CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Senior Israeli defense officials say Iran is tightening the grip on Hezbollah, its Lebanese-based proxy.
According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, Hezbollah general secretary and spiritual leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has lost exclusive control over the group's military wing.
"There is real Iranian command now over Hezbollah," a senior IDF (Israel Defense Forces) officer said.
"This doesn't mean Nasrallah is a puppet, but it does mean that whenever he pops his head out of the bunker, he sees an Iranian official standing over him," he said.
Following the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, Iran began a series of structural changes to the group's hierarchy.
"Iranian supervision grew tremendously following the war," the officer said. "Nasrallah is still in a decision-making position, but Iran's influence has increased dramatically," he said.
A Syrian paper reported on a visit last week of an Iranian Revolutionary Guards delegation to Beirut to integrate some Hezbollah units into the Guards' al-Quds Force, which oversees Iranian terror activities in several countries, including Iraq and Lebanon.
The Reform Party of Syria said some Hezbollah forces will now be under the direct command of al-Quds Brigadier General Faramaz Ghasem Suleimani, listed as a terrorist by the U.S. when al-Quds was declared a terror group in 2007.
According to the article, Iran aims to lessen Syria's role with Hezbollah in the event Israel and Syria negotiate a peace treaty.
Iran also wants to ensure that Hezbollah will retaliate if either Israel or the U.S. attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
Source: The Jerusalem Post