Tackling Iran Directly

Tony Badran
14th December 2017 - Quoted by Iran Focus

In October, the Trump administration announced its new policy to counter Iranian expansionism in the Middle East, focusing heavily on Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.

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Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote on the Hoover Institution: “Such woolly ideas, heavy on hopefulness over the indefinite long-term and light on specific and credible mechanisms, make for an inadequate response to the nature of the challenge facing the United States and its allies in the region. Moreover, the concept behind this approach is inherently flawed.”

He explained that Hezbollah is a fundamental part of the Lebanese state, with a large political party in the coalition government. You cannot support legitimate state institutions without supporting Hezbollah because they control so much of the country, which makes political competition and information campaigns insufficient methods of tackling the problem.

He wrote: “It’s not just that the political class in Lebanon is entangled with Hezbollah, or that it wouldn’t be able to unseat Hezbollah from its position of absolute supremacy. It’s also that Hezbollah is a special unit of the IRGC—a military force which is part of the command structure of a regional power. Hezbollah is not playing by different rules: it’s playing a different game altogether.”

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If the US wants to remove Iranian influence (and thereby Hezbollah) from Lebanon, Badran advises that they focus on Syria.

He argues that the IRGC and Hezbollah directly control territory, command local IRGC franchises, and have built military infrastructure in Syria; the Lebanse border is controlled by Hezbollah and the area between Damascus, south Lebanon, and the Golan Heights by Iran.

Badran wrote: “The Iranian forces are vulnerable. They are overstretched and, in certain cases, they are operating in exposed terrain. The new military structures they are building are equally exposed… The United States should reinforce this Israeli policy by adopting Israeli red lines as its own. And, using the considerable elements of US power in the region, it can expand this campaign against Iran’s and Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, arms shipments, logistical routes, and senior cadres.”

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Read the full article here

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