US State Department releases video on Quds Force training facility in Lebanon
The Iranian Quds Force is Iran’s primary military actor in the Middle East and trains, advises, and equips sub-state forces in countries such as Lebanon, the US State Department said.
In an Arabic language tweet on Tuesday, the State Department said that those being trained at these sites include militias in Iraq and the Iranian Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In one video, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Senior Fellow for Imagery Analysis at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), explains an image purportedly showing a training facility on the eastern border of Lebanon.
RT @DOTArabic: قوة القدس التابعة للحرس الثوري تعمل على تدريب وتسليح وتجهيز مليشيات تابعة لها في معسكرات تدريب في#لبنان، وكذلك في #إيران. الهدف من ذلك هو استخدام هذه المليشيات في حروب الوكالة، وإشاعة عدم الاستقرار في عموم الشرق الأوسط #العراق #البحرين #اليمن #سوريا #أفغانستان pic.twitter.com/xqVElE3PS9— الخارجية الأمريكية (@USAbilAraby) May 14, 2019
“We see a small little valley that goes down. This has a series of berms that are alternating, the ones on the left, and the next ones on the right. This is a training course for armored personnel carriers,” Bermudez says in the video.
Seth G. Jones, Senior Advisor at the CSIS, says Iran’s goal with a base like the one in Lebanon is to improve the capabilities of its local allies. “It also has them in Iran itself where it can bring individuals from all of these locations,” he said.
Joseph S. Bermudez explains an image, which he claims is of Imam Ali Training Facility on the outskirts of Tehran. According to him, it used to be a small facility until the year 2008 and is now “much larger, much more comprehensive and much more capable”.
“As a whole, it is training personnel to operate in guerilla warfare and regular warfare type scenarios. There are firing ranges and what happens is recruits or trainees come in and they try to run through the course, shooting at targets placed at various locations,” Bermudez said.
In the video, Seth G. Jones claims that one of the things that Iran recognized in the 1980s in its war with Iraq is that it was never going to be a major conventional power.
“Between 2011 and 2019, we see a lot more militias and other fighters that work with the IRGC Quds Force in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bahrain,” he said. “The reason Iran has more training facilities, it has got more fighters to train,” Seth G. Jones said.