23 thoughts on “Ex-Shabak Chief: 25,000-Strong Iranian “Foreign Legion” in Syria – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. “I do find it charming when Israelis who have absolutely no knowledge about Iran and its history begin speculating that Iran wants to revive an ancient 2,000 year-old Persian kingdom. Especially when no Iranian official has ever said anything remotely similar.”

    Actually it is quite simple if you are familiar with Shia doctrine.
    Firstly Iran{Persia} is really the only or one of the only actual nations which has been around for thousands of years. The rest of the ME was drawn up with pencil and ruler basically by the English and French.
    Just look at the borders in N. Africa, Iraq etc all straight lines. Where do we see such a situation in other places of the world?
    Twelver Shia is bent on bringing back the 12th Iman and they are basically apocalyptic and to blow up a good part of the world to bring the Iman which is paramount for them is a given and thus ‘doctrinally’ they do pose a threat to humanity with nuclear weapons.
    Israel cannot really nuke to many because of the proximity and the subsequent fallout. They have had nukes for over 50 years and have not used it so it does give them some credibility whereas if one looks at e.g. ISIL and their latest pranks of booby trapping stuffed animals that children will pick up and get blown up is a good indication of what we are dealing with.
    This is not Islamaphobia because I am quite familiar with Sharia and they not acting according to their own law.

    1. Rubbish. The Iranian religious and political leadership has always been totally opposed to nuclear weapons. See http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2012/10/the-goldberg-predilections-ignoring.html

      Islam and Christianity do not believe that the end-times and the return of Jesus Christ can be brought about by human action. The only people who have such a belief are the nutjob religious Zionists and their deviant Christian Zionist supporters who think that they can bring it about by building a third temple on Temple Mount.

    2. Rubbish. The Iranian religious and political leadership has always been totally opposed to nuclear weapons. See http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2012/10/the-goldberg-predilections-ignoring.html

      Islam and Christianity do not believe that the end-times and the return of Jesus Christ can be brought about by human action, The only people who have such a belief are the nutjob religious Zionists and their deviant Christian Zionist supporters who think that they can bring it about by building a third temple on Temple Mount.

  2. Sorry in advance for the sarcasm, but your shear arrogance screams from the heavens.

    Hmm. Whose assessment shall I accept? A long time Israeli intelligence official and former head of Shabak, or an American Ashkenazi blogger from Seattle…tough one.

    1. I would rather believe the American, thank you, than the guy who creates smokescreens as cover for operations, commits assassinations, and otherwise acts as a legally-sanctioned mobster.

  3. Of course I don’t trust Avi Dichter as a source nor his motivations, and I don’t have any idea of the numbers of foreign (Shia) fighters on the regime-side in Syria, but 25.000 doesn’t seem as an exagerated number.
    In an article from a year ago on Middle East Eye, the following numbers are given: at least 7.000 Iranians, 3.000 Iraqi Shia, 5.000-8.000 Hizbullah-fighters, and 3.000 Afghani (There’re also the minor ‘Palestinian’ factions (created and totally coopted by the regime but they’re not really foreign fighters). http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/who-are-pro-assad-militias-syria-2030619965
    I follow closely what’s happening in Syria, and we hear more and more of Afghani refugees in Iran who’ve had the choice of being sent back to Afghanistan or going to fight in Syria, many of the young Afghan refugees coming to Europe presently fled from Iran, not to speak of the Shia Hazara minority in Afghanistan who have been send to fight there by the Iranians too.
    (And then there are the Russian mercenaries fighting on the ground, a fact which has been denied by Poutine and his gang: yesterday or the day before I read about two named Russians (photo included) who died fighting in Aleppo.)
    It seems the Syrian army (SAA) isn’t fighting that much any longer (most were Sunni conscripts), it’s more and more the National Defense Force (supervised by the Iranians).

