Iraqi militia along with Hezbollah fighters bring the most operational experience to the battlefields of Syria. The Kuwaiti Shia, perhaps a third of their country’s population do what they do best, send money. One Kuwaiti Arabic you tube video shows Shia Kuwaitis raucously saluting themselves as they prepare to dispatch 23 million dinar to the Shia cause in Syria. Officially, Kuwait’s policy is close to that of its neighbor Saudi Arabia , decidedly anti-Assad. However, the country’s Shia are well-organized, wealthy, and militant, at least in a political sense. They are descendants from the Barharma who were a sea-faring Shi’a people who emigrated from Iran about three centuries ago. Others cam from Iran in the 1920s.

Media coverage of Qassem Soleimani, Chief of the IRGC’s Special Forces, continues at a high level. He is featured in the role of defender of the Iranian nation and protector of the region’s Shi’a Muslims.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei threw his full support behind the IRGC’s post-JCPOA series of ballistic missile test launches by stating on his 30 March website message, “those who say that the world of tomorrow will be a world of negotiation and not one of missiles are either ignorant or traitorous.”

Supreme Leader Khamenei used Iran’s New Year holiday to deliver his most comprehensive plan for Iran’s economy. His address, proclaimed from his hometown of Mashhad, outlined ten principles of the “Resistance Economy.”  From this speech, it is clear that Khamenei’s plan for Iran’s economic recovery is quite different from that of Rouhani and his cabinet. Moreover, he threw down the gauntlet that he would hold Rouhani responsible for a failure to produce promised improvements in Iran’s economy. Left unsaid but implied was the threat that if Rouhani failed to adopt a “Resistance Economy” approach, it would negatively impact the President’s aspirations for a second term.

The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Iran, Ahmad Shaheed, has just released the eighth in a series of reports on human rights in Iran. While some diplomats, politicians, and Iran watchers have suggested that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will provide an opportunity for outsiders to pressure Iran to be more responsive to human rights concerns, the UN report is testimony that the multilateral nuclear pact has had no impact in this area.