Signs are mounting that the US’s new policy towards Iran is taking shape.
The policy is still at the formulation stage, and it is too early to know with certainty how it will end up. Yet it seems the policy will be geared towards assisting America’s Sunni allies and Israel in their quest to defend themselves against Iran’s drive to destablize, and gain control, of the region.
Iran has been doing this for several years, through arming and financing radical Islamist proxies, and deploying them to various areas, giving Tehran a foothold across the region.
Comments by both Secretary of Defense Tillerson and Defense Secretary Mattis seem to reflect the new American policy taking shape regarding Iran’s behavior.
Tillerson recently stated: “Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining US interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel.”
Mattis, on a visit to Saudi Arabia, said this week: “Everywhere you look where there’s trouble in the region you find Iran. We will make progress on this. We will have to overcome Iran’s efforts to destabilize yet another country … but the bottom line is we are on the right path for it.”
The first sign of the new policy could be a stepped up American commitment to assist the Saudi-led coalition battling the Shi’ite Yemenite Houthi organization, Ansar Allah, which receives weapons from Iran, and fires ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia.
The policy could potentially go on to impact Iran’s meddling in Syria, Iraq, and Bahrain as well.
Still, Iran’s ability to arm and finance its chief regional proxy, Hezbollah, will continue.
Every year, Iran provides Hezbollah with 700 to 800 million dollars a year + ongoing transfers of surface to surface rockets, missiles, drones, anti-tank missiles, and more.
Israel has been involved in a low-profile campaign to selectively disrupt this force build-up.
Iran is also the chief financial sponsor of Hamas’s military wing in Gaza (50 to 60 million dollars a year).