Early on Saturday morning, February 10, Iran breached Israeli airspace with a high-tech reconnaissance drone, launched from Syrian territory. This represents Iran’s first open, direct military action against Israel.

The Iranian regime is led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who has called for Israel’s destruction and stated that he believes in a messianic figure who will conquer the world in an apocalyptic battle.

Iran is building permanent military bases in Syria as part of a larger strategy to create a continuous land bridge from Teheran through Iraq and Syria and to Hezbollah, its Lebanese proxy. The goal is to gain a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea and to menace Israel directly on its northern border. This presents a direct, strategic threat to Israel and its neighbors, and it endangers the U.S. and Europe as well.

The Shi’ite terror group Hezbollah, which answers to the Iranian regime, has full political and military control over Lebanon. This includes a strong military presence in southern Lebanon right up to Israel’s northern border and reportedly extensive coordination with the Lebanese army.

With Iranian and Russian assistance, Hezbollah has become a full-fledged military force. It possesses an estimated arsenal of 125,000 to 150,000 Iranian-supplied rockets and GPS-guided missiles with ranges that put the entirety of Israel’s population within range of these deadly weapons. Iran is reportedly building missile factories in Lebanon to provide Hezbollah with additional supplies directly. This assistance was made possible in part by the estimated $100 billion gained by Iran in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal signed by Iran, the U.S., the U.K., and others.

Hezbollah also has acquired anti-tank and anti-ship missiles, armored personnel carriers, tanks, self-propelled artillery, advanced anti-aircraft missiles, and unlimited small arms. Its experience fighting for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war has taught Hezbollah how to operate logistically over vast areas, including how to conquer and hold territory.

“Iran has built up a multinational network of tens of thousands of young men from across the Middle East, turning them into a well-drilled fighting machine [that] can be found leading the defense of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, recapturing land from ISIS in Iraq, and fighting for control of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa,” reported BuzzFeed News. This week, an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq vowed to back Hezbollah in a war with Israel.

“Since at least the early 1980s, Iran has operated an intelligence network in Latin America[x]. Hezbollah soon followed suit. Iran and Hezbollah leveraged support from these networks to carry out the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Despite the public exposure of Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in this deadly attack, both continue to develop intelligence and logistical support networks in the region without restraint.”

Recent protests in Iran against government cuts in fuel and welfare subsidies included harsh criticism of the Iranian regime’s investments in conflicts across the region. The protests were violently repressed, as the regime killed an estimated 80 people.

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