Iran and Hizbullah, its proxy in Lebanon, are preparing to stake out their claims in Syria by building up terrorist armies there if and when Syrian President Bashar Assad falls. An Iranian-Hizbullah power base in Syria is aimed at helping it control supply routes, which Iran badly needs because of the U.S.-backed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Quoting U.S. and Middle East officials, the Washington Post reported Sunday that Hizbullah and Iranian armies are fighting with Assad’s loyalists but with a parallel motive of giving Tehran and Hizbullah a position of power for the possible, if not likely, chaos that will follow Assad’s demise.
Iran estimated to have sent approximately 50,000 fighters to Syria, where Hizbullah’s Revolutionary Guards also are stationed.
“Syria is basically disintegrating as a nation, similar to how Lebanon disintegrated in the 70s to ethnic components, and as Iraq did,” Paul Salem, director of the Beirut-based Mideast Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,” told the newspaper. “It’s going to be very hard to put Syria the nation back together.”
“We’re looking at a place which is sort of a zone, an area called Syria, with different powers.”
Iran and Hizbullah are commanding an alliance of forces of Shi’ite Muslims and Alawites, loyal to Assad.