A map of the Middle East after the World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate shows no state boundaries, only lines of control by European powers over the territories vacated by “The Sublime Porte” -- the Islamic hegemon in Istanbul.
The proponents of America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran have argued that the four-month-long anti-status quo protests that have wracked Iraq, Lebanon and Iran are transnational in character and seek to limit or end the influence of Iran’s current leadership both regionally and internally.
On February 15, 2020, Hezbollah organized a ceremony to unveil a statue of Qassem Soleimani in the Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras, roughly half a mile from the border with Israel. The statue shows Soleimani with his arm stretched out in front of him, pointing toward Israel.
A look back at the past few months of tumultuous domestic events in Iran and around the Middle East might lend favour to the view that Donald Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic is destabilising and weakening Iran alongside its grip on its regional networks.
The Middle East’s conflicts and autocracies—hostile to independent researchers and pollsters—make it one of the most challenging regions of the world to accurately assess public opinion. The competing popular demonstrations in the region both before and after the killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani illustrates the confusion.