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Are We Losing The Middle East War To Iran?

As we have explained on numerous occasions Iran has declared war on America and the West, so whether we wish it, or not, we are in a war with the Islamic Republic, and whether we wish it, or not, one of the principle battlefields in that war is Syria.

Obama’s feckless red lines and inept arming of mythical pro-democratic Syrian rebels – to say nothing of his Iran nuclear weapons deal and the billions of dollars in cash that went with it – did much to advance the Iranian Iranian airbasecause in Syria and in the region generally.

But President Trump’s commanders have not given any clarity to how his approach might differ.

Asked by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) about what the United States can do in Syria to address threats posed by Iran, The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel reports CENTCOM Commander Gen. Joseph Votel replied: “As you know, countering Iran is not one of the coalition missions in Syria.”

Still, Votel added, the coalition’s relationships with the government of Iraq and with the Syrian Democratic Forces “put us in a position where we can impede Iran’s objectives of establishing lines of communication through these critical areas and trying to connect Tehran to Beirut, for example.”

It’s not our mission, but we’re staying to do it anyway?

Votel made the somewhat confusing statements during a House Armed Services Committee hearing that came after Trump administration officials said the U.S. military will stay in Syria past the defeat of ISIS in part to prevent Iran from gaining influence in the region.

That some clarity is desperately need as to what our goals in the region are is demonstrated by new reports from Fox News and the Hebrew news site Walla.

A freshly-discovered permanent Iranian base established outside of the Syrian capital of Damascus is a manifestation of the Islamic Republic’s growing military power in the war-torn country, reported Walla.

The Tehran regime’s modus operandi, according to the Walla report, is to equip and man existing Syrian military bases with Iranian weapons systems and personnel.

“Iran is not able to hide its activities in Syria,” the sources said. “Iran would have been happy if no one knew about its bases.”

Perhaps that is because JNS.org reports that this new permanent military base outside of the Syrian capital of Damascus Iran has established may house missiles.

Fox News reported that according to Western intelligence officials, the base contains two hangars to stockpile short- and medium-range missiles within striking distance of Israel.

Satellite pictures, shared with Fox News by ImageSat International, disclose that the new base is situated about seven miles northwest of Damascus, and is operated by the special operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force.

This lends more urgency to the testimony Gen. Votel also recently delivered that Iran was “increasing” the number and “quality” of ballistic missiles it is installing in Syria.

But “countering Iran is not one of the coalition missions in Syria”?

The Algemeiner reports that speaking at the Munich Security Conference last month, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told world leaders that “Israel will not allow the [Iranian] regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” while displaying a piece of an Iranian drone Israel shot down on Feb. 10. “We will act, if necessary, not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself.”

Israel has largely stayed out of the war that has raged in Syria for the past seven years, but it has laid down a series of what it calls “red lines” aimed mainly at limiting the presence in Syria of both Iran and its proxy group Hizbollah noted the UK’s Telegraph.

One of those red lines is to prevent Iran from using its alliance with the Assad regime to establish any permanent military bases in Syria.

"Iran continues to try to cross those red lines," said Netanyahu.

A previous Iranian military base outside of Damascus, revealed in a BBC report in November, was destroyed by an alleged Israeli airstrike in December noted The Algemeiner.

Maps published by the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, show Iran has dozens of long-term military facilities across Syria, ranging from headquarters to training facilities to drone bases.

While Israel has carried out periodic strikes against the most significant facilities, it has been unable to stop the proliferation of Iranian bases, noted The Telegraph’s Raf Sanchez.

Sanchez reports that a senior former Israeli air force commander said, “An attack aimed at Israel from Iran would be very inefficient and Israel would have a long time to prepare. But an attack from Syria would be a different ball game because they are dramatically closer.”

If our goal, and the goal of the Israelis, is to block Iran’s aspirations in Syria, but neither the United States nor Israel has been able to stop the proliferation of Iranian bases in Syria, then it looks to us like we, and the Israelis, are losing. The question for Gen. Votel and other commanders then becomes, if we are presently losing, what’s it going to take to win?

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's ConservativeHQ.com. A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

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