Iran desires a land bridge to Lebanese Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria. This connection opens a corridor that can be used to move arms and material.
Henry Kissinger recently wrote a memo to the White House. He said, “Most non-ISIS powers — including Shia Iran and the leading Sunni states — agree on the need to destroy it,” and added, “But which entity is supposed to inherit its territory? A coalition of Sunnis? Or a sphere of influence dominated by Iran? The answer is elusive because Russia and the NATO countries support opposing factions. If the ISIS territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.”
Although several regional militias under the supervision of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard militias are currently designated by the United States as terror organizations, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies points out, “But there at least 40 militias that are not. Many are Iraqi-based groups, and include Afghans, Pakistanis, and Syrians. The numbers are in the tens of thousands.” Allegedly, there are over 60,000 Iraqis, and 10,000 foreign nationals in Syria, who are supplied, supported or controlled by the Guards.
FDD summarizes, “The Guard Corps may attempt to expand its asymmetric strategy while falling below the threshold of a direct attack. During the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Revolutionary Guard provided material assistance to militants targeting American soldiers and in Iraq directly oversaw attacks. It continues to harass the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf on a frequent basis. Between May and June, Guard-led militants and Iranian drones challenged a U.S. deconfliction zone near Tanf, Syria, triggering American strikes.”
The United States wants to avoid war with Iran, and there is hope of working with powers who also are concerned with Mideast outcomes.
Kissinger, says that “Russia’s attitude” toward the fate of formerly ISIS-held lands “will be a key test” and that the United States must be careful how it proceeds din regards to Moscow.
Meanwhile, Turkey remains a NATO ally, and the Kurds are American allies. As well, Iraq does not want to be Iran’s puppet state. The destiny of the Mideast is in the hands of the Arab peoples.