The Implications of Iran's Expanding Shi'a Foreign Fighter Network

Published in: The CTC Sentinel, Volume 10, Issue 10 (November 2017), pages 14-18

Posted on RAND.org on December 07, 2017

by Colin P. Clarke, Phillip Smyth

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Shi'a Iran has been steadily recruiting, training, and equipping Shi'a foreign fighters from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and their capabilities are growing. Shi'a foreign fighters have participated in conflicts throughout the region, including in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. There is evidence the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is providing the training to transform these fighters into a professional transnational militia proxy force modeled after Lebanese Hezbollah. The formalization and expansion of these networks risks exacerbating geopolitical and sectarian tensions throughout the region.

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