The Islamic Republic of Iran and its allies abroad on Friday commemorated Qods (Jerusalem) Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan and established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to express support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel. The regime has not shied away from reiterating its call for Israel’s destruction during the annual event.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced that two men, Ali Kourani and Samer El Debek, had been arrested and charged with carrying out various missions on behalf of Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization. The IJO serves as Hizballah’s external operations wing, carrying out clandestine missions on behalf of Iran around the world. The complaints allege that Kourani and El Debek were both members of the IJO, which is ultimately controlled by Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who in turn reports “directly” to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The US military noted that it does not seek a fight against pro-Syrian regime militias, but its forces will continue to defend themselves if threatened.
The strike against pro-Syrian government militias is the second in the past month. The US military is training Free Syrian Army-branded militias in the area to battle the Islamic State.
Hashem Saffiedine is the head of Hezbollah’s powerful Executive Council, making him the second-most important man in the organization behind its leader, Hassan Nasrallah. He is also Nasrallah’s heir apparent as Hezbollah’s Secretary General. According to the State Department designation, Saffiedine poses a serious risk of committing terrorist acts against the United States and threatening its national security.
Hezbollah has repositioned its men for the ongoing battles in Syria.
Qatar recently secured the release of Qatari hostages, including members of the royal family. But its diplomatic victory was marred by reports that a multi-million dollar ransom was paid to a US-designated terrorist group and an al Qaeda-linked joint venture in Syria.
The policy debate concerning Syria must reflect on-the-ground realities. The war is a complex, multi-sided affair with no easy solutions.