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Analysis: After Islamic State is defeated, Shi’ite forces to take over


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The Western-Backed war against the Sunni Islamic State is setting the stage for the rise of an Iran-led Shi’ite crescent across the region.

From contiguous territory stretching from Afghanistan to Iran and through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, Shi’ite influence would increase.

Just as the US-led coalition war against Iraq in 2003 toppled the Sunni power and removed an obstacle for Iran to spread its influence in the overwhelmingly Shi’ite country, the removal of Islamic State would give Iran the upper hand against its Sunni enemies.

In fact, many Sunnis support Islamic State not necessarily because they are true believers, but in a show of solidarity against an Iranian-led Shi’ite onslaught.

With the aid of attacks on Islamic State by Western forces and Russia, Iran and its militia allies can prepare for an onslaught on the remaining Sunni rebel forces in Syria. And from there, the Iran axis would look to penetrate neighboring Jordan as well as expand its support of the Houthis in Yemen.

Phillip Smyth, a researcher specializing in Shi’ite Islamist groups at the University of Maryland’s Laboratory for Computational Cultural Dynamics, told The Jerusalem Post that once Islamic State is gone, we should expect the fault lines accentuated during this conflict to grow a bit deeper.

“Iranian-backed [Shi’ite] militias in Iraq have not only grown in military power, but they now have a cache of political capital,” said Smyth.

There is a sense, particularly given Baghdad’s facilitation of the creation of the Popular Mobilization Committee, or Hashid Shaabi, that these sectarian militia entities are in some way legitimate, he said.

“There also is a desire, not limited to the Iranians, to keep many of these groups alive and influential,” he pointed out.

“Given that many of these organizations have regional goals and answer to the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary ideological



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