Will Russia and the U.S. Deny Iran Freedom of Action in Syria?

(JTA) Emily B. Landau - The latest episode of Iran flexing its regional hegemonic muscles in the Middle East came with a direct and unprecedented military challenge to Israel. Last week, Iran used a technologically advanced drone to penetrate Israel's airspace. Israel took the drone down, and proceeded to strike Iranian and Syrian military targets deep in Syria, demonstrating Israel's willingness to respond quickly and decisively. The core issue is Iran's ongoing presence in Syria: Its goal is to assert itself there, and to call the shots, including vis-a-vis Israel. Iran strives to establish permanent Shiite militias in Syria that will fulfill its hegemonic designs for the Middle East, similar to the role played by its proxy, Hizbullah, in Lebanon. Russia and the U.S. have a strong interest in denying Iran freedom of action for military moves in Syria that go beyond the bounds of the civil war, and they are the main parties that should be working to ensure Iranian restraint, and its ultimate departure from Syria. The writer is head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

2018-02-20 00:00:00

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