Iran's Stake in Syria

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall - According to Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Taeb, a former senior official of Iran's Basij militia, Iran's line of defense passes through Syria, and that is why the Iranian government proposed creating battalions of Basij-style militias in Syria. The price that Iran is paying to protect Assad's regime is increasing. The number of Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) forces and Shiite volunteers from various countries has continued to rise, and recently senior IRGC commanders have been killed on Syrian soil. The crisis in Syria is gradually turning from a protracted regional crisis into an international one in which regional (Iran, Saudi Arabia) and international (Russia, the United States) powers are involved. Iran sustains Syria and Assad's minority regime because this serves its strategic interests. For Iran, Syria constitutes the first line of defense against Israel, and also a line of defense for the Shiite population in Lebanon against Islamic State incursion. The writer, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center and at Foresight Prudence.

2015-10-23 00:00:00

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