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New IRGC Quds Force #2 Is Iran’s ‘Missile Mastermind’ In Lebanon

Summary:
Lebanon has a new Hezbollah-dominated and backed government after three months of protests have gripped the country, which no doubt has raised alarm for both Israel and the United States, especially given West-backed political parties were largely sidelined in the forming of Michel Aoun's new handpicked cabinet, especially when it comes to Hezbollah's top candidate for prime minister, newly sworn in (as of Tuesday) Hassan Diab. To make matters worse for Tel Aviv, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force has now named a #2 under Gen. Esmail Qaani — who himself had served as now slain Soleimani's deputy for more than a decade. The new Quds deputy commander alongside top Quds chief Qaani is Mohammed Hejazi, according to The Jerusalem Post, who crucially is considered a longtime

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Lebanon has a new Hezbollah-dominated and backed government after three months of protests have gripped the country, which no doubt has raised alarm for both Israel and the United States, especially given West-backed political parties were largely sidelined in the forming of Michel Aoun's new handpicked cabinet, especially when it comes to Hezbollah's top candidate for prime minister, newly sworn in (as of Tuesday) Hassan Diab.

To make matters worse for Tel Aviv, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force has now named a #2 under Gen. Esmail Qaani — who himself had served as now slain Soleimani's deputy for more than a decade. The new Quds deputy commander alongside top Quds chief Qaani is Mohammed Hejazi, according to The Jerusalem Post, who crucially is considered a longtime "central figure in Iran’s operations in Lebanon".

New IRGC Quds Force #2 Is Iran's 'Missile Mastermind' In Lebanon
Brigadier General Mohammad Hejazi, appointed as Acting Commander of Quds Force on January 20. Image via Radio Farda/Tasnim

Last August a statement by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) named Hejazi as among three top IRGC commanders working to fast establish Hezbollah missile factories which can produce precision guided missiles, in preparation for the next major conflict with the Jewish state. 

Israeli media reports suggest that before entering the Quds force, which is the elite covert foreign arm of the IRGC, Mohammed Hejazi was a key enforcer helping Tehran put down protests, such as the 2009 presidential election mass demonstrations. 

According to a profile in The Jerusalem Post, his career outside the country has been focused in bolstering Hezbollah's weapons capabilities inside Lebanon:

He faded from public view in 2014, and seems to have been in Lebanon during that time, helping Hezbollah stockpile and improve its estimated 150,000 missiles. Al-Ain media reports that he was Hezbollah’s key man linking them to the IRGC. He likely grew into this role after the death of Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated in 2008.

He helped supply arms to Hezbollah and help it with its precision guided missile programs. These programs have been spotlighted as a key threat to the region and Israel. Hezbollah wants to create local manufacturing bases for the precision guidance that would make its arsenal more dangerous. In March 2019 Israel said Hezbollah was seeking to set up an advanced missile plant in the Beka’a valley.

The US administration has lately sought to pressure the Lebanese government into ensuring no domestic missile manufacturing is established under the aegis of Hezbollah. 

Washington has long seen the Shia paramilitary group  which also has seats in parliament and a huge following in the country — as but a foreign arm of Iran and the Ayatollah; however, many Lebanese and people across the region see Hezbollah as a legitimate homegrown 'resistance' movement giving the historically oppressed Shia of south Lebanon a political voice. 

New IRGC Quds Force #2 Is Iran's 'Missile Mastermind' In Lebanon

Starting last August into September,  Israel dramatically stepped up its so-called anti-Iranian expansion campaign inside Lebanon which involved a series of attacks and assassination attempts in south Beirut and the Lebanese countryside using IDF drones. 

Tel Aviv officials have repeatedly warned that Hezbollah missile manufacturing plants are a 'red line' against which the Israeli military would act

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden (a pseudonym) represents the idea that a return to truly efficient markets is a possibility and a necessity. After having experienced the inner workings of capitalism at various asset managers and advisors, Tyler believes that the current model is flawed and a deleveraging at every level of modern society is needed to reinspire the fundamental entrepreneurial spirit.

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