A fallout among Assad’s allies

By: Amir Taheri

With the outcome of the battle for Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, still uncertain, Iran’s Islamist leaders are pressing the Syrian regime to reject any compromise with the rebels — while the Russians are showing signs of doubt.

Over the past four days, a series of Syrian delegations — including 20 senior military commanders, Deputy Prime Minister Omar Ghalavanji and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muaalim — have visited Tehran to probe the latest twists and turns in Iranian thinking.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi says his nation’s policy on Syria is now “directly shaped” by “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, who has called the Syrian uprising “a Zionist plot that has to be crushed by all means necessary.”

At a Sunday press conference in Tehran, Syria’s Al-Muaalim echoed Salehi’s statement: “The Supreme Guide’s advice to us is total, unflinching, resistance.” He continued: “The message that I will take back to Damascus is one of resolve to defeat the international conspiracy that Syria faces today.”

The Syrian officials had gone to Tehran to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to end the crisis. Playing off the proposal by UN mediator Kofi Annan, Putin suggests “moving toward transition” in five phases, leading to parliamentary and presidential elections within 18 months.

The Putin plan is the first sign that Russia may no longer be certain that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime can be saved without major changes. It envisages a handover of power to one of Assad’s vice presidents, on a timeline to be determined.

But Iran insists that Assad must remain in power and fight until the “total defeat” of the uprising. “The Putin plan is full of ambiguities,” said a Saturday editorial from IRNA, Iran’s official news agency. And: “Despite its apparent differences with Western and Arab countries that back the armed rebellion, in some cases the plan points in the same direction.”

Thus, while Russia hopes to save the Syrian regime by ditching Assad, Iran believes Assad’s departure would lead to regime change.

“If Assad goes, we shall face an absolutely dangerous situation,” says Hassan Abbasi, a Tehran foreign-policy specialist called “the Kissinger of Islam.” According to Abbasi, the fall of Assad would represent “the first step in a campaign designed to bring regime change to Iran and Russia as two powers capable of preventing” the total domination of the world by the United States and its Zionist allies.

What can Iran do to help Assad hang on?

Well, its moral support will strengthen Syrian bitter-enders and discourage mass defections, especially from the military.

And Iran is already helping by selling oil on Syria’s behalf, alleviating the effect of European Union sanctions. It is also supplying weapons on a large scale. According to Tehran sources, arms worth more than $120 million have been shipped to Syria over the past six months.

Plus, more than 1,500 “military advisers” from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are present in Syria, providing logistical and technical support to pro-Assad units.

Iran has also dispatched units specializing in urban guerrilla warfare, ostensibly to “minimize civilian casualties” in various Syrian cities. In a Sunday speech in Mashad, Gen. Esmail Qa’ani, deputy commander of the Quds Force — a military outfit whose mission is to “export the

Islamic revolution” — said his men were “actively engaged” in Syria.

He didn’t say how many or where, but his statement is the clearest indication yet that Iran is getting directly involved in Syria’s civil war.

Iran could also deploy some of its Arabic-speaking Hezbollah units from Lebanon. But a plan to send some of its agents from the Mahdi Army in Iraq fizzled out when that armed group’s leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, declared his support for the Syrian uprising.

At some point, Iran may have to commit its own troops on a larger scale to try to keep Assad in power.

Tehran’s no-compromise attitude is likely to provoke a split with Moscow — which is trying to heighten its profile as a major power without antagonizing the majority of Arabs who support regime change in Syria.

“Syria is a red line for us,” says Abbasi, drawing a parallel with the Saudi military intervention to crush a Shiite rebellion in Bahrain.

Iran’s intervention can’t save Assad — but it could prolong the conflict and raise the cost in human lives.

NY Post

  • breakthemould

    God help us. It is all useless and does nothing for the ordinary man. No one cares for him. What difference today if Ali followed Muhammad or Abu Bake did in year 1362? or have I got the year wrong? We need roads, hospitals, electricity, schools, universities, economy, production, parliament, transport, some one to collect garbage, nurses, more teachers, not guns or bombs or Migs. Love thy neighbour. 

