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    Cordesman_NSWG_photo    Iran, Evolving Threats, and Strategic Partnerships in the Gulf

        Dr. Anthony Cordesman

        Center for Strategic and International Studies

        December 22, 2014

 

 

The U.S. and its Arab partners in the Gulf face a wide range of threats. These include the Islamic State and other Jihadist elements, civil war, instability, and divisions in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. It is Iran, however, which poses the most severe military challenge, and one that goes far beyond its search for nuclear capability.

Iran has been able to greatly increase its military influence in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria – as well as in some southern Gulf states. Iran has built up a major sea-air-missile force that can conduct asymmetric warfare throughout the Gulf, at the Strait of Hormuz, and in the Gulf of Oman.

It has also built up a major missile force that currently has serious accuracy and reliability problems, but which can become far more lethal even if Iran is unsuccessful in acquiring nuclear weapons. Precision-guided conventionally armed missiles could radically change the regional balance, replacing weapons of mass destruction with weapons of mass effectiveness.

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