Much has been said and written about Iran’s intended entrenchment in Syria and the way Tehran is investing extraordinary human and financial resources to help President Bashar Assad survive. Still, the story of the assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, the head of Hezbollah’s military wing, illustrates with rare clarity the determination on the part of Iran and Hezbollah not to let anyone interfere with Iran’s plans in Syria.
Badreddine, the successor and brother-in-law of Imad Mughniyeh (who was married to Badreddine’s sister, Sa’ada), was killed last May, in a mysterious explosion near Damascus International Airport. Surprisingly, Hezbollah and its allies cleared Israel of any blame. Hezbollah officials said at the time that the circumstances of the assassination were being investigated.
This assassination could have caused an enormous commotion throughout the Middle East. Badreddine, after all, was second only to Hassan Nasrallah in the Hezbollah hierarchy, and was the successor of Mughniyeh, who had been wanted all over the world for the murder of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Yet the entire topic disappeared from the Syrian and Lebanese agenda within days...