The Winner in the Russian-American Middle East Squabble Is...Iran

(Israel Hayom) Eyal Zisser - There is already a clear winner in the struggle over prestige between Russia and the U.S. in the Middle East. The winner is actually Iran, which is silently but surely establishing a realm of influence that extends from Tehran to the Mediterranean coast, over which it will have complete control. Only six years ago, it appeared that the Arab Spring would deliver a decisive blow to Iran's efforts to create an "axis of resistance" under its influence that would stretch from Tehran, through Baghdad and Damascus, to Beirut and Gaza. Iran watched as radical Sunni Islam prepared to overtake its grasp on Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. However, Russian involvement in Syria that began in September 2015 changed the game and saved Syrian President Assad from near-certain ouster. But the platform upon which Moscow based its return to the region was an Iranian-Shiite one, based on Iranian and Shiite fighters, who complete the work of Russian aircraft and fight Moscow's war on the ground. The writer, Vice Rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

2016-10-14 00:00:00

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