Iran is also assisting pro-government shabiha militias, partly to hedge against Assad’s fall or the contraction of the regime into Damascus and a coastal Alawite enclave. Hassan Ahmadian is Assistant Professor of Political Sciences at the University of Tehran. Although continued attacks did contribute to Israel’s decision to negotiate with Syria during the 1990s, they also led to lasting Israeli hostility toward Damascus, which in turn doomed hopes for peace. . Iran provides a strange sort of legitimacy for the Baathist regime in Damascus. 9 years ago. Opposition gains in Syria have interdicted many ground resupply routes between Baghdad and Damascus, and the relative paucity of Iranian port-visits in Syria suggests that Iran’s sea-lanes to Syria are more symbolic than practical. Together with its allies, it can exploit differences among Kurdish groups in Syria to bog down the US troops in a complex security situation similar to the one in post-2003 Iraq; they can incite anti-US sentiments among the Arab population in those territories; and they can push radical elements out of Idlib into SDF-held areas, where US forces will have to face them. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic are close strategic allies, and Iran has provided significant support for the Syrian government in the Syrian Civil War, including logistical, technical and financial support, as well as training and some combat troops.Iran sees the survival of the Syrian government as being crucial to its regional interests. These many common interests have come together in Lebanon. Hezbollah became a key proxy, conducting attacks and training Palestinian groups to make them more effective. Western pressure on Damascus and Tehran, while difficult to assert, may eventually lead to a settlement. But geopolitics has brought Iran and Syria together despite these many differences. Initially, Syria was wary of revolutionary Islam. Syria and Iran continue to share strategic concerns regarding Israel, Iraq, and the United States. Like Iran, Syria wanted Hezbollah to pose a threat to Israel that Damascus could calibrate according to its needs. The reasons for their support … Syria portrays itself as a champion of secular Arab nationalism, although in practice it is a minority-dominated military dictatorship. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The Sochi agreement and the announced demilitarised zone will delay the offensive on Idlib only temporarily. Ankara sees the SDF, a majority Kurdish force, as a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it considers a terrorist organisation and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly reiterated that securing the Turkey-Syria border against “terrorists” is one of his highest priorities. Iran will likely pick up its effort to reach a solution, either diplomatically or militarily, in the coming weeks and months. Driving Damascus and Tehran apart in a more fundamental way, however, will be extremely difficult. The open participation of Iraqi Shi‘a militants in Syria is an alarming indicator of the expansion of sectarian conflict throughout the region. In Syria, Iran’s ultimate goal is to push back against the US, curb its influence and make its military presence there costlier. Syria’s goals are more local. The Sochi agreement and the announced demilitarised zone will delay the offensive on Idlib only temporarily. Fifteen years later, Israel left completely. Iran will likely pick up its effort, to reach a solution, either diplomatically or militarily, in the coming, Why Trump’s strategy against Iran is likely to fail, How Iran won a face-off with the US in Iraq, Canada aims to bring in over 1.2 million immigrants over 3 years. Like Iran, Syria wanted Hezbollah to pose a threat to Israel that Damascus could calibrate according to its needs. That could end up being an effective deterrent against US plans of opening additional fronts against Iran in the Middle East. So, for example, if the United States were to conduct a major attack on Iran, Hezbollah might respond by attacking U.S. targets abroad on Tehran’s behalf. But through it all, Syria seems to retain the support of some good friends. Whichever strategy Iran chooses to pursue, the US will likely feel the pressure on the ground soon enough. Although at a first glance the deal runs against the Iranian interest, Tehran expressed support for it. Although there are a number of major disagreements between Iran, Russia and Turkey, what is important in the end is that they are all opposing the current US policies in Syria. Some Shiite religious leaders have bolstered the Damascus regime by claiming that the Alawites are simply part of the larger Shiite family—a claim that does little to appease highly chauvinistic Sunnis but appeals to those with a wider view of Islam. Lebanese Hezbollah began to take on a more direct combat role in Syria as the Assad regime began losing control over Syrian territory in 2012. Their presence became overt in 2012 with the formation of the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, a pro-government militia that is a conglomerate of Syrian and foreign Shi‘a fighters, including members of Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraq-based Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Kata’ib Hezbollah. The Syrian conflict has already constrained Iran’s influence in the Levant, and the fall of the Assad regime would further reduce Tehran’s ability to project power. Although at a first glance the deal runs against the Iranian interest, Tehran. Deadly earthquake rocks western Turkey, Greece, Tens of thousands of Muslims protest France’s ‘Islamophobia’, Al Jazeera Centre for Public Liberties & Human Rights. Both countries worry that the chaos in Iraq will creep across their borders, but they’re also keen for the United States to suffer a bloody nose to dampen its enthusiasm for regime change. In Syria, Iran’s ultimate goal is to push back against the US, curb its influence and make its military presence there costlier. Iranian officials nurtured Hezbollah, helping to unite various Shiite factions and providing the movement with training, money, and ideological support. Tehran also worked with Hezbollah operatives around the world to attack dissidents, supporters of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and Israeli targets. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. Iran, in contrast, rides under the banner of revolutionary Islam, although as a Persian country, it is often at odds with the Arab world, particularly since the vast majority of Iranians are Shiites, while most Arabs are Sunnis. Iran has been providing essential military supplies to Assad, primarily by air. These militias will become even more dependent on Tehran in such a scenario, allowing Iran to maintain some ability to operate in and project force from Syria. Despite recent reports about tensions in Iranian-Russian relations, Iran is not concerned about Russia’s posture towards its presence in Syria as they share common geopolitical concerns about the US. : Parallels Russia, China and Iran are Syrian President Bashar Assad's closest allies. Iran seeks to increase pressure on the US in Syria and portray its military presence there as an occupation. Even today, Tehran and Hezbollah work together to maintain a deterrent capability to dissuade the United States from attacking targets in Iran. Iran wants to frame the situation as a US “occupation” which is preventing the area east of the Euphrates from joining the rest of the “liberated” Syrian territories. It was this strategy that Iran was pursuing at the September 7 summit with Russia and Turkey in Tehran.

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