Hezbollah Just One Puppet of Iranian Regime as Its Influence Spreads
The reality of Hezbollah being an extension of the policies of Iran is clear in the fact that Iran continues to fund the group, even as they have gained political power in Lebanon. But for many, the question is how does Iran use Hezbollah in the region and how does it benefit Iran?
For the Iranian regime, the point of disrupting the region is bring all the countries into the Iranian fold, thus creating regional hegemony. To meet this goal, the Iranian regime needs to disrupt the current governments in neighboring countries. The more disorder they can sow, the more it assists them in reaching their goal.
Hezbollah has been a key part of this strategy, as it serves as a foreign fighting force that works and trains alongside the Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Hezbollah was founded by the IRGC over 30 years ago and acts as a puppet for them to this day, actively carrying out Iranian regime’s terrorist ambitions across the Middle East and the world at large. Most notably, fighting on Iran’s behalf to prop up the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
Since the 1980s, Hezbollah has been involved in some horrific terrorist attacks with the full backing and sometimes planning assistance of the Iranian military. Lebanon was not Iran’s only target, but it is clearly been its most successful one to date.
Under the guise of fighting terrorism, Iran has managed to increase its influence in Iraq, using its militias to integrate the Iraqi military. Its terrorist Quds’ Force Commander Qasem Soleimani has taken the lead in Iraq and his efforts have reaped results. However, Iran has been taking over Iraq one piece at a time since the American forces began to withdraw. The Iranian influence is felt at a military and political level in Iraq, much the same as it is felt in Lebanon.
However, Hezbollah has left Lebanon and become active in other countries with Iran’s blessing. These countries include Syria, Yemen, and more. Wherever Iran has taken an active role in a country, you can be sure that Hezbollah will be joining the party as well.
Hezbollah’s forces are stronger than the Lebanon army, thus making it critical that Lebanon receive help to expel this Iranian-funded force from its borders. Being on the wrong side of Hezbollah can have serious consequences. Hezbollah critic Rafik Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, was assassinated in 2005. His son, the current Prime Minister Saad Hariri has just fled to Saudi Arabia after a plot to assassinate him was uncovered.
When the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) was signed in 2015, it was a way to keep Iran in check. Instead, the release of billions of dollars of previously frozen assets has given the Iranian regime money to burn on its military efforts throughout the region. While the Iranian people could have used those funds to make infrastructure improvements key to the successful reboot of their economy, the regime has chosen to ignore its people again to pursue its goals of dominating the Middle East.
Many Arab leaders are speaking out against the actions of the Iranian regime and its puppet, Hezbollah. Most notably is Saudi Arabia, which has long been a rival of Iran. Saudi leaders have pointed to Iran’s actions in Syria and Yemen as troubling. They are attempting to build a coalition of Arab nations to stand up to Iran. Many of the Saudi allies are already on board. However, there appears to be a lack of solidarity behind any one particular plan or course of action.
Another piece of Iran’s puzzle in the quest of regional hegemony is the land bridge that goes straight to the Mediterranean Sea via Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This is crucial for it to be able to move troops and weapons through the region without obstructions.
Any country or international coalition looking to stand up to Iran must recognize the full scope of the threat. If confronted, the Iranian regime will lash out like a cornered animal, using all the weapons at its disposal, including its militias.
Changes at the international level, however, can be seen as a sign of support for those Arab nations looking to curb Iran’s influence.
In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog, human rights activist Amir Basiri wrote that Donald Trump’s new Iran policy aims to deal with the vast array of threats posed by Iran and the IRGC to countries across the world and encouraged other countries to join the U.S. in its efforts.
“The concerted clamp down on Hezbollah, the IRGC’s main foreign surrogate, is a vital step toward implementing this policy in earnest. It should be complemented by regional and global efforts to curb the destructive machinations of Iran’s other proxies, including the Popular Mobilization Forces, which account for crimes against humanity in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen. Cutting off Tehran’s tentacles in the region in tandem with tightening the noose around the IRGC will ensure that Iran has no loopholes to exploit,” said Basiri.
The question is whether the international community and the Arab nations can stick together to effectively deal with the Iranian threat or will infighting allow Iran to continue to become more powerful?