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Russia’s Growing Ties With Iran-Aligned Militia Groups

Russia is quietly strengthening its partnerships with Iran-aligned militia groups throughout the Middle East. On March 4, Houthi leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Yemen and urged Russia to reopen its embassy in Sanaa. On March 15, Mohammad Raad, the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, met with Lavrov in Moscow. Raad’s trip was likely triggered by Lavrov’s meeting with Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri in Abu Dhabi, which included talks on Lebanon’s economic crisis and the Syrian civil war. Syria was also a critical agenda item, as Raad reportedly probed Lavrov on his long-term commitment to President Bashar al-Assad and sought reassurance about the March 11 Russia-Qatar-Turkey meeting on Syria.

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