The U.S. Is on a Collision Course with Iran in the Middle East

(Washington Post) Liz Sly - In the past three years, Iran has dispatched tens of thousands of allied militia fighters to Syria and Iraq, asserting its presence in vast swaths of territory not previously regarded as within Iran's traditional orbit of influence. Iranian-backed Shiite militias have fanned out into the Sunni and Christian areas of northern and western Iraq that were freed from Islamic State control - often with the help of U.S. airstrikes. Now these forces are aiding efforts by the Iraqi government to reclaim territory that has been controlled by U.S.-allied Kurds since as long ago as 1991. In all of their maneuvers, the militias are operating with the blessing of the sovereign governments. "The Iranians...wanted to export their revolution. But they found that they don't need to overthrow the governments in the region," said Mohammed Obeid, a Beirut-based political analyst who is close to Hizbullah. "They can create political and military groups alongside these governments, and Hizbullah is the prime example." Any attempt to challenge Iran in Iraq and Syria "will have a very negative effect on the existence of American forces in the region," said Obeid. "They are surrounded by Iranians."

2017-10-27 00:00:00

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