    1. An article on the Guardian from june 2016 (journalists in Kabul), they mention numbers from 2.000 up to 20.000 Afghani fighting on the regime-side in Syria: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/30/iran-covertly-recruits-afghan-soldiers-to-fight-in-syria
      ‘Liwa Fatemiyoun’ is a purely Afghani militia (wiki has an entry in English) with further informations.
      On a sidenote: isn’t it ironic (not to say tragic for Syria) that Russian and Chechens are fighting again (there are many Chechens in ISIS but also al-Nusra Front, and apparently also Moskva-backed Chechens on the regime-side), we can’t really speak about a civil war in Syria …..

    2. @ Deir Yassin: Just to be clear, the figures of 25,000 or 50,000 related to the number of foreign mercenary Shia fighters in Syria. Not to Iranian regular troops. Nor to Hezbollah forces. They are counted separately. So they are talking solely of Pakistani or Afghani Shia as comprising that number.

  4. The Afghan mercenaries are Hazaras, the poorest and most vulnerable ethnic minority in Afghanistan. The Hazaras are under threat from the Afghan Taliban and can’t expect any help from the Afghan government. Thousands of them are already refugees in Iran.

    It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if there are many thousands of Hazaras fighting in Syria at Iran’s behest.

    Are the Hazara a threat to Israel? No.

    Unless Richard has sat down and conversed with Iranian mullahs, I don’t think his assessment of Avi Dicter’s opinion is credible.

    Iran in Syria. Iran in Iraq. Iran in Lebanon. All Arab country’s with Sunni majorities. Sounds like hegemony to me.

    1. @ Werner: “Iran” in Syria? A few thousand IRG troops and a bunch of mercenaries. Hegemony? Hardly.

      Iran in Iraq? A long history of Shia presence in Iraq and migration among the two countries. So yes, Iraq is even more important to Iran than any U.S. territory or colony is to the U.S. The U.S. doesn’t have a similar sphere of influence? Or China? Or Russia?

      Iran in Lebanon? Only if you believe Hezbollah is a creature of Iran. It isn’t. It is a genuine Lebanese national movement taking orders from no one.

      All Arab country’s with Sunni majorities.

      Wrong. Shia are the majority in Iraq: 65%. Lebanon: 27% of Muslims are Shia & 27% Sunni. Whoops, there goes your hegemonic theory out the window. This is very bad hasbara. Can you tell your trainers you need a refresher/remedial tutorial.

      Oh & btw, shall we say that Israel’s interference in the affairs of other countries in which there are Diaspora Jews is also a naked attempt at Zionist hegemony? Hey, if the Shia do it, why not the Zionists?

      1. ” This is very bad hasbara. Can you tell your trainers you need a refresher/remedial tutorial.”

        I never got my check.

        1. @Richard

          “But the real kicker is the claim Iran has a dream to overthrow the Saudi dynasty and rule over the Muslim holy sites. That too is a “dream” that never was and never will be: no credible Iranian source or official has ever said anything remotely similar ”

          Supeme Ayatollah Khameini: ‘Saudis unfit for custodianship’.

          http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/saudi-iran-war-words-escalates-hajj-row-160907104137364.html

          Well. That ends that discussion.

          1. @ Werner: First, go right now, immediately, & read the comment rules, all of them. If you ever publish essentially the same comment twice as you’ve done just now, you will be moderated. Respect the rules if you want to continue here.

        2. @ Werner: Oy, is this the best hasbara you can offer?

          First, the Saudis killed 1,100 Iranian worshippers on hajj. So yes, from the Iranian (or pretty much anyone’s) point of view, the Saudis are terrible custodians of the holy sites. But second, because the Saudis are terrible custodians does that translate to Iran invading & conquering Saudi Arabia to take over those sites?

          Further, I think the ultra Orthodox are terrible custodians of the Kotel. Does that mean I’m going to mount a kosher Jewish army and conquer the Kotel so that it can be administered fairly for ALL Jews? Are you insane (don’t answer that question)?

          Your hasbara is poor & tiresome. You are done in this thread.

  5. Even if the 25k fighters estimate were true, what’s the big deal? ISIS aka Daesh, are basically a Qatari/Saudi/American/Israeli foreign legion. Every one of the countries I mentioned lends them support in the form of either financing, especially the salary payments, training, medical treatment, advisory services, logical advice, air support or medical treatment or a combination of the above. The total number of this particular foreign legion has been estimated to be as high as 400k and considering that they have defeated entire nations, that number can’t be far off. So if Iran were to be pitting 25k men against the 400k ISIS mercenaries, all I can say is I wish them success. As for them “fighting against Sunni rebles, not ISIS”, I guess that was thrown in for comic relief. Surely everyone knows by now how the Israelis and Americans like to relabel their mercenaries as it suits them, one day they’re AlQaeda, the next they’re the Taliban, then they’re ISIS/IS/Daesh, then they’re “anti-regime rebels”. One day someone will make a black comedy out of it.

    1. Richard, your humorous gloating at so-called Israeli incompetence is misplaced. Let’s be honest. The suffering of the Syrian people is truly tragic. However, the “Arab Spring”, including the civil war in Syria and the upheavals elsewhere , has been favorable to Israeli interests. But that does NOT mean that Israel is behind it. The Sunni rebels there are hardly “zionists” LOL.

      It has depleted the well of support for the Palestinians themselves. The only ones who still really care about the Palestinians are the far left Europeans/Americans (who won’t actually do anything) and the Palestinians themselves. Everything else is just lip service to diplomacy. Maybe Arab “masses” do sympathize with Palestinians, but not enough to sacrifice their own interests and make their governments to confront Israel.
      The “Arab Spring” (together with internal Palestinian divisions) has dealt a severe blow to Palestinian nationalism, which is just seen as a path to yet another potential failed state. Gaza is a living laboratory (despite claims that Israel to to blame). Their diplomatic power has been severely weakened. Meanwhile the doors have been opened to Israel everywhere. While there have been a few marginal successes for the BDS movement, Israel enjoys deepening economic, technological, military and cultural ties with ever-broadening markets in Europe, Asia and Africa as well as its traditional ties with North America.

      With the exception of Iran, the strategic threat from conventional regional states has all but been eliminated. And Iran and its Shiite proxies are mired in a deeply unpopular war on Assad’s behalf, that they cannot win. Not only that, but the intact Arab countries secretly or not so secretly cooperate with Israel.

      Since you imply that you are such as expert on Iran, in comparison to Dichter, I would love to see your response to the previous comments regarding the Iranian revolution and its ideology.

      1. @ Yehuda:

        The Sunni rebels there are hardly “zionists” LOL.

        You have a bizarre-LOL-sense of humor. Uh, actually, those Sunni rebels, some of them at least, the al Nusra branch, are quite Zionist. They may not sing HaTikvah on key, but they sure know all the words. They are Israel’s pet project in the Golan. Israel arms them, equips them, housese their families in camps on the armistice line, and provides them intelligence. It offers medical care to their wounded fighters. So yes, al Nusra, that is, Sunni rebels are creatures of Israel. At least the ones fighting in the Golan.

        The only ones who still really care about the Palestinians

        You must be living in some rabbit hole in the Negev somewhere. Do you recall Bernie Sanders’ debate comments which elecrtrified the U.S. electorate? No, you blocked them out. Do you recall the massive successes BDS has earned over the past few yrs.? All of this means that over time Israel will enjoy less & less support till eventually it won’t enjoy any. By then, conditions will be like they were in 1989 & then the least small wind will topple the facade that you & your leaders have built up so painstakingly over the past decades. In the end, your settler supremacist state will topple like a House of Cards. To be replaced by a new, transformed state based on far more equitable, democratic principles.

