In the midst of the debacle building in Syria, Iranian “security” forces continue to pour into the country. For months Bashar al-Assad has sanctioned attacks against his countrymen in an effort to stay in power. While the Western World has taken a “watch and wait” stance, Iran has not. Its leaders consider Syria a significant frontline in their battle for Middle East supremacy.
Assad’s tactics apparently include using Iranian commandos armed with Hezbollah weapons to carry out his brutal tyranny. Esmail Ghani, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps deputy commander was not shy about admitting that some troops from the Quds Force are active in Syria. He is the highest-level Iranian military bureaucrat to make such an admission.
Ghani did what no other IRGC-OF commander has done before: he corroborated information from the Syrian opposition and from Western informants that the elite Iranian unit had boots on the ground in Syria. Both Iranian and Hezbollah soldiers have been apprehended in the main centers of conflict and in areas of violent retaliatory strikes against the Free Syrian Army and the civilian populace. Assad’s opposition has released information from interrogations of prisoners that substantiate Iran’s involvement in the conflict.
The information gathered also supports the belief that Iran has been involved in Syrian politics since the dawn of the uprising in that country. The assistance first took the form of advice and assistance in the field. This escalated to support from the IRGC-QF operating openly with the aid of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Over the months of ongoing conflict, the aid accelerated to military, consulting, and resources pooled to support the joint operation.
US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland delivered a statement to the press on May 29, 2012, in which she indicated Iran’s direct involvement in the horrific Houla massacre. One hundred eight (108) people were killed–including 34 women and 49 children. Eyewitness accounts point to Shabiha forces—thugs loyal to Assad—as the assailants. Nuland also denoted further intelligence that compared the attacks on the citizens of Houla to the same methods used by the feared Iranian Basij, the volunteer branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Quds Force. It stands to reason that Iran would send representatives of that ruthless and violent wing to train Assad’s volunteer forces. The powers that be in Tehran seem intent on keeping Assad in power at any cost.