How and Why Iran Has Lost its Position as Head of the Shiite World

(Hoover Institution) Hanin Ghaddar - In Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, and inside Iran itself, the people have realized that the enemy is within. It's their own governments that have allowed the Iranian regime to take over the state and its institutions. The Shia Crescent, which Iran has been investing in for decades, is finally turning against the Iranian regime and its proxies. Iran is facing its most complicated adversary in years - Shia protestors. For Iran, the enemy is also within, and it's one that cannot be contained without a drastic upheaval in Iran's own strategies and political alliances across the region. Iran's worst nightmare started when the Iraqis - mostly in Shia towns and cities - started to chant "Iran, out out, Iraq free, free." In Iraq, Iran's attempts to turn the protests into anti-U.S. protests didn't work. The three main Shiite cities in Lebanon witnessed widespread protests, despite Hizbullah's constant intimidation and threats to protestors. It is going to be very difficult for Iran and its proxies to come back from this. The Shia in these countries no longer believe that the Iranian ideology is the solution or that its strategy to defeat Israel and the U.S. will elevate them from poverty and hunger. Hizbullah had been relying on Soleimani as a military commander. The group is currently spread too thin to play a much larger role in Iraq or the rest of the Shia Crescent. A proper replacement of Soleimani doesn't really exist, and Iran is going to struggle to fill that void. The writer is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2020-03-10 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive