Tehran's Shiification of Syria

(Middle East Quarterly) Rauf Baker - The Syrian civil war provides a unique opportunity for the Islamic Republic of Iran to expand its hegemony across the region by cementing its presence in a pivotal Arab state. The pronounced secularism of Syria's Alawite-led Baath regime notwithstanding, Damascus and Tehran have maintained a close relationship since 1979. Iran adopted a two-pronged strategy: converting Sunni Muslims to Shiism and settling Shiites from neighboring countries throughout Syria. In 2021, six Iranian universities were operating in Syria, five of which were established after the outbreak of the civil war. These universities use curricula approved by the Iranian ministry of science and require fluency in the Persian language. Likewise, more than fifteen Iranian cultural centers have opened across Syria.

2023-01-26 00:00:00

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