Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) launched a barrage of 24 ballistic missiles on targets in Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria’s opposition-controlled Idlib Province in the early hours of 16 January. It followed this up later in the day with strikes against claimed terrorist sites in Pakistan, in a move which expanded escalating regional unrest following Israel’s Gaza offensive.

Iran has undoubtedly capitalized on the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel to demonstrate its strength across the region. Its powerful Iraqi proxies have grown further in influence, while Iraqi PM Mohammed al-Sudani has been pushed closer towards calling for US forces to withdraw from the country. Meanwhile in Yemen, the Iran-backed Houthis’ campaign against Red Sea shipping (MEES, 19 January and MEES, 19 January) has helped the Iranian authorities deflect attention from the country’s domestic woes. (CONTINUED - 2135 WORDS)