    • 5thDrawer

      That’s why a god needs to be out of the equation in government. Love is for the soul, but not for food production. Hmmm … Mind you, that didn’t work well for communists, did it. No. But you know what I mean … ;-)

  • breakthemould

    God help us. It is all useless and does nothing for the ordinary man. No one cares for him. What difference today if Ali followed Muhammad or Abu Bake did in year 1362? or have I got the year wrong? We need roads, hospitals, electricity, schools, universities, economy, production, parliament, transport, some one to collect garbage, nurses, more teachers, not guns or bombs or Migs. Love thy neighbour. 

  • breakthemould

    God help us. It is all useless and does nothing for the ordinary man. No one cares for him. What difference today if Ali followed Muhammad or Abu Bake did in year 1362? or have I got the year wrong? We need roads, hospitals, electricity, schools, universities, economy, production, parliament, transport, some one to collect garbage, nurses, more teachers, not guns or bombs or Migs. Love thy neighbour. 

    • 5thDrawer

      That’s why a god needs to be out of the equation in government. Love is for the soul, but not for food production. Hmmm … Mind you, that didn’t work well for communists, did it. No. But you know what I mean … ;-)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4K52SUFPVB2DDUTPSS6YKCTUQE jim

     for as long as these BRITISH PUPPET MERCENARIES called MULLAHS are 
    interfering in the internal affairs of the great countries of Lebanon and Syria, the good people of these two countries will never see the daylight . these pieces of human excrement
    have a finger in every pie . their mission is to completely destroy Lebanon and Syria from within . that’s what a mercenary does .that’s his mission .
    it is incumbent upon the Lebanese/Syrian masses to get rid of the remnants of
    mullahs puppets in Lebanon /Syria,

    • Moe2000

       From history and actual facts, not Wahhabi make believe story’s. The house of Saud and the entire GCC was installed by the U.K and are now the puppets of the USA under one condition to obey and they will be allowed to stay in power and rule with Iron fist.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/4K52SUFPVB2DDUTPSS6YKCTUQE jim

         BRAVO Moe2000 !!!!!!

    • Moe2000

       From history and actual facts, not Wahhabi make believe story’s. The house of Saud and the entire GCC was installed by the U.K and are now the puppets of the USA under one condition to obey and they will be allowed to stay in power and rule with Iron fist.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/4K52SUFPVB2DDUTPSS6YKCTUQE jim

         BRAVO Moe2000 !!!!!!

    • Moe2000

       After his defeat at Mulayda, Abdul-Rahman ibn Faisal went with his family into exile in the deserts of eastern Arabia among the Al Murra bedouin. Soon afterward, however, Abdul-Rahman found refuge in Kuwait as a guest of the Kuwaiti emir, Mubarak Al Sabah. In 1902, Abdul-Rahman’s son, Abdul-Aziz, took on the task of restoring Saudi rule in Riyadh.
      Supported by a few dozen followers and accompanied by some of his
      brothers and relatives, Abdul-Aziz was able to capture Riyadh’s Masmak fort and kill the governor appointed there by Ibn Rashid.
      Abdul Aziz, reported to have been barely 20 at the time, was
      immediately proclaimed ruler in Riyadh. As the new leader of the House
      of Saud, Abdul-Aziz became commonly known from that time simply as “Ibn
      Saud”.

      Ibn Saud spent the next three decades trying to re-establish his
      family’s rule over as much of the Arabian Peninsula as possible,
      starting with his native Najd. His chief rivals were the Al Rashid clan in Ha’il, the Sharifs of Mecca in the Hijaz, and the Ottoman Turks in al-Hasa. Ibn Saud also had to contend, however, with the descendants of his late uncle Saud ibn Faisal
      (later known as the “Saud al-Kabir” branch of the family), who posed as
      the rightful heirs to the throne. Though for a time acknowledging the
      sovereignty of the Ottoman Sultans and even taking the title of pasha, Ibn Saud allied himself to the British, in opposition to the Ottoman-backed Al Rashid. For the period between 1915 and 1927, Ibn Saud’s dominions were a protectorate of the British Empire, pursuant to the 1915 Treaty of Darin.

