Iran the Biggest Loser in the Syrian Civil War

(National Interest) Zachary Keck - No third party has been a bigger loser in Syria than Iran. The prospect of the Alawites losing power in Damascus threatened to roll back all the gains Iran made over the last decade, not only undermining Iran's position in Syria, but also by extension in Lebanon. Over the past two years, Iran and its ally Hizbullah have been forced to devote considerable blood and treasure into preventing Alawite rule from collapsing in Syria, and the material costs for Iran are likely to continue to mount. The larger cost of supporting Assad has been the loss of Iran and Hizbullah's soft power in the Middle East. Iranian influence in the region is largely based on the soft power it accrues from its defiance and denouncements of Israel and the U.S. For decades this soft power has allowed Iranian leaders to bridge the ethnic and sectarian divide with the Arab Sunni street. Iran's popularity in the Arab world has virtually fallen off the cliff since the Syrian conflict began. As James Zogby notes, in 2006 Iran had a 75% favorability rating in twenty Middle Eastern nations. By 2012, Iran's favorability ratings in those same countries declined to just 25%.

2014-01-30 00:00:00

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