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Israeli Fears Of Iranian Missiles In Lebanon

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Israeli Fears Of Iranian Missiles In Lebanon

Click to see full-size image

The new Quds Force deputy commander, General Mohammed Hejazi was Iran’s “missile man” in Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Hejazi was announced as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force deputy commander on January 20th.

According to a public IDF report released in August 2019 Hejazi was involved in Hezbollah’s precision guided missile project in Lebanon.

The report said that he was an IRGC operative, commander of Iran’s precision guided missile project in Lebanon and directly commands Iranian personnel in Lebanon.”

He had reportedly spent years in Lebanon, and prior to going there on behalf of the IRGC, e was involved in research and logistics, making him keenly aware of how Iran moves its missiles to groups like Hezbollah.

According to his supposed biography provided by the Israeli outlet, his career was focused on supplying Hezbollah with missiles, to a very large degree:

“He faded from public view in 2014, and seems to have been in Lebanon during that time, helping Hezbollah stockpile and improve its estimated 150,000 missiles. Al-Ain media reports that he was Hezbollah’s key man linking them to the IRGC. He likely grew into this role after the death of Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated in 2008.

He helped supply arms to Hezbollah and help it with its precision guided missile programs. These programs have been spotlighted as a key threat to the region and Israel. Hezbollah wants to create local manufacturing bases for the precision guidance that would make its arsenal more dangerous. In March 2019 Israel said Hezbollah was seeking to set up an advanced missile plant in the Beka’a valley.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, Hejazi’s alleged role in Lebanon, as well as him being appointed as Quds Force deputy commander meant that Iran “plans to strike abroad.”

Radio Farda, a US government-funded outlet, claimed that following General Qassem Soleimani’s assassination by the US, Hejazi’s new role is “a huge promotion because of [Ayatollah] Khamenei’s now openly expressed strategy of keeping the war with the United States and Israel outside Iranian borders.”

Israeli Fears Of Iranian Missiles In Lebanon

New Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Click to see full-size image

At the same time, Lebanon got a new government, after Hassan Diab was appointed as Prime Minister. On January 22nd, the new government met for the first time, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that its main task was to win international confidence and assist in solving the crisis in the country.

“Your mission is delicate. It is necessary to work to tackle the economic situation, restore the confidence of the international community in Lebanese institutions and reassure the Lebanese about their future,” Aoun said.

However, the new government is approved and aligned with Hezbollah, and it is questionable how much “international support” it will receive.

According to Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the government is technocratic, and its main mission will be to match people’s demands.

“The new government will fight corruption, regain the plundered funds and maintain stability.”

Diab pointed out that he would start a tour to the Arab countries, especially the Gulf one, after his government obtains the parliamentary confidence.

Most of the ministers are supported by the March 8 Alliance Christian parties loyal to Hezbollah. For the first time since the signing of the Taif Agreements of 1989, the government did not include representatives of the Movement for the Future, the Druze community, the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb.

A nod to Saudi Arabia was the appointment of Zeyna A. Adra, executive director of the consulting company Information International, as Minister of Defense. She advised the heads of large companies in the United States, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. She repeatedly participated in joint programs of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Muhammad Fahmi, a regular military man, specialist of the mine clearing center and close friend of the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, became the Minister of the Interior.

In informal negotiations, Lebanese community leaders reached a temporary consensus. But the position of the cabinet will remain unstable, and the space for structural economic reforms will likely be narrow.

Diab is considered a novice in politics. The Prime Minister is dependent on Hezbollah and is closely associated with the adviser to the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Velayati. He is not supported by the former prime minister Saad Hariri, nor from the more influential Sunni Muslim leaders.

Despite Washington’s usual threats of ending economic and military assistance to Lebanon, the Pentagon will continue to provide arms and loans to this Middle Eastern country, and Beirut will most likely continue to provide a sort of balance in the US-Iran confrontation.

Meanwhile, despite the new government, protests in the country are continuing with escalating violence, as rioters are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces, and they’re met with water cannons.

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