the Islamic Revolution. And the Sauds as never hide their intent of destroying IRI.

The US is the biggest hypocrite in all these. How can America explain its support for alqaida elements and Saudi claimed support for democracy in Syria when they've suppress the same in Bahrain and America as turn a blind eyes? What should Iran have done after Syria as been turn into proxy war in order to isolate Iran in the region, a thesis strongly advocated by western think thanks.

Alas we only see what we want to see, this is a base element of human nature that no amount of education can alter unless we free our mind. Even Mr. Nader cannot be denied his right to see things the way he insisted he want to.

Nader Uskowi said...

Your analogy is false. Vietnamese fought for the independence of their homeland. Iran-Iraq war, in its first two years when Iranians fought for their homeland to expel Iraqi invaders were more similar to the vietnamese experience. The Syria involvement by Iran is a naked intrusion in the civil war in a foreign country.

If you want to discuss U.S. military history and its military involvements, there are many good blogs available which focus on that topic. So are some good blogs on GCC countries. If you have an important to say about Iran, you are welcome to share your views with us here.

Unknown said...

Nader Uskowi, I know Assad is a dictator and a mass-murderer, and that the (Sunni) Arab world will forever hate us for siding with him, which we deserve, and as a half-Syrian Iranian I can't stress that point enough. But are you suggesting that Iran forget Hezbollah ever existed and leave the (Shia) Lebanese to their fate? We know Syria is Iran's only route to Lebanon.

How coward and immoral would that too have been? What kind of message would it have convey to the Shias of the Arab world who think of Iran as their stronghold?

What other choice did Iran have besides walking into this "trap" which you speak of, which indeed is filthy given the fact that Iran is forced to side with a mass-murderer against an entire population.

Nader Uskowi said...

We haven't discussed Hezbollah in this post. You bring up an important point. Let me start with Hezbollah's involvement in Syria. I though that decision, under Iran's "persuasion," was a wrong decision for the organization. Hezbollah had worked so hard and tirelessly to introduce itself as a Lebanese force, with the main mission of protecting the homeland against Israel. After months of fighting in Syria, Hezbollah is now seen as another sectarian Shia militia involved in killing Sunni Muslims under tutelage of Iran. This was a huge mistake on their part. Assad's regime is not sustainable in the long run, and Hezbollah could have worked with a post-Assad government, even if it were Sunni-dominated.

So, if Iran starts to push for a real political solution in Syria (not the sham election under Assad) and starts to disengage militarily, then the Hezbollah will have a golden opportunity to go back to what it worked for and regain its national image in Lebanon. The civil war in Syria will have disastrous effects on Iran and Hezbollah; sooner they disengage, better off they both are.

Anonymous said...

Unknown said...

You think people like Al-Nusra and the ISIL (or even the FSA) would "work" with Hezbollah and Iran under any circumstances (since Hezbollah cannot survive without Iranian support)? Weren't they the reason Hezbollah got involved in the first place?

Forget Assad. Is it safe for Hezbollah to sit tight and watch sectarian, Jihadist organizations build up on its borders? Would it have made a difference if Hezbollah had chosen not to side with Assad?

There was no other choice!

Anonymous said...

Nader, Oh! Nader. I mean no insult but if what you suggested above is your solution to the Syria war then I would say it's ironically unfortunate that Iran not to have you at the helms.

So you mean hezbollah should sit back and watch those takfiri cannibals fervently supported by your beloved America (remember McCain possing in a pic with a heart eating takfiri in Syria) - those who have made no secret of their hatred of Shias even declaring that to fight Shias takes more priority than to fight Israel - build up their forces next door and wait until they start to invade Lebanon?! Sorry I forget, we are not dealing with Washington issues on this forum and who said McCain's action is an interference and not based on humanitarian concern for the people of Syria, please forgive my ignorance.

Wasn't the March 14 members open support for these takfiri elements in Syria even before hezbollah intervention based on sectarianism. Oh I get it, probably you want hezbollah to be engaged on two fronts in the next war against Israel so that they could be defeated by Israel without really saying it. This is just a slip of tongue so please forgive me.

I know you will evade the issues I raised in your usual ways: this site is not for discussing Israel and you can take your concern about March 14 to forum that is based on Lebanon issues.

Like I have written in my previous comments "alas we only see what we want to see."

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, and of course notwithstanding the totally inappropriate nature of Iran's full spectrum and increasingly costly and indecent involvement in this foreign conflict considering the already enormous burden its own citizen are currently going through, it takes places within a very complex and multifaceted geopolitical power struggle involving coalition of actors comprising many Western and Middle-Eastern nations, government and groups, and thus cannot be systematically separated from say American or European involvement partly enforced by their extremist proxies such as GCC members.

This civil conflict has long been turned into a mosaic of interference from all sides, and Iran does not hold monopoly or primacy in its militarization. One cannot put the whole blame on Iran as it seems (correct me if I'm wrong) the case here in your assertion. At most, Iran is as responsible and coldly calculating as any other external actor trying to gear the Syrian state into a satellite of its own, with Iran trying to keep a pro-Iran leader in place while its opponents are trying to topple it in favor of a leader sympathetic to IMF loans and western military market to turn its country to a yet another GCC like client state, totally disregarding the human factor or the Syrian people's genuine desire for self-governance in a post-Assad era, let alone worn-out US slogans such as "Democracy and Freedom" of which we all probably know better in this blog than to blindly swallow as valid and altruistic, I hope.

Here we have simple, stone cold facts and balance of power : The GCC, along with its western and specially US patrons saw in the Syrian debacle a golden opportunity to critically alter the geopolitical tide in their favor in their long protracted proxy war with their common enemy, and used their usual shadow Al-Qaida linked army to help in doing the job, overpowering moderate elements fighting the Allawite dictator and by their predictably horrendous deeds slowly but surely turned popular support back in his favor. Now that the tide has changed militarily too in Assad's favor they started a very cynical game of attrition, suddenly bolstering even further support for their "good guys" (renowned for their reputation of being corrupt and unaccountable extortioners in the eyes of local population in the few areas they once controlled and contributing to a rise in Islamic factions' popularity before the latter committed enough atrocities to be disqualified too) so that the rest of the conflict turns to be as lengthy, destructive and costly as possible. Now yes, the Iranian government hides its involvement in a poor and cheap way to its own citizen, but what about the US government openly lying in public on the true motives behind its growing support for armed-groups it knows little about at best, and which Ms. Jen Psaki has been made a joke of herself trying to defend in the face of a torrent of reports stating indirect links between GCC-affiliated groups among US-supported elements ?

All in all, every single intervening actor here is to blame for the ongoing catastrophe, ranging from Moscow to Washington, or Riyadh, Doha, Tehran or even silent Beijing. NONE of these are interested in a better future for Syria, and one shouldn't bother lure himself or herself trying to figure out "good actors" vs "bad actors", Syria is a total mess and it will take it decades to fully recover no matter what kind of government ends in place, assuming the country actually recovers as it once was. Thus in my opinion, making a special case of Iran is void considering this context.