(October 23, 2018 / JNS) Iran is building factories to manufacture and upgrade missiles in Iraq, in addition to its efforts in Syria and Lebanon, Israeli intelligence has discovered.
According to reports, Iran has already shipped missiles to Shi’ite militias in Iraq and helped Iraq set up missile factories in its territory.
This latest development has the potential to bring Iraq onto the Iranian axis of countries that pose potential threats to Israel.
Last month, reports revealed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard had supplied the Iraqi Shi’ite militia Hashd al-Shaabi with mid-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel.
Earlier in October, reports revealed that the United States had decided to shut down its consulate in Basra, a key Shi’ite stronghold and the third-largest city in Iraq, after discovering a Revolutionary Guard plot to attack it.
The latest revelation comes after Fox News reported on Sunday that Iran has stepped up its shipments of advanced weapons to Hezbollah, its Lebanon-based proxy, and that some shipments now include sophisticated GPS systems meant to improve the accuracy of Hezbollah missiles.
According to the report, the shipment made its way from Tehran to Damascus aboard a Qeshm Fars air cargo plane. From there, the plane made its way to Beirut, before returning to Iran via Qatar.
On Sunday, several speakers at a Jerusalem Institute of Security Studies devoted to the Iranian-Israeli conflict warned that Iran was trying to threaten Israel on multiple fronts.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan informed participants that Hezbollah, heavily supported by Iran, currently has a stock of some 150,000 missiles.
“The commander of Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, wants to create another Hezbollah in Syria,” warned Erdan. “When [Palestinian Authority leader] Mahmoud Abbas’s time is up, I wouldn’t be surprised if Iran tries to expand its influence to Judea and Samaria, too, as the Palestinian governance dwindles and they are in need of money and support.”
“At any minute, Iran can set off clashes that will expand to Syria and Lebanon, and we cannot rule out the possibility of [Iran] using Iraq as a base from which to fire missiles at Israel,” said Erdan.
Mossad director Yossi Cohen said Monday at a meeting at the Finance Ministry that he had recently met an American official who had asked him what would happen if Iran were defeated.
“I told him, ‘If we beat Iran, I’ll be out of of work, jobless, but if Iran isn’t defeated, I’ll find myself homeless.’ I prefer the first option,” said Cohen.
Cohen stressed that “if we don’t push Iran out of the Middle East … we will find ourselves in a position of Iranian forces spreading throughout the Middle East, unchecked, even inside the Gaza Strip.”
“But of course, everything is affected by changes in the approach at a very high level since [U.S. President Donald] Trump took power, which I think is very good for Israel. There is a sense that there is a simpler, clearer distinction being made between good and evil,” the Mossad chief said.