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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Iran: Syria and Iraq the Red Lines

The Islamic Republic has recently warned the Turkish government on its military presence in Syria and for "Turkey's dangerous policies" in Syria and Iraq. The head of the political bureau of the Army of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, pointed out that "the crisis in Iraq and Syria will move to Turkey if Ankara does not modify its behavior." Amidst the battle against the Islamic State, Iranian leaders appear to have successfully and forcefully made their point to the West and regional state actors regarding Tehran's redlines: Iraq, and more significantly, Iran's long-time protégé, Syria.
The professionally taken photos of General Qassem Suleimani in Iraq, the commander of Iran's Quds force who normally keeps a low profile, and the projection of these pictures on Iran's TV outlets, suggests a significant strategic shift in Iran's policies to publicly project its power. According to the Guardian, Amirali Hajizadeh, the airforce commander of Iran's Revoluationary Guard Corps, stated on Iran's national TV that "If it wasn't for Iran's help, Iraq's Kurdistan would have fallen into the hands of Daesh." Further, Iran is attempting to send a message to the Iranian people that Tehran can tackle any regional threat.

The ongoing fighting against the Islamic State