Iran’s Influence in the ISIS Fight

Although there is a “general consensus” between the US and its Middle East allies that any military forces countering ISIS is a “positive thing,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said Iran’s regional activities in places such as Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq is “concerning.” Specifically, Dempsey said military leaders are concerned about what happens after ISIS’ defeat, particularly if Iranian-allied militias engage in retribution or cleansing. He also questioned whether the Iraqi government will be inclusive of all sects in the country. Dempsey described the anti-ISIS fight in Syria differently, noting the US does not have a “credible partner” on the ground yet. However, he said the US is continuing to use aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and close air support strikes against ISIS forces when necessary. Responding to a question from Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Dempsey said the proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force language would not authorize military action against Bashar Assad’s regime or air exclusion zones.