Iran's Growing Influence in Syria Sparks Concern

(VOA News) Nisan Ahmado - Iran's involvement and military footprints in Syria have some experts concerned that Tehran might establish a long-term presence in the country in an effort to project regional power. "Iran is solidifying its presence in Syria in three different approaches: militarily, economically and politically. Tehran is sealing long-term deals and agreements with the weak Syrian state to 'reconstruct the Syrian military industry,'" said Majid Rafizadeh, president of the International American Council on the Middle East. "This will give the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp], the Quds Force and Iran's intelligence the perfect excuse to remain in Syria, set up more military bases, and further infiltrate Syria's security apparatuses." The U.S. State Department reported earlier this month, "Since 2012, Iran has spent over $16 billion propping up the Assad regime and supporting its other partners and proxies in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen." Hanin Ghaddar, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, "Iran brought the families of its [Shi'ite] militias from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq to live in the properties that used to belong to the Sunni communities before displacing the Sunnis to other areas....There can be many steps taken to contain Iran at this point. The demographic changes need to be countered, the refugees return, containing Hizbullah in Lebanon, working with local allies, working with local tribes, cutting the land bridge" between Iran and Syria.

2018-10-16 00:00:00

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