The Iranian Regime is escalating its proxy wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen to a new, more dangerous stage and providing more money, weapons and advisers to their Shiite militias in those regions in order to secure Iran’s growing influence over the Middle East once ISIS falls, according to a former high level American diplomat in the region.
On Wednesday, Ryan Crocker, who served as Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon and Pakistan, said that Iran has managed to use the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq to sway Iraqi public opinion in Iran’s favour and are using Hezbollah is Syria to help dictator Bashar Assad.
This effort by Iran could indeed give the Regime the land bridge that would connect Iran to the Mediterranean and make it easier for the Regime to transport its weapons, troops, and money across the Middle East, leading to further proxy wars.
Crocker, now a visiting professor and diplomat-in-residence at Princeton University, told attendees at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) panel discussion: “it’s important to know your adversary’s strategies and why.”
He continued: “What we’re seeing right now is phase two or phase three of Iran’s strategy in Iraq and Syria. Why settle for one Hezbollah when you can have many?”
David Adesnik, the director of research for FDD, explained that fostering proxy forces across the Middle East has been part of Iran’s plan for decades now, but it had ramped up in recent years.
Still most of these militias, aside from Hezbollah, have not been put on the US blacklist for terrorist groups, despite their clear links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force, which are blacklisted.
On Tuesday, the head of US Central Command, General Joseph Votel told the House Armed Services Committee that the Iranian Regime had increased investment in these terrorist proxies following the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal, which released billions in frozen cash assets to Iran.
Votel said that this can be seen most clearly with the Houthis in Yemen, explain that Iran “is attempting to do in five years with the Houthis in Yemen” what it took “20 years with Hezbollah in Lebanon”.
Crocker also argued that the Trump administration needed to assume a leadership role on the world stage and take action in the Middle East to stop Iran.
He said: “Are we going to lead in the world or are we going to step back and let the world look out for itself? If it’s going to be the latter, we should have some very serious public discussions about that.”
Source » ncr-iran