Iran’s military intervention in Syria offers Tehran another tool to promote its influence and interests in the region: the Shiite militias organized by the Iranian Quds Force and Revolutionary Guards. The most important militias of this kind are the Lebanese Hezbollah, followed by a number of Iraqi Shiite militias that Iran either established or helped set up during the Iraq-Iran War and the more recent war in Iraq.
The newer militias were constructed over the past few years, composed of Afghan and Pakistani Shiite volunteers. All these militias were assigned combat missions in Syria with the aim of rescuing the Assad regime, and from a numerical perspective, they make up the lion’s share of the forces that Iran operates in Syria.
The establishment of these militias provides Iran with another large fighting force – which in the future may be enlarged and used in other countries – that allows it to operate in a flexible manner and with reduced risks. This creates additional dangers for Israel, the United States, and other countries in the region, as Iran may attempt to leave these militias in general, and Hezbollah in particular, in the Golan Heights for the sake of establishing a new front with Israel. Addressing this threat might require US-Israeli cooperation.
By Ephraim Kam for INSS
Link : http://www.inss.org.il/publication/irans-shiite-foreign-legion/?utm_source=activetrail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Strategic%20Assessment%20Vol.%2020%20No.%203