Shadowy Iranian Gen. Morteza Rezaie Assumes Command of Syrian War

Tehran has appointed a shadowy general to lead its first venture for setting a big Revolutionary Guards mobile command center at the head of a distant war. He is Brig. Gen. Morteza Rezaie, former Deputy Commander of the Guards ground forces, DEBKA Weekly’s military sources disclose here for the first time.
This almost anonymous figure has been chosen to assume command of Bashar Assad’s war of three-and a-half years and help him finally crush the opposition to his regime.
The Iranian general will find the pivotal Syrian offensive in the Qalamoun Mountains bogged down in its second month by snow blizzards, the movements of the Syrian army, Hizballah and the Iraqi Shiite unit, seriously curtailed for finishing their conquest of the strategic mountains near the Lebanese border. The rebel forces fighting them are just as restricted.
When the snow melts and the mountain offensive is over, the same Syrian-led allied force will turn its focus on its all-out campaign for wresting the remaining sections of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, from rebel hands.
This week, the Syrian army subjected the city to an exceptionally brutal blitz, even by Assad’s standards. Helicopters dropped dozens of barrels filled with explosives on civilian residential blocks causing hundreds of deaths and injuries and hellish devastation.
This was just the softener ahead of the fearsome assault awaiting Aleppo.

A general who operates underground and under cover

According to our military sources, Gen. Rezaie’s command center will be staffed with several hundred officers, military experts and technicians – some sources estimate their number as 250-300. A small commando unit is assigned to their security, following the lesson drawn from the assassination of Iranian Gen. Hassan Shateri eleven months ago in an attack on his convoy on the road from Damascus to Beirut.
The Revolutionary Guards spokesman said he was “martyred by the agents and supporters of the Zionist regime” and described him as the man “who led the Iranian-financed reconstruction of Lebanon.”
That of course was the cover story for his real job as Syrian war commander.
For months, the Guards looked for a replacement for Gen. Shateri, until they finally settled on Gen. Rezaie.
Our intelligence and Iranian sources dredged up very little about this officer, excepting his description as one of the older IRGC officers and its reputed mystery man.
In 2006, he was promoted to deputy command of the IRGC when Iran was in the throes of a supreme effort to push forward its long-range ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
After a few months, he was reassigned to new tasks, none of which has ever been revealed in public.
After digging deep and long, DEBKA Weekly’s Iranian and intelligence sources have filled in some of the blanks and laid bare parts of the secretive general’s astonishing biography

He instructed Hizballah in high-tech weapons and methods

His assignments, not necessarily in chronical order, were strictly under cover. As part of Iran’s clandestine “international program,” he was in charge of strengthening and building up the armed capabilities of the Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian Hamas.
He next began turning up in various Arab hot spots, busy licking armed groups into shape for warfare against the US, the West and Israel. He was also responsible for the IRGC’s covert programs outside Iran and guarding their secrets.
An explosives expert, he is believed to have orchestrated terrorist attacks on American, French and Israeli troops in Lebanon. During his checkered career, the Iranian general became an expert on Iraq where he planned many strikes against the US army.
More recently, the mystery man was a frequent traveler under various aliases on the Tehran-Beirut line for instructing Hizballah operatives in the use of high-tech weapons and methods in their terrorist operations.
So thoroughly was the personality of this key figure in the epoch of modern terrorism buried, that many Western intelligence experts doubt that Morteza Rezaie is his real name.
His masters have made sure that no photos of their secret operative are to be found and gone to great lengths to erase any pictures that may have appeared in publications going back twenty years.
Gen. Rezaie’s exact age and family status are still under his hat.

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