Israel has been countering Iranian efforts to use suitcases to smuggle GPS components into Syria to upgrade Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal. In 2017, once it appeared that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad would survive the civil war that was tearing his country apart, “Iran embarked on a grandiose plan for increasing its influence in the shattered country,” says an expert. Iran’s goal was to “build a force of up to 100,000 Shiite fighters from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. They built intelligence bases and an air force base within each Syrian airbase. And they brought civilians in order to indoctrinate them,” said Israel Defense Force’s former chief of staff, Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.
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