        WHen you talk about “lip service” to Palestine you’re doing the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard. The prospect of the world demanding full rights for Palestinians & abandoning you completely (which it will do eventually) terrifies you so you whistle in order to hold the terror at bay. Good luck with that in the long term…

        The “Arab Spring” (together with internal Palestinian divisions) has dealt a severe blow to Palestinian nationalism

        Fat chance. The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 & Prague Spring of 1968 failed in their goals. But 1989 redeemed those failures and there are no longer any Communist regimes in eastern Europe. They are gone into the dustbin of history, which is where all your stupid notions you offer here will be heaped in a few yrs. So will there be failures? Sure. But will those failures lead to eventual success & redemption? Yes, they will.

        the doors have been opened to Israel everywhere.

        Really. Opened on all the American campuses whose student unions have endorsed BDS? Open to all the financial & commercial enterprises which have been sanctioned for BDS? Open to the West Bank agricultural markets which have been slammed with exports/revenues off 40% since BDS began?

        Israel enjoys deepening economic, technological, military and cultural ties with ever-broadening markets in Europe, Asia and Africa as well as its traditional ties with North America.

        No, actually Israeli exports in key industries have been down, in some cases way down. Take weapons exports as but one example. Israeli exports to Asia are a blip on the radar screen compared to their exports to European & American markets. And that’s where you’re going to take the biggest hit in coming years. Asia will never make up for what you will lose in the west. Of course, Israel will be able to trade with other pariah nations with which it finds common cause like Rwanda, Uganda, China. And it will trade with other nations like India which also hates its Muslims in Kashmir & occupied them, just as Israel hates its Muslims & occupies & represses them. But that’s not enough to fuel an entire national economy.

        the strategic threat from conventional regional states has all but been eliminated

        There is no strategic threat, until there will be. Then it will be too late. You don’t understand how much Israel teeters on the balance. If the UN or U.S. or EU determined to force change on Israel it will happen in a matter of months or years. All it will take is one massacre, or a series of disasters like those which befell the Soviet Union. It will take little after that for the cards to coming tumbling down.

        You are done in this thread. Do not comment further.

  6. Avi Dichter is a man of many faults but he is knowledgeable when it comes to the Middle East and he is well acquainted with the Arab language and culture. In that sense he has advantage over most Israeli’ Jewish political figures (and private citizens) whether they align themselves with the right or left side of the political isle. He also has access to a lot of information. So, I would not automatically assume that he is talking rubbish just because I haven’t hear this or another type of statement from an Iranian figure (for example). The fact I don’t know something doesn’t mean that for sure it doesn’t exist.
    However, there he is a politician. Thus, every time he moves his lips there is a good chance he is lying. If I had a dollar for every false statement said by a politician in the Middle East (and in the rest of the world) about Syria, I could have retired by now and eats bonbons all day.

    1. @ Amico: Avi Dichter is a jackass who knows as much about the Mideast as any average two-bit Israeli spook. I don’t know what he knows of Arabic & since you haven’t offered any proof of your claim, I don’t accept it.

      As for access to information, everything he said in this briefing is fully, easily accessible on the Internets. There was nothing new or informative in it. As for rubbish, Avi Dichter IS rubbish. So he certainly is talking it as well.

      As for lying politicians: Israel claims it is a democracy. Of course politicians in democracies lie. But one would hope they would lie slightly less often than politicians in non-democratic countries. Israeli politicians lie with the best of ’em. They would make the tyrants of the region, from Saddam to Assad proud in their mendacity.

      1. Hmmmm…
        DDear Richard, on the one hand you write about Dichter as if you know quite a great deal about him and his character and capabilities, and on the other hand you don’t know that he is fluent in Arabic, which is something the appears even in Wikipedia. Anyway, you can here for example see an interview with him in Arabic.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXNp5iasr4s
        As for politicians lying in the USA…well…is it enough mentioning a certain USA ship allegedly attacked in Vietnam and the names Nixon and Bush junior, or should i also mention Bill “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton?
        One can try and single out Israel when it comes to all kinds of wrong doing and in most cases it doesn’t really stick

        This is my last comment for the next 24 hours. Next time you will have a new president

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