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Who Are Iran's Militants, Shia Allies Accused to Destabilize the Middle East?

Iran has a network of autonomous militant Shia groups allies in the Middle East and it is called the “Axis of Resistance” and they are united in opposition to the US and Israel.

Chaos in some of the countries in the Middle East such as Syria, Iraq, and Yemen opened an opportunity for Iran to expand its influence after establishing it in Lebanon according to an article published by The Guardian on 14 January 2024.

Iran committed to spreading the theocratic ideology in which it preaches the supremacy of the religious over the political since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on April 1, 1979, following the overthrowing of the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi according to an article published by Le Monde on December 6, 2023. 

The following are Iran key militant's Shia allies in the Middle East.


Hezbollah was founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and it shares Iran’s Shi'ite Islamist ideology also it is believed to be more powerful than the Lebanese state and has advised and trained some of the militant Shia groups in the Middle East according to an article published by Reuters on February 3, 2024.

Hezbollah has had a strong political presence in Lebanon since it participated in Lebanon's general election in 1992. A full-blown war between Hezbollah and Israel broke out in 2006 that led to 34 days of Israel's invasion of southern Lebanon to eliminate Hezbollah but failed according to an article published by Al Jazeera on October 17, 2023.


the Houthis formally known as The Ansar Allah (Partisans of God) emerged in the 1990s and in the early 2000s fought against Yemen's authority to have more autonomy for the group homeland in the north of Yemen.

In 2014 the Houthis took control of the capital of Yemen Sanna with the help of former President Saleh of Yemen and his loyal security forces and in 2015 seized large parts of western Yemen.

This led Saudi Arabia to form a coalition of Arab countries to prevent the Houthis from taking over Yamen and making it a satellite of Iran its rival in the Middle East according to an article published by BBC News on February 6, 2024.

After a nine-year war, Saudi engaged in peace talks with the Houthis, who secured control of northern Yemen according to an article published by The New York Times on December 25, 2023.


An umbrella group of Iran-backed Shia militias including Kataib Hezbollah responsible for killing three U.S. service members in Jordan in a drone attack on January 28, 2024 according to an article published by Politico on January 31, 2024.

Shia Militias leaders many of whom lived and trained in Iran during Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, ruler of Iraq. They returned after the US led an invasion of Iraq in 2003 which led to a fight against the US-led coalition and sectarian violence.

After their role in countering Isis sudden attack in 2014 which led to their rising political and military influence in Iraq according to an article published by The Financial Times on January 29, 2024.

Edited by: Megha Siddapura Manjunatha

Image: The Economist


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