Iran's Regional Status: Expanding Influence alongside Weaknesses

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Ephraim Kam - The relative weakness of Iran's rivals and their inability to stop the Iranian steamroller, including in the nuclear sphere, have contributed to Iran's rising influence in recent years. Iran's ability to exploit opportunities and utilize the vacuum created in weak countries - such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon - and the need for assistance on the part of sub-state organizations such as Hizbullah, Hamas, and the militias in Iraq and Afghanistan, have also played an important role. Through its organized mechanism for channeling money, arms, al-Quds personnel, and religious figures, Iran has succeeded in building strongholds and gaining important influence both in its neighboring environment and along the Mediterranean shore. Yet, significant potential for regime change exists in Iran, and even if this has not yet come to fruition, it is likely to occur in the future. Thus despite Iran's successes, there is no doubt that it currently fears negative developments - mainly the possibility that the fall of Arab regimes will give renewed encouragement to unrest in Iran. Another worry is that the Syrian regime will fall and drag its ally down with it.

2011-10-28 00:00:00

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