Regional Destabilization

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, is visiting Washington, D.C. this week. In recent years, Pretoria has increasingly embraced American adversaries and provided them with a dangerous platform and political backing to undermine U.S. interests. Its foreign policy features partnerships with a rogues’ gallery of the worst actors in the international system, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran. In conversations with Pandor, U.S.

The outcome of Lebanon’s parliamentary elections revealed that the country’s citizens are largely disillusioned and apathetic, given the low voter turnout, and an active minority is angry. At 41% turnout, this suggests the majority of the Lebanese people believed the outcome of the election would be irrelevant, and that whatever the composition of the parliament, it will not be able to extricate Lebanon from its current crises.

On Sunday, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad made a surprise visit to Iran—his first trip there since February 2019. Much has changed since that last jaunt to see his patrons.

Iran’s new Ambassador to Iraq Mohammad Kazem Al-e Sadeq

Last Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced that Mohammad Kazem Al-e Sadeq will become the next Iranian ambassador to Iraq.

In the first such incident since the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, at 11:15 AM on Friday, August 6, 2021 Hezbollah militants launched a rocket barrage into Israeli-held Har Dov, also known as the Shebaa Farms. Video released by Hezbollah of the strike showed a rocket-launcher mounted on an Isuzu Bongo truck firing twenty rockets into Israeli-held territory.

Israel and Iran have been engaged in a low-intensity shadow war for over a decade. This clandestine clash has passed through multiple phases. Initially, it was centered on Israel’s attempts to derail Iran’s nuclear program. In 2013, with the entry of Iran and its proxy forces into the Syrian Civil War, Israel’s goal broadened to prevent Tehran’s entrenchment in yet another country on its northern border. The Israelis seemingly expanded to striking Iranian shipping assets shortly after that.

About three weeks ago, the Afghan intelligence arrested a senior Taliban commander moments after he crossed the border from Iran to Afghanistan. The smooth capture stunned the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF), which until now has not faced difficulties in transporting Taliban fighters across the border.

On May 25, 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered Israeli forces out of south Lebanon, ending Israel’s ill-fated 18-year foray into its northern neighbor’s territory. Barak believed the withdrawal would weaken Hezbollah by depriving it of its raison d’etre to continue attacking Israel. But he miscalculated.

Last week, Pakistani and Iranian army chiefs talked terrorism over the phone. But the official readouts by their respective militaries could not be more different. This is the latest sign of simmering tensions between Tehran and Islamabad that have wider implications for next-door Afghanistan and the Gulf.