Iran Among the Ruins

Tehran’s Advantage in a Turbulent Middle East

Hired guns: a Hezbollah fighter on the Lebanese-Syrian border, July 2017. ALI HASHISHO / REUTERS

Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised. Syria and Yemen have descended into bloody civil wars worsened by foreign military interventions. A terrorist group, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria before being pushed back by an international coalition led by the United States.

In the eyes of the Trump administration, and those of a range of other observers and officials in Washington and the region, there is one overriding culprit behind the chaos: Iran. They point out that the country has funded terrorist groups, propped up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and aided the anti-Saudi Houthi rebels in Yemen. U.S. President Donald Trump

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