      By 1932, Ibn Saud had disposed of all his main rivals and
      consolidated his rule over much of the Arabian Peninsula. He declared
      himself king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
      that year. Previously, he had gone through several titles, starting
      with “Sultan of Najd” and ending with “King of Hijaz and Najd and their
      dependencies.” Ibn Saud’s father, Abdul Rahman retained the honorary title of “imam.” A few years later, in 1937, American surveyors discovered near Dammam what later proved to be Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves. Before the discovery of oil, many family members were destitute.[8]

      • 5thDrawer

        History – in all countries – is filled with the stories of little depots and conquests and such-like … but why would anyone wish to carry on such deathly traditions? And what does it gain any to rail against those who are dead now? 
        The history, as I have said before, is useful to inform us of past wrongs of humans, and perhaps how to make the changes needed for the future. Other than that, there is no glory of past wars to carry into a future, but only the sadness in the failures to prevent them.

    • Moe2000

       After his defeat at Mulayda, Abdul-Rahman ibn Faisal went with his family into exile in the deserts of eastern Arabia among the Al Murra bedouin. Soon afterward, however, Abdul-Rahman found refuge in Kuwait as a guest of the Kuwaiti emir, Mubarak Al Sabah. In 1902, Abdul-Rahman’s son, Abdul-Aziz, took on the task of restoring Saudi rule in Riyadh.
      Supported by a few dozen followers and accompanied by some of his
      brothers and relatives, Abdul-Aziz was able to capture Riyadh’s Masmak fort and kill the governor appointed there by Ibn Rashid.
      Abdul Aziz, reported to have been barely 20 at the time, was
      immediately proclaimed ruler in Riyadh. As the new leader of the House
      of Saud, Abdul-Aziz became commonly known from that time simply as “Ibn
      Saud”.

      Ibn Saud spent the next three decades trying to re-establish his
      family’s rule over as much of the Arabian Peninsula as possible,
      starting with his native Najd. His chief rivals were the Al Rashid clan in Ha’il, the Sharifs of Mecca in the Hijaz, and the Ottoman Turks in al-Hasa. Ibn Saud also had to contend, however, with the descendants of his late uncle Saud ibn Faisal
      (later known as the “Saud al-Kabir” branch of the family), who posed as
      the rightful heirs to the throne. Though for a time acknowledging the
      sovereignty of the Ottoman Sultans and even taking the title of pasha, Ibn Saud allied himself to the British, in opposition to the Ottoman-backed Al Rashid. For the period between 1915 and 1927, Ibn Saud’s dominions were a protectorate of the British Empire, pursuant to the 1915 Treaty of Darin.

      By 1932, Ibn Saud had disposed of all his main rivals and
      consolidated his rule over much of the Arabian Peninsula. He declared
      himself king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
      that year. Previously, he had gone through several titles, starting
      with “Sultan of Najd” and ending with “King of Hijaz and Najd and their
      dependencies.” Ibn Saud’s father, Abdul Rahman retained the honorary title of “imam.” A few years later, in 1937, American surveyors discovered near Dammam what later proved to be Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves. Before the discovery of oil, many family members were destitute.[8]

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4K52SUFPVB2DDUTPSS6YKCTUQE jim

     for as long as these BRITISH PUPPET MERCENARIES called MULLAHS are 
    interfering in the internal affairs of the great countries of Lebanon and Syria, the good people of these two countries will never see the daylight . these pieces of human excrement
    have a finger in every pie . their mission is to completely destroy Lebanon and Syria from within . that’s what a mercenary does .that’s his mission .
    it is incumbent upon the Lebanese/Syrian masses to get rid of the remnants of
    mullahs puppets in Lebanon /Syria,

    • Moe2000

       From history and actual facts, not Wahhabi make believe story’s. The house of Saud and the entire GCC was installed by the U.K and are now the puppets of the USA under one condition to obey and they will be allowed to stay in power and rule with Iron fist.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/4K52SUFPVB2DDUTPSS6YKCTUQE jim

         BRAVO Moe2000 !!!!!!

