Experts: Trump Must Detail a Clear Syria Strategy to Block Iranian Influence Post-ISIS

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
25th November 2017 - Quoted by Natalie Johnson - The Washington Free Beacon

As the Trump administration winds down the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Iran is gearing up to expand its territorial gains in the region, stoking concern among U.S. allies and partners.

Iran is establishing military bases in recently seized territory in southern Syria with the support of President Bashar al-Assad and has made clear its desire to seize the country's oil-rich Deir al-Zour province.

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Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said while the lack of a U.S. strategy certainly helped Iran gain power, it's unlikely the Trump administration will be able to prevent Tehran from expanding its influence in the near-to-medium term.

"Iran has basically created its own foreign legion," he said. "You've had a variety of Shia militias from other countries, including from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, and elsewhere, come to the Syrian-Iraq theatre to aid in the fighting, not just against ISIS, but also to aid the fight for Assad. That's something which gives it the ability to project power significantly."

That's not to say Trump should abandon Syria entirely. Gartenstein-Ross said the United States needs a clear strategy in the region to succeed in the long 

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Tags

iran, islamic-state, syria