Tehran is winning the war for control of the Middle East

Let’s take a look at the track record so far. The confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran is taking place across a swath of the Middle East in which, over the last decade, states have partially ceased to function — Iraq and Lebanon — or collapsed completely, as in the case of Syria and Yemen. A war over the ruins has taken place in each country, with Riyadh and Tehran arrayed on opposing sides in all of them.

So far, in every case, the advantage is very clearly with the Iranians.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah vanquished the Saudi-sponsored “March 14” alliance of political groups that aimed to constrain it…

In Syria, Iran’s provision of finances, manpower, and know-how to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has played a decisive role in preventing the regime’s destruction…

In Iraq, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has developed an officially-sanctioned, independent military force in the form of the 120,000-strong Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)…

In Yemen, where the Saudis have tried their hand at direct military intervention, the results have been mixed…

Mohammed bin Salman, at least, appears to have signaled his intent to oppose Iran and its proxies across the Arab world. The game, therefore, is on. The prospects of success for the Saudis will depend on the willingness of their allies to engage alongside them, and a steep learning curve in the methods of political and proxy warfare.

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