Commander of Iran’s extra-territorial Quds Force, Esmail Qaani praised “Islamic resistance” forces and vowed to support “Palestinian heroes” in a speech on Friday.
Qaani took credit that Palestinian militants are conducting “30 operations daily” against Israel and emphasized that “This is the result of the resistance front and global Islamic mobilization.”
‘Resistance’ front is the Iranian regime’s jargon referring to its regional allies, such as Syria, and militant groups being financed and supported by Tehran, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Large-scale Palestinian attacks against Israel took place in early April, as Iranian officials triumphantly claimed that the end of the Jewish state was near. After a lull fighting resumed earlier this week when Israel killed several Islamic Jihad leaders in a targeted air strike. Although Hamas, the largest Palestinian group did not enter the fighting this time, Islamic Jihad has fired hundreds of rockets and Israel has continued air strikes at the group.
Last week, Qaani claimed that Iran has humiliated Israel by organizing the “Islamic resistance” and said, At this point, Israel has reached a level of humiliation that it has surrounded itself with barbed wire and radars to prevent infiltration.”
But in his Friday speech in the religious city of Mashhad Qaani went farther and said that Iran has organized “a global network of resistance,” to defend Muslims and their honor.
Smoke billows following Israeli strikes launched into Gaza on May 13, 2023.
The Iranian regime as a Shiite Muslim political force has limited appeal with Sunni Muslims and its reach is mainly among Shiites in Middle Eastern countries, such as Iraq and Lebanon. However, it directs billions of dollars a year to finance an array of militia forces and their political networks. For example, it has spent at least $50 billion to support Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria during 12 years of civil war.
Qaani’s speech was on the 10thanniversary of the Fatemiyoun Brigade, an Afghan force that Iran organized in 2013 to fight in Syria. Unconfirmed reports indicate that more than 2,000 Afghans were killed during battles in Syria in 2010s.
The Quds commander lavishly praised the founder of the Fatemiyoun, Alireza Tavassoli, known as Abu Hamed, who was killed near Deraa in Syria in February 2015 in a battle with Assad’s opponents. He was a close associate of Qassem Soleimani, the former Quds commander who was killed in a targeted US air strike in Baghdad in January 2020.
Abu Hamed, who was a Shiite Muslim, was born in Afghanistan in 1962 and fought against the Soviets but fled and settled in Iran in the mid-1980s, where he received religious education and then was recruited to establish the Fatemiyoun Brigade.
“The resistance front has grown from a seed and a young plant into an extensive axis that connects the various points of the resistance forces across the world,” Qaani said, praising what his predecessor Soleimani spent nearly 20 years organizing.
He went on to say that Iran’s revolutionary government in the 1980s and later Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei played the main role in launching the “resistance front,” that today even enemies admit decides the outcome of battles. He claimed that because of Iran’s leadership, the Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthis in Yemen are ready to help the Palestinians.