Iran as an Occupying Force in Syria

(Middle East Institute) Fouad Hamdan and Shiar Youssef - The Iranian regime is now effectively the dominant force in regime-held areas of Syria. Most major battles in Syria along the frontlines of regime-held areas are being directed and fought by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG) and Hizbullah, along with other non-Syrian Shi'ite militias, with Assad forces in a supportive or secondary role. The Iranian regime has spent billions of dollars on weapons and fighters shipped to Syria since the start of the Syrian revolution in March 2011. It has also financed a large part of the economy in the regime-controlled parts of Syria through loans and credit lines worth billions of dollars. The Assad regime would have collapsed were it not for this Iranian support. If the Assad regime falls, Iranian arms shipments to Hizbullah are likely to cease, and Hizbullah would no longer be the deterrent against possible attacks on its military nuclear program that it is now. One effective way to end the bloodshed in Syria is to link the Iran nuclear talks and sanctions to the Iranian regime's intervention in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. Agreeing to lift sanctions on Iran without any serious commitment to end its intervention in these countries is effectively giving the Iranian regime a green light to carry on with its policies.

2014-12-23 00:00:00

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