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LECTURE: Iran and its four fronts: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen

  • Spui 25 25 Spui Amsterdam, NH, 1012 WX Netherlands (map)

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 modified the political configuration in the Levant, offering Iran the opportunity to rise as the strongest regional power.
With new allies governing in Bagdad, old allies governing in Damascus and a powerful ally (Hezbollah) controlling South Lebanon, Teheran became directly involved in three Arab scenes, with a strategic depth and a territorial continuity. Moreover, Iran’s ties with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad allowed it to be at the heart of the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

In 2011, the Syrian revolution challenged this regional configuration. Developments that followed in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have shown the rise of other Middle Eastern powers opposed to what they call “Iranian hegemony”. Political confrontations, armed struggles, proxy wars and changing alliances have since put Iran on different fronts.
Today, it is still uncertain how Iran’s “nuclear deal” with western powers on one side, and the Russian military intervention in Syria on the other, would affect those fronts. What is certain, however, is that the Levant is witnessing a new founding moment, after 1916, 1948, 1973 and 1979.

About the speaker: Ziad Majed is a researcher and an assistant professor of Middle East Studies and International Relations at the American University of Paris.

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