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11
Feb
2018

Precursor to the Iranian UAV Intrusion


Ebrahim Raisi toured the Lebanese-Israeli border on January 30, 2018.

Ebrahim Raisi toured the Lebanese-Israeli border on January 30, 2018.1

At the end of January 2018, in the midst of the warnings by the Israeli prime minister, defense minister, and military spokespersons against Iran and its plan to build facilities in Lebanon for manufacturing precision weapons, Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi came for a visit to Syria and Lebanon. Raisi is a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts and is thought to be the designated successor of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

In 2017, he lost the elections for the Iran presidency to Hassan Rouhani. During the elections, Rouhani accused Riasi of being behind the 1988 mass murder of political prisoners in Iran in which thousands were killed.

Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi with Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut.

Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, custodian the multi-billion dollar Astan Quds Razavi bonyad (foundation), held talks with Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut.2

In Lebanon, Raisi met with Hizbullah leaders Hassan Nasrallah and Hashim Safi al-Din; Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri; and the chairman of the Shiite Islamic Council, Abdul-Amir Kabalan. Raisi also visited the family homes of the deceased terrorist leaders Imad Mughniyeh and Mustafa Badr al-Din.

Raisi meeting with Mughniyeh’s mother

Raisi meeting with Mughniyeh’s mother (second from the left. The woman on the extreme left is another of Mughniyeh’s close relatives.1

The high point of Raisi’s visit occurred in southern Lebanon when he toured the border with Israel escorted by Hizbullah military commanders and Iranian officers. In pictures published by his office, the escorts’ faces were blurred.

Raisi proclaimed that “Jerusalem’s liberation is near” and praised Hizbullah’s role in Lebanese society as an Islamic movement that does not limit itself to military and defense matters, devoting some of its efforts to building an Islamic culture in Lebanon.

The Message in the Visit

It would appear that this visit by a senior Iranian figure close to Khamenei was meant to convey to Israel that Iran is not deterred by the Israeli threats and is determined to help Hizbullah strengthen its military capabilities in Lebanon. Iran also intends to help mobilize support for Hizbullah among the Shiite community for the Lebanese parliamentary elections this year, as Iran and Hizbullah work to boost Hizbullah’s political power in Lebanon’s domestic arena.

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Notes

About Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He served as Military Secretary to the Prime Minister and as Israel Foreign Ministry chief of staff. He edited the Jerusalem Center eBook Iran: From Regional Challenge to Global Threat.
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