Esmail Qaani, commander of Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is said to be in Lebanon to coordinate a possible wider confrontation with Israel.
According to the UK-based Amwaj.media, Qaani arrived in Beirut one day after Hamas’s October 7 assault on Israel and has been there since then with the exception of a visit to Tehran October 16-20 for consultations.
Qaani is the successor of Qassem Soleimani, who used the Quds Force to export Iranian terror around the Middle East, according to US and Israeli officials. Soleimani was killed in June 2020 by a US strike at Baghdad airport.
Over the past ten days, Qaani is said to have met with Palestinian terror group leaders as well as the leadership of Hezbollah, to whom he conveyed messages from Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranian proxy groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen have been accused of carrying out attacks against Israel and US service-members stationed in the region.
Security sources quoted by Amwaj say that while the Quds Force coordinates Iran’s allies in the Middle East in a “joint operations room,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has decision power over attacks from Lebanon against Israel.