In recent decades, the Middle East has experienced a complex web of conflicts, tensions, and power struggles that have left lasting scars on the region and its people. Amidst this turmoil, one factor has consistently emerged as a significant source of destabilization and turmoil: the Iranian regime. With its aggressive geopolitical agenda and ideological fervor, the regime has played a prominent role in exacerbating regional tensions and undermining the stability of neighboring countries.
By delving into the historical context and contemporary developments, it becomes evident that the Iran regime’s actions have had far-reaching implications, posing formidable challenges to peace, security, and the well-being of the region’s inhabitants.
The regime’s quest for regional hegemony can be traced back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which overthrew the Shah’s regime and was hijacked by the theocratic rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The regime’s fundamentalist ideology, coupled with a commitment to export terrorism, propelled Iran onto a path of active interference in neighboring countries.
As a self-proclaimed defender of the oppressed, Iran’s regime sought to exploit regional fault lines and promote its own brand of so-called Islamic governance. One of the primary tools employed by the Iranian regime has been its support for non-state actors and proxy militias across the region.
Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and various Shia militias in Iraq have all received significant backing from Tehran, which has armed, trained, and provided financial support to these groups. Iran’s regime has sought to extend its reach and influence by cultivating these proxies, effectively creating a network of loyal actors ready to advance its interests and destabilize states that oppose its agenda.
Recently in an interview with the state-run TV Ofogh, Sadegh Koushki one of the regime’s elements confessed the regime’s destructive influence in the Middle East and said: “We should praise here all the efforts of Qassem Soleimani. Martyr Soleimani developed groups such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas with a diverse collection of missiles into effective groups. We are proud to announce that the Islamic Republic as the supreme leader clearly stated we are responsible for the technical and educational support of these groups.”
According to a recent article from Middle East Eye, it has been revealed that the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary umbrella group has experienced a significant expansion, effectively doubling in size over the course of the past two years. As a result, it currently stands as the third-largest force within Iraq.
Citing documents associated with Iraq’s draft budget, the report highlights the substantial financial requirements of these pro-Iranian militias, which have evolved into an officially recognized paramilitary force since 2018.
The documents suggest that an estimated 3.56 trillion Iraqi dinars (equivalent to $2.7 billion) are now needed to support their operations. The Iranian regime’s interference in the Middle East has resulted in devastating consequences for the region’s population.
Countries such as Syria and Iraq have been ravaged by prolonged conflicts, with Iranian-backed militias exacerbating sectarian divides and perpetuating violence. The Iranian regime’s support for terrorist groups has also led to increased terrorist activities and attacks against civilian populations, destabilizing the already fragile social fabric of the region.
According to a recent publication by Al-Majalla, a confidential Jordanian government document sheds light on the ongoing endeavors to extricate the Syrian regime from international isolation.
The document reveals the regime’s extensive influence within Syria and underscores its far-reaching impact. “Iran will continue imposing its economic and military influence on the Syrian regime and several vital parts of Syria by taking advantage of the people’s suffering to recruit militias.” It continues: “Iran’s proxies are becoming stronger in the main areas, including the southern region, and the drug trade generates significant income for these groups while posing an increasing threat to the region and beyond.”
Reports from Arab and Lebanese sources suggest that the regime has been engaged in proactive efforts to establish a collaborative operational headquarters in southern Lebanon.
The aim of this initiative is to bring together Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) under one unified command structure. Disturbingly, there are indications that plans are being made to establish a joint center dedicated to coordinating rocket attacks specifically targeted at Israel.
These developments underscore the growing concerns regarding Iran’s escalating involvement in the region and its potential implications for regional stability.
During a recent meeting, Esmail Ghaani, the commander of the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, engaged in discussions with Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, as well as Hamas deputy Saleh al-Arouri and senior officials from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hezbollah. This meeting took place at the Iranian embassy in Lebanon.
Notably, shortly after Ghaani’s visit, on April 6, a barrage of rockets was launched from Lebanon towards Israel, indicating a strong possibility of a coordinated effort among these factions. However, it is not just the Middle Eastern countries that are experiencing the repercussions of the Iranian regime’s interference.
In fact, the regime’s actions are increasingly posing a significant and enduring threat to all its neighboring nations. Azerbaijan has recently arrested multiple individuals suspected of having connections to the regime’s secret services and allegedly planning a coup and assassinations.
Following the expulsion of diplomats from both countries, Azerbaijan’s law enforcement agencies detained several individuals working for the regime’s secret services. Azerbaijan’s interior ministry, security service, and prosecutor general’s office implicated nine individuals, with additional arrests made in connection with the case. The group was reportedly plotting to violently overthrow the government and carry out assassinations of prominent figures and senior officials.
These arrests come after the detention of six Azerbaijani nationals in April, who were accused of being recruited by the Iranian regime’s secret services to destabilize the country. In addition to its direct military and ideological interventions, the regime has utilized its state-controlled media outlets and propaganda machinery to disseminate its narrative and amplify its influence.
By exploiting existing grievances and amplifying sectarian tensions, the regime has sought to create divisions within societies, further undermining the prospects for stability and reconciliation. Furthermore, the regime’s nuclear program has been a major point of contention in the international arena.
The regime’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities has raised concerns among neighboring countries and global powers, as it threatens regional security and stability. Despite international sanctions and diplomatic efforts to curb the regime’s nuclear ambitions, the regime has persistently pushed forward, heightening tensions.