Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis fuel the axis of resistance to Iran. best country


By Sarah Harmouch and Nakisa Jahanbani

Regardless of how directly involved Tehran is in planning and carrying out such incidents, the allegations get at a broader truth: in Middle Eastern geopolitics, Iran’s alliance with violent non-state actors Strategy of – especially Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon And this Houthis in Yemen – Affects the regional balance of power.

As Expert on Iran with This is a network of proxies, We recognize that Iran’s relationship with each group is separate yet interconnected, serving Tehran’s regional objectives. From southern Lebanon to Gaza and Yemen, these alliances shape the political landscape and highlight the nature of influence and control in proxy warfare. It serves as a counterweight to Iran limited conventional military capabilitiesIt is an important part of its foreign policy.

war in israel and gaza

Displaced Palestinians gather outside temporary shelters at a camp for displaced Palestinians in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, January 14, 2024, amid ongoing fighting between Israel and the militant Hamas group.  (Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Iran’s ‘axis of resistance’

managed by Islamic Revolutionary Guard CorpsIran’s paramilitary security service, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, these regional groups make up what Tehran has dubbed the Axis of Resistance.

The relationship between the groups and Tehran is designed to balance against both US influence in the region and Washington’s regional allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

But drawing the axis of resistance as a direct proxy is a bit wrong. Rather, Iran’s approach is to expand its influence – across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Palestinian territories – through strategic partnerships. Depending on shared objectives and ideologies, these alliances allow varying degrees of autonomy. Iran provides resources and coordination, but each group maintains its own agenda and local support base, acting more as a partner rather than a proxy. And the relationship between Iran and each member of this axis of resistance is unique.

Hezbollah: Iran’s decisive partner

Established in the early 1980s, Hezbollah – a Shia militant organization – emerged with the direct assistance of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, primarily as a response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. With the aim of establishing an Iranian-influenced base on the border with Israel, Tehran provided training, financial support and weapons, fostering Hezbollah’s growth and capabilities.

As a result of its participation in Syrian civil war And Hezbollah has ongoing hostilities with Israel. professionalized our army, By deploying troops to support the Syrian government in line with Iran’s support for the regime, Hezbollah has transitioned from guerrilla tactics to more conventional warfare. Additionally, its ongoing conflict with Israel has intensified Military Strategy and Capabilities, This helped elevate Hezbollah to a notable political and military role within the Lebanese government, which is often aligned with Iran’s geopolitical interests.

Relations between Tehran and Hezbollah have deepened over the years, evolving from mere aid to a strong strategic alliance. Organizations share goals, strategies, and content. close relationship This alliance has been further strengthened between Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and Iran’s Khamenei.

Despite Iran’s considerable influence, particularly in regional conflicts, Hezbollah maintains autonomy In domestic Lebanese politics and its social services.

This Hezbollah–Iran alliance is arguably more important than other proxies with Iran and plays a key role in Tehran’s regional strategy. This not only increases Iran’s influence in the Middle East but also serves as a counterbalance to its adversaries, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Hamas: united against Israel

emerging in The First Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, of 1987Hamas established relations with Iran in the early 1990s. Despite ideological differences – Hamas is predominantly Sunni Islamist, while Iran is a staunch Shia regime – they found common ground in opposition to Israel and a shared vision for Palestinian liberation.

Iran’s support has shifted the balance in Hamas’ conflict with Israel, demonstrating Iran’s influential role in regional power dynamics.

However, coordination between Iran and Hamas has fluctuated. Disagreements over the Syrian civil war in 2012 introduced a crack In their relationship. Hamas’s tacit support for Sunni rebels in Syria was at odds with Iran’s allegiance to the Assad regime, resulting in temporary withdrawal Iranian support,

However, this tension was not permanent. Iran–Hamas relations deteriorated in later years reorganized and strengthened, proof of this is Iran’s resumption of substantial military assistance. The sophisticated planning and execution of the October 7 attack demonstrated how Hamas has been able to improve its military capability with the help of Iran.

This dynamic reflects Iran’s broader regional strategy: empowering allied groups to expand their reach, while granting them autonomy to pursue specific agendas.

Houthis: strategic ally against Saudi Arabia

A Houthi supporter in Sanaa, Yemen. Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu via Getty ImagesMotivated by grievances against the central government and foreign intervention in Yemen, the group shifted to an armed insurgency. This development was marked escalating conflict Involvement in the broader regional conflict alongside the Yemeni government and against a coalition led by Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia. This set the stage for his alliance with Tehran.

Houthis’ coordination with iran Was motivated by shared religious beliefs as well as opposition to both Saudi Arabia and the US

Despite the depth of Iranian support, the Houthis have retained a level of autonomy, particularly in local Yemeni politics. Although Iran’s influence is significant, it does not translate into complete control. Instead, the Houthis are positioned more as a strategic ally in Iran’s regional agenda rather than merely a proxie.

Iran’s growing influence

Iran’s proxy network, which extends to groups Iraq, Syria And AheadIt is a key part of Tehran’s strategy to expand its influence and counter Washington and its allies.

However, these partnerships rarely involve full controlalso demonstrating Iran’s adeptness at navigating geopolitical landscapes. axis of resistance Allows Iran to adapt its strategy to changes in regional dynamics. For example, deploying Hamas under the guidance of the Revolutionary Guard fits into the strategy to confront Israel as regional dynamics move toward normalization between Israel and Arab states.

Such partnerships also pose a challenge to Iran’s adversaries. Stopping these proxy groups requires navigating a complex web of relationships, interests, and ongoing conflicts. And this complexity, coupled with Iran’s important role, has reshaped the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East, signaling a period of heightened tension with broader international implications.


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