“Iran in Iraq and Syria: Death of a General”
The Economist, January 3-9, 2015, p.34
“Many chefs have stirred the cauldron of war consuming Syria and Iraq, but perhaps none so vigorously or with so long and capacious a spoon as the Islamic Republic of Iran. Unlike the American-led international coalition formed to combat Islamic State (IS) following the radical Sunni Islamist group’s summer surge towards Baghdad, which has limited its role to air strikes, and unlike Russia or the Arab countries that have armed opposing sides in Syria, Iran has physically inserted itself in the intertwined conflicts. It has dispatched not just fuel and weapons but hundreds of ‘advisers’ from its elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as well as thousands of fighters from the Shia militias that Iran has fostered, armed, trained and funded in Lebanon and Iraq. … Without Iranian aid Mr Assad might well have fallen; more than a thousand Shia militiamen have been killed in his defence since 2012. Iran has also lost at least three generals in Syria. Syrian opposition sources claim that Iran has also spent as much as $15 billion in aid, much of it in the form of fuel, to prop up the Syrian regime.”
Quickie Analysis: A fairly interesting look at Iranian costs in its interventions in Iraq and Syria. Plus I loved the spoon metaphor at the beginning.