Iran and Hizbullah View the 2021 Gaza War

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, and Jerusalem Center-Iran Desk - Senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza were in contact with Iran's top brass, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the heads of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, during the 2021 Gaza War. Sources close to Hizbullah revealed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hamas, and Hizbullah coordinated the military confrontation in Gaza from a military operations center in Beirut. The commander of the IRGC's Quds Force, General Esmail Qaani, visited Lebanon twice to attend meetings at the joint command center. Iranian aid to Hamas and Islamic Jihad is constant and flows all the time through various channels, regardless of the economic situation in Iran and Lebanon. Iranian influence could be seen in Hamas' efforts to attack Israel's strategic and energy infrastructures, including efforts to damage Israeli gas rigs in the Mediterranean. This copies the efforts of the Houthis in Yemen to attack similar targets in Saudi Arabia. These efforts involve long-range attack drones, GPS-guided unmanned suicide vessels, underwater guided weapons, and long-range missiles. The Houthis in Yemen are using these capabilities against oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and against civilian infrastructure such as airports, power plants, and desalination facilities. Iran seeks to develop these capabilities and test them against Israeli civilian and military targets. From their perspective, Iran's leaders see a string of successes, including confronting sanctions, surviving the Trump administration and ex-Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, maintaining an active military nuclear program, overthrowing Saddam Hussein, the Shia revival in Iraq, and the "victories" of the Palestinians in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon against Israel with Iran's support. They believe that the prophecy of the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, regarding the destruction of Israel will eventually be fulfilled, and that Iran has the power to bring it about. For Iran, "Palestine" is only one part of a complex strategy of building the Axis of Resistance from the Persian Gulf to Lebanon, aimed at Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon; each arena has its own blueprint, a toolbox of hostile insurgency actions, and the guidance of Hizbullah, the Quds Force, and well-trained militias. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center, served as Military Secretary to the Prime Minister and as chief of staff to the Foreign Minister. Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center.

2021-06-28 00:00:00

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