Protests in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria: Major Blow to Iran Regime’s Strategic Depth

By Masoud Dalvand

The ongoing protests in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon against corruption and particularly Iran’s meddling in these countries is a heavy blow to the Iranian regime’s so-called strategic depth.

The new wave of protests in Syria, particularly in regions under Bashar-al Assad’s control with the majority of Alawi Shiite residents, is a serious blow to the Iranian regime’s meddling in this country.

The Iranian regime actively participated in oppressing Syrian people since the very first days of the Syrian nationwide uprising in 2011, which was part of the Arab Spring. The regime’s goal was to keep Bashar-al Assad, its longstanding ally, in power. The Iranian regime’s devastating role in Syria turned this country into ruin, with millions of deaths and injuries. Members of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its proxy terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) committed heinous crimes in Syria, such as killing innocent civilians, torturing, and raping children, men and women.

In another development, following a long silence due to the coronavirus pandemic, the people of Lebanon took to the streets, protesting government corruption and Hezbollah’s devastating role in their country, which indeed implements the Iranian regime’s strategies. People tore pictures of Hezbollah ‘s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and called for Hezbollah to be disarmed.

In addition, the nationwide uprising which erupted in Iraq in early October entered its new phase within the last few days. The main goal of the protests is to free their country and to end the Iranian regime’s deadly meddling in Iraq. The Iranian regime gradually occupied Iraq after the second Gulf War in 2001. Qassem Soleimani, now the eliminated commander of the IRGC’s extraterritorial Quds Force, played a key role in implementing the regime’s dominance in Iraq and killing its people. Now after months of protests, the new Iraq government is trying to satisfy protestors and also get closer to the United States.

The state-run Keyhan daily, known as the mouthpiece of the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei in an article on June 9, in this regard wrote: “Voting for the continued presence of Americans, the elimination of popular forces, and distancing oneself from real allies (the three main US demands in the talks) may in the first few months bring fading sweetness of Trump’s financial aid to Iraqis through its allies in the regime, but the sweetness of these dollars will soon be replaced by the bitterness of the return of terror and insecurity and the ISIS monster. Then, there will be no PMF to fight ISIS, and the U.S. will be far away and thus unable to help [Iraq].”

This is a clear threat of terrorism, yet it shows the regime’s destitution. Indeed, the regime’s deadly meddling in Iraq and Syria and leading a sectarian war and most importantly the mullahs’ medieval and reactionary interpretation of Islam paved the way for the Islamic State to emerge.
Ali Bigdeli, one of the regime’s experts, said in an article published on November 30, 2019, in the state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily: “The recent incidents in Iraq send different messages. Yet, the most important message is to Iran. If this crisis continues in Iraq, Iran will receive more disappointing messages.”

In addition to Iraq, reports from Afghanistan indicate there have been protests in front of the regime’s embassy and consulates in different parts of Afghanistan, with people demanding the closure of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic centers. These protests erupted following the regime’s recent crimes of killing Afghans, burning a car with Afghan migrants in Iran, and drowning another 50 migrants who had gone to Iran in the hope of finding work and funding their deprived families.

On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, Republicans presented a new bill to the US. Congress called the Comprehensive Sanctions Package, which they called “the largest sanctions against the regime.” This package demands the United States government list Iranian-backed proxy militias in Iraq and Syria as “foreign terrorist organizations.”

These new sanctions along with the uprisings in these countries tightens the noose around the regime’s neck and further pushes it into a strategic decline.

The Iranian regime’s founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor have long dreamed of an Islamic empire. In fact, the regime is based on two pillars: domestic oppression and export of terrorism. For pursing its dream of an Islamic empire, the mullahs’ regime considers Iraq, Lebanon and Syria as its strategic depth.

The nationwide Iran protests in November, which rattled the regime’s foundations, were a major blow to the regime’s pillar of domestic oppression. The nationwide uprisings in Iran, ongoing protests, and the general boycott of the regime’s sham parliamentary elections in February show that the Iranian people’s conflict with the regime has reached an irreversible point. The restive Iranian society now needs any spark to explode.

The protests in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are in line with the Iranian people’s uprising. The elimination of Qassem Soleimani, as the regime’s irreplaceable terror mastermind, was a major blow to the regime’s so-called strategic depth.

These recent developments reveal the regime’s weakness in countries that have been the center of the mullahs’ invasion for years. Now, due to severe pressure on the regime to withdraw from Syria and Iraq, its economic failure due to the sanctions and the inability to meet the huge costs of its mercenaries in the countries, the regime is no longer able to rely on terrorism and hostage-taking, as in the past. If it does, it will be practically more isolated than before. This isolation reflects the fact that the regime’s policy of regional influence and strategic depth has been severely damaged.

From: Medium and