Iran Seeks to Institutionalize Its Militias in Syria

(Foreign Affairs) Alex Vatanka - The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has established a strong presence in Syria over the last seven years through its various militias and local proxies. The IRGC's goal is to eventually turn the Syrian militias currently under its control into semi-state actors that will become permanent instruments of Iranian influence in Syria, akin to how Hizbullah operates in Lebanon. Moreover, IRGC commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari has claimed that IRGC-controlled economic enterprises, which can work directly under the protection of IRGC-controlled militias, are the best candidates to manage reconstruction projects in Syria. From a broader Syrian perspective, however, it is hard to see how enduring peace can return to the country if armed local groups answerable to an aggressive, ideological foreign organization such as the IRGC continue to play a critical role in the political process. The writer is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and the Jamestown Foundation in Washington.

2017-12-12 00:00:00

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