'Iran's Front Lines are in Southern Lebanon'
Iran is in the midst of a large-scale military buildup and attempting to expand its influence in the Middle East, as is evident in its active intervention in sectarian conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen and Gaza.
Syed Yahya Safawi, senior adviser to Iran's supreme military command said in this context that the Revolutionary Guards feel proud to be a force that works against what he called the "growing experience of Western imperialism to impose dominance over the Islamic Republic and the Islamic worldview."
To illustrate, observed Safawi, Syria has "two axes competing for power - one Western-Zionist-Arab, which had recruited 40,000-50,000 terrorists to create instability in the country, and one Iranian-Russian-Chinese-Iraqi [with the help of Hezbollah], which has had success on the battlefield through the Syrian army and has successfully thwarted Western attempts to overthrow Assad."
Safawi added that Syria is "of strategic importance" because of its location, as a border country with Israel and as a front to "struggle against the occupation".
The adviser also added that Iran has "expanded its influence in the Middle East" and that the "front line of defense" is not in Iran, but in southern and Western Lebanon. That comment was likely a reference to a campaign of attacks by Sunni Islamist groups against Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon, in retaliation for the Shia Islamist group's involvement in the Syrian civil war against the Sunni-dominated rebel forces.
Iran and the Syrian regime insist that Assad's forces are winning in the ongoing Syrian civil war, although rebels still have control over key areas.
Damascus and Tehran have accused Israel of aiding opposition forces before, despite the fact that rebel forces include several Islamist groups who have openly declared their hostility towards the Jewish state.