Rolling Up the Persian Carpet: Iran's Influence Is Being Challenged across the Middle East

(Ha'aretz) Amos Harel - A coordinated counter-effort has begun to stop Iran in its efforts to expand its regional influence - to roll up the Persian carpet again, as the Israeli defense establishment describes it. After President Trump announced his decision in May to decertify the nuclear agreement with Iran, an apparent avalanche of American companies, and to a lesser extent European firms, are abandoning planned deals with Tehran. Joining the economic noose are military actions. A heavy assault is being carried out by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with American, British and French backing, on the port city of al-Hodeida in Yemen, which is under the control of the Houthi rebels. This is the area from which the rebels are launching Scud missiles, under Iranian guidance, at Saudi Arabia. In southeast Syria, the U.S. has avoided dismantling its al-Tanf base, which threatens the land corridor Iran wants to build in the direction of Damascus and Beirut. Moreover, the Iranians have suffered a series of aerial attacks by Israel over the past few months against the military force they are trying to establish in Syria. The hope that Russia will impose order and remove the Iranians and Shi'ite militias from the border with Israel is not taking place at the pace Jerusalem has expected. Yet, according to the Israeli analysis, the Russians now feel Iran has worn out its welcome and no longer provides any benefits for them in Syria, and the Russians would prefer for the Iranians to reduce their presence there.

2018-06-22 00:00:00

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