    • Moe2000

       After his defeat at Mulayda, Abdul-Rahman ibn Faisal went with his family into exile in the deserts of eastern Arabia among the Al Murra bedouin. Soon afterward, however, Abdul-Rahman found refuge in Kuwait as a guest of the Kuwaiti emir, Mubarak Al Sabah. In 1902, Abdul-Rahman’s son, Abdul-Aziz, took on the task of restoring Saudi rule in Riyadh.
      Supported by a few dozen followers and accompanied by some of his
      brothers and relatives, Abdul-Aziz was able to capture Riyadh’s Masmak fort and kill the governor appointed there by Ibn Rashid.
      Abdul Aziz, reported to have been barely 20 at the time, was
      immediately proclaimed ruler in Riyadh. As the new leader of the House
      of Saud, Abdul-Aziz became commonly known from that time simply as “Ibn
      Saud”.

      Ibn Saud spent the next three decades trying to re-establish his
      family’s rule over as much of the Arabian Peninsula as possible,
      starting with his native Najd. His chief rivals were the Al Rashid clan in Ha’il, the Sharifs of Mecca in the Hijaz, and the Ottoman Turks in al-Hasa. Ibn Saud also had to contend, however, with the descendants of his late uncle Saud ibn Faisal
      (later known as the “Saud al-Kabir” branch of the family), who posed as
      the rightful heirs to the throne. Though for a time acknowledging the
      sovereignty of the Ottoman Sultans and even taking the title of pasha, Ibn Saud allied himself to the British, in opposition to the Ottoman-backed Al Rashid. For the period between 1915 and 1927, Ibn Saud’s dominions were a protectorate of the British Empire, pursuant to the 1915 Treaty of Darin.

      By 1932, Ibn Saud had disposed of all his main rivals and
      consolidated his rule over much of the Arabian Peninsula. He declared
      himself king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
      that year. Previously, he had gone through several titles, starting
      with “Sultan of Najd” and ending with “King of Hijaz and Najd and their
      dependencies.” Ibn Saud’s father, Abdul Rahman retained the honorary title of “imam.” A few years later, in 1937, American surveyors discovered near Dammam what later proved to be Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves. Before the discovery of oil, many family members were destitute.[8]

      • 5thDrawer

        History – in all countries – is filled with the stories of little depots and conquests and such-like … but why would anyone wish to carry on such deathly traditions? And what does it gain any to rail against those who are dead now? 
        The history, as I have said before, is useful to inform us of past wrongs of humans, and perhaps how to make the changes needed for the future. Other than that, there is no glory of past wars to carry into a future, but only the sadness in the failures to prevent them.

  • 5thDrawer

    Ali-(The Great) Salehi MUST follow the words of Mr Supreme ‘Guide to the Universe’ …. it’s the political thing to do.
    And as for Mr. Supreme … ‘My way or death’ … the title tells us so much. Hard to expand on that one.
    Interesting that they idolize Kissinger so much that they had to have one of their own. Many in ‘the west’ don’t feel it the same way.
    Putin can see there IS transition … just trying to figure out how to keep it in ‘the family’.
    Quds Force — a military outfit made for killing under direction of the ‘Guide’. After 2009 they needed more exercise.
    Wonder what the world will do with all the sheep escaping from the broken fences?

  • 5thDrawer

    Ali-(The Great) Salehi MUST follow the words of Mr Supreme ‘Guide to the Universe’ …. it’s the political thing to do.
    And as for Mr. Supreme … ‘My way or death’ … the title tells us so much. Hard to expand on that one.
    Interesting that they idolize Kissinger so much that they had to have one of their own. Many in ‘the west’ don’t feel it the same way.
    Putin can see there IS transition … just trying to figure out how to keep it in ‘the family’.
    Quds Force — a military outfit made for killing under direction of the ‘Guide’. After 2009 they needed more exercise.
    Wonder what the world will do with all the sheep escaping from the broken fences?