The head of Iran's Basij paramilitary force has claimed it is raising an army of "millions" to flood Gaza and Syria to support Tehran's allies.
Fars, Iran’s semi-official newspaper, reported that that Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander the Basij paramilitary force, as saying: "Millions of Basijis (volunteer forces) are ready in Iran to be dispatched to Syria and Gaza and they have come to us (for registration)."
Iran’s Basij forces are much feared inside the country and known for their brutality in quashing anti-government dissent. They were highly utilized during Iran’s violent repression of the student protests in the wake of the Iranian elections of 2009.
Thousands of Iranian volunteers - mostly tied with Iran's Revolutionary Guards force - are already reportedly fighting alongside pro-regime forces in Syria, where Iran is attempting to forge a Syrian Hezbollah composed of Shia Islamist foot-soldiers.
Brig. General Naqdi’s threat to inundate Gaza, and even Judea and Samaria if possible, with Iranian militiamen comes of the heels of Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei’s call to arm the “West Bank just like Gaza.”
In fact, Brig. General Naqdi himself elaborated on Iran's plans to arm its Hamas and Islamic Jihad allies in the "West Bank" just as it has in Gaza stating that: "The most serious job is that they need to receive the necessary training and skills; as today, Gaza has its own defensive industry and they have stood on their feet, we also try to implement the same plan in the West Bank, God willing."
In July 2014, after the recent 50-day Hamas-Israel conflict, Ayatollah Khamenei first publicly emphasized that, "We believe the West Bank, too, should be armed just like Gaza and those who are interested in the fate of the Palestinians must work in this respect so that the pains and miseries of the Palestinian people will be decreased due to their mighty hands and the weakness of the Zionist enemy."
Since Khamenei’s call to arm terrorists in Judea and Samaria, numerous other Iranian military leaders have publicly repeated the Iranian Supreme Leader’s directive to “arm the West Bank just like Gaza.” For instance, in August 2014, Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, stated that “The continued war in Gaza will accelerate arming the West Bank and annihilation of the occupiers. And, the holy Quds [Jerusalem’s] occupiers' fear from arming the people and the resistance movement in the West Bank shows how deeply Tel Aviv is vulnerable to the start of a new phase of (Palestinians') fight and resistance."
Although threats to send "millions" of volunteers to Gaza to fight Israel are little more than bluster, it - along with threats to accelerate efforts to arm terrorists in Judea and Samaria - highlight a serious flaw in the conventional ‘wisdom’ that a "two-state solution" will lessen the Palestinian demographic problem presented to Israel by maintaining the status quo.
While Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria, as well as its blockade on Gaza, render Naqdi's plans pure fantasy, an Israeli withdrawal from those areas makes the possibility of such Shia militiamen being dispatched to both regions - as they already have been in Syria and Iraq - far more real.