Tehran Is Winning the War for Control of the Middle East

(Foreign Policy) Jonathan Spyer - In Lebanon, Hizbullah vanquished the Saudi-sponsored "March 14" alliance of political groups that aimed to constrain it. The establishment of a cabinet dominated by Hizbullah in December 2016, and the appointment of Hizbullah's ally Michel Aoun as president two months earlier, solidified Iran's grasp over the country. In Syria, Iran's provision of finances and know-how to the regime and its mobilization of proxies gave the regime access to the manpower necessary to defeat its rivals. In Iraq, Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) developed an independent military force, the 120,000-strong Popular Mobilization Units. While not all of its militias are pro-Iranian, the three core Shiite groups of Kataeb Hizbullah, the Badr Organization, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq answer directly to the IRGC. In addition, in Baghdad the ruling Islamic Dawa Party is traditionally pro-Iranian. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is bogged down in a costly war with no end in sight. This, then, is the scorecard of the Saudi-Iranian conflict. So far, the Iranians have effectively won in Lebanon, are winning in Syria and Iraq, and are bleeding the Saudis in Yemen. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs, IDC Herzliya.

2017-12-01 00:00:00

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