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U.S. And Iranian Strategic Competition: The Proxy Cold War in the Levant, Egypt and Jordan 12 mars 2012

Posted by Acturca in Energy / Energie, Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie, USA / Etats-Unis.
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Center for Strategic and International Studies (USA) March 12, 2012, 148 p.

By Aram Nerguizian *

Iran’s efforts to expand its regional influence in the Levant, Egypt and Jordan are a key aspect of its strategic competition with the US. Nearly twenty years after Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and five years after the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War, the US and its allies continue to struggle with the realities of Iran’s growing influence in the region and its use of proxy and asymmetric warfare. The Islamic Republic has developed strong ties with Syria and non-state actors in the region, including the Lebanese Shi’a group Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas Islamist movement in what Iranian and Syrian leaders have dubbed the “Resistance Axis.” Iran continues to exploit Arab-Israeli tensions in ways that make it an active barrier to a lasting Arab-Israeli peace, while the US must deal with Arab hostility to its strategic partnership with Israel. At the same time, both the US and Iran face new uncertainties in dealing with Egypt, Syria, and the wave of unrest in the Arab world.

At the same time, both the US and Iran face an unprecedented level of policy instability in the Levant, and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, that affects every aspect of their regional competition. At present, no one can predict the outcome in any given case. Even the short term impact of changes in regimes is not predictable, nor is how they will affect the underlying drivers of regional tensions. It is particularly dangerous to ignore the risk of replacing one form of failed governance with another one, and the prospect of years of further political instability or upheavals.

* Aram Nerguizian is a visiting fellow with the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS, where he conducts research on the Middle East and North Africa.

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