Spies inside Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have leaked intelligence from Damascus to a dissident group called The National Council of Resistance of Iran, a.k.a. NCRI. According to that intelligence, Tehran has established a state-of-the-art military headquarters in downtown Damascus. Called Glasshouse, the building is used as the control center for managing billions of dollars Tehran has invested in Syria's military arsenal over the past five years - and the tens of thousands of troops it commands.
According to the United Kingdom's Daily Mail that broke the story, Iran's new HQ "plays a pivotal role in supporting Assad's regime alongside Russia."
Bashar Assad is the authoritarian President of Syria. Elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2007, both times on a ballot with only one candidate, Assad has waged a brutal war against rebel forces since 2011. At least 500,000 have been killed and an estimated 5 million have fled the country, many of them flooding Europe.
The conflict has been a magnet for world forces, attracting arsenals and troops from every superpower state. Hardware and armed forces continue to populate the landscape from Russia, China, the United States and Europe. All of them have justified their growing presence in the name of fighting evil. Western powers have said the evil is Assad. For their part, Russia has championed the defense of Assad, naming Islamic State as the predominant evil that must be defeated.
From the beginning, the Syrian conflict has been enflamed by the real power behind Assad's throne. His well-known puppet master is Iran. Accordingly, his ruthless rule has been financed and orchestrated by Tehran's imams. The appearance of Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL, has been a gift to the Islamic Republic. The success of ISIS in horrifying the world has provided cover for an immense build up of Iranian weapons. It has also provided justification for a military alliance with Russia which, for its part, has descended on the scene as the predominant superpower in the Middle East. With its own economic and military agendas, Russia has drawn China into the fray. In recent weeks, it has also recruited Turkey away from its alliance with the West.
With proxy powers in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and now, perhaps, Turkey, Tehran's ambition has been transparent. Its leaders have repeatedly declared their desire to establish a regional, then global, Islamic superpower. Called a caliphate, Iran's vision includes the appearance of an Islamic messiah figure called the Mahdi.
According to Tehran's version of Islam, when the Mahdi steps on stage, he will be joined by the second coming of Jesus. According to Islam, Jesus - only human, not divine - is a prophet of Allah. The Islamic narrative is that, upon his return, Jesus will serve the Mahdi who, for his part, will govern for seven years, his tenure ending with Allah's Day of Judgment.
Based on its conduct and publicly declared doctrines, Iran's apparent conviction is that the necessary womb to deliver the Mahdi is the establishment of a new Persian empire.
Either before its establishment or shortly thereafter, Iran's "beatific" vision includes the complete destruction of Israel. While world media ignores or downplays Iran's Judenfrei caliphate ambitions, Jerusalem does not.
Today its attention is drawn to the multi-million dollar military headquarters, the Glasshouse, in downtown Damascus.
Intelligence that was "leaked" from someone inside Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been compiled into a dossier by the dissident group NCRI.
Made public this week, that dossier, says Daily Mail, is described as "credible by (Western) intelligence experts." What it reveals is sobering.
Iran controls the biggest fighting force in Syria; has military bases throughout the splintered state; and has amassed a war-chest far greater than feared in support of the Syrian president.
Prevailing intelligence has estimated Iranian forces at 16,000. In fact, when Tehran's proxy forces are added, the Islamic Republic controls upward of 73,000 troops. Assad's army, estimated at 50,000, is a distant second to Iran. When Syria's recognized status as a puppet regime is acknowledge, the total number of troops controlled by Iran in Syria are over 120,000 soldiers.
What's more, NCRI's dossier also reveals that Iran has invested no less than 100 billion dollars in Syria since the conflict began in 2011. This is 6.66 times the amount Western analysts have estimated who place the investment at 15 billion.
It is Russia's endorsement of Iran that perhaps explains its sense of security in setting the Glasshouse in Damascus and in plain view.
What does it all mean? There are at least two obvious conclusions.
Dr. Tabrizi is the Iranian specialist for RUSI, a British defense think tank. The Daily Mail reports his conclusion that, at the very least, "the massive Iranian presence [in Syria] raises the danger of escalation." The combination of that "massive presence" with the backing of Russia further elevates the danger.
For now, Jerusalem is out of the crosshairs. But its proximity to swelling forces in Syria, combined with Iran's repeated pledge to annihilate the Jewish State, is provoking Israel's watchmen to keep a close eye on rapidly changing developments. As indeed they must, in such a time as this.