Assad Cannot Rule in Syria without Iran

(Atlantic Council) Frederic C. Hof - No doubt many Iranians think that the propping up of Syria's Assad regime will lead to a lifetime of unrequited expense: an observation whose accuracy is manifest. There is simply no way the Assad regime can exercise and maintain country-wide power without Shia militias organized, financed, and led by Iran. Might ongoing instability in Iran persuade the Supreme Leader to cut losses in Syria? Probably not. The jewel-in-the-crown of Iranian regional policy under current management is Lebanon's Hizbullah, for which Syria is vital. Hizbullah's reliance on Syria for strategic depth and for a logistical link to its Iranian home base will not decrease as the extent of the organization's drug dealing and money-laundering becomes a matter of detailed public knowledge. Hizbullah is at the heart of Iran's "Islamic Revolution," the name given to a clerical kleptocracy supported by a violent and wealthy "Revolutionary Guard Corps." The writer, appointed by President Obama in 2012 as ambassador and special adviser for transition in Syria, is director of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

2018-01-12 00:00:00

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