After Islamic State, Fears of a "Shiite Crescent" in Mideast

(Wall Street Journal) Yaroslav Trofimov - For Sunni Arab regimes anxious about Iran's regional ambitions, the Islamic State's firewall blocks territorial contiguity between Iran and its Arab proxies in Syria and Lebanon. Now, as Islamic State is losing more and more land to Iranian allies, these Sunni countries - particularly Saudi Arabia - face a potentially more dangerous challenge: a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut that would reinforce a more capable and no less implacable enemy. Pro-Iranian Shiite militias such as Lebanon's Hizbullah and Iraq's Badr and Asaib Ahl al-Haq are filling the void left by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and they are much better equipped and trained. They are also hostile to the Saudi regime, talking about dismantling the kingdom and freeing Islam's holy places from the House of Saud. Abuses committed by Iranian proxies in Sunni areas are just as bad as those of Islamic State, argued Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence. Last month, Iraq expelled the Saudi ambassador over his criticism of the Shiite militias.

2016-09-30 00:00:00

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