Two prominent Washington, D.C., think tanks are recommending that the Trump administration keep U.S. troops in the Middle East post-ISIS for the foreseeable future to prevent Iran’s “land bridge” from Tehran to the Mediterranean.
The report, released Thursday by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Center for New American Security, says the U.S. should collaborate with its coalition partners to leave American troops in al-Tanf, which is a strategic Syrian border crossing with Iraq and Jordan, which would cut off Iran’s use of the strategically important route.
The think tanks say that American forces should leverage its close relations with Kurdish forces to keep Iran from moving weapons into the country. Iran has been moving weapons into the region to supply Hezbollah, Hamas and other proxies.
In addition, Iran has been shipping weapons to the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad as well.
Tehran has been moving rapidly against U.S.-aligned forces to set up zones of influence throughout Iraq and Syria, in a bid to keep and hold lines of communication and so it can more easily move its own forces, as well as proxy forces, into the region.
Establishing a ‘land bridge’ would several Iranian power and allow its forces maximum flexibility on prospective battlefields while diversifying supply routes.
Analyst comment: We have been watching developments involving Iran’s attempts to establish its land bridge closely because in addition to threatening U.S.-aligned coalition forces, Israel considers a stronger presence in the region (and along its borders) as intolerable.
Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 4: What are the latest indicators of a new Middle East war? Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region. Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.