An air strike hit Tel al-Hara in Syria on June 12. The mountain contained an observation area for the Syrian regime and its allies, including groups linked to Iran.
The next day, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are accused of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Yemen. The incidents were several thousands of kilometers apart, and help us to understand the scale of the battlefield that links Iran and its allies, pitting them against America’s allies.
The alliances in this contest are well known. On the one side are Iran, pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias in Iraq, the Syrian regime, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
On the other are US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. The strategy of Iran is not a top-down approach controlling all its proxies. But the Islamic republic certainly encourages its allies in various ways, and likely also encourages them to exercise restraint at other times.
For instance, after the US warned Iran against any attacks in early May, the regime in Tehran appeared to scale back some provocations. But it also attempted other probing attacks.
The US says Iran was “almost certainly” behind the sabotage of four tankers off the coast of the UAE on May 12. A rocket was fired near the US embassy in Baghdad on May 19. The Houthi rebels increased their drone attacks on Abha city and airport in Saudi Arabia.
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