Carrying A ‘New Plan’ to End Syrian Conflict
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived in Beirut today to discuss issues of mutual interest with the Lebanese prime minister and other senior officials, including a “new plan” on resolving the crisis in Syria, said Marzieh Afkham, Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman. IRNA, the Iranian official news agency, said that the plan will be discussed with the Syrian government in Damascus during Zarif’s visit on Wednesday. (IRNA/Reuters, 11 August)
The Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman also said the Syrian war has no military solution and the conflict should be resolved politically. But Iran has been actively involved militarily from the beginning of the civil war in Syria. The Quds Force and foreign Shia militias under its command, including the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi and Afghan militant organizations, bear the brunt of the fighting in support of Assad, especially after the Syrian Army faced serious setbacks by the opposition in recent months.
Iran also has extended billions of dollars in line of credit to Syria for Iranian arms and oil shipments, none of which has been repaid, with Damascus facing severe financial difficulties. Iran also spends billions of dollars on Hezbollah and other foreign militias deployed to Syria and hundreds of Quds Force advisers and IRGC specialists, and on costs of military operations in a long and seemingly unending war, now in its fifth year.
Photo credit: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a news conference at the Government Palace in Beirut; 11 August 2015 (Reuters)