Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is Iran really reconsidering its support of Assad?

 Are Iran and its regional ally Hezbollah really seriously reconsidering their support for their long-term ally in Damascus?

by Paul Iddon
Pro-Assad billboard, Damascus 2006 / Bertil Videt
Iran has poured billions into Damascus in order to keep the Assad regime in power so it can effectively suppress and crush all opponents to its authoritarian rule. Its ally the Hezbollah has since 2013 even been sending many of its own fighters into Syria in order to engage fighters in the ragtag opposition alongside the Syrian Army. 

In the process of consolidating his control to his country's west Mr. Assad gave ISIS a freehand in targeting other opposition groups. It was as if an unspoken mutual agreement was adhered to by both sides. ISIS was allowed consolidate control over large swaths of territory in the east while Assad continued to direct state forces to crush opponents closer to home. It seems that the regime did not to calculate that ISIS would garner as much power and territory as it has.

At present the United States-led coalition is preparing to strike ISIS in strikes that may even well extend into Syrian territory. The United States refuses to recognize the Assad regime as the legitimate government of Syria due to the atrocities it has levelled against Syria's population. There is also a possibility that the Syrian regime may come under fire from a coalition intervening in Syria too.

In light of these circumstances a peculiar report has come to light. According to The Telegraph the regime in Iran is seriously reconsidering its stance towards its long-term ally in Damascus. The papers source claims that Iran is prepared to "burn" Assad if it means that country can reach an agreement with the western powers on its nuclear program which would see to an ease and eventual lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iran's economy. One diplomat referred to in the report said that the shift may have come due to the fact that Tehran has come to a realization that it "cannot win the Syrian conflict whilst Assad is in power." 

If true this would indeed be a fascinating development. But the report is one which clearly needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Unless Assad is unable to secure his rule, even if through continued coercion and brute violence, Tehran would hardly compromise such a close ally just like that. Surely such an agreement tied with negotiations on other matters would at least see to clemency given to Mr. Assad and other important members of his regime – possibly in order to get him to agree to step-down in favour of a provisional government which would mark the beginning of the post-Assad phase in Syria's arduous modern history.

And even when such an agreement is indeed brokered Iran would of course want to ensure that it could continue to logistically support the Hezbollah in Lebanon (a Syrian official quoted in the report claims that, "Much of the Syrian army is Sunni and they see Hezbollah as too sectarian. Some from the Syrian army won't work with Hezbollah. They don't want a militia involved") so it can maintain at least one very important component of its self-described "axis-of-resistance".

While one wouldn't dismiss out of hand the authenticity of this report one does remains highly skeptical. After all the prospect of a post-Assad Syria and what that will mean for the present Iranian regime is surely something which has been on its mind for some time now. And one would indeed be quite surprised if they aren't continuously contemplating how they can seek to make the eventual ushering in of a post-Assad age less painful for them.


Anonymous said...

LOL... I couldn't stop laughing reading this nonsense... Will the authors of this hit piece be the same as the ones that have been predicting the "imminent" fall of the Syria government (within hours,days, weeks etc etc, mind you) since like 3-years ago???

If Iran and Hezbollah's backed the Syrian government to the point where it now has the upper hand on the battlefield, why will they be reconsidering their support in the face of the same Western backed terrorists group with a different name(ISIS,ISIL whatever) and flag???

Let them live in their fantasy world.. As they say, whatever make them happy :)

Another self-tickling comic hit piece for the

Anonymous said...

This is fraudulent wishful thinking

Anonymous said...

the Assads control less than half of Syria

Anonymous said...

From a strategic, ideological and also military perspective I think it is very unlikely Iran stops supporting Assad. I think any such decision in Iran has already been aligned with Russia and currently there is no intention in Russia to stop backing Assad as of today, but that might change.