Prospects for Regional Conflict

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The year 1979 is remembered by most Americans for the takeover of the United States embassy in Tehran.  That year was pivotal for people in the region, as it marked the establishment of an Islamist government in Iran and the takeover of the Holy Mosque in Mecca by a group of fundamentalists led by Juhayman.  These two events would shape the landscape of the region for the next 35 years and counting.

Beginning in 1979, Iran undertook a policy of destabilization in the region.  The political objective was clear: as long as their neighbors were weak, Iran’s leaders could guarantee stability at home.  Their tactic focused on sectarian conflict, and they moved to support Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Houthi rebels in Yemen as well as dissidents in Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

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