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The New Shiite Crescent
FrontPage Magazine ^ | February 27, 2015 | Majid Rafizadeh

Posted on 02/27/2015 4:53:54 AM PST by SJackson

The New Shiite Crescent

Posted By Majid Rafizadeh On February 27, 2015 @ 12:10 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 1 Comment

While the Obama administration’s agenda and policies with regard to fighting the Islamic State have been counter-productive, the administration is ignoring other larger threats in the region.

The profusion of Iran-trained Shiite militias in the region (particularly in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen) is unprecedented and represents the height of Iran’s support to militia groups. The incentives to recruit Shiite fighters can be either driven by financial means or religious/sectarian motives.

The emergence of this new Shiite Crescent has unintended consequences for regional and global powers. Currently, an estimate of 120,000 Shiite militants are fighting in Iraq and Syria including fighters from Abo Al-Fadl Al-Abbasbrigade, Al-Imam AlHossein brigade, Tho Al-Faqar brigade, Kafil Zainab brigade, Asaib Ahl AlhaqAmmar Bin Yasser brigade, Hezbollah Al-Nujaba’ movement, to name a few.

The use of these Shiite militia groups are not only restricted within a boundary of one state. As transnational non-state actors, they are mainly intertwined across borders. For example, several of Iraqi Shiite militias have been utilized in Syria to fight alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and vice versa.

In addition, the employment of militants are not limited to solely Arab Shiite groups. Most recently, Pakistani and Afghan Shiite fighters, which are part of the Iranian-backed “Operation Quneitra Martyrs named for Gen. Ali Allah Dadi,” have been brought to the Golan Heights in Syria, near the border of Israel.

The Success of the New Shiite Crescent

While the international community, primarily the United States, has been putting all of its eggs in one basket in regards to the Islamic State’s fighters, the growth and increasing number of pro-Iran Shiite militias can pose a daunting, long-term task to tackle in the future.

In other words, the international community might succeed in defeating the Islamic State, but they will lose Iraq and other parts of the region to the Iranian-supported Shiite militias.

There are several reasons for the growth and success of Shiite fighters.

First of all, while dozens of countries are relying on aerial attacks to address the threat of the Islamic State, or other extremist groups that might pose instability to the security of the region, the Iranian-supported Shiite militias are among the few groups that are actually fighting on the ground.

The Shiite militias can be seen on the front lines of the battles in Syria and Iraq fighting other oppositional groups. As “boots on the ground,” these militias groups become much more appealing to the leaders of countries who like to consolidate their power and obtain military support. One cannot ignore the fact that these Shiite militia groups have often made significant advances in Iraq and Syria, outperforming the Iraqi and Syrian armies and security forces.

As a result, the Iraqi government is more likely to tilt towards the Islamic Republic than the United States (or other governments) due to the fact that Tehran can provide Baghdad with forces on the ground. In addition, solely airstrikes have shown to be ineffective and often counterproductive to increasing territorial gains.

Secondly, Iran’s proximity to Iraq and Syria, as well as the transnational nature of these Shiite militia groups, make it much easier for Tehran to support the emergence of Shiite fighters across the region. Third, Iran has been successful at building close ties with both Arab and non-Arab Shiite populations in various countries in the region.

Shiite Jihad and the “Hezbollzation” of the Region  

Although the Iranian-trained Shiite militias have made advances in territories in Iraq and Syria, ignoring the profusion of these militants in the region could pose a long-term security dilemma to regional nations.

The common argument made by Iranian leaders and some of Shiite militia groups is that these militias are protecting the religious Shiite shrines, including Sayyida ZaynabSayyida Ruqayya, and shrines in Najaf.

Nevertheless, the operations of these groups in various countries reflect their effective role in tipping the balance of power in favor of the Syrian government, as well as taking over the security and military operations of both Iraqi and Syrian governments.

Secondly, as pawns for the Islamic Republic’s regional hegemonic ambitions, the continuing support of Iran to organize, coordinate and financially support the Shiite militants will create formidable Iranian-backed Shiite proxies in the region in the long-term. This might be called the “Hezbollazation” of the region. As time passes, defeating these organized proxies will be a much more strenuous task.

Finally, in the future, the growth of Iranian-trained Shiite militias will further instigate and sharpen the sectarian and the Sunni-Shia split. For instance, recently, Iraqi Sunni lawmakers have announced that they will boycott the Iraqi parliament until the government controls the growing influence of the Shiite militia groups.  

If the international community succeeds in defeating the Islamic State, they will soon encounter a much more taxing challenge: The long-term security threat posed by the Shiite militias. Even if many countries are capable of driving the Islamic State out of Syria and Iraq, they will soon come to the realization that they have lost Iraq, Syria, and other territories in the region to the Iranian-trained Shiite militias.

TOPICS: News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iran; obamairan; shiite; shiitecrescent; shiites; sunnis

1 posted on 02/27/2015 4:53:54 AM PST by SJackson
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.


2 posted on 02/27/2015 4:54:59 AM PST by SJackson (“ISIS is now going to regret this … because King Abdullah is not Barack Obama, Rep. Duncan Hunter)
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To: SJackson

3 posted on 02/27/2015 4:55:42 AM PST by Travis McGee (
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To: SJackson

I think the Muslim radical problem has now spun out of the US’s and NATO’s control. This is sad to say and scary, but I think it was planned, fed and achieved by Obama.

4 posted on 02/27/2015 5:39:36 AM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson

It was made easier by the fact that they speak languages that most westerners don’t understand, with a writing that can be difficult even for those that do speak the languages, and names that all sound alike to western ears, and with politics characterized by constant shifting intrigues and allegiances. Westerners are easy to confuse once you realize how clueless they are, and how uncomfortable they are with the fact of their own cluelessness.

5 posted on 02/28/2015 3:31:45 PM PST by Eleutheria5 (End the occupation. Annex today.)
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To: FReepers; Patriots; FRiends



6 posted on 02/28/2015 3:34:59 PM PST by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: SJackson

Unfortunately, some very honest facts hurt the argument that the whole of it is Iran’s fault. Sunnis across the Middle East have in all of modern history, outside of Iran (and until recently including Iraq), dominated the governance of every Middle East regime, even when they have been, or continue to be a minority, which in fact they are in all the sheikdoms of the Gulf States (and even in Saudi Arabia in its richest oil regions) and that dominance has meant political suppression of Shi’ites. If the mullahs in Tehran are currently taking advantage of these facts, they are facts, a gift, handed to them by Sunni leaders and how they have governed.

However,a caveat to the claims of Iran’s “Islamic” strength in the whole Middle East is that when Egypt, North Africa and Turkey are all considered (in addition to the Saudis and Jordan) - all Sunni dominant nations, all the Shia of the region, including Iran, constitute an outnumbered minority.

7 posted on 03/03/2015 1:32:12 PM PST by Wuli
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