For decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has sought to extend its influence throughout the Middle East, and the threat has only grown more serious amid the regime’s enhanced conventional military capabilities and proximity to a nuclear breakout. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has spearheaded Tehran’s expansionist “four capitals” strategy, focused on Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, and Sanaa. In Iraq, the IRGC works through elements of the government-funded Popular Mobilization Forces; in Syria, through the regime of Bashar al-Assad; in Lebanon, through Hezbollah—which can be regarded as Iran’s “model” proxy; and in Yemen, through the Houthis, who hold territory and oppose the internationally recognized government. In all these places, the IRGC has exploited civil wars and interstate conflicts to spread its political, economic, and military influence.
In this Policy Focus, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, IDF, draws on his deep experience in the Israeli military establishment to propose a detailed plan for undermining Iran’s influence in the region—an approach that will preserve U.S. and Western interests, reinforce Israel and America’s Arab allies, and promote regional stability.
Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir has served in the Israel Defense Forces for thirty-seven years. During his distinguished military career, he has held various command roles, among them chief of staff of Israel’s ground forces, military secretary to the prime minister, commander of the Southern Command, and deputy chief of General Staff. A 2021–22 visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute, Zamir holds a BA in political science from Tel Aviv University and an MA in social science from Haifa University. He also completed a one-year officer training course at École Militaire in Paris.