May 5, 2013
According to the Israeli intelligence asset DEBKAfile, the IDF crossed into Lebanon following a second Israeli attack on a military research facility located on the outskirts of Damascus early Sunday morning.
“One Lebanese source claimed Israeli ground troops had descended from the Mt. Dov-Hermon range, crossed the Lebanese border and entered the Shebaa Farms region,’ DEBKAfile reports.
The Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms were captured by Israel during the 1967 War. Although the Israelis claim the area is a strategic military asset, many argue that Israel occupied the region for its water resources.
None of these reports are confirmed by Israel, Lebanon or Syria. But DEBKAfile notes that if Israeli troops have indeed penetrated Lebanon to a depth of 5-7 kilometers and reached the Shebaa Farms, they have taken up positions opposite the 30 Syrian Shiite villages guarded by incoming Iranian elite Basij militiamen.
DEBKAfile reported exclusively Friday that thousands of Basij militiamen had just been airlifted from Iran to Syria, establishing an Iranian military presence opposite Israel from Syria as well as Lebanon. They joined a comparable number of Hizballah militiamen fighting for the Bashar regime.
The Basji (Persian for mobilization) receive orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and have pledged their loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. According to the commander of the Basij, Hasan Taeb, the paramilitary organization numbers 12.6 million members, or approximately 20 percent of Iran’s population.
“Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic province for us. If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or Khuzestan [in western Iran], the priority for us is to keep Syria,” a senior Iranian cleric, Mehdi Taeb, said in February.
Taeb told the English-language Lebanese news website Ya Libnan that Iran helped Syria establish a paramilitary group based on the Basji to fight against the CIA’s FSA and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “The Syrian Basij was formed with 60,000 [members] of Hezbollah, who took over the war in the streets from the army,” Taeb said.
In February, the neocon organization the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) cited multiple sources stating Israel is preparing for another war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. A senior Israeli official told the FDD “the world needs to be prepared for the next war with Lebanon.”
FDD is closely linked to the National Endowment for Democracy, the quasi-governmental organization funded by the U.S. that conducts covert operations under NGO cover designed to overthrow governments unacceptable to the global elite, a job once entrusted to the CIA.
DEBKAfile’s report is suspect due to the fact that it operates as an Israeli military intelligence asset. If, however, the IDF and Basij militiamen are squaring off in Syria it represents a significant escalation in the conflict and may soon result in a regional war.