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Middle East: The Anti-Iran Revolution is Well Underway

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Con Coughlin

November 7, 2019

  • The nationwide protests taking place in both Arab states [Lebanon and Iraq] are also driven by a burning desire to end Iran's blatant attempts to turn them into de facto fiefdoms of Tehran.

  • The protests, moreover, could not have come at a worse time for Iran, where the economy is in freefall as a result of the wide-ranging sanctions that have been introduced by Washington.

  • Local protesters are now making plain that their dislike for Iranian meddling in their affairs could soon spell the end for Tehran's ambition to become the region's dominant power.

Iran's attempts to expand its malign influence throughout the Middle East have suffered a severe setback as a result of the unprecedented anti-government protests that have erupted in Lebanon and Iraq in recent weeks.

The most obvious source of discontent in these two key Arab states has been the endemic corruption that has taken hold in both Beirut and Baghdad; in both countries, it has been the prime motivation in persuading tens of thousands of demonstrators to take to the streets.

The desire to end corrupt practices and force the governments in Beirut and Baghdad to undertake a radical overhaul of their respective countries' governments is, though, only part of the story.

The nationwide protests taking place in both Arab states are also driven by a burning desire to end Iran's blatant attempts to turn them into de facto fiefdoms of Tehran.



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Trump’s Iran sanctions and the protests in Iraq and Lebanon are connected

Paul Mirengoff

November 8, 2019

I have tried to provide some coverage of the mass anti-Iran protests in Iraq and the anti-Hezbollah protests in Lebanon. Taken together, they can plausibly be viewed as a “revolt against Iran.”

Caroline Glick argues that the mass protests are the product of President Trump’s tough economic sanctions against Iran. She writes:


The sanctions are one of the causes of the protests in both Lebanon and Iraq. Due to the economic constraints Iran is facing, it has reportedly scaled back its payments to its proxies – particularly Hezbollah and the Shiite militias in Iraq. These proxies in turn, have had to expand their use of public funds and extortion to fund their operations.

The protesters in Lebanon are reacting to the economic failure of their country, a failure which owes primarily to government corruption and incompetence. Hezbollah controls the Lebanese government both through its own political representatives and through its proxies. Consequently, it is the protesters’ main target.

In Iraq, the Iranian run Shiite militias have also been feeding off the public trough. They have commandeered public funds and institutions to pay for their operations. And, according to a recent report in Tablet online magazine, they supplement their income by making people travelling on roads under their control pay “tolls.”

If Iran had more money to pay its proxy governments, presumably they would be stealing less money from their respective publics.

In other words, far from having nothing to do with the protests, the sanctions against Iran have everything to do with the protests.

(Emphasis added)

This may be overstating things. Hezbollah and the Iranian militias in Iraq are going to behave corruptly and oppressively regardless of how much funding they receive from Iran. However, it’s more than plausible to believe that the cutback in funding has made them more desperate, and thus more corrupt and oppressive.

Glick’s entire article — a defense of the Trump administration’s sanctions — is worth reading. She concludes:


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