ISIS Losses Have Consolidated Iran's Strength in the Middle East

(Reuters) Josh Cohen - Islamic State losses have consolidated Iran's strength in the region, allowing Tehran to establish a Shi'ite "land bridge" extending through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to Israel's northern border. Iran's expanded footprint will make it easier for Tehran to ship weapons through to Hizbullah, its proxy in Lebanon. Moreover, Iran's increasing presence in southern Syria offers Tehran the opportunity to position either its own troops or fighters from Hizbullah or other Shi'ite militias who could strike directly at the Jewish state. These scenarios are "red lines" for Israel. Over the last several years, Israeli jets have struck dozens of shipments of weapons such as guided missiles and anti-aircraft systems bound for Hizbullah and Israeli leaders remain committed to prevent the transfer of those weapons in the future. First, the U.S. must take Israeli concerns about Iran's presence in Syria more seriously. American policy-makers are better served by taking Israel's interests into account before a conflict breaks out. Second, the administration should send a clear warning to Tehran that Washington would consider unacceptable any attempt by Iran to escalate its confrontation with Israel either directly or through proxies. Third, the U.S. must push Russia to be proactive about containing Iran.

2017-11-09 00:00:00

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