Iran Is Losing the Middle East, Protests in Lebanon and Iraq Show

(Foreign Policy) Hanin Ghaddar - In both Iraq and Lebanon, demonstrations have erupted against corruption and a lack of economic reform. For the Shiite communities in Iraq and Lebanon, Tehran and its proxies have failed to translate military and political victories into a socioeconomic vision; simply put, Iran's resistance narrative did not put food on the table. Today, state institutions in Iraq and Lebanon have one main job: to protect and serve Iranian interests. But for the first time since Hizbullah was formed in the 1980s, Lebanese Shiites are turning against it. In Nabatieh, in the group's heartland in southern Lebanon, Shiite protesters even burned the offices of Hizbullah's leaders. By joining the protests, the Shiite community is now attempting to claim its Lebanese identity rather than the religious one that has, so far, failed it. The story is similar in Iraq. This month, tens of thousands of Iraqis in Shiite-majority areas came out in protest. An aggressive crackdown resulted in the deaths of more than 100 protesters. Reuters confirmed that Iran-backed militias had deployed snipers on Baghdad rooftops to kill protesters. The recent protests show that Iran's power is more fragile than the world perceives; and more importantly, that Shiism does not belong to Iran. The writer is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2019-10-23 00:00:00

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