Iran Completes Its Route to the Mediterranean with a Strategic Port in Syria

April 1 2019

On October 1, by means of a recent agreement, Tehran will officially take over the management of the port at the Syrian city of Latakia, fulfilling the Islamic Republic’s long-held goal of securing access to the Mediterranean. Élie Saïkali writes:

The agreement is a major accomplishment for Tehran, which sees control of the port as an opportunity to strengthen its influence in Syria and the rest of the Middle East. It is also a step forward in the consolidation of the “Shiite axis” linking Iran to the Mediterranean by land. . . . After October 1, the Islamic Republic will be able to use the 23-warehouse harbor for its own purposes. . . .

The port agreement is a sign that Iran’s presence in Syria is still increasing; it followed on the heels of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Tehran on February 25, where he met with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The trip was Assad’s first to his closest regional ally since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, which is now in its ninth year.

In recent months, a number of industrial, military, and energy deals between Tehran and Damascus have been made public, including one that provides for the establishment of power stations in Latakia. The port-management agreement is another building block in Iran’s project to maintain its presence in Syria. The move is bad news for Israel, which may be tempted to carry out airstrikes on the facility if it suspects that it is being used to move suspicious goods.

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More about: Bashar al-Assad, Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Syria

Confronting China Must Be a U.S. Priority

July 22 2019

In recent decades, the Peoples’ Republic of China has experienced rapid and dramatic economic growth; under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, it has used its newfound economic might to pursue an aggressive foreign policy, menacing its neighbors while seeking to expand its influence around the globe. Nikki Haley examines the threat posed by Beijing, and how the U.S. can counter it. (Free registration may be required.)

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More about: Academia, China, U.S. Foreign policy