Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, called out Iran as one of the greatest threats to the region during a recent appearance on Capitol Hill. “We are dealing … with the range of malign activities perpetrated by Iran and its proxies operating in the region,” Votel told members of the Senate Armed Services committee March 9 in his opening remarks. “It is my view that Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to stability for this part of the world.” The commander’s remarks echo the sentiments of other high ranking officials within the Trump administration, most notably Secretary of Defense James Mattis. “The Iranian regime, in my mind, is the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East,” Mattis said during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., almost a year ago. Iran and its proxy agents like Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia terror organization trained and funded by Iran, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, have been operating in regions of weak governance throughout the Middle East, occupying a power vacuum in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011.
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