Expert Voices

U.S. increases pressure on Iran with sanctions on militias in Iraq and Syria

Mike Pompeo during Peace and Security in the Middle East conference in Warsaw on February 14, 2019.
Mike Pompeo during the Peace and Security in the Middle East conference in Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 14, 2019. Photo: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Trump administration on Tuesday sanctioned — for the first time — an Arab, Iran-backed Shiite militia operating in both Iraq and Syria.

Why it matters: Since unveiling its Iran strategy in October 2017, the administration has struggled to implement regional elements of the policy. Washington has been reluctant to sanction Iran-backed forces, but now appears willing to do so to name, shame and penalize Iran’s agents of influence in the Middle East.

Expert Voices

How expansive responses to terrorism can cost civilian lives

A mother and her son dressed in a traditional costume in Pisac Sunday market day. Pisac. Sacred Valley.
A mother and son in Pisac, Peru, where health-spending cuts have contributed to a 13% rise in infant mortality. Photo: Sergi Reboredo/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Images

Recent terrorist attacks in Kashmir, North Sinai and Bogotá have put their respective government’s security policies under the microscope.

The big picture: In the wake of such attacks, there are strong political incentives to reassure the public with highly visible, forceful measures. In developing countries, however, beefing up security often comes at the steep cost of spending cuts to social welfare programs.

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