Iran extends reach with fight for land link to Mediterranean

In this Nov. 22, 2013 file photo, Iraqi and Lebanese Shiite fighters from a group called the Hussein Brigade use a helmet to draw sniper fire, during clashes with the Sunni-dominated Free Syrian Army, in the town of Hejeira, near Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo, File)

 

Islamic Republic’s regional expansion raises concern in Jerusalem of Tehran’s efforts ‘to entrench itself militarily on Israel’s border’

BEIRUT (AP) — Thousands of Iranian-backed fighters in Syria’s central desert region are advancing east, bringing Tehran closer to its goal of securing a corridor from its border, through Iraq and all the way to the Mediterranean and providing it unhindered land access to its allies in Syria and Lebanon for the first time.

The land route would be the biggest prize yet for Iran in its involvement in Syria’s six-year-old civil war. Continue reading

Russia and Iran expanding military cooperation and arms trade

In his four-day trip to Tehran, Russian Air Force Chief Gen. Viktor Bondarev and his hosts, Brig. Gen. Hassan Shasafi and other senior Iranian military chiefs, laid the groundwork for a series of agreements to upgrade their military ties to a level unprecedented in their past relations.  debkafile’s military and Iranian sources report that Iran is deliberately accentuating those ties as a message to the Western powers that if they give the Islamic Republic a hard time over its nuclear program, it will go all the way to a full-dress defense pact with Russia. Continue reading