Iran arming militias to weaken Arab states: US official

MunichIran is using a “Hezbollah model” of building and arming militias in neighbouring Arab countries to create weak states that are effectively brought under Tehran’s control, the US National Security Adviser has warned. 

In a call to action, HR McMaster told an audience of senior security officials in Munich that the time had come to confront Iran’s expanding influence. He said Iran was replicating its strategy in Lebanon — where it fostered the birth of the powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah — in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, setting up militias that answer directly to Tehran. 

“What’s particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable, as Iran seeds more and more capable, destructive weapons into these networks,” McMaster said. “So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran.”

The lieutenant general, who served with distinction on successive tours in Iraq, said there was a stand-alone new military force being created in the sectarian ruins of the Syria conflict. He added that Iranian allies were gaining access to more sophisticated weapon technologies, including missiles and rocket capabilities. 

“Iran is applying the Hezbollah model to the region,” he said. “Tehran wants the Arab world to be perpetually weak while they grow terrorist groups outside weak government controls that they can use against these governments. This is the case in Syria, Iraq, Yemen.”

The urgency of the challenge posed by Tehran is one of the main factors behind President Donald Trump’s demand that the 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear weapons programme be revisited. 



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