Understanding Tehran’s Long Game in the Levant

ULUSLARARASI İLİŞKİLER, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 60, 2018 

Sanam VAKIL*

ABSTRACT
This paper examines Iran’s historical and strategic ties to the Levant and argues that its objectives can characterized as multifaceted, diversified and pragmatic in orientation. Mindful of its strategic calculations and taking advantage of regional events, Iran operates as an opportunistic and adept regional actor having increased its foothold in Lebanon and Syria by supporting its axis of resistance partners Hezbollah and Bashar al Assad in their common goals of survival, stability and anti-Israeli and American sentiments. While Tehran’s strategy has, for the time being, strengthened its influence in the Levant, this paper observes that it has simultaneously resulted in the creation of anti-Iran regional alliance that could ultimately undermine Tehran’s regional position. Understanding Tehran’s strategic calculus in the Levant can shed light on its long-term objectives and potential outcome.

Keywords: Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Bashar al Assad, Strategic Depth, Axis of Resistance

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* Adjunct Professor, Middle East Studies Department, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS Europe), Bologna. 


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