Iran seeks to establish bases on Israel’s eastern border, wrote my colleague Edi Cohen on this website earlier this week.
Cohen reported that King Abdullah II is courting the Shiites that make up the majority of Iran’s population, as well as that of Iraq, where Iran is very active to push out the US military via its various proxies united in the Hashd al-Sha’abi umbrella organization of predominantly Shiite militias.
“In a change of policy just two weeks ago, the King of Jordan visited the tomb of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed and brother of Shi’ite founder Ali ibn Talib in the Al Kerak province, where the tombs of other Shi’ite clerics are found. The Kingdom of Jordan has never opened these compounds to Shi’ite visitors,” Cohen wrote, adding that Jordan is seriously mulling the opening of its borders to Shiite pilgrims who want to visit the religious Shiite compounds in the country.
The reason Jordan is changing its policies toward Iran is that it is desperately in need for foreign help to prevent its economy from collapsing.
When Abdullah II accepts Iran’s offer to help Jordan to create new infrastructure projects such as a new airport it could mean that the Islamic Republic is trying to bring the country into its orbit.
Israel’s longest border is with Jordan, and Iran is eager to encircle the Jewish state while pumping millions of dollars into its various proxies such as Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
At the same time, Iran is trying to drive the US military out of Syria and Iraq via the use of its proxies in both countries, and uses the huge economic crisis in Lebanon to take over the country via Hezbollah and the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
That way Iran would make significant progress to rebuild the Persian Empire and to bring large parts of the Middle East under its influence.
Let’s take a look at what happened over the past few weeks in the countries that Iran is trying to take over.
In Iraq, Shiite militias have stepped up their attacks on American targets such as the US Embassy in Baghdad and the al-Assad airbase where the US has a strong presence.
These militias receive sophisticated weapons from the Quds Force including so-called suicide drones. The US military this week shot down one of these drones that was on its way to the US Embassy.
The rocket and drone attacks on US assets in Iraq have become more frequent of late. From January this year 55 rocket attacks on US targets were reported and at least 12 attacks with explosive-laden drones.
The US Administration of President Joe Biden finally responded at the end of June by ordering airstrikes on the base of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada militia of Hashd al-Sha’abi and military facilities in Albukamal, a town on the Syrian Iraqi border that is controlled by the Quds Force.
Iran then responded by ordering its proxies in Iraq to attack US forces near the Omar oilfield in northern Iraq, while Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada commander Abu Alaa al-Walae made clear that his militia would soon launch a major operation against the US after four of its members were killed in the US attack.
Al-Shuhada also said that the election of Ebrahim Raisi as the President of Iran would strengthen Iran’s proxies throughout the Middle East in the next four years.
The attacks on US assets in Iraq increased after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the shrewd commander of the Quds Force on January 3, 2020, and more recently after the US military pulled out of Afghanistan. Apparently Iran thinks it could repeat the Afghanistan scenario.
In related news, local media in Iraq also reported that a high level delegation of the IRCG visited Baghdad this week to talk with the Iraqi government about ‘intelligence issues’.
At the same time, the Iranians used their proxies in Syria to attack US assets near the town of Deir Ez-Zur and other targets related to the American army in the east of the country.
The reason for these attacks is that the Iranians want the US military to leave a base near the al-Tanf border crossing in eastern Syria.
That way Iran would completely control the border between Iraq and Syria and would finally complete its land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea and the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.
Then there is Lebanon, where Iran uses Hezbollah to exploit the huge economic and financial crisis to completely take over the country.
To give you an idea of how bad the situation in Lebanon has become one only has to look at the price of gasoline there. Last week the Lebanese government ended the subsidy of fuel and a liter of 95 octane now costs a staggering $47.
The gas stations are now the only places where the Lebanese people are still venting their anger over the dire situation in their country as the demonstrations that took place earlier didn’t change a thing in Lebanon.
The World Bank has described the crisis in Lebanon as one of the worst in the world since 1850 and called the situation “brutal” with the Lebanese currency losing 90 percent of its value against the US Dollar since the end of 2019.
More than 50 percent of the Lebanese population is now living below the poverty line and this situation is exploited by Hezbollah, which has no financial problems apparently since it started to pamper the Lebanese population with a range of benefits earlier this year.
One of these benefits is a discount card for a Hezbollah-run supermarket chain that sells only Iranian and Syrian products. Another is free Iranian medicines, a smart move since local pharmacies had no medicines to sell anymore.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, furthermore, has offered to import Iranian fuel to get prices down.
Lebanon will thus come fully into Iran’s orbit, and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is aware of this. Gantz offered Israeli aid to Lebanon earlier this week but as long as Hezbollah is expanding its grip on Lebanon his plan won’t materialize.
Palestinian Authority & Hamas
As for the Palestinian proxies of Iran, an Israeli military expert has discovered that Hamas and PIJ are sharing intelligence with Iran and Hezbollah about the last 11-day-war with Israel.
The intelligence is meant to learn the operational lessons of the last war and help the Iranian axis preparing for the final war against Israel, according